A Kobe Bryant card has been sold for a record $2 million in a private sale, according to a report on Yahoo Sports. The sale is reportedly the highest-selling card of all time for the Black Mamba.
The card of the former Lakers star is said to be a 1997–98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald and has a grade of 8.5. It is not a rookie card and does not contain an autograph from Bryant or a game-used memorabilia swatch, according to SI.com. Only 10 of the emerald card were made and it is only one of 10 to exist.
“These Precious Metal Gems variants are arguably the most desired insert card in the entire world,” a statement by the director of business development at PWCC, Jesse Craig, said. “These set the tone for the insert market going forward. It’s just incredibly difficult to find them in any condition, and because of their delicate nature, to find one in such good condition is incredibly rare.”
The card is one of a few basketball cards to break the $2 million threshold. NBA stars like Micheal Jordan and LeBron James have sold cards exceeding $2 million. Meanwhile, a James 2003–04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA parallel card still “holds the overall record, after selling for $5.2 million in April 2021,” according to SI.com.
The latest sale of Bryant’s card shows that the collectible card market is not exhibiting any sign of weakness. Watchers had predicted a collapse of the collective card market but successive record sales prove such predictions are premature.
Prior to the sale, Bryant’s highest-selling card was a BGS 10 Black Label 1996–97 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Refractor which sold for almost $1.8 million.
Bryant, 41, alongside eight others including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas in 2020 when they were headed to a youth basketball game.