2017 Great American Trading Card Auction Ending April 1
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/2/2017
LeBron James has accomplished the impossible: He brought Cleveland the city's first championship – in any major sport – in 52 years. James was the unanimous NBA Finals MVP after registering a triple-double in Game 7 and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the team's first-ever NBA Championship. He is, undoubtedly, The King.
Presented here is one of the most valuable and coveted LeBron James cards in the world. The offered piece is his one-of-a-kind, signed rookie piece from Upper Deck’s 2003/04 "Exquisite Collection" brand. This is the only entry from its limited edition for which the serial number corresponds to James' jersey number.
Upper Deck's "Exquisite Collection" is widely viewed as the most elite, iconic brand in hobby history among top basketball collectors. This LeBron rookie is from 2003-04, which was the first/inaugural year of Exquisite; first-year Exquisite is, by far, the most coveted release, and commands the highest prices. It's important to note that the offered card's year is 2003-04 (or 2003-2004), not the year "2004," which could be misinterpreted as 2004-05. All of LeBron's rookie cards were produced as 2003-04 issues and this is a LeBron rookie that was limited to only 75 examples.
Significantly, the unique card presented here is serial-numbered "23/75," making it "jersey-numbered." (LeBron wears #23 for the Cavs, just as he did when he was a rookie). Collectors of serial-numbered, limited-edition cards, such as this one, esteem the jersey-numbered card above others, since only one of the cards in the series can match the player's jersey number. Simply, the jersey-numbered card is clearly the most desired/coveted card in its series, and it is regarded as a "1/1" example by experienced collectors.
Graded MINT 9 by PSA. This is one of just three examples from its edition recorded in PSA's census reporting.
The card has a beautiful, rich and full signature, to which LeBron added his "23" inscription (again, corresponding to the card's serial number). LeBron only signed in this manner for certain premium cards from his 2003-04 rookie season. He didn't sign this way on most of his rookie cards, and he stopped using this style completely after his rookie season. (He later moved to an abbreviated signature, essentially penning just his initials). The signature is certified by Upper Deck on the back of the card.
The patch is one of the best imaginable on a LeBron "Limited Logos" rookie card. ("Limited Logos" is the name of the subset – largely considered the most desired and popular subset – for Exquisite.) Many of the patches seen in this release are single-color or two-color patches, but this is a three-color patch with five breaks. It's an awesome, large patch: the Limited Logos cards were focused on the embedded game worn material, so the patches were particularly large in this subset. The patch is from a game worn rookie jersey of LeBron's; that is, the patch revealed in the card was taken directly from a jersey LeBron wore during regular season play in his 2003-04 rookie season for the Cavaliers. This specification is also certified on the back of the card.
The card is accompanied by the original 2003-04 "Exquisite Basketball Collection" wooden box from which it left the factory. According to the consignor, this rookie card was pulled by a private collector in 2004. That individual retained it in his private collection until late 2016, when he sold it to the consignor. It was not passed around, handled, or even shown publicly for over a dozen years until secured recently by our consignor.
A congratulatory statement from Upper Deck appears on the card's reverse side; this declaration attests to the signature's authenticity, verifies the origin of the card's "patch" component, and serves as the COA for the subject item. This is a stunning and important LeBron James rookie card collectible, reflecting untouched and impeccable Mint condition.
Click above for larger image.