‘Holy Grail’ LeBron James card expected to top US$6 million at auction

Auctioneers are expecting a one-of-a-kind LeBron James trading card to fetch more than US$6 million (S$8.3 million) when it goes up for sale this week.

The “Triple Logoman” card, a single-issue card featuring the 18-time NBA All-Star, includes patches taken from jerseys James wore while with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.

Issued by Panini as part of its 2020-21 “Flawless” collection, the card set off a frenzied hunt among collectors including Canadian rapper Drake, who bought 10 cases of the pricey basketball cards in a failed attempt to locate it.

“The best comparison that I can use for the modern reader is imagine Willy Wonka (and) the Chocolate Factory, looking for that gold ticket,” Ken Goldin, executive chairman of auctioneers Goldin, told Reuters.

“And then imagine there was only one golden ticket instead of five.”

The card was discovered after a year-long hunt among collectors during a live social media event.

The “Triple Logoman” card, a single-issue card featuring the 18-time NBA All-Star LeBron James, including patches taken from jerseys he wore while with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, is seen in this undated handout photo provided by auctioneers Goldin. Goldin/Handout via REUTERS

Goldin called it the “Holy Grail” of sport collectibles and believes it could challenge the record for the most expensive sports trading card, topping the US$6.6 million paid for the Honus Wagner T-206 baseball card in August.

James, a four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) MVP, already holds a coveted place in the hearts of collectors.

An “ultra-rare” signed rookie card for the four-time NBA champion broke the record for most expensive basketball card ever sold last year, fetching US$5.2 million.

It was the second-highest amount paid for any sports trading card, tying the amount paid for a 1952 rookie card for baseball great Mickey Mantle.

The auction for the “Triple Logoman” card opens on Wednesday (Jun 8) and closes on Jun 25.

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