Collector Turns $3,000 Investment In Rare LeBron James Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto Into Over $350,000

One collector scored big after selling a rare LeBron James rookie patch autograph at auction. Twenty years ago, the consignor bought LeBron James’ 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Rookie Patch Autograph, numbered 8/23, for under $3,000. During an auction that ended over the weekend at Leland’s, the card sold for $351,028 — an astounding 11,600 percent profit.

2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball Collection LeBron James RPA, numbered 8/23
2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball Collection LeBron James RPA, numbered 8/23. (credit: Leland’s)

There were 23 total bids before the auction closed as the consignor decided to sell it until the product’s 20th anniversary. The card sold during the auction house’s 2024 Summer Classic.

“LeBron was assigned numerous auto patches in the inaugural Exquisite year, but the most iconic is the #78 RPA. There are two versions, the /99 Level 1 and the super scarce parallel numbered to his jersey number. His number ’23’ meant there would only be 23 in existence; an extremely limited release that solidified it as one of the most important cards in the collecting world,” Leland’s writes in the description lot.

The card is graded a BGS 7.5 with an Auto grade of 10. This is the second copy of the James Exquisite RPA /23 that has been graded by Beckett since July 2020.

“The perfect, bold, auto was done in blue upon a white background beneath a two-color swatch. Not only is this one of the most important basketball cards ever made, it also has the highly-desired ‘hobby fresh’ allure,” notes Leland’s.

The most expensive James Exquisite RPA /23 sold for $5.2 million in April 2021. That was graded BGS 9.

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