Trading cards can be a lucrative pastime and if you’re lucky enough to find one in your collection, you could be sitting on a goldmine.
A 2003-04 LeBron James rookie card recently came up for sale at Goldin Auctions and ended up selling for US$1.8 million — roughly AU$2.5 million — making it the most expensive basketball card ever purchased.
According to the NBA, it’s also the priciest trading card of any kind since 1980.
The buyer was a gentleman by the name of Leore Avidar, the CEO and co-founder of Lob.com — a San Francisco based company that automates direct mail for businesses.
This LeBron James card just sold at @GoldinAuctions for $1.8 million, the record for a modern day card.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 19, 2020
There were only 23 of these cards produced at the time, with James himself having a few in his collection, the New York Post has reported.
“Guess who else has a couple of those exact ones too,” James wrote on Instagram.
According to the New York Post, Goldin Auctions have set three modern-day card record sales in 2020. While James’ rookie card is the bestseller by far, a Mike Trout rookie card sold for US$922,500 earlier this year. A card featuring both James and Michael Jordon also recently sold for US$900,000.
Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions, told ESPN that the continued popularity of James is why his rookie card sold for such a large amount.
“If we were talking about a T206 [Honus] Wagner, or a 1952 [Mickey] Mantle, it probably wouldn’t be that much news,” he said.
“But when you’re talking about a card that was literally produced 17 years ago and is for a guy still playing in the NBA, it’s just shocking news to a lot of people. It’s really where my particular industry has been going for several years.”
The moral of the story here is to check your sports card collections!