A record-breaking sale was completed over the weekend, making a 2018-19 Luka Doncic card the most expensive sports card in history. The final price: A mind-boggling $4.6M.
The card is 2018-19 National Treasures Luka Doncic rookie card Auto Logoman 1/1. If all of that reads like another language, I’ll break it down.
- 2018/19 National Treasures is the absolute premium set for card collectors. A single pack of 10 cards in a box, boasting some of the rarest cards in the collecting hobby. It’s impossible to find a single box at MSRP in the wild, but 2019/20 packs routinely sell for $4,500 or more on the secondary market.
- Luka Doncic rookie card, really speaks for itself here. It’s the first time NBA cards were available of the Mavericks star.
- Auto means that the card is signed. This is a signature obtained prior to release. It’s not like someone found Luka and had him sign the card, but rather that he signed for Panini (who produces the set) and they put the signed card in a pack.
- Logoman refers to a jersey patch embedded in the card. In this case the card has the NBA logo. Logoman cards are the rarest of the rare, and automatically cause a card to skyrocket in value — regardless of the player.
- 1/1 (1-of-1) means there is only one card of this type in existence. It will never be produced again. Nobody will ever have another copy of this specific card.
This might seem ridiculous if you’ve been out of the sports card game for a while, but the hobby has been leading up to a moment like this. The price of sports cards has gone wild in recent years, with the market being treated like a secondary stock market. Instead of the simple cardboard cards, or the odd holo or refractor kids might have collected in the 90s, companies now turn cards into rare, elaborate works of art — complete with their own embedded memorabilia to make them special.
Considering Luka’s continuing breakout as one of the best players in the NBA, and his unparalleled global appeal as a European player, he was prime to have a card of this rarity hit it big. The surprising part is just how much this sold for, especially considering the card has not been graded. Obviously it looks to be in pristine condition, but it’s still surprising to see a card sell for this much without being inspected by a third-party grading company like PSA, Beckett or SCG — which would solidify its condition in an auction environment.
This card is the crown jewel of modern card collecting. Buying for this price is a gamble on the future of the card market that assumes it will continue its trajectory, and should Luka’s star continue to rise it’s plausible this card will increase in value.
Still, it’s beyond comprehension a sports card would sell for the price of several houses.