Honus Wagner was upstaged early Sunday morning by LeBron James, as a card of the Cleveland Cavaliers star sold for $312,000.
The famous 1910 T-206 Wagner card once again established itself as the most valuable card in the world, as it was sold for a record $3.12 million by Goldin Auctions.
But it was the price paid for a James card that even went beyond the expectations of Goldin Auctions president Ken Goldin.
“This shows the worldwide appeal of basketball, of basketball cards, and of LeBron James,” Goldin said. “My office is going to be buried in emails and phone calls for the next two weeks with people wanting me to sell their LeBron card.”
An unknown bidder paid an immense sum for a 2003-04 card that was signed by James and contained the NBA logo taken off James’ jersey from a rookie year photo shoot.
At that price, the James card smashes the record for the highest price paid for a single signed card, easily beating a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth autographed card, which sold for $50,787.
It’s the third-highest price paid for a basketball card, surpassed only by a 1969 Lew Alcindor Topps rookie, which sold for $501,900, and a 1948 George Mikan rookie, which sold for $403,664.
The highest price previously paid for any James item was the $95,000 venture capitalist Bill Lee paid for a 2003-04 card of James’ from Upper Deck’s Exquisite Collection, which retailed for $500 a pack.
The card that sold Sunday morning was pulled from Upper Deck’s Ultimate Collection set, which were sold for $125 a pack with only four cards in a pack.
The card was sold to a basketball card collector only two months ago for an undisclosed sum. That collector told ESPN.com that he was motivated to buy the card after James won the NBA title. He said Goldin convinced him that he could immediately flip it for a much higher price.
The previous record for the Wagner card was $2.8 million.