The most sought-after basketball card of 2022 — a 2020-21, 1-of-1 Panini Flawless Triple Logoman LeBron James — sold at auction Saturday night for $2.4 million, culminating a yearlong chase.
In addition to being the only one of its kind in existence, the card features NBA logo patches from game-worn jerseys from each of James’ teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.
The card received national media coverage and even caught the attention of rapper Drake, who spent upwards of $200,000 in an effort to find the card. Three card collectors pulled it on a live stream from the company Backyard Breaks in May.
Four other Triple Logoman cards feature a trio of NBA players; Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Steph Curry/Kevin Durant, and 2020 draftees Anthony Edwards/LaMelo Ball/Tyrese Haliburton.
Though the card sold for $2.4 million by Goldin Auctions, some had projected it would go for more than the 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James, which set the record for highest-priced basketball card in April when it sold for $5.2 million.
In addition to the Logoman card, an Exquisite LeBron RPA card was also sold Saturday for $2.1 million.
However, really, where can a card collector check its NBA cards Price? Who invented it?
A basketball card is a type of trading card relating to Basketball, usually printed on cardboard, silk, or plastic. These cards feature one or more players of the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Collegiate Athletic Association, Olympic Basketball, Women’s National Basketball Association, Women’s Professional Basketball League or some other Basketball related theme.
Some notable producing companies include Panini Group (present days), Bowman Gum and Topps (in early days).
The first basketball cards were produced in 1910, in a series cataloged as “College Athlete Felts B-33”. The complete series included ten different sports, with only 30-cards being associated with basketball. The cards were issued as a cigarette redemption premium by the number of packages needed to redeem for the tobacco cards is not known.
The next series of basketball cards were issued in 1911, in two separate series, “T6 College Series”, measuring approximately 6″ by 8″, and “T51 College Series”, measuring approximately 2″ by 3″. These series included a variety of sports, with only 6-cards being associated with basketball. One card from the T6 series, and five cards from the T51 series. Both series were produced in two variations; one variation reading “College Series”, the other, “2nd Series”. The cards were acquired in trade for fifteen Murad cigarette coupons. The offer expired June 30, 1911.
Bowman Gum produced the first NBA cards, starting in 1948, releasing a 72-piece set that included the George Mikan rookie card.
Another US company, Topps, began to manufacture cards during the 1958, returning to production in 1969–70. Fleer had its peak in 1961-62, returning in 1986–87 to resurrect the basketball card industry by releasing its set, which included the rookie cards of Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
Many basketball card collectors as the “1952 Topps of basketball” see this set. In the 1990s/2000s, several companies produced basketball cards, including Topps, Fleer, and Upper Deck.
In 2009, the NBA licensed the rights to manufacture and commercialize basketball cards to Italian Panini Group, which became the only licensor for the league and players. Panini has been an NBA licensee since then.
Back in the day, collectors would often rely on Beckett to learn how much a card was worth. This magazine was a popular one because it was the pricing standard everyone followed, especially during the 90s.
This is not the case anymore with the hobby reaching new heights. Although Beckett still exists, the majority of collectors depend on online shopping platforms and dedicated software pricing programs to determine value. The most popular example, in this regard, is comparing eBay sold prices.
Along with eBay price comparisons, hobbyists can also resort to dedicated pricing software. Some of these include Card Ladder, Slabstock, and Marvet Movers, among others. They offer an extensive database containing almost all cards within it, their corresponding prices, and how they are trending in the market. Keep in mind, though, that these software programs require payment on a monthly or annual basis to sustain their continued use.
Therefore, what makes Certain Cards rarer than others?
Not every card is created the same. Most of these are designed to be mass-produced, while a select few are more expensive than others are.
Several factors should also be considered when it comes to the rarity of a card.
The Card Sets
First, collectors should remember that there are sets that have a huge print run. The most popular of these in the market are Panini’s NBA Hoops and Donruss. The ones from these products are considered cheaper, mainly because of their massive population in the market.
Next up the ladder are chrome cards, which are considered the standard for collectors everywhere. These products, such as Prizm and Select, boast a sleek look that makes their demand jump up.
After this tier are the rarer sets, like National Treasures, Flawless, and Immaculate. These products have limited print runs and cost significantly more than Panini’s more affordable options. As such, cards found from these products are rarer and command more interest from buyers.
Parallel and Short Print
Cards that fall under this category are rarer than common offerings in the market. A parallel is a version of the base card that possesses a unique element that makes it distinct, such as a different color or design. Short print cards, on the other hand, are manufactured with a limited number of copies, making them harder to find.
Both of these types are a step up in price. The more limited the parallel or short print card is, the higher price it commands than most common ones. Collectors often pay more for these because they retain their value better over the course of time.
Every year, Panini features a list of players who are playing in the NBA for the first time in their wide range of products.
Since these are the first products that showcase these young players, they command more value than those that feature veterans in the league. The price and demand for the top players in each draft class also go up, as compared to other rookies who are not performing well or not getting enough playtime.
Why is LeBron James’ triple logoman rare?
Panini created five triple logoman cards as part of the 2020-21 “Flawless” collection. They are authentic patches of the NBA logo, hence the name “logoman.”
Those cards typically feature the patches from multiple players. However, one of those cards featured three patches from a single player: LeBron James.