Million Dollar LeBron Signals Sports Cards Boom?
*UPDATE 20.720* LeBron himself collects his cards? LeBron James was in the comments on this instagram post from SportsCenter saying he has a couple of these rookie cards in his possession!
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@kingjames collects his cards? He’s in the comments on this Sports Center post about the Lebron rookie card auction👀😱 #sportscards #whodoyoucollect #thehobby #rookiecards #lebronjames #groupbreaks #sportsmemorabilia #autograph #casebreaks #basketballcards #magicjohnson #80snba #sportscardsforsale #scottiepippen #nbameme #boxbreak #weloveupperdeck #showyourhits #hobbystore #cherrycards @beckettauthentication @stockxtradingcards @nsccshow #sportscardscollector #livebreak @paniniamerica #lebronshoes #sportscardsandmemorbilia #nbamemes #cavsnation #sportscard #lakersnation #lebronjames #sneakercollection
*UPDATE 19.7.20* The hammer just fell on the LeBron RPA we talked about in this blog at $1.8 million USD. If you didn't think the hobby was going through a surge already then you should now.
Sports cards are back in a big way and if you needed any more evidence the auction for the 2003-04 Upper Deck "Exquisite Collection" LeBron James rookie card should confirm that - the card is set to go for over $1 million in its auction at Goldin.
What makes the card so special is the auto from LeBron plus the piece of game worn jersey embedded in it - in 2003 this was a relatively new feature for cards but pretty commonplace now as collectors chase their favourite RPA or 'rookie patch auto' every year. Earlier this year a Mike Trout rookie went for $900,000 but LeBron's will eclipse that.
The iconic card is attracting huge dollars because the hobby itself is undergoing a real comeback in popularity thanks to several factors which have created a 'perfect storm'.
Anecdotally, cards were on a steady increase in popularity however around 18 months ago they started to gather a bit more steam thanks to people like Gary Vaynerchuk talking about them (Gary has a long history with cards having collected and traded as a kid) as well as an important demographic change; the kids who collected in the 90s were now all grown up, many with kids of their own plus disposable income and they were starting to come back to cards.
Gary visited Cherry last year while on his Australian speaking tour
When the lockdowns hit across the world earlier this year it lit a fire under the interest in the hobby, so much so it was covered by Sports Illustrated in the States and The Age here in Australia. The advent of 'Group Breaks' made opening boxes a form of entertainment for many collectors as they sat down each night to watch their favourite breakers rip open packs for hours.
And let's not forget the athletes themselves. The 2019-20 NBA rookie crop has not seen this level of interest since Shaq was drafted, despite Zion only playing 19 games so far!
This combination has made for some very exciting times in the hobby and, we hope, lots more exciting times to come.
What other factors have helped sports cards boom? Let us know in the comments.
Which other LeBron cards could you chase? Check out our top picks here.
Did you collect in the 90s? You might have some value in those old folders, read more here.
Getting back into the hobby? Learn about group breaks here.