TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

What the LeBron James Triple Logoman’s Sale Means for the Hobby

The most-hyped card of 2022 has sold for $2.4M. Boardroom explores why it sold for less than expected and what it means for the hobby.

The Goldin auction of the 2020-21 Flawless LeBron James Triple Logoman ended over the weekend at a closing price of $2.4 million, well short of the highest-selling LeBron card of all time, the $5.2 million 2003 Upper Deck Exquisite RPA /23.

The 1-of-1 Triple Logoman was the most sought-after card from the 2020-21 NBA season, featuring game-used NBA Logoman patches from James’ three NBA teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.

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How We Got Here

When the checklist for Flawless first came out, hype soared as hobby enthusiasts saw the LeBron Triple Logoman on the list. This card is the equivalent of a hypothetical Michael Jordan card with Logoman patches from the Bulls and Wizards. The bounties from Jared Bleznick of BlezSportsCards and others started to roll into the millions, which led to a valuation between $3 million to $5 million.

Drake posted numerous cases of Flawless Basketball on his Instagram, stating he was hunting for one specific card. That card, of course, was the LeBron Triple Logoman. Drake, along with Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions, went on a livestream to open cases hunting for the elusive card, spending over $200,000 dollars on a product that normally goes for $12,000 per box. Unfortunately for Drake, it wasn’t “God’s Plan” for him to be the lucky first owner.

Lamborghini High

Livestream auction platform Whatnot put on a lucrative promotion for breakers to sell their Flawless boxes, promising a Lamborghini Huracan valued at over $300,000 for whoever pulled the Triple Logoman. After that announcement, breakers far and wide sold their cases through Whatnot to be the brand new owner of a Lambo. The card was eventually opened on Whatnot by JMO of Backyard Breaks, on behalf of three Whatnot users that paid into a random team break.

“They didn’t know each other at all, but acted like best friends after they met.” Nick Telford of Backyard Breaks said. “It’s amazing how quick you can be friends knowing you’ll almost net a million dollar share from a card.”

Why Did it Sell for Less than Expected?

As stated before, the Triple Logoman was estimated to go between $3 million and $5 million. After Goldin’s aggressive marketing campaign and the bounties, it’s surprising the card didn’t go for more. There are a couple possible reasons why.

  • LeBron James not making the playoffs has definitely put a slope on his card values. Also, the uncertainty surrounding the Lakers has added speculation on LeBron’s final act in a Hall of Fame NBA career. There’s no doubt that the card would have fetched a higher price tag if LeBron and the Lakers made a playoff push.
  • The card just isn’t that attractive. You need a magnifying glass to see the actual images of LeBron and it would have been better served as a booklet, with each face featuring a full vertical image of LeBron alongside each NBA Logoman patch.
  • A topic of discussion in the hobby community is whether 1-of-1s should be graded. Some say no because there’s only one, so it shouldn’t matter. Others will argue that it’s better to get it encased by a grader and know for sure the condition of the card. The 1-of-1 LeBron Triple Logoman was authenticated and slabbed by PSA, but not graded.

This choice is interesting, but has merit. This is a card that will be bootlegged in the future due to its status, but not having an actual grade could have hurt the auction price. If one were to bid millions of dollars on a card, wouldn’t they want to know the exact grade? It’s definitely a topic that needs further discussion.

Who Won the Auction?

The identity of the highest bidder has yet to be revealed and probably won’t be for some time. The NBA season has concluded and The National kicks off at the end of next month — it’s possible the winner will be revealed then. Hobbyists have speculated it to either be Drake or Shyne.

This sale was a much-needed publicity bump for the hobby as we cruise into the usually down summer months. This card will be talked about for years to come and will more than likely hit auction houses again in the future.

Hobby Implications

The sale itself means that a 19th-year card of a GOAT-level player has the potential to go for millions. Also, it means that high-end cards can still fetch good money in a down market. And as the economy hits a lull, we see that the trading card hobby is not impervious to recession. Base rookies and some high-end cards have felt the biggest hit, but cards such as this have continued to fetch top-dollar.

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