Ultra-Rare LeBron James Rookie Card Expected to Sell for More Than $1 Million

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A rare autographed rookie card of former Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James will be auctioned on June 22, with the price expected to top $1 million.

Only 23 James cards were produced for the 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite set, the amount being a nod to the number that the superstar wore during his two stints with the Cavaliers.

In addition to the card being such a rare commodity, it’s also been rated as a “gem mint” card, which means that it’s considered virtually new.

Another item that’s included with the card is a small patch from a jersey that James wore during that first season, when he was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

Goldin Auctions will be handling the event and is projecting that the final amount will surpass $1 million. The company’s previous high for a rookie card was for a rookie card of baseball’s Mike Trout.

“The basketball card market is on fire,” owner Ken Goldin told TMZ. “We expect this will surpass the record recently sent by the $922,500 Mike Trout card to become the most valuable basketball and most valuable modern card of all time.”

Another key difference between the two cards, along with the greater popularity of basketball cards, is the fact that James has three championships to his credit, and Trout has none. One of those championships for James was won in 2016, a title that will always remain deep in the hearts of Cavs fans.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.