Most Expensive Sports Trading Card Sales to Date
No matter how much things change or what new collectibles pop up, sometimes there’s no replacing that original sports trading card.
Trading card sales have been popular since Honus Wagner’s T206 became the first card to sell for $1 million in 2000. While that card has become the face of expensive sports cards, it’s actually not the biggest sale of all time.
That honor belongs to a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, which holds two spots among the top-10 sales of all time. It was first sold for $2.8 million in April of 2018. It then became the largest known sale of all time in January of 2021 when Rob Gough purchased it for $5.2 million.
On February 28, 2021, a Luka Doncic card became the second-highest sale ever known. Collector Nick Fiorello purchased a 1-of-1 autographed Doncic Logoman card for $4.6 million.
That topped Mike Trout’s 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor autographed card selling for $3.9 million in August of 2020.
Wagner’s infamous card ranked No. 4 on the list at $3.1 million. It’s one of three Wagner T206 cards on the top-10 list. The ‘Gretzky Wagner’ was purchased in a private sale by Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick for $2.8 million in 2007, although he wasn’t revealed as the buyer until 2011.
The final Wagner on the list was sold on Feb. 27, 2021 for $2.5 million on Heritage Auctions. This Wagner is known as the ‘Garigiola Wagner’, as it was owned by former D-backs general manager Joe Garigiola.
A trio of NBA players round out the top 10, starting with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Logoman that sold for $1.8 million. LeBron James’ rookie patch autographed card also sold for $1.8 million.
On Feb. 4, 2021, a Michael Jordan 1997 game-used jersey autographed card sold for $1.44 million.
Just missing the list is Wayne Gretzky’s 1979 O-Pee-Chee card which sold for $1.3 million. Currently, a 1996-97 Kobe Bryant Topps card is up for auction with a top bid over $1.2 million.
While some cards are sold privately and not known to the public, this list is what’s publicly known.