LeBron James depicted alongside his 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto Parallel card
TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

Iconic LeBron James Rookie Card Ties All-Time Record for Most Expensive Trading Card Sale

The 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto Parallel was already the foremost King James card. And it just fetched over $5 million.

In February, the hobby did a collective double-take when a 1-of-1 Luka Doncic “Logoman” rookie card sold for $4.6 million, obliterating all existing competition to become the most expensive basketball card ever sold. It was also the second-biggest sports card sale of all time behind a super-rare 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that went for $5.2 million in January.

But today, not only does Luka no longer own the top spot in his sport, but the Mick has some company at the top of the historic trading card mountain.

An autographed LeBron James Exquisite Rookie Patch Parallel rated at BGS 9 mint condition just sold for $5.2 million at PWCC Marketplace.

The news comes on the heels of a similar card in nearly the same condition selling for $1.722 million at Goldin Auctions. Those lucky few who broke one of these rookie patch beauties way back in 2003 before LeBron was LeBron were officially blessed with basketball card collecting’s holiest of grails.

What sets this record-setter apart from all others? In addition to sporting a game-worn jersey patch and an authentic LBJ autograph, it exists in a series of just 23 cards.

A BGS 9.5 edition sold last summer at Goldin Auctions for $1.8 million — in light of the latest news, that’s a steal of a price by comparison.

At the highest levels of the hobby, it’s clear that scarcity is undefeated. And as far as King James is concerned, we already knew that anything he touches has a chance to turn into record-setting gold.

Michael Jordan may be your GOAT, and Luka Doncic may be the man who owns the future. But LeBron James’ greatness, whether it comes to stats, accolades, or wax, is simply bigger than basketball.

5 Most Expensive Sports Card Sales of All Time

As of 26 April 2021

T-1. $5.2 million: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

T-1. $5.2 million: 2003-04 LeBron James Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto Parallel

3. $4.6 million: 2018 Panini Luka Doncic National Treasures 1-of-1 Logoman Auto

4. $3.93 million: 2009 Bowman Mike Trout Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Auto

5. $3.12 million: 1909-11 Honus Wagner T206 “Jumbo”