He arrived in the midst of an explosion of autographed jersey cards and multiple manufacturers but when you consider the hottest LeBron James rookie cards at present–it’s sometimes more fun to actually dig beyond that 2003-04 debut season. When it comes to LeBron, it’s not always the first year cards that are the most popular with collectors.
Some prefer the dual-signed cards with James and Jordan. Others like the low print runs of other relic cards. James’ debut coincided with Upper Deck Exquisite, a brand that created a whole new tier of cards, the likes of which had never really been seen before. They were limited enough to push prices well out of sight for many.
Demand for James cards remains high. It’s a good time to check the pulse of what collectors and investors are watching on eBay. Sellers hoping to take advantage of the annual attention LeBron gets in the post-season are likely to do well. However, there’s a danger in selling too low as the next few years play out and LeBron chases even more hardware. He may re-write the NBA record book if his body holds up. Six, seven, eight more years of playing at a high level is not out of the question and more championships are also possible. Iconic players are almost always the best sports card investments and LeBron certainly fits that category.
Luckily for those with limited budgets, there is no shortage of LeBron’s rookie cards and if you simply want a few from any portion of his career, there are plenty of low priced options. Beckett’s database shows over 6,000 different cards created so far.
Still, the action is on the higher end. It’s common for autographed rookie cards numbered to less than 100 to sell for well into five figures. The same is true for certain 1/1 autographs. Those with 9.5 or 10 grades consistently draw big bucks. Like vintage baseball card collectors and Mickey Mantle, the demand for James cards keeps prices strong. Those who invested early have seen the value of their LeBron James rookie cards grow pretty nicely.
Of course, his autographs, photos and other memorabilia are also strong sellers.
With that in mind, here’s a real-time list of the hottest LeBron James rookie cards right now on eBay.