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'Pristine' Kobe Bryant rookie card sells for $1.8M at auction

March 7 (UPI) -- A Kobe Bryant rookie card sold for nearly $1.8 million late Saturday on Goldin Auctions, making it one of the most expensive basketball cards ever sold.

Goldin Auctions said the "1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Kobe Bryant Rookie Card -- BGS Pristine/Black Label 10" is just one of two in the world "at its level of perfection."

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The card's condition had perfect 10s in every grading category, which qualified it for the prestigious "black label" recognition. It is the most expensive Bryant card ever sold.

As of Sunday, Goldin Auctions hasn't released the name of the buyer.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, was one of the most high-profile athletes in the world before his sudden death last year. The 18-time All-Star selection died with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.

RELATED Tom Brady rookie card auctioned for $555,988 online

"Kobe Bryant was one of the fiercest competitors of all time and a truly larger-than-life figure," Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, told ESPN. "His rookie card is one of the rarest in existence and one of only two on Earth in black label pristine condition, which is the highest possible obtainable grade.

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"The fact that it sold for the final auction price of $1.795 million, the all-time record for any Kobe Bryant card, speaks to just how beloved he was around the world."

Last week, a signed Tom Brady rookie card sold for a record $1.32 million on PWCC Marketplace. It is believed to be the highest price paid for a football card.

RELATED Michael Jordan rookie card sells for record $150K

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