Trading cards featuring Honus Wagner, Michael Jordan, and Roger Federer and a Kobe Bryant jersey

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Honus Wagner Collectibles Set New Auction Records

Three of the biggest names in sports collectibles just drove nearly $10 million in sales at Goldin Auctions.

LeBron James may be the GOAT of basketball trading cards after one of his 2003-04 Exclusive Rookie Patch Auto cards sold for $5.2 million in April, but he’s not the only NBA superstar driving massive numbers on the auction block.

Over the weekend, an autographed and game-worn Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers jersey went for $3.69 million at Goldin Auctions, setting the record for not just the most expensive NBA jersey ever but the priciest piece of Black Mamba memorabilia sold to date.

Right on the heels of Kobe’s posthumous induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, it’s far from a shock to see this purple and gold No. 8 fetch seven figures — but $3.69 million is a serious number, and it’s hard to imagine another basketball jersey matching such a total.

That’s the sheer power of Kobe’s emotional resonance and the enduring strength of his brand.

The Mamba wasn’t the only record-setter at this latest Goldin Auctions event, however. A 1997 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Game Jersey Auto card went for $2.1 million; the highest price ever paid for an MJ card all-time.

With the card rated at a PSA 8 and the autograph rated PSA 9, it surpassed the previous high watermark for Jordan wax by over half a million dollars. A lower-grade version of the same card went for $1.44 million at Heritage Auctions in February.

The weekend’s Goldin Auctions grand champion, however? A humble PSA 2 Honus Wagner card.

All it did was sell for $3.7 million; the fifth-highest price ever paid for a trading card in history.

Also checking into the record books was Roger Federer, whose autographed match-worn shirt card graded BGS 9.5 (autograph graded BGS 10) fetched $185,730, the biggest sum ever for a tennis card.

If there were any lingering questions about whether Federer was still the biggest name in his sport, we can put those to bed.

With the cards and collectibles markets still booming, we’ve gotten increasingly adjusted to seeing new records set for the best and brightest stars of past and present in rapid succession. Whether it’s Babe Ruth and Wagner or His Airness and the Black Mamba, the question isn’t whether the ceiling can get higher — it’s simply a matter of when.

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