Not every trading card is on an upward path these days, but there’s still plenty of money in the sports memorabilia market.
Goldin Auctions has tallied up the numbers in its May Elite Auction—a $50 million record-setter that saw about 2,600 items close over two days. That number topped the $45 million from its last major event in March and is 50 percent higher than the company’s last Elite auction, which ended January 31.
Late Saturday night, a T206 Honus Wagner ($3.7 million) and a 1997 Michael Jordan autographed Game Jerseys card ($2.1 million) paced the trading card listings while the earliest known game-worn Kobe Bryant jersey generated a bidding war that lasted into early Sunday morning. On Monday, Goldin revealed that the winning bidder for the $3.69 million jersey was Bob Duggan, a self-made multi-billionaire who is Chairman of the Board of Genius, Inc., Pulse Biosciences and Summit Therapeutics.
The jersey was part of a special Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame Announcement Auction, which included hundreds of additional items related to the 18-time NBA All-Star and totaled more than $10 million in sales. The 1996-97 jersey became the most expensive basketball jersey and the most valuable piece of Bryant memorabilia ever sold. Duggan, a West coast resident, was an avid fan of the former Lakers star.
“Bidding alongside me was my son, Shaun Zanganeh and his mom and my partner, Maky Zanganeh. Each of us have long admired the genius of Kobe Bryant; feet on the ground, head in the sky, big dreams, determination to win, being the dynamic best he could be, durable, persistent, and with the intention to set an amazing example for his fellow human beings. Each of us treasure our spiritual connection and celebrate our small role in establishing this all-time high valuation record alongside Kobe.”
“What a stunning tribute to Kobe, one of the greatest players of all time and a truly amazing human being,” said Goldin Auctions Executive Chairman and Founder Ken Goldin. “We were honored to handle the sale of so many incredible Kobe items — each its own slice of history and with its own unique memories.”
Goldin says sales from his company’s 2021 auctions have now surpassed $200 million including the company’s 23 percent buyer’s premiums. He noted that recent auctions have continued to generate increased participation from newcomers to the sports collectibles market “both from the U.S. and around the world.”