The $2 million price tag was the highest ever for a Bryant card. In addition, the sale is notable because the card -- a 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Emerald -- isn't a rookie card, nor does it feature an autograph or game-used memorabilia patch.
In March 2021, a "pristine/black label" Bryant rookie card sold for about $1.8 million, making it one of the most expensive basketball cards ever sold at the time.
The Metal Universe Bryant card eclipses that $1.8 million mark and becomes the latest in basketball to surpass the $2 million threshold, joining multiple LeBron James rookie patch autographs, a Luka Doncic "Logoman" auto and a Michael Jordan All-Star Game-used jersey auto card.
James currently holds the all-time record, with his 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection RPA parallel card fetching $5.2 million in April 2021.
Though the Bryant card is numbered 004/100, only the first 10 are of the emerald-hued variety in the set. Cards numbered 11-100 of the Precious Metal Gems insert are red. Beckett Media once called Precious Metal Gems parallels "some of the most coveted postwar sports cards."
The Bryant card earned an 8.5 grade from Beckett Grading Services (BGS), which equals the best-graded known example of this card. Currently, PSA's highest-graded version of the emerald parallel is a 7.
"This is arguably Kobe's best card in existence," Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC, said in a statement. "It's [difficult] to find them in any condition -- and because of their delicate nature, to find one in such good condition is incredibly rare."
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star selection. The Lakers icon, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.