Top 10 Highest Selling Sports Cards of CA Players

Nearly 30 years after his passing, New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle is still breaking records. The all-time leader for home runs (18), RBIs (40) and runs (42) in a World Series is now also the face on the most expensive sports card ever sold.

In August 2022, a 1952 Mantle card went for $12.6 million at auction, absolutely shattering the previous high watermark. That prior figure was $7.25 million for an extremely rare Honus Wagner card, sold just weeks before the Mantle.

Now tied for No. 3 on the list of the most expensive cards ever is the 2003 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78 LeBron James, bought for $5.2 million in April 2021. This is the most expensive basketball card ever.

Since James plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, that card also tops the list of the 10 highest-selling sports cards featuring California athletes. We should add that six out of the top 10 highest-selling sports cards feature athletes who either played in California or were born here.

Why California athletes appear so prominently on that overall list is a mystery. But their fame and domination are undeniable if you browse the iconic names on the list of the most expensive sports cards to feature California players. Check it out below.

Price PaidAthleteCardDate SoldNotable Information
1.$5.2 MillionLeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)2003 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78 (07/23)Apr. 26, 2021Highest-selling basketball card in history
2.$3.936 MillionMike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor AutographAug. 23, 2020Seller "Vegas Dave" Oancea only paid $400,000 for the card.
3.$2.4 MillionLeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78 (23/23)Oct. 24, 2021The last of the limited first run
4.$2.252 MillionTom Brady (Born in San Mateo, California)2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Autograph #144Apr. 3, 2021Highest-selling football card in history
5.$2 MillionKobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems - GreenFe. 22, 20221/10 as only 100 total cards produced, 10 Green and 90 Red.
6.$1.795 MillionKobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Rookie CardMar. 6, 2021
7.$1.537 MillionLeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autographs #78 (32/99)Mar. 6, 2021Second run from 23 to 99 cards
8.$1.291 MillionLeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logos #USL-LJ Signed Logoman CardMar. 6, 2021Record for a LeBron James non-rookie card.
9.$1.29 MillionWayne Gretzky (Los Angeles Kings)1979 O-Pee-Chee (Gretzky Rookie card)Dec. 13, 2020Highest-selling hockey card in history
10.$1.050 MillionMike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)2011 Topps Update Platinum #US175Jul. 29, 2021Bought by Scott Keeney (DJ Skee)
11.$1.020 MillionAnthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)2012-13 Panini National Treasures #151 NBA Logoman Rookie Patch AutographsJan,.30, 2021
12.$1.005 MillionReggie Jackson (California Angels)1969 Topps Rookie Card #260 - Dmitri Young CollectionFeb. 28, 2021
13.$960,000Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)2009-10 Panini National Treasures "Century Platinum" Rookie Patch AutographJan. 30, 2021
14.$922,500Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Red Refractor AutographMay 20, 2020
15.$900,000LeBron James / Michael JordanUpper Deck Exquisite Collection LogomanFeb. 2020Bought by collector Nat Turner
16.$720,000LeBron James2004 Topps Chrome Superfractor (1/1)Oct. 3, 2020Record for non-autographed LeBron James card
17.$691,410Nolan Ryan (California Angels)1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie cardAug. 26, 2016
18.$601,200Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)2009–10 Panini National Treasures "Century Gold" #206 Rookie Patch Autographs (10/25)Dec. 12, 2020
19.$501,900Lew Alcindor / Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers)1969–70 Topps Rookie CardAug. 26, 2016Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rookie card.
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