The 82 Most Expensive Trading Cards Ever Sold

You won't believe how much some of the world's rarest sports cards are worth!

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

These past couple of years have been like nothing else for the most valuable trading cards in the hobby. What mainstream society used to think of as a fun little hobby for children has become big business, with record breaking sales publicized by top media outlets becoming almost a weekly occurrence. There are 40 cards on the below list of the 82 most expensive trading cards ever sold transacting for over a million dollars. Amazingly, there are even some baseball cards from the 1990's doing big numbers at auction houses.

People who grew up in the 80's and 90's–who collected as children–remember the last time that sports cards were this hot, but the game has changed. Back then, it was mainly Topps baseball cards that collectors were after. Nowadays, basketball is near top of almost everybody's list, with Panini currently owning that license. However, Fanatics is set to take that license over and recently acquired Topps along with their baseball license.

Related: The 20 Most Valuable Baseball Cards of the 1980s

It isn't just basketball that floods our list of most expensive trading cards, with baseball remaining a major player as well as other sports such as football and even soccer making major moves.

Non-sports cards have also been attracting a lot of attention, with Pokemon and Magic the Gathering creating quite a buzz amongst collectors, and even rare cards of celebrities and major media franchises such as Star Wars, Batman and Marvel Comics cards also bringing in big money.

Gone are the days of the simple, mass produced base cards of the "junk wax era", as the new chase in the hobby includes trying to acquire rare cards with low serial numbers, autographs and patches of jerseys that players may have worn during a game.

Further, the most expensive cards come graded by an authentication service, giving a score based on the condition of the card from 1-10. The leading authentication service PSA was so inundated with submissions that they were forced froze the hobby's ability to submit cards for almost an entire year due to an incredible backlog of more than ten million cards that they simply could not catch up on. They have since worked their way through that backlog and have re-opened submissions.

This influx of money and increased interest has created fierce competition for the rarest and highest graded cards at places such as eBay, Goldin Auctions and Heritage Auctions, and the results can be seen below.

This list of the 82 most expensive trading cards ever sold shows just how hot this market has been, as people continue to invest in alternative assets like these.

* This list only includes the highest sale price of any particular card so that no card is on the list twice.

The 10 Most Expensive Trading Card Sales of All Time

  1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 – $12,600,000
  2. Honus Wagner 1909 Sweet Caporal T-206 SGC 2 – $7,250,000
  3. Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore News Rookie SGC 3 – $7,200,000
  4. Pikachu 1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Holo Illustrator PSA 10 – $5,275,000
  5. LeBron James 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Gold /23 RPA BGS 9 – $5,200,000
  6. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 9 – $5,200,000
  7. Luka Doncic 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Logoman 1/1 $4,600,000
  8. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini National Treasures 1/1 RPA BGS 8.5 – $4,300,000
  9. Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey PSA 9 – $4,200,000
  10. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Auto BGS 9/10 – $3,900,000

1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 – $12,600,000

mantle 52 topps sgc 95
Heritage Auctions

• Sold on: Heritage Auctions (8/28/22) 

Pictured above is the first trading card to sell for eight figures. Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps rookie card has cemented itself as a pivotal piece of Americana.  While dozens of these ‘52 Mantles trade throughout the year, none have ever sold that were graded above a 9.  That was until August 28th, when this SGC 9.5 copy sold at Heritage Auctions.

With any high-end collectible piece, there always seems to be an incredible story that accompanies it.  This card is no exception.  In 1986, Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen received a call that put him in contact with Ted Lodge, a truck driver from Massachusetts.  After a visit to Lodge’s home, Rosen found sealed boxes and untouched cards from the now legendary ‘52 set.  He paid Lodge $125,000 in cash for a lot that contained over 5,500 cards and dozens of #311 Mantles.

One of those mint-condition Mantles was purchased in 1991 for a mere $50,000 by a man named Anthony Giordano.  Recently, it was slabbed up by SGC and hit the auction block in late July.  This is undoubtedly one of the best copies of the hobby’s most iconic card, and it will remain atop the leaderboard for quite some time.

2. Honus Wagner 1909 Sweet Caporal T-206 SGC 2 – $7,250,000

honus t206 sgc2
Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions Private Sale (8/4/22) 

Before the massive Mantle 9.5, Goldin Auctions facilitated a private sale of one of the hobby’s most iconic cards.  The T-206 Honus Wagner is a mythical piece of American folklore at this point.  People who have never bought a trading card in their life can recognize this card and recognize its value.  

Interestingly enough, higher grades of this card have closed for less than the recent $7.25 million sale.  An SGC 3 copy reached a price of $6.6 million last year, but it would now likely bring around $10 million if it went up at an auction house today.  

3. Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore News Rookie SGC 3 – $7,200,000

1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth Rookie SGC VG 3
Robert Edward Auction

• Sold on: Robert Edward Auctions (12/3/2023) 

Few players transcend sports quite like Babe Ruth. With his mythical statistics and feats, the Great Bambino reads like a folk hero in the present day. Nevertheless, he was quite real, beginning his career in Boston as a pitcher. The extremely rare 1914 Baltimore News RC shown above depicts Ruth in the field, and it is graded an SGC 3. It sold for an all-time high of $7.2 million in 2023. 

4. Pikachu 1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Holo Illustrator PSA 10 – $5,275,000

1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Illustrator Holo PSA 10
Guinness World Records

• Sold on: Private Sale (7/22/21) 

Much like the Black Lotus of Magic: The Gathering, the Pikachu Illustrator is one of the most mythical and treasured cards in the TCG world. And with this being the PSA 10 copy in existence (and in the possession of Logan Paul), it’s unlikely that we will see anything top this soon. 

T-5. LeBron James 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Gold /23 RPA BGS 9 – $5,200,000

lebron exquisite bgs9

• Sold on: PWCC Vault (4/26/21) 

Here we have the King’s best card.  2003-04 Exquisite is perhaps the most recognizable rookie patch autograph set of all time, and it’s packed with the best cards of future hall-of-famers.  Players like LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh all have their best cards coming from this product.

This particular BGS 9 copy is serial numbered to 23 and features a 3-color patch.  It sold from the PWCC Vault in April of 2021, marking the highest price of any basketball card.

T-5. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 9 – $5,200,000


• Sold on: Private Sale (1/14/2021) 

Simply put, this is the hobby's most iconic card so we will allow it as the only card on the list mentioned twice.

This particular example was purchased by entrepreneur Rob Gough, who we had a chance to sit down and talk with shortly after the sale. The same card sold two years earlier for $2.8 million.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said via press release.

7. Luka Doncic 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Logoman 1/1 – $4,600,000

@shyne150 instagram

• Sold on: Private Sale (3/1/2021) 

NBA Logoman cards from the popular high end Panini National Treasures sets are the most sought after in the hobby. This $4.6 million dollar deal was a private sale, with collectors and business partners Nick Fiorella and Bolillo Lajan San the proud owners of this one-of-a-kind holy grail of Luka Doncic cards.

8. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini National Treasures 1/1 RPA BGS 8.5 – $4,300,000

mahomes nt shield
@ljscardshop / Instagram

Sold on: Private Sale (7/28/2021) 

Number 6 on our list is quite possibly the best ultra-modern football card in existence.  This holy grail of Patrick Mahomes cards was purchased last year by LJ’s Card Shop, an Ohio-based hobby store.  

The Kansas City gunslinger has been a top 3 quarterback in the league for nearly half a decade, and he has the accolades to prove it.  If Mahomes keeps this career trajectory up, that $4.3 million sale price may not seem that high in a few years.

9. Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey PSA 9 – $4,200,000

ruth goudey
Memory Lane Auctions

• Sold on: Memory Lane Auctions (7/10/2021

The card pictured above is the highest-graded copy of Babe Ruth’s 1933 Goudey card.  It sold last summer for $4.2 million at Memory Lane Auctions, becoming the most expensive card of the Great Bambino.

The 1933 Goudey set wasn’t printed with the standard 3” x 4” dimension we see today, so these cards have become very condition-sensitive.  To see a copy like this one retain its sharp corners and beaming colors 90 years later is astonishing, and this is one of the better baseball cards in existence.

10. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Auto BGS 9/10 – $3,900,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (8/23/2020) 

This sale, which took place on August 23, 2020, held the record for a short amount of time as the most money ever paid for a single sports card. The one-of-a-kind "Superfractor" was previously purchased in May of 2018 by controversial social media personality "Vegas Dave" Oancea for $400,000.

11. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket /100 BGS 9/10 – $3,800,000

brady contenders bgs9

Sold on: Private Sale (2/17/2022) 

The 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady will probably go down as the most iconic football card of all time.  This Championship Ticket parallel, which is limited to just 100 copies, has sold for as high as $3.8 million. Here’s what the GOAT had to say about the boom in his card market:

“It’s surreal, and it makes me want to go check all my cards that I have stored — there’s gotta be one in there somewhere!” Brady told Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan in a recent interview.

“You know, when I was coming out I tried to make some money. My agent, Steve, was like, ‘I got a trading card deal for you. Sign a thousand cards and they’re gonna pay you like 20 cents a card.’ And I was like, ‘Twenty cents a card? I’m gonna be rich!’ Unbelievable … you see these cards that are worth that kind of money. I definitely should’ve kept some of them. But whatever — I think it all worked out pretty good."

12. Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee PSA 10 – $3,750,000

gretzky opeechee

• Sold on: Private Sale (3/27/2021) 

Some might be surprised to see a hockey card so high on this list, but nobody will be surprised who that player is. There are only two examples of this card receiving a PSA 10 grade, so it comes as no shock that it was highly sought after when one of them came up for auction. The same card sold in August of 2016 for just $465,000, and with the hockey market starting to heat up, it will be very interesting to see how much it sells for the next time it hits the auction block.

There is also a Topps version of "The Great One's" rookie card that is equally rare in a PSA 10 grade (population also 2) which recently sold for $700,000, but the O-Pee-Chee is THE Gretzky card that will command the most value.

13. Mickey Mantle 1951 Bowman PSA 9 – $3,192,000

mickey mantle 1951 bowman

Many collectors and hobby purists nab this as Mantle’s “true” rookie ; after all, it is his first pack-issued card. Yet, time and time again, the ‘52 Topps garners most of the love and attention. Last December, a stunning PSA 9 copy of the ‘51 Bowman finally got the shine it deserved, selling for a record $3,192,000 during a Memory Lane auction.

14. Mickey Mantle 1953 Topps PSA 10 – $3,100,000

mickey mantle 1953 topps psa10

• Sold on: Private Sale (8/1/2021) 

In terms of iconic imagery, the 1953 Topps set ranks right up there with its predecessor. It features rookie cards of legendary ballplayers like Satchel Paige, and the portraits of each player still pop 70 years later. This second year Mantle sold for a $3,100,000 buyout price, marking the most for any 1953 Topps card.

15. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto PSA 10/10 – $2,880,000

brady contenders psa10

Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (8/22/2021) 

This Tom Brady card is very similar to #9 on the list, but it is just the regular Rookie Ticket parallel and not serial numbered.  However, the PSA 10/AUTO 10 grade this stunner received made it a big chase for Brady collectors.  Given Brady’s humble beginnings in the NFL, many of these cards were neglected and forgotten.  But this copy remained in pristine condition and sold for over $2.8 million in a 2021 PWCC Premier auction.

16. LeBron James 2020-21 Panini Flawless Triple Logoman PSA Authentic – $2,400,000

lebron triple logoman
Goldin Auctions

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (6/25/2022) 

Easily the most talked-about card of 2022, this beautiful triple logoman of LeBron was chased by avid collectors and celebrities alike.  This card from 2020-21 Panini Flawless is the first to feature a game-worn logoman patch from every team the King has played for.  It even had A-listers like Drake buying cases to get a hold of this card. 

The 1/1 grail piece ended up selling for $2.4 million at Goldin Auctions, the most for any non-autographed patch card.

17. Michael Jordan 1997-98 UD Game Jersey Autograph /23 PSA 8/9 – $2,052,000

jordan 97 ud gameworn
Goldin Auctions

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (5/22/2021) 

This card boasts an autograph as well as a large sample of the jersey that Michael Jordan wore in the iconic 1992 NBA All-Star Game.  It’s the first patch autograph of the GOAT and also the most expensive MJ card of all time.

Only 23 of these cards were ever produced, with Jordan hand-numbering all of them.  A true piece of basketball history, it last sold with Goldin Auctions in May 2021.

T-18. 2023 Magic: The Gathering / Lord of the Rings “The One Ring” 1/1 PSA 9 – $2,000,000

2023 MTG Lord of the Rings The One Ring Tales of Middle Earth

• Sold on: Private Sale (8/2/2023) 

Both MTG collectors and Tolkien fans united in 2023 to chase “The One Ring,” a creative collaboration that paid homage to the iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Many variations of the card emerged in both retail and booster sets, and a bounty was quickly placed on the 1/1 parallel. The card ended up in the collection of rapper Post Malone, who paid $2,000,000 for this one-of-a-kind piece in August. 

T-18. Kobe Bryant 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems (PMG) Emerald /10 BGS 8.5 – $2,000,000

kobe emerald pmg

Sold on: Private Sale (2/22/2022) 

Since its inception, the Precious Metal Gems (PMG) insert has been a favorite of many modern basketball collectors.  This 1997 Kobe Bryant Emerald is the pinnacle of that PMG fandom.  A BGS 8.5 grade, the copy is numbered /10 and sold for $2,000,000 privately this year.  That marks the highest sale for any Kobe Bryant card or any Precious Metal Gem, and it will be interesting to see how the PMG market grows in the future.

20. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 National Treasures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 – $1,857,300

Goldin Auctions

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (9/22/2020) 

This Giannis Logoman held the record for the most expensive basketball card ever sold for a few short months before the Luka Doncic Logoman that I previously mentioned more than doubled it in a private sale.

The amazing thing about this card is that it was previously sold back in 2014 for just $7000, but the buyer actually returned it because of a small yellow stain on the back. The seller did a little bit better this time around.

T-21: Justin Herbert 2020 Panini National Treasures NFL Shield 1/1 Rookie Patch Autograph BGS 8.5 – $1,800,000

justin herbert national treasures shield

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (9/11/2022) 

The National Treasures RPA has emerged as a modern football player’s best card, as it features a premier patch and a bolded, on-card signature. The platinum 1/1 parallel, which features the NFL shield from Justin Herbert’s jersey, is undoubtedly his grail. 

Regardless, this card remains a huge “what if?”. Herbert has yet to make a deep playoff run, so he will have to further his legacy as a quarterback for this card to be a worthy investment.

T-21. Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto BGS 9.5 – $1,800,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/22/2022) 

Another card that held the record for the highest sale of a modern day sports card for just a short time, this Lebron James Exquisite Rookie Parallel is serial numbered to 23 and is King James' most rare and sought after rookie card.

The buyer was Leore Avidar, CEO of Alt who said, "the purchase is part of a strategy to bring something big to the collectibles and alternative assets business in the coming months."

23. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10 – $1,752,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (3/8/2021) 

This March 6th, 2021 sale at Goldin Auctions marks the most expensive Kobe Bryant card ever sold. The BGS Black Label 10 grade is the most difficult grade to achieve in the entire hobby, and sets itself apart as quite literally the "perfectly conditioned card".

In March of 2016, the exact same card sold on eBay for $58,100.

24. Babe Ruth 1916 M101-4 Sporting News SGC 7 – $1,770,000

1916 M101 4 Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie
Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/25/2023) 

#24 on our list of most valuable trading cards is what many consider to be Babe Ruth’s rookie card. The 1916 M101-4 features a portrait of Ruth from his Red Sox days. 4 years later, Ruth was famously traded to the Yankees, marking the start of the Curse of the Bambino. In turn, items like this PSA 6 Sporting News rookie have become even more heralded in baseball culture, which is supported by its $1.5 million sale price. 

25. Joe Burrow 2020 Panini National Treasures NFL Shield 1/1 Rookie Patch Autograph – $1,700,000

joe burrow national treasures shield

Sold on: Private Sale (9/12/2022) 

Another confirmed private sale, this is the best Joe Burrow card ever produced. In recent years, we’ve seen the Heisman-winner turned Bengals gunslinger is on the precipice of a Super Bowl victory. If he ever hoists the Lombardi, we could see this Burrow NFL Shield skyrocket in value. 

26. Michael Jordan/LeBron James/Kobe Bryant 2006 UD Exquisite All NBA Access Triple Logoman PSA Authentic – $1,680,000

kobe jordan lebron triple logoman
Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (8/6/2022) 

The triple logoman is quickly becoming a theme on this list.  However, this one features three patches of the best to ever lace them up, and they’re all game worn.

This is a one-of-a-kind piece for game-worn patch collectors, and it reached a final price of $1.6 million in a Goldin auction.

27. Pele 1958 Alifabolaget PSA 9 – $1,330,000

1958 pele

Sold on: Rally (2/12/2022) 

We finally have our first soccer card on the list, which is a sport that has grown tremendously within the hobby recently. And what better way to showcase the soccer card market than with a PSA 9 rookie of one of the greats? This 1958 Alifabolaget Pele is an extremely rare find, and it shows an 18-year-old Pele at the start of his glorious career. It sold this year for $1.3 million, marking the highest sale of any soccer card.

28. Joe Doyle 1909-1911 T206 White Border SGC 3.5 – $1,323,000

1909 1911 T206 White Border Joe Doyle Hands Above Head
Robert Edward Auction

Sold on: Robert Edward Auctions (8/13/2023) 

There are few cards with better eye appeal than T206s. This extremely rare Joe Doyle copy graded an SGC 3.5, and its immaculate coloring has stood the test of time for over a century. 

29. Lebron James 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 PSA/DNA 10 – $1,291,500

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (5/6/2021) 

This $1.291 million dollar sale on March 7th, 2021 marks the most money ever spent on a Lebron James card outside of his rookie year. This is the third example of an NBA Logoman cracking the top 10.

Goldin's description of this card reads, "... The superb card constitutes an eloquent, visual reminder of LeBron's NBA Rookie of the Year Award victory of the previous year, which was among the first of what has become a lengthy list of trophies and records."

30. LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor /50 PSA 10 – $1,200,000

lebron 2003 chrome gold

Sold on: Private Sale (8/5/2022) 

2003 Topps Chrome does not include a superfractor 1/1 in the checklist, so this gold refractor /50 is the lowest-numbered LeBron card in the set.  And as we’ve seen gold parallels become more prominent in the hobby, this card has steadily increased in value as well.  That increase culminated with an August 2022 sale of $1.2 million for this POP 9 stunner.

31. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 Panini Prizm Black Mosaic 1/1 BGS 9.5 – $1,140,000

giannis prizm black
Goldin Auctios

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (12/14/2020) 

“The Greek Freak” is undoubtedly one of the best basketball players in the world right now, so it’s no surprise that his best Prizm card sold for over $1.1 million in December 2020.  Antetokounmpo would go on to win his first title with Bucks the following summer. Even still, Giannis is only 27, so it will be interesting to see where his career (and this card) goes from here.  

32. Roberto Clemente 1955 Topps PSA – $1,107,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (3/8/2021) 

There are only 12 examples of this card graded as high as a PSA 9, with only one of them being a PSA 10. When you combine that sort of rarity with the fact that Clemente is one of the most beloved players in the history of baseball, it comes as no surprise that this card found itself in the "million dollar club" when it sold in early March of 2021.

33. Justin Herbert 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite RC 1/1 BGS 9 – $1,000,000

Justin Herbert 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite

Sold on: Private Sale (9/8/2022) 

Here is another grail Herbert that was confirmed as a private sale by CardLadder. As far as non-memorabilia cards go, you can’t do much better than a black finite Prizm. Despite being one of the younger players on this list, the Chargers gunslinger takes up two spots, solidifying himself as one of the most electric players within the Hobby.

T-34. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome 1st Autograph Red Refractor /5 BGS 9.5/10 – $1,080,000

Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome 1st Autograph Red Refractor

Sold on: PWCC Premier (10/21/2022) 

Trout has consistently been one of the best in the game for over a decade now, and he is a shoo-in for Cooperstown. So, when you see sales like this 2009 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor Auto for $1,080,000, you just have to tip your cap to one of the best outfielders to play the game.

T-34. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Holo Gold /10 BGS 9.5 – $1,080,000

mahomes nt gold

• Sold on: PWCC Premier (9/19/2021) 

This BGS 9.5 Patrick Mahomes National Treasures RPA is a recent addition to the Million Dollar Club, and it’s an impressive one at that.  The patch contains a large portion of the old AFL logo, and the card itself is limited to only 10 copies. Besides his aforementioned NFL Shield RPA, you won’t find many better-looking cards of the Chiefs QB than this one.

36. Stephen Curry 2009-10 National Treasures Century Platinum RPA /5 PSA 9 AUTO 10 – $1,080,000

curry nt rpa
Goldin Auctions

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (8/6/2022) 

Stephen Curry is now a four-time champion and the greatest shooter in NBA history, so it makes sense to find him on a list like this.  Curry’s market grew significantly during the Warriors’ 2021 championship campaign, which can be shown by the $1.08 million sale of his true National Treasures RPA.

37. Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps PSA 10 – $1,005,600

Heritage Auctions

• Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/26/2021) 

The PSA 10 population on this card is 1, meaning that this is the finest conditioned example of Reggie Jackson's rookie card on the planet. The last time it sold was back in 2012 when it closed for $115,000.

This card was once a part of the famed "Dmitri Young Collection", named after the former Major League Baseball All-Star who had assembled one of the greatest sports card collections in existence.

38. Michael Jordan 2006-07 Fleer Buyback Rookie Autograph BGS 8.5/9 – $1,008,000

jordan 86fleer buyback

• Sold on: Christie’s (June 2022) 

In 2006, Fleer had Michael Jordan sign 23 of his 1986 Fleer rookie cards, and they randomly inserted these buyback autographs into their products. Since Jordan didn’t have any pack-issued autographs until 1997, this card has become quite popular for collectors.  It’s one of the few instances where MJ signed his true RC, and it’s a card that just does not pop up in auction houses very often.

T-39. Luka Doncic 2018-19 National Treausres RPA Emerald /5 BGS 9/10 – $1,000,000

luka nt emerald

• Sold on: Private Sale (8/2/2021) 

As Luka Doncic’s international stardom continues to rise, many high-end hobbyists continue to pick up his rarest cards.  Take, for example, this 2018-19 National Treasures Emerald RPA, which sold for $1 million last year.  Doncic is one of the brightest stars in the game, and he is only a few rings away from becoming a legend in both the hobby and NBA lore.

T-39. Anthony Davis 2012-13 National Treasures Logoman 1/1 BGS 9 – $1,000,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/1/2021) 

The final member (for now) of the "million dollar club" is Lakers star Anthony Davis, whose Logoman reached the seven-figure selling price in February of 2021.

Before you act surprised seeing his card sell for so much, consider the fact that the underrated star has an NCAA championship, Olympic Gold medal, NBA All-Star MVP and NBA Championship to his name.

41. Jackie Robinson 1952 Topps PSA 9 – $960,000

Goldin Auctions

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (3/8/2021) 

This card is just one of the eleven PSA 9's in the population, with not one single PSA 10, meaning that there is no better conditioned example of the iconic Jackie Robinson's 1952 Topps card in the market.

The fact that I am writing this article on "Jackie Robinson Day" (April 15th), bears mentioning, as he broke MLB's 80+ year color barrier on this date in 1947. I can thin of no better athlete to collect.

42. Mickey Mantle 1969 Topps “White Letters” PSA 9 – $933,484

Mickey Mantle 1969 Topps White Letters PSA 9

Sold on: Memory Lane Auctions (12/3/2022) 

You’ll notice a common theme: high grade Mantles = big money. This 1969 copy is the Mick’s last playing year, and it is the rare “last name in white” short print. This perfectly centered gem is a POP 3, with only one PSA 10 in existence. 

43. Kobe Bryant 2002-03 Upper Deck NBA Logo Mania BGS 9/10 – $922,500

kobe logo mania
Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/25/2021) 

At 43, we have the first Kobe Bryant logoman card ever produced.  It features Bryant back when he donned the #8 jersey, and it also has a strong signature of one of the game’s greatest.  This card was way ahead of its time, and it sold for $922,500 last year.

44. Michael Jordan 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green PSA Authentic 9/100 – $915,000

jordan metal
Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (12/9/2020) 

To explain the extreme rarity of this card, the 1997-98 Metal Universe were the first of the Precious Metal Gems cards. Only one hundred were produced for each player in the set. Ninety of the one hundred cards boasted red foil, with the remaining ten sporting the green seen on this example. Only six of the green ones have been graded by PSA, and the only sale of one of them on record took place earlier in 2020, closing for $350,000.

45. Lewis Hamilton 2020 Topps Chrome F1 Superfractor 1/1 PSA 7 – $900,000

lewis hamilton superfractor
Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (5/1/2022) 

We finally have our first Formula 1 card on this list, and it’s a beauty.  2020 Topps Chrome F1 has been one of the most collected sets internationally in recent years, and few cards were more desired than this Lewis Hamilton 1/1 superfractor.  A seven-time champion, Hamilton is considered by many to be the greatest driver in F1 history. It was incredible for the hobby to see some of his prices realized when this 1/1 sold for $900,000 in May.

T-46. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Black RPA 1/5 BGS 9/10 – $840,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/1/2021) 

There are none of these cards graded by PSA, and none graded higher by BGS, making this the best conditioned example, of the most collectible set, of the NFL's biggest and brightest young star, numbered to just 5. Wow.

Will the football card market ever catch up to the basketball card market in terms of value? If it even gets close, the upside on this card could be huge. If Mahomes continues to win MVP's and Super Bowls, the $840,000 paid for this card could one day look like a bargain.

T-46. Larry Bird/Magic Johnson 1980-81 Topps Scoring Leaders PSA 10 – $840,000

bird erving magic

• Sold on: PWCC Premier (4/17/2022) 

If you were to make a list of the most iconic basketball cards ever, this card would be on it.  The 1980-81 Topps Scoring Leaders features three HOFers and is regarded as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s true rookie card.  The set also utilized perforated edges to tear away the individual players, so finding a perfect PSA 10 is nearly impossible.  But when it happens, it is big money, as noted by this $840,000 sale in 2021

T-46. LeBron James / Kobe Bryant 2004-05 Exquisite Dual Logoman Autograph #1/1 PSA Authentic/AUTO 10 – $840,000

LeBron James Kobe Bryant 2004 05 Exquisite Dual Logoman Autograph

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (6/14/2023) 

This is LeBron and Kobe’s only dual signed logoman, and it is an absolute stunner. Upper Deck Exquisite Collection has proven to be one of the most timeless products in the history of the hobby. This card is also a second-year autograph of King James, which only bolsters its $840,000 valuation.

T-46. Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie PSA 10 - $840,000

jordan 86fleer

• Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (7/18/2021) 

In all likelihood, this is the most iconic basketball card ever made. The tongue out. The cursive “Chicago” lettering. The high-flying acrobatics. This is Jordan at his best in the Hobby. 

50. George Mikan 1948 Bowman PSA 9 – $800,000

mikan 48 bowman
Probstein Auctions

Sold on: eBay (3/9/2022) 

George Mikan was a pioneer for the game and one of the NBA’s first stars. While he may not be the hottest name in the hobby today, his 1948 Bowman RC remains one of the most heralded basketball cards of all time. The ‘48 set is also very condition-sensitive,

51. Lou Gehrig 1925 Exhibits PSA 6 (MK) – $782,400

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/1/2021) 

This oversized card is considered to be Lou Gehrig's rookie card, however, there are only three dozen of these TOTAL in the PSA population. These cards were only distributed through amusement park vending machines in 1925, and could be had for a penny. It would take 78,240,000 pennies to buy one nowadays!

T-52. Luka Doncic 2018 Panini Gold Prizm 3/10 PSA 10 – $780,000

luka gold
Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/1/2021) 

This gold Prizm is numbered to 10, with only 3 of them currently graded by PSA and this particular one receiving a PSA 10. Luka's Logoman (#2 on this list) selling for over $4 million dollars just goes to show how highly regarded he is in the hobby, but to see a modern non-auto card crack the top 20 on the list is definitely eye-opening. 

T-52. Kevin Durant 2007-08 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Parallel #94 RPA 23/35 BGS 9/10 – $780,000

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (3/8/2021) 

Here is the Slim Reaper’s best trading card. How much of a run will his cards have if the Suns go on to win the NBA Championship? It remains to be seen. This particular card is serial numbered to /35 and graded a BGS 9, which is a very high grade for an RPA like this that are notorious for condition issues. 

T-52. Michael Jordan 2003-04 UD Exquisite Limited Logos Patch Auto /75 PSA 9/10 – $780,000

jordan 2003 exquisite

• Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (7/18/2021) 

While this card may be tied for 52nd on the list, its eye appeal is unparalleled in comparison to the rest of the list. The Limited Logos autograph set from 2003 Exquisite features some of the greatest game-worn patches in hobby history, including this three-color jersey of His Airness. Couple that with a PSA 9/AUTO 10 grade, and you’ve got one incredible basketball card. 

55. Joe DiMaggio 1941 Play Ball PSA 10 – $750,000

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/21/2020) 

DiMaggio remains one of the greatest Yankees to ever play the game, and his lore/accomplishments have kept him ingrained in baseball history for 80 years. This PSA 10 rookie is a wildly undervalued card and a true gem from the pre-war era. 

56. Lewis Hamilton 2020 Topps Chrome Formula 1 Padparadscha 1/1 PSA 8 – $740,000

Lewis Hamilton 2020 Topps Chrome Formula 1 Padparadscha 11

Sold on: Private Sale (9/26/2022) 

The padparadscha is the rarest sapphire on Earth, and this is one of the rarest Lewis Hamilton cards ever. While not as lucrative as his 1/1 superfractor, it is still a remarkable card of the greatest driver in F1 history. 

57. Kobe Bryant / Kevin Durant 2007 Exquisite Dual Logoman 1/1 Patch Autograph PSA Authentic – $726,000

Kobe Bryant 2007 UD Exquisite Durant Logoman

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/22/2022) 

This dual logoman card doubles as a Durant rookie, which makes it all the more valuable. KD idolized the Mamba growing up, so this card feels like a “passing-the-torch” moment. 

58. LeBron James 2004 Topps Chrome Superfractor 1/1 PSA 10 – $720,000

lebron superfractor
Heritage Auctions

• Sold on: Heritage Auctions (10/2/2020) 

The 2003-04 Topps Chrome Basketball set doesn’t have superfractors, so this is technically LeBron’s first Topps 1/1. It features an action shot of his iconic reverse dunk, which has been repeated time and time again over the last 20 years.

59. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Stars and Stripes RPA PSA 10 – $720,000

mahomes nt stars stripes

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/6/2022) 

Modern cards still manage to innovate, which is best shown by this patriotic stars and stripes Patrick Mahomes RPA. For us, this card is only a few Chiefs Super Bowls away from cracking the top 25.

60. Pete Rose 1963 Topps Rookie Stars PSA 10 – $717,000

Heritage Auctions

• Sold on: Heritage Auctions (8/27/2016) 

Pete Rose may only take up ¼ of this card, but his illustrious career speaks volumes on why it would be worth over $700,000. The MLB hit king has had his fair share of controversy, but no one put the barrel on the ball quite like Rose.

61. Hank Aaron 1954 Topps PSA 9 – $715,000

hank aaron 54 topps

Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (8/18/2022) 

Hammerin’ Hank is another MLB legend who has remained atop the stat charts long after his playing days ended. His 1954 Topps rookie truly pops off the paper, and it is a terrific piece of Americana. 

62. LeBron James 2006-07 UD Ultimate Collection Logoman Autograph 1/1 BGS 9 – $707,250

lebron 06 logoman

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/25/2021) 

There is much left unsaid about LeBron James Logoman cards, but they are still jaw-dropping pieces of memorabilia. This 2006 copy out of Upper Deck Ultimate is a prime example.

63. Eddie Plank 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal PSA 7 – $690,000

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (9/19/2018) 

Pre-war cards like T206s or the later Goudey sets have proven to be sound investments and immensely collectible based on their rarity. This Eddie Plank received a remarkable grade for a tiny card over 100 years old.

64. Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini Prizm Gold Vinyl /5 PSA 10 – $676,500

mahomes gold vinyl

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/25/2021) 

A 2x Super Bowl champ with more to prove, Mahomes’ trading card market has remained steady even after the COVID boom. This gold vinyl Prizm is one you will want to hold and watch the Chiefs QB’s career play out.

65. Lou Gehrig 1933 Goudey PSA 9 – $672,000

1933 lou gehrig goudey
Memory Lane Auctions

Sold on: Memory Lane Auctions (5/21/2022) 

Lou Gehrig will always be a constant in “Top 5 Yankees’ list, and his inspirational play and leadership are a testament to the power of sport. This 1933 Goudey is a high-grade copy of a high-grade human who fought until the very end.

T-66. Babe Ruth 1917 Collins-McCarthy SGC 8 – $660,000

babe collins
Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/26/2021) 

Just like his 1916 M101 card, this Babe Ruth is one of the most valuable alternative rookie cards in the world. Put simply, any pre-war card with the Bambino’s face on it is going to be worth some real money.

T-66. Bill Russell 1957 Topps Rookie PSA 8.5 – $660,000

Bill Russell 1957 Topps Rookie PSA 8.5

Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (5/12/2023) 

Russell was an unparalleled force in the game of basketball whose impact will never be forgotten. These 1957 Topps cards are ones you hardly ever see at a convention or show, and this PSA 8.5 grade is wildly impressive.

68. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Skybox E-X2000 Credentials Rookie PSA 10 – $617,460

Kobe Bryant 1996 97 Skybox E X2000 Credentials Rookie PSA 10

• Sold on: Goldin Auctions (10/25/2021) 

If you’re familiar with the Skybox E-X2000 set, you know how wildly difficult it is to gem this card. Furthermore, it is one of Kobe’s best rookies aesthetically, so it’s not hard to believe why it’s worth over $600,000.

69. 1993 Magic: The Gathering Black Lotus Limited Edition Artist Proof Autograph CGC 8.5 – $616,000

Magic The Gathering Artist Proof Black Lotus Limited Edition Beta
Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (3/24/2023) 

Here we have one of the most iconic TCG cards in existence. There are several iterations of the Black Lotus, but this white back, artist proof arguably takes the cake as the rarest. This particular Black Lotus doesn’t even stem from the original Alpha set, but rather a later LImited Edition Beta set. However, it contains a crisp autograph of the illustrator’s autograph at the bottom of the copy. This MTG holy grail recently closed at $616,000 during a Heritage auction in March. 

70. Nolan Ryan 1968 Topps Mets Rookie Stars PSA 10 – $612,359

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (8/23/2020) 

Nolan Ryan is the greatest player to ever step on a baseball mound. His career spanned four different decades, facing batters like Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. If you’re a collector of America’s pastime, you likely want or have a Ryan rookie in your collection.

71. Stephen Curry 2009-10 National Treasures "Century Gold" RPA 10/25 BGS 9.5/10 – $601,200

Goldin Auctions

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (12/14/2020) 

With 4 titles and 2 MVPs to his name, Stephen Curry has fundamentally changed the way we think about basketball. The Hobby recognized that, and he has since become of the most sought-after players in all of sports.

T-72. Derek Jeter 1993 SP Foil Rookie PSA 10 – $600,000

Derek Jeter 1993 SP Foil Rookie PSA 10

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (4/30/2022) 

This is easily the most valuable card of the “junk wax era,” and it’s also the most iconic Jeter rookie there is. Acquiring this card in a lower grade is not necessarily difficult; in fact, you can pick up copies for $300-400 in a PSA 8. But the foiling on this ‘93 SP makes a PSA 10 nearly impossible and unequivocally valuable.

T-72. Joe Jackson 1910 Old Mill Series 8 PSA 3.5 – $600,000

joe jackson
Heritage Auctions

• Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/22/2019) 

Jackson is another legend of the pre-war era who famously threw the 1919 World Series. This (and his prowess as a player) has kept his name relevant and collectible for generations. 

74. Zion Williamson 2019-20 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph /99 BGS 9.5 – $594,000

Zion Williamson 2019 20 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph 99

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/5/2022) 

Players like Zion and Jasson Dominguez may be the riskiest investments of the last 3 years, but it’s not due to a lack of talent. Williamson is an absolute force to be reckoned with on the court, but his market has taken a huge hit in light of recent injuries. 

75. Pete Maravich 1970 Topps Rookie PSA 10 – $552,000


Sold on: PWCC Premier Auction (7/6/2023) 

Pete Maravich was one of the most innovative players of his time. With a flashy play style and impeccable shooting from deep, “Pistol” would have thrived under today’s rules and pacing. This oversized rookie card is one of two PSA 10s in the world, and it ended this summer at just north of $552,000. 

76. Ty Cobb 1915 Cracker Jack PSA 9 – $504,000

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (4/17/2019) 

Nothing screams “Baseball!” like Ty Cobb and bolded Cracker Jack lettering on the same card. This PSA 9 grade is astounding, making this another incredible piece of a baseball legend.

77. Lew Alcindor 1969 Topps PSA 10 – $501,900

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (8/26/2016) 

The 1969 Topps set is wildly oversized, so keeping this card in pristine condition for decades and tremendously impressive. It also helps that the player in the card is one of the greatest athletes to ever walk the Earth.

78. LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor PSA 10 – $480,000

lebron black
Heritage Auctions

• Sold On: Heritage Auctions (2/3/2021) 

Could you imagine the rush from pulling this in 2003? The King has lived up to every expectation on and off the basketball court, and there’s no surprise why appears on this list as much as he does.

79. Joe Jackson 1914 Boston Garter SGC 70 EX+ 5.5 – $480,000

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (2/22/2019) 

To have a card pop and stand out after 110 years is a truly remarkable feat. This Joe Jackson rookie looks like it just came off the press, and its large dimensions make it a great display piece.

80. 1995 Pokémon Japanese Topsun No Number Blue Back Charizard PSA 10 – $480,000

zard blueback

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/1/2021) 

This is Charizard’s first appearance on a trading card, and it grows increasingly rare as time passes by. In 50 years, we may look at this orange dragon like we look at Mickey Mantle, and these cards will only become more beloved.

81. Willie Mays 1952 Topps PSA 9 – $478,000

Heritage Auctions

Sold on: Heritage Auctions (5/11/2016) 

This card hasn’t sold since 2018, and you can make the case that it’s wildly undervalued. The “Say Hey Kid” is an American icon, and his 1952 Topps rookie is a grail piece for many Giants fans.

82. Jasson Dominguez 2020 Bowman Chrome – $474,000

Jasson Dominguez 2020 Bowman Chrome Superfractor

Sold on: Goldin Auctions (2/5/2022) 

Dominguez is the only baseball player on this list (except for Michael Jordan) who has never seen a Major League at bat. The Yankees prospect possess all the tools you’d want in a slugger, but we have yet to see if he will live up to the $474,000 hype.

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