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The 10 Most Expensive Basketball Cards Ever Sold

Michael Jordan

Do you like trading cards, specifically those related to basketball? If you do, you might be wondering how much you could potentially make if you have a few basketball trading cards lying around.

It's important to note that the overwhelming majority of trading cards probably won't make you a millionaire, but if you have the right one and it's in good condition, it is possible.

If you're not convinced of that fact, consider the list below. It includes the 10 most expensive basketball trading cards that have ever been sold. Chances are, you'll be surprised.

10. Stephen Curry Autographed Panini National Treasures Rookie card PSA 9.5 ($960,000)

It was the 30th of January, 2021 when this card was sold for a great deal of money. Surprisingly, this is not the most expensive Stephen Curry card out there, but more of that can be discussed later on.

What makes this particular card so valuable? Other than the fact that it depicts one of the most popular and successful players in the history of basketball, it all comes down to the fact that it is extremely rare.

There are only five of them that were ever produced. Just in case you're curious, this one is the third example in this particularly short-lived series. Clearly, the fact that it's autographed also makes it worth significantly more money.

9. Anthony Davis Autographed Panini National Treasures PSA 10 ($1.045 Million)

This example was sold by Goldin Auctions and it had an astonishingly high starting bid of $150,000. It's a card that is highly sought-after, with 26 individuals competing with each other in order to see who would finally get the winning bid.

Eventually, it sold for more than $1 million and officially became the most expensive card featuring Anthony Davis ever sold.

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo Panini Prizm #290 PSA 9.5 ($1.16 Million)

Goldin Auctions also handled this one. It is one of two cards featuring the same player that has sold for more than $1 million. What makes this particular example so special?

There is literally no other trading card like it. It was designed to be a one-of-a-kind example and it is in extremely good condition. When you factor those two things together along with the player's popularity, the card becomes extremely valuable, as evidenced by its selling price.

7. LeBron James Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures PSA 10 ($1,291,500)

This particular example was also sold by Goldin Auctions. It's interesting because it is without doubt the most valuable LeBron James trading card sold in the last few years.

Specifically, there hasn't been a card featuring this particular player worth this much money since prior to 2004. However, there was a card produced before that date that proved to be more valuable.

The thing that really made this particular card worth so much money is the fact that it was the only one of its type ever produced. It was also signed, meaning that it was of extremely high value early on.

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo Autographed Panini National Treasures PSA 9 ($1,857,300)

Here is another example of an extremely rare trading card which brought in a significant amount of money at auction. As a matter of fact, it proved to be the most expensive basketball card ever sold at the time that the auction actually occurred in September of 2020.

5. Beckett Precious Metal Gems Emerald #81 Kobe Bryant PSA 8.5 ($2 Million)

One of the truly special things about this particular example is the fact that it’s extremely rare. Even though it was only graded an 8.5 out of 10, it’s still worth a great deal because there are only a few of them in existence. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant's death also caused the card to increase In value by approximately 600%.

4. Michael Jordan Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph PSA 8 ($2.7 Million)

There are a lot of firsts here. For starters, the auction was handled by Heritage Auctions and it marked the first time that they ever had an auction that was dedicated exclusively to trading cards.

According to the auction house, there were 69 bidders, all of them by telephone. The person who actually won the auction chose to remain anonymous, so the general public still has no idea who actually purchased this card.

In addition, the card is autographed, plus it features a piece of the jersey that Jordan wore during The NBA All-Star Game that was held In 1992.

3. Luka Doncic Panini National Treasures, Ungraded ($4.6 Million)

Not surprisingly, this was the most expensive basketball trading card ever sold at the time that the sale went through (although that is no longer the case).

It's almost unheard of that an ungraded card could sell for this much money. There are a number of factors that were at play here. First and foremost, it's an extremely rare example and that makes it worth a lot of money, even if it isn't graded. Second, it was sold as part of a private collection.

That tends to drive the price up considerably, just as it did here.

2. LeBron James Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie card #78 PSA 9 ($5.2 Million)

It was sold to a private collector in April of last year. As proof that the world of trading cards is one that moves quite quickly, it's already been overtaken by the card that sits in the number one spot on this list.

1. Stephen Curry National Treasures Logoman Rookie card PSA 8 ($5.9 Million)

This particular card is currently the most expensive example of its type ever sold. It's worth noting that it is also the second most valuable sports card ever sold, second only to one baseball card that has managed to sell for more.

In this particular case, it all comes down to the autograph. Otherwise, it would have had little chance of selling for so much money.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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