Goldin Auctions’ inaugural Great American Trading Card rewrote the record books this week.
The sale achieved a remarkable 20 new world records, on its way to a final total of $6.7 million, with 12 cards sold for more than $100,000, eight for over $200,000, and five cards topping $300,000.
Leading the auction was the $3.12 million record sale of the 1909-11 T206 White Border Honus Wagner card, which became the first trading card in history to break the $3 million mark.
One of the sale’s most surprising results came with lot #50 – a one-of-a-kind LeBron James rookie card from his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The card was a unique 2003-04 Upper Deck 1/1 Ultimate Logos card, featuring James’ autograph and an original NBA patch from his jersey. As the only example in existence, the card was described by auctioneer Ken Goldin as "the Holy Grail of modern trading cards" and valued at up to $200,000.
However, strong bidding pushed the final price up to $312,000, setting new records as the most expensive autographed card and post-1980 card ever sold.
The second-highest price of the sale was achieved by a 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie Card, graded PSA MINT, which sold for $477,750 – a record for the card in any grade.
Further notable prices included a unique 1949 Bowman #226 Duke Snider Rookie card graded PSA GEM MT 10, which sold for $228,000, a record for any card in the 1949 Bowman set; and a 1933 Goudey #106 Napoleon Lajoie PSA MINT 9 card which fetched $228,000, the highest price ever paid for a card featuring ‘The Frenchman’.
There were also grade records set by cards such as 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card PSA NM +7.5 which sold for $300,000; a 1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card PSA NM-MT 8 which realized $214,000; and a 1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie card PSA MN-MT 8 which sold for $91,000.
"The demand for rare, high-grade vintage cards has exploded so we were confident that there would be some eye-popping results and new record prices established," said Goldin.
"Every time one of these rare collectibles is offered for auction, serious collectors realize that it may be the last time for a long time. The booming market for high-grade rare trading cards, coupled with the limited supply, created the perfect storm for these remarkable prices."