Hobby Musings: LeBron Rookie Garners Mainstream Press – It’s not often that a modern card generates a premium amount of attention and a six-figure estimate. However, the 2003-04 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection LeBron James “Ultimate Logos” autographed Logoman rookie card is not your typical modern card. Numbered 1/1 and graded at PSA Mint 9, the card is included as part of Goldin Auctions’ upcoming Great American Trading Card Auction.
According to Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin, the card had one owner for over ten years. When asked why the card came up for auction now, Goldin replied the current consignor, “Purchased it as an investment and viewed my auction as the perfect vehicle for sale.” Asked how he reacted when the card first came to him, Goldin responded, “I thought it would be a great fit into the Great American Trading Card Auction because I wanted to ensure we had a broad spectrum from the turn of the century to the present of top cards, and this is the top modern card.”
Media interest in the card has been strong so far, in large part centered on the card’s $200,000 pre-auction estimate. When asked how he came up with the estimate figure, Goldin explained, “The card has already traded hands above $100,000 and with serious collectors from all over the world participating in our auction, we expect competitive bidding.” Despite it being such a premium card, Goldin admitted the large amount of media attention for this item has been surprising. Saying the media tends to be enamored more with premium vintage cards, he thinks the uniqueness and rarity of the card is what has helped to fuel such strong interest.
Rarity also comes into play given LeBron’s fairly unique autograph situation in the hobby. With Panini holding the rights to the NBA trading card license and Upper Deck holding the rights to Lebron’s autograph, it has been a while since there have been any NBA-licensed signatures of James. As such, he has fewer NBA-licensed signatures than most other NBA players. Summing it up, Goldin said, “Rarity always is a factor and the fact that there are a limited number of autographed LeBron James official NBA trading cards certainly adds to the mystique and rarity of this card.”
Beyond the present, the auction of this card will bear watching for the domino effect it could have on future sales for other high-end contemporary cards. Premium graded vintage cards are typically what generate the most bidding and dollars, but Goldin said he has seen strong sales for cards of other contemporary athletes, including Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Kobe Bryant. A big sale for the LeBron could help to further the market for high-end contemporary card dollars. As Goldin put it, “A rising tide lifts all boats. I think everyone will be thinking they have gold in all their LeBron cards.”
For more information on the card, be sure to check out the auction listing.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Hobby Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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