2003/04 Topps Chrome LeBron James RC #111 BGS 9.5

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LeBron James

Surely LeBron James haters will continue to hate despite winning an NBA Championship for the first time last night. They'll say he needs to win "not five, not six, not seven" to earn their praise. That's okay, LeBron set a pretty high bar for himself, given that he is the 'chosen one'.

Speaking of high bars, LeBron James rookies have been the modern benchmark for what your autographs, rookies, and rare cards can sell for. In recent years, Panini has held an exclusive license to make NBA trading cards - while LeBron remains an Upper Deck exclusive athlete with regards to signatures. Aside from a handful of sets that get released (and usually show LeBron in his high school uniform) there are no officially licensed autograph cards with LeBron in a Miami Heat uniform made by Panini. So you can bet his autograph cards from Upper Deck are HOT sellers right now because he just has less stuff out there than most athletes of his caliber.

Given that LeBron's autographs are unusually rare because of his exclusive contract with Upper Deck, I wanted to track what people were paying for just straight cardboard with LeBron's face on it. The 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James rookie #111 was my choice because it was a card that could be easily found in good condition. In fact, the BGS Population Report states that as of 6/22/2012 3,896 had been graded with 1,873 being Gem Mint or BGS 9.5. Talk about an easy card to find in good condition - in fact more are graded Gem Mint 9.5 than Mint 9.0!

As you can see, collectors started to pay more for the 03/04 Topps Chrome RC right when it became apparent that King James was going to win his first NBA championship. I fully expect this card to continue to sell in the high $130's - $140's (if not higher) over the summer as LeBron and the Miami Heat go on their media tour as NBA Champions. With the upcoming unique 2012/13 NBA basketball card market that features sets with two rookie classes (because of the lockout) I would be cautious about buying LeBron now. Collectors will be forking over big dollars for cards next season, and don't you think Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd rookies are a little cheaper now over this time last year? If you think LeBron will win "not five, not six ...." you would be best to purchase at some point when people are hating on him again, because right now he's getting some much deserved respect for his basketball talents.

2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James RC Price Graph
Cards For Sale On eBay Right Now
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2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James RC #111 BGS 9.5
  • 1/2/2012 -- $102.50
  • 2/14/2012 -- $112.00
  • 3/14/2012 -- $98.00
  • 4/26/2012 -- $102.50
  • 4/29/2012 -- $111.09
  • 5/1/2012 -- $114.40
  • 5/8/2012 -- $117.49
  • 5/13/2012 -- $120.20
  • 5/24/2012 -- $126.50
  • 6/4/2012 -- $103.51
  • 6/10/2012 -- $102.50
  • 6/12/2012 -- $112.50
  • 6/14/2012 -- $112.50
  • 6/16/2012 -- $104.99
  • 6/16/2012 -- $119.50
  • 6/17/2012 -- $110.59
  • 6/17/2012 -- $110.00
  • 6/18/2012 -- $109.49
  • 6/19/2012 -- $121.50
  • 6/21/2012 -- $113.50
  • 6/21/2012 -- $132.50
  • 6/22/2012 -- $150.00

- Completed eBay Auction Data

What's It Selling For Now? 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James BGS 9.5

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