Cryptocurrency, NFTs and … sports trading cards?

Among 2021’s biggest movers, the cards’ prices continue to astound experts as a Kobe Bryant rookie card sold for $1.795 million late Saturday on Goldin Auctions.

The buyer had not been identified as of Sunday morning.

The Bryant card is listed as “1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card — BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10.”

“Hey, I might have that one,” hundreds of amateur collectors probably said upon hearing the news.

But, no, not in this condition. The auction house said it is one of only two in the world “at its level of perfection.”

The sports trading card industry has several quality checks, a uniform understanding of how much the card’s condition affects its value.

The Kobe card had perfect 10s across the board, giving it the “black label” status.

“Kobe Bryant was one of the fiercest competitors of all time and a truly larger-than-life figure. His rookie card is one of the rarest in existence and one of only two on earth in black label pristine condition, which is the highest possible obtainable grade,” Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, told ESPN on Sunday.

Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died with seven others in a January 2020 helicopter crash.

Among the items listed on the Goldin site Sunday morning:

Unopened box of 1986-87 Fleer basketball cards, bid of $260,000.

Steph Curry rookie card, bid of $200,000.

The boom is real, even for football cards.

On Thursday, a signed Tom Brady rookie card changed hands for a football record $1.32 million on PWCC Marketplace.

Baseball? A Mike Trout autographed rookie card fetched $3.9 million on Goldin Auctions last August.

The record? A Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card: $5.2 million on PWCC Marketplace in January.

Add comment

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.