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Lebron James (12/30/84) is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time and anyone with a passing interest in the sport covets his collectibles (i.e., autograph cards, rookie cards).
For an idea of just how successful he is, James is a four-time NBA champion (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020), a four-time league MVP, and a four-time NBA Finals MVP (picking up the MVP award for each year he won the title).
An All-Star from 2005–2021 (and counting), it’s challenging to find enough space to list his achievements while he’d be known as the undisputed GOAT if it wasn’t for someone named Michael Jordan, AKA MJ.
Although MJ is still thought of as the best player ever to grace the NBA, hardwood LeBron James basketball cards go for just as much and in some cases, more than Michael Jordan basketball cards.
James has hundreds of signed options released throughout the years, but which are the top choices overall? Here’s a list with three of his best-autographed cards, all of which were released during his rookie season.
2003 LeBron James Exquisite Collection Limited RC #LJ
Any serious collector should be aware of the 2003-04 Exquisite Collection set, while this card is the most valuable by a fair margin. As part of the inaugural ’03 Exquisite Collection set, James’ card is one of the most iconic RCs of all-time.
We’ll be looking at the Limited Logos parallel, which features a large game-used patch in the middle of the card, along with an on-card auto-filled using blue ink at the bottom.
It’s serial numbered to just 75, while the design makes it look like it’s been ripped as the black section in the middle meets with the white at the top and the bottom. It also features a tiny profile shot of LeBron, along with a silver UD and Cavs logo.
2003 LeBron James SP Inkredible Inkscriptions /25 RC #II-LJ
The ‘Inkredible Inscription’ parallel is among the scarcest of all LeBron rookie cards ever to be issued, while it’s seen as one of the more beautiful and colorful brands from that era.
With only 25 copies altogether it’s ultra-rare, while the inscription of “#1 Draft Pick” makes it stand out for many of the other options you’ll find. It’s split into four sections, with the largest devoted to a signature found at the bottom of the card.
The second is a red segment on the left, featuring an image of LeBron soaring through the air for the Cavs. Player info is found in a gold section at the top, while the middle is black with gold trim, noting it’s an ‘Inkredible Inkscriptions’ parallel.
A gem mint copy recently sold for over six figures, making it one of the most valuable pieces of signed LeBron merch on the market.
2005 LeBron James SP Game Used Edition Michael Jordan LeBron James Dual Auto /50 #JJ
The 2005 LeBron James/Michael Jordan SP Game Used Edition Autograph basketball card is super undervalued. It should have a much better than average ROI when compared to other LeBron autos in the future.
Numbered simply #JJ the card shows LeBron on the left, Michael on the right both sporting the number 23 taking a jump shot. Their autos sit to the left and right of the two superstars.
The perfect card? maybe.
2003 LeBron James Ultimate Collection Autograph /250 RC #127
Last, but by no means least, James’ 2003 Ultimate Collection card is another RC with a slick design and an on-card auto found on the front. LeBron is featured as he dribbles with a ball, and the red and white background blends in well with his Cleveland jersey.
The 2003 LeBron James Ultimate Collection autograph basketball card lacks some prestige compared to the Exquisite card mentioned above, but it’s still a great card if you’re looking out for the best-signed options.
With a serial number of 250 (found on the front of the card) it’s the least rare of the cards we’ve mentioned, which is reflected in the price when looking at PSA 10 versions. It’ll still set you back by a fair chunk of change thanks to James’ talents.
2007 LeBron James Kevin Durant Exquisite Collection Dual Auto #EDJD
Not on the level as the LeBron/MJ dual auto but this one can hold its own very well.
The 2007 LeBron James Kevin Durant Exquisite Collection Dual Auto basketball card shows the top 2 players of their generation. LeBron is on the far left while Kevin is placed on the far right.
Numbered #EDJD the card besides the auto also delivers a nice game-used patch from each superstar.
How much is a LeBron James autograph worth? It is impossible to provide a value on these cards due to the way basketball cards are going up nowadays, and in particular, LeBron Autos/Rookie Cards… in two weeks a card could go up 20% (no joke either).
Post in the comments section below if you want an estimated amount of your LeBron James auto if it’s graded. If the card is not graded please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include at minimum 2 photos.
The most valuable LeBron James autographed basketball card recently sold are the 2003 Exquisite Collection LeBron James RPA /100 (sold for $85,100 via eBay auctions on 12/21/2020) followed closely by 2005-06 SP Game Used Edition Michael Jordan LeBron James Dual Auto /50 (sold for $82,950 via eBay auctions on 2/11/2021).
- 2003 Ultimate Collection Auto /250 RC #127
- 2003 SP Authentic Limited Auto RC #148
- 2003 Exquisite Coll Number Pieces RC #LJ
- 2003 SPx Basketball Auto /750 #151
- 2003 UD Top Prospects Signs of Success Auto #SSLJ
- 2003 Upper Deck Finite Signatures SP Auto RC #LJ
- 2003 SP Signature Rookie RC Auto #LJ
- 2003 Upper Deck Sweet Shot Signature RC #LJ
- 2003 Upper Deck Glass Focus Crystal RC #LJ
- 2004 Ultimate Starting Five LeBron James Garnett Kidd Olajuwon Auto /5 #UDA
- 2004 U.D. Black Diamond Gemography Auto #GEMLJ
- 2005 SP Authentic Limited Warm-Ups Patch Auto #14
- 2006 UD Black NBA Logoman Logo Tag Patch Ink Auto #LJ
- 2006 Exquisite Collection Extra Patch Auto #EELJ
- 2006 Exquisite Collection Enshrinements Auto #EXLJ2
- 2007 SP Game Used Lebron James Kobe Bryant Dual Autograph Auto /25 #SDBJ
- 2007 Upper Deck Premier Penmanship Autograph 1/1 #PEN-LJ
- 2007 UD Black Dual LeBron James & Kevin Durant /15
- 2007 Upper Deck Black All-Star Patch Auto /25 #ULJ
- 2007 UD NBA Heroes Lebron James On Card Auto /5 #LJ3
- 2008 Upper Deck Black Team Logo Auto /25 #TLLJ
- 2012 SP Authentic Nickname Auto #AN-LJ
- 2013 UD Exquisite Game Used Rookie Tribute Patch Auto/35 #78LJ
- 2013 Exquisite UD Signature Kicks Auto #ML-LJ
Investment Rating: Strongest Buy Possible (5 out of 5)
Best LeBron James Autograph Basketball Card: 2003 Ultimate Collection Autograph /250 RC #127
Ownership Disclosure: Sadly None
LeBron is always being compared to MJ, so we’ll take the opportunity to do so once more! Jordan cards were always seen as a good investment piece back in the day, and you could even argue that his ‘86 Fleer RC helped to kickstart interest in the hobby again during a lean period.
James’ rookie cards have followed a similar pattern so far, and signed versions will always be more popular with collectors keen to own a rare, autographed version of his memorabilia.
The two cards at the top can sell for six figures when you’re looking at gem mint copies. As such, the only thing stopping the majority of collectors is the price of entry. This is dictated by the fact that supply far exceeds demand, while there’s an expectation that prices will continue to rise when he retires, and also when James enters the Hall of Fame.
Unlike Jordan, LeBron still has the opportunity to add another NBA Championship or two to his personal trophy cabinet before calling an end to his career, while he was an early candidate for the MVP award before the coronavirus outbreak halted the season unexpectedly in 2020.
Suppose you have a spare six-figure sum lying around. In that case, it’s hard to see past PSA 10 graded copies of James’ various autographed options, especially if they’re one of the rarer, serial-numbered editions (READ NEXT: Should you get your cards graded).
With that being said, even base versions of his cards have jumped up in price in recent years, making LeBron a dead cert if you’re looking for investment pieces that could potentially be flipped in the short term, or for high ticket items that should be held for a decade or so. Either way, it’s a strong investment option.