As you would guess, the most valuable Lebron James cards are incredibly expensive. Why? The fact that LeBron James is one of the best players ever to play in the NBA might have something to do with it. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly hasn’t been paying attention over the past 2 decades.
The current LA Lakers star player has just won his 4th NBA Championship and was once again named the Finals MVP. This marked the 4th time the small forward has been awarded the honor which made him the first player achieve this feat with 3 different teams.
Additionally, James is one of just 5 players in history to be named NBA MVP 4 times. And don’t get us started on his All-Star resume. He’s only played in 16 consecutive, going all the way back to 2005 (for what it’s worth he’s also pulled down 3 MVPs from that game too). Point is, Lebron is good at playing basketball. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s take a look at some of King James’ most valuable basketball cards!
If you’d rather invest in up and coming talent….
Say hello to these Rui Hachimura cards from National Treasures!
Most Valuable LeBron James Cards: Our Favorites
Unsurprisingly the most valuable LeBron James cards are mostly made up of rookie editions. However, we’ve included a couple of non-rookies for good measure. Let’s get started!
2003-04 Exquisite Collection Gold Rookie Patch Autograph #78
We already talked about this one in our most valuable basketball cards 2000s list, but you can’t have a list exclusive to Lebron James without mentioning THE KING of all his cards. After all, it’s the 2nd most expensive modern basketball card of all time. This gem features a framed picture of James at the top, with a patch in the middle and an on-card signature at the bottom. The writing for this parallel is in gold, which is really accentuated by the clean, crisp background.
There were just 23 of these cards produced and in June 2020 a gem mint 9.5 sold hauled in $1.8 million for its owner. How about that for a day’s work?
Not many people have a cool $1.8 million lying around, so perhaps the base version is more suitable. It is identical except the writing is in black while the print run was 99. Price? Only a very reasonable $150,000.
2003 Ultimate Collection Autograph #127 (Buy on eBay)
The simplicity of this card really works. Just James dribbling the ball accented by a crayon-like diagonal red strip from corner to corner.
The card is numbered to 250 so it is fairly rare. In gem mint 10 condition the card is valued at over $90,000, while a mint 9 is valued at around $40,000. Can’t swing it? There’s more!
2003 Topps Chrome Refractor #111 (Find it on eBay)
Always a popular rookie card and the LeBron James version is no different. It features an action-packed photo of James going up for a jump shot in front of a ruckus arena in Cleveland. Oh, and you’ll also notice the card does not include James’ signature (the only on this list).
The base version was fairly common so there are plenty out there, making for a low-cost (comparatively speaking) investment. Meanwhile, the Refractor can cost you over
$100,000 depending on the grade. Point us to the location of the base versions, please.
2003 SP Authentic Autograph #148 (Buy similar eBay)
Another great looking card, this one featuring James about to slam it home. Down the middle of the card, you will see some of brownish-red beam behind LeBron. Additionally, there’s an autograph at the bottom that looks pretty sharp when combined with the rest of the card’s features.
In addition to the card shown above, there’s also a horizontal version with a light silver background. The one above is far more valuable and can exceed $50,000 in mint condition. However, the horizontal is nothing to laugh at as shown by a recent sale on eBay for over $17,000 for a 9.5 BGS.
2006 Exquisite Collection LeBron James (Look for one on eBay)
Upper Deck made this one right when LeBron was beginning to take control of the league. And as you can expect from an NBA card made by Upper Deck in this era, it’s valuable. A PSA 10 recently hauled in more than $20,000 at auction.
2019-20 Panini National Treasures Colossal (Buy similar on eBay)
And what about a card that features the old man version of Lebron James in his Lakers jersey. National Treasures only made one of this particular parallel so there’s plenty of value here regardless of it being like his 17th season. Plus it celebrates his first with the Lakers!
Most Valuable LeBron James Cards: Honorable Mentions
LeBron James Bazooka Rookie Card (Buy on eBay)
Yes, but despite what many people think, these don’t qualify as some of the most valuable LeBron James cards. We’re not sure why they’re no though. Who can resist a photo of LeBron with Joe and the crew? Those guys look ready to fend off the neighbor court from any and all challengers. And with King James on their side, why wouldn’t they. In addition to the one shown above, you can find a couple of action photos and even a comic strip style card (our personal favorite). LeBron James Bazooka cards can be worth a few thousand in mint condition but nowhere near the others on this list. Sigh.
LeBron James Matrix Rookie Card
Another card that seems undervalued to us. James, D-Wade, and Carmello on the same card? Yes PLEASE. Like the Bazooka Joe card, this 2003 card from Topps will sell for a few thousand when in mint condition but nothing too crazy. Perfect for someone wanting a taste of the LeBron card market at a decent price.
Think LeBron would have had another title by now if he spent a couple of seasons with the worm? Check out these Dennis Rodman rookie cards!
Most Valuable LeBron James Cards: Investment Strategy
Short (1 year or less)
Many people who are supposedly “in the know” believe LeBron and Co. will repeat in 2021. Safe to say there’s a great chance you’ll be making a hefty profit if that happens. And if you don’t want to press your luck, just go ahead and list it once they inevitably win a playoff round or two! 9.5/10
Medium (1 to 5 years)
Even if James doesn’t repeat, it’s hard to believe he’ll end up with only 4 titles. One more and he’s tied with fellow Laker legend Majic Johnson. Two more and he’s ties Jordan. And what if he wins 3 more and passes MJ? You’re going to be one happy investor. 10/10
Long (5 years plus)
We all know what James means to the game of basketball. So as long as the overall market is healthy, so to will be your investment in a Lebron James card. Heck, your investment could very well be okay no matter what the overall market does. Only a true legend can bring that kind of stability. If we could rate it 11/10 we would. But that just ain’t our style. 10/10