The 10 Most Expensive Sports Trading Card Sales of All Time
Getty Images. Pictured: Bucs QB Tom Brady
Most Expensive Sports Trading Card Sales to Date
|1. Mickey Mantle||1952 Topps||$5.2 Million|
|2. Luka Doncic*||1:1 Logoman Autographed||$4.6 Million|
|3. Mike Trout||2009 Superfractor Autograph||$3.9 Million|
|4. Honus Wagner||T206 PSA 5||$3.1 Million|
|5. Mickey Mantle||1952 Topps||$2.8 Million|
|6. Honus Wagner||T206 PSA 8||$2.8 Million|
|7. Honus Wagner||T206 ‘Garagiola Wagner’||$2.5 Million|
|8. Tom Brady||2000 Playoff Contender Autograph||$2.25M|
|9. Giannis Antetokounmpo||13-14 Logoman Patch Autograph||$1.8 Million|
|10. LeBron James||03-04 Rookie Patch Autograph||$1.8 Million|
*denotes a private sale
The first NFL player has made the list, and of course it’s Tom Brady.
Brady’s 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Autograph, graded a NM-MT+ 8.5, sold for over $2.25 million in an auction on Lelands early Saturday morning. The opening bid was $75,000 and there were 67 total bids on the card.
Brady’s addition to our top-10 list drops Kobe Bryant’s 1996-97 Topps Chrome off the board, which sold for $1.79 million.
March 6, 2021 Update
A Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractor jumped Michael Jordan as the 10th-highest publicly known trading card sale of all time late Saturday, March 6.
The Bryant card sold for $1.79 million at Goldin Auctions, jumping Jordan’s $1.4 million 1997 autographed jersey card for No. 10 on our all-time list.
If Bryant’s card didn’t jump Jordan, another card did anyway. A LeBron James 2003-04 Rookie Patch autographed card also sold at Goldin Auctions for $1.5 million. A LeBron card currently holds the No. 9 slot on the chart above.
Feb. 28, 2021 Update
No matter how much things change or what new collectibles pop up, sometimes there’s no replacing that original sports trading card.
Trading card sales have been popular since Honus Wagner’s T206 became the first card to sell for $1 million in 2000. While that card has become the face of expensive sports cards, it’s actually not the biggest sale of all time.
That honor belongs to a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, which holds two spots among the top-10 sales of all time. It was first sold for $2.8 million in April of 2018. It then became the largest known sale of all time in January of 2021 when Rob Gough purchased it for $5.2 million.
On February 28, 2021, a Luka Doncic card became the second-highest sale ever known. Collector Nick Fiorello purchased a 1-of-1 autographed Doncic Logoman card for $4.6 million.
JUST IN: Collector Nick Fiorello has purchased this Luka Doncic 1/1 for $4.6 million. pic.twitter.com/BziiWTrdfC
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 28, 2021
That topped Mike Trout’s 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor autographed card selling for $3.9 million in August of 2020.
Wagner’s infamous card ranked No. 4 on the list at $3.1 million. It’s one of three Wagner T206 cards on the top-10 list. The ‘Gretzky Wagner’ was purchased in a private sale by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick for $2.8 million in 2007, although he wasn’t revealed as the buyer until 2011.
The final Wagner on the list was sold on Feb. 27, 2021 for $2.5 million on Heritage Auctions. This Wagner is known as the ‘Garigiola Wagner’, as it was owned by former D-backs general manager Joe Garigiola.
A trio of NBA players round out the top 10, starting with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Logoman that sold for $1.8 million. LeBron James’ rookie patch autographed card also sold for $1.8 million.
On Feb. 4, 2021, a Michael Jordan 1997 game-used jersey autographed card sold for $1.44 million.
Just missing the list is Wayne Gretzky’s 1979 O-Pee-Chee card which sold for $1.3 million. Currently, a 1996-97 Kobe Bryant Topps card is up for auction with a top bid over $1.2 million.
While some cards are sold privately and not known to the public, this list is what’s publicly known.