Over the past few years, sports cards, especially basketball cards, have soared in value. Collectors are now spending tens of thousands and even millions of dollars to get their hands on some of the most sought after basketball cards. The most valuable basketball cards contains some of the most iconic basketball players such as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant. All of the cards on this list were sold throughout the previous two years. Every few months a new record is set, thus the most expensive basketball card may soon change once again.
10. Stephen Curry Autographed Panini National Treasures Rookie Card
Price Paid: $960,000
Date of Sale: January 30, 2021
Grade of Card: BGS GM-MT 9.5/10
This Stephen Curry Autographed Panini National Treasures Rookie card is presently the second most valued Stephen Curry card. Early in 2021, it was sold for $960,000. Later in the year, a separate Stephen Curry card became the second most expensive sports card in history when it was acquired for over $6 million!
The National Treasures Rookie card is one of five copies of this exact card manufactured for Stephen Curry; this one is No. 3. It is in excellent condition and was graded GEM MINT 9.5 by BGS.
9. Anthony Davis Autographed Panini National Treasures
Price Paid: $1.045 Million
Date of Sale: January 30, 2021
Grade of Card: BGS MT 9/10
In early 2021, an Autographed Anthony Davis 2012-13 Panini National Treasures card sold for $1.045 million at auction. This is currently the most expensive Anthony Davis card ever. The sale of the card was facilitated by Goldin Auctions and it had a starting bid of $150,000. Twenty-six bids took the card to its final price.
The Anthony Davis Panini National Treasures card is in excellent condition and was graded BGS MT 9/10. Like nearly all of the other expensive basketball cards on this list, this card is the only existing copy of this particular card.
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo Panini Prizm #290
Price Paid: $1.16 Million
Date of Sale: December 12, 2020
Grade of Card: BGS GM-MT 9.5
The Giannis Antetokounmpo Panini Prizm #290 “Black Mosaic” is the second Antetokounmpo card on this list that is worth more than $1 million. The card sold at the end of 2020 for over $1.16 million through the Goldin Auctions’ 2020 Holiday Auction. Like Antetokounmpo’s other card on this list, the Black Mosaic card is one-of-a-kind.
This card was graded GEM MINT 9.5 by BGS. The card’s impressive BGS condition report: Centering: 9.5, Corners 10, Edges 10, Surface 9.5. Gem Mint condition.\
7. One-Of-A-Kind LeBron James Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures
Price Paid: $1,291,500
Date of Sale: March 6, 2021
Grade of Card: PSA Authentic / Auto 10
A unique 2003–04 LeBron James Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures card sold for $1,291,500 at the beginning of March 2021. According to Goldin Auctions, who handled the auction, this was the most expensive LeBron James card to be sold since 2004. The top card on this list, which is worth nearly five times as much as this Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures card, is actually James’ most valuable card.
This PSA 10 graded LeBron James Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures card is in excellent condition. It highlights James during his second NBA campaign, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
6. Michael Jordan Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph
Price Paid: $1.44 Million
Date of Sale: February 4, 2021
Grade of Card: PSA NM 7 / Auto 8
The legendary Michael Jordan only ranks fifth on this list, which is surprising. An autographed Michael Jordan Upper Deck Game Jersey card sold for $1.44 million at the beginning of 2021. Jordan’s jersey from the 1992 NBA All-Star Game is shown on the card, which was first made available in 1997. Of the 23 total cards printed, this one was card No. 8.
The card’s sale was made possible by Heritage Auctions, which claims that 69 registered phone bidders participated in the auction. The winning bidder’s identity is kept secret. This was the first Heritage Auction occasion devoted only to the auction of contemporary cards.
5. Kobe Bryant Topps #138 Rookie Card
Price Paid: $1,795,800
Date of Sale: March 6, 2021
Grade of Card: BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10
Not only is the Kobe Bryant Topps #138 Rookie Card valuable, but it is also incredibly uncommon, fetching a staggering $1,795,800 at auction in early 2021. The card is one of just two in the whole globe to be given the BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10 rating. The Kobe Bryant rookie card earned the prestigious Black Label grade thanks to perfect 10 ratings in every category.
Kobe Bryant’s cards saw a 600% increase in value after his passing in early 2020. The most expensive Kobe Bryant card ever is now this Black Label rookie card. The buyer’s name is kept secret.
4. One-Of-A-Kind Giannis Antetokounmpo Autographed Panini National Treasures
Price Paid: $1,857,300
Date of Sale: September 20, 2020
Grade of Card: BGS MT 9
A unique Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013–14 Autographed Panini National Treasures card sold for more over $1.8 million in September 2020. The costly Giannis Antetokounmpo card made a record for being the most expensive basketball card at the time of the sale, much as the other cards on this list. The card is now the third most expensive basketball card ever sold as of the time of this writing.
Since Antetokounmpo’s rookie season, the value of his rookie cards has risen. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 2013–14 Panini National Treasures Logoman Autograph is graded by BGS as Mint 9 with a 10 for the signature.
3. One-Of-A-Kind Luka Dončić Autographed Panini National Treasures
Price Paid: $4.6 Million
Date of Sale: February 28, 2021
Grade of Card: Ungraded
On February 28, 2021, on Luka Doncic’s 22nd birthday, it was announced that his Panini National Treasures rookie card signed for the 2018-19 season had sold for $4.6 million. At the time, it was the most expensive basketball card ever sold until the record was broken by LeBron James’ rookie card a few months later. Doncic’s cards are unique and were originally purchased by collector Borillo Rajan Sang. Sun sold the card for a record $4.6 million to high-end collector Nick Fiorella.
According to basketball card collectors, the 2018-19 Panini National Treasures card is one of the rarest and most difficult to find basketball cards out there. 10 cards per pack, no longer available at retail price. On the secondary market, a pack can sell for $4,500 or more.
2. LeBron James Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Card #78
Price Paid: $5.2 Million
Date of Sale: April 26, 2021
Grade of Card: BGS MT 9
In April 2021, the 2003-04 LeBron James Upper Deck Exit Collection Rookie Card #78 was sold to an anonymous buyer for $5.2 million. At the time, the card was the second most valuable sports card of all time, alongside his 1952 Tops His Mickey Mantle. LeBron His Upper His Deck Cards and Mickey Mantle Cards are now the 3rd most valuable sports cards of all time. LeBron James’ prized rookie card is near mint condition, with a Beckett Grading Service rating of 9 and card condition of 10, near perfect.
All in all, the cards in the exquisite collection of upper decks are pretty rare. Only produced for a few years and priced at $500 per pack. As a result, the cards in the collection, especially all the LeBron James Exquisite cards, rarely come up for sale. This is one of the reasons why this card has become so valuable in recent years.
1. Stephen Curry Autographed National Treasures Logoman Rookie Card
Price Paid: $5.9 Million
Date of Sale: July 6, 2021
Grade of Card: PSA NM-MT 8
On July 6, 2021, the 2009-10 Stephen Curry-signed National Treasures Logoman Rookie card sold for $5.9 million, making it the most expensive basketball card ever sold. . This rare card (there is only one) is now the second most valuable sports card after the $6.6 million Honus Wagner baseball card.
Mutual funds run by alternative asset platform Alto acquired a 51% stake in Card in a deal worth $5.9 million. Interestingly, Curry’s autograph is rated at Gemmint 10, the highest grade his PSA gives, while this card only has a PSA rating of 8.