If you’ve visited this blog before, you’d likely seen one or two posts featuring collector interviews. This interview is particularly unique, because it was a chance meeting on Reddit where I met a collector that pulled an extremely rare 1 of 1 Lebron James Topps Finest Superfractor card from Lebron’s 3rd year in the NBA.
The card is going to be up for auction through Goldin Auction on April 30th, but I had the awesome opportunity to connect with this collector (who wishes to remain anonymous) to ask a few questions about that card in particular, as well as some other questions I like to ask all collectors.
Check out the interview and answers below!
1. On April 20, 2021 you posted on Reddit a picture of your ONE OF ONE 2005-06 Topps Finest Lebron James SuperFractor card and said you were sending it off to Goldin Auctions in about a week. Owning a card like that is basically every collector’s dream. Could you please tell me how you came to own that card?
Around 2006, I was big into busting NBA packs. I grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and there was a great hobby shop named Hero’s Cards and Comics. I bought a box 2005-06 Finest hoping to find some serial numbered Rookie autos. I pulled a Deron Williams rookie auto X-fractor and was actually stoked about it. I then found the LeBron one of one. I opened the packs in the car and literally went right back into the shop to buy a screw down for it and it’s been in a safe in the attic since then.
2. I’m sure since posting that card you’ve gotten some crazy messages and offers. What have been some of the crazier messages and offers you’ve received for your one of one Lebron card?
I have had lots of interest, but no one has put out a figure. Multiple people with LeBron collections valued in the several millions have reached out to inquire about “what number I had in mind”. One collector offered to fly me to his home state and put me up in hotel for a night in order to workout a deal and arrange transfer of the card. This would have actually been really fun and hilarious to do, just for the story.
3. One of the comments on Reddit was along the line of “Congrats on the new house”. The basketball card market has been so hot ever since COVID hit, but why sell now?
There are multiple reasons why I’m selling the card now. As you mentioned, the basketball card market is very hot; second, I am trying to buy a house and this could help with the down payment. Also, Lebron has achieved the highest level of greatness possible, so the value of the card from a player-perspective feels maximized to me. This isn’t like selling a Doncic rookie where who knows what his legacy will be. The card’s value will likely move in line with the basketball card market moving forward.
4. Did you ever consider getting the card graded? If so, which grading company were you leaning toward and what ultimately prevented you from doing so?
Yes, my plan was to have the card graded. I read some differing opinions about the utility of having a one of one card graded, but I figured that anyone buying it would want to know the condition of the card. When I spoke to Goldin, they only auction graded cards and they take care of the grading process for you in some scenarios. The card will be graded when it goes up for auction.
5. Behind the Lebron SuperFractor card, what would you say is the next most valuable card in your collection, and what is your favorite card in your collection?
My next most valuable card is obviously a HUGE stepdown. I recently dug out all my old stuff and started going through it – I have a 2003-04 Hardcourt Floor Fabric Combos LeBron James rookie card featuring a jersey patch inlayed on floor from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s. Many versions I’ve seen have green jersey on green floor, but this one is gold on green and looks amazing. I also found a Topps 1st Edition LeBron Rookie that wasn’t even in a penny sleeve.
My favorite card is tough, I’ll have to go with 1999 Skybox Premium Vince Carter Rookie. Hunting for Vince Rookies was how I started and I remember when I pulled this. Great picture, great design, and the shiny gold cursive looks amazing.
6. Do you still buy basketball cards, and if so how do you typically go about buying cards (retail packs at target, online box/case breaks, singles, etc.)?
I have not bought cards since around 2007-2008 for no reason other than life got really, really busy. Prior to doing research about the superfractor, I did pop into a hobby shop to see about grabbing a box; I was thinking about actually getting a nice box of something like Topps Chrome or SP Authentic; and I was shocked to find that Panini has completely taken over. Devastating. I grabbed a box of Hoops Premium Stock but it didn’t have the nostalgia I was looking for.
When I was collecting, I was all about packs and boxes from hobby shops. I was never big on buying singles; I just loved busting packs. This experience may spark my re-entry to the hobby.
7. How old were you when you first got into collecting basketball cards, and was there a particular card, player, or set that got you hooked on the hobby?
I have been into card collecting for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Canada, hockey was front and center and I started with hockey cards. Then Vince Carter happened and I started playing basketball and it pretty much took over every facet of my life. What really got me into the hobby was chasing Vince rookies – I ended with the previously mentioned Skybox Premium, Fleer Ultra and the Topps Finest all pulled after many pack/box purchases.
8. Where do you see the basketball card market five years from now?
I would not be surprised if it continues to grow; breaking packs, chasing singles and amassing personal collections is all so fun. Then you’ve got this whole other side of people looking at cards as an investment and essentially treating them like stocks. I couldn’t believe I was getting ads for companies that sell a service where they advise you what cards to purchase to increase equity.
9. Do you see basketball cards and basketball related NFTs (like NBA Top Shot) coexisting, or do you think cardboard or NFTs will ultimately win out?
Top Shot is actually what prompted me to unearth the LeBron Superfractor. I had seen some things about Top Shot on basketball Instagram pages I follow and a couple of friends jumped into it hard. One of them mentioned the sports card market had also exploded, so I started exploring.
To answer your question, I do see them coexisting. Top shot is neat, but there’s something about a tangible item; something you can hold in your hand, that is really cool. Also, top shot doesn’t offer autos or patches, which is certainly what I loved to chase.
10. What advice or tips would you give someone new to basketball card collecting, or card collecting in general?
Advice I would offer new card collectors is just to enjoy it and be responsible. Busting packs is similar to buying a lottery ticket and can get some people into trouble. The price of cards is bananas right now; if you are going to break boxes or packs, just make sure you can get excited about the cards you get, even if they hold less value than you paid for the pack. Set a budget and stick to it.
11. My last question for you is, was there a question you were hoping I would ask? If so, what was it and how would you answer?
The only other thing I wanted to mention is how many really GREAT people I have met since I posted the picture of the LeBron Superfractor on Reddit. One poster who is very well-connected in the world of big LeBron collectors posted an Instagram story about the LeBron Superfractor and connected me with at least 2-3 people that wanted to make offers (card was already at the auction house).
He was just such a genuine dude, seemed really excited on my behalf; let me bounce some thoughts off him. I’m going to find a way to thank him when this is all said and done. The mega collectors that I spoke with were also very cool. Viewing their collections on Instagram was insane.
And that is a wrap with another fantastic interview. I love the advice provided by this collector and it is so great to hear that this lucky individual was able to connect with some great people involved in very high end basketball card collecting. I hope they get a fantastic price this weekend when the card goes up for auction via Goldin Auctions, and I want to thank this individual for taking the time to answer my many questions!
If you enjoyed reading up on this one collector interview, please check out my interview with fellow blogger Hoops Hobby as well as my interview the two guys that launched the very cool sports card research tool SportsCardPro.
And if you are new to colleting and want to get up to speed quickly with card protection and storage best practices, check out The Ultimate Guide to Protecting and Storing your (Basketball) cards. Best of luck to all you collectors out there, have fun, and please let me know if you pull anything fantastic!