Recognized in their own eras as one-of-a-kind basketball players, NBA greats Michael Jordan and LeBron James’ value has translated into big money off the court.
Goldin Auctions announced it has brokered a record-setting sale for a modern basketball trading card, selling a 2003-2004 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection “Logoman” card of James and Jordan for $900,000, Sports Collectors Daily reported. The card contains an NBA logo patch worn on the jersey of each player, CBS Sports reported.
The card is known as a “1/1” card -- only one was printed -- and while the card does not contain an autograph from either player, it smashes the previous record for a basketball card -- or any modern-era card. In 2016, a 1969-1970 Topps card of Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), graded a Gem Mint 10, sold at auction for $501,900, according to Beckett.com.
The Jordan-James card is graded at 8.5 out of 10, or near mint-mint, by Beckett Grading Services.
While there is a Chicago Bulls logo on the reverse of the card next to a Jordan photograph, the description by Upper Deck notes the patch is actually from a jersey worn by Jordan during his seasons with the Washington Wizards, the team he ended his 15-year NBA career with in 2003.
According to Ken Goldin, the founder and CEO of Goldin Auctions, the card joined some rarified company among trading card rarities.
"We are proud to report that this sale nearly doubled that price and joins the famed 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card and classic T206 Honus Wagner card as the only trading cards to ever reach this level,” Goldin told Sports Collectors Daily. “Several years ago we saw the modern trading card market growing in popularity and have made it a major focus of our business.”
Goldin said the consignor asked him to send the card to Beckett Grading Services for authentication, Beckett.com reported.
“It’s amazing to see a card like this come to Beckett for grading,” Jeromy Murray, vice president of Becking Grading, told the website. “The sports card market is as strong as I can remember and a sale like this shows that. We were certainly honored to have been chosen to grade a card of this magnitude.”
The buyer originally preferred to remain anonymous, but Thursday posted his purchase on Instagram. The buyer, according to Sports Collectors Daily, was Nat Turner, a high-end basketball card collector.
“Yes, I wish it was autographed by both players, but it’s still a legendary card from LeBron’s rookie year,” Turner wrote on Instagram. “Also featuring the best player ever in Jordan, from the first Exquisite set, and with the first real introduction of the logoman concept, and it’s a 1/1.”
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