Saturday, September 12, 2020

My biggest trade ever

Regular readers might remember a post, a little over a month ago, where I posted about outrageous prices that modern basketball cards were going for.  Not a very original post, that concept has been all over the blogs.  But in that post, I mentioned that I had a copy of the card below, a 08/09 Radiance LeBron James.

Not a pic of the card actual I owned, I got this off Ebay

It is a pretty sweet card, looks beautiful.  Sort of low numbered too.  My point, at the time, was that it and many like it are going for what I consider INSANE prices.  Insane.  Prices.

A graded 9.5 copy of this card sold for $1111 recently.  I did not miss the decimal point, Eleven Hundred Dollars.

Mine was not graded.  I looked it over, but not being a grader, I wasn't sure what it would end up getting from a grading company.  One of the corners looked slightly fuzzy to me. Not super sure.

Well, to make a long story short, I ended up trading the card, not grading it and selling.  As with any trade of this magnitude, I am sure that there are people out there who would think that I did quite well, and others who think I was taken like a fool.

Personally, I feel pretty good about the trade. Even if it is possible that I could have gotten more, I am happy with what I got, since I could never hope to get this card any other way.  So without further ado, here is what I traded the LeBron for...


What a beautiful card!!  It looks like at least a 6.5 to me.  As if I cared, really.

In all honesty, I kind of hope that LeBron goes and wins the championship and the guy I traded with makes a mint off of the LeBron.  He is definitely in it to sell the thing.  I never want someone who I trade with to feel ripped off, so I wish him well.  And even if that happens, I'm super happy with a real vintage card that I never hoped to own!

Now some of the reasons I was very willing to make the trade.  First, There just aren't that many of this Clemente card around.  Are there less than the 299 copies of the LeBron?  Of course not, there are many, many more than that.  But the LeBron suffers from what I think of as fake scarcity.  How many different LeBron's are out there numbered to 299 or less?  Hundreds for sure.  And it is a beautiful card, but will it ever achieve the iconic status of a 56 Topps HOFer?  Not to me.  I think it will be drowned in a sea of shiny LeBron cards as the card companies continue to try to outdo each other.

So I will miss the LeBron.  But not as much as I will enjoy the Clemente!!  And I think this clarifies for me, that I would always be willing to trade pretty much any card, if the price is right.  I wonder what I  could get for the Clemente??  


  1. Great card, and a great trade! I'd choose the '56 Clemente over any modern insert, even something as nice as that LeBron.

  2. You totally ripped him off. And I'm not just saying that because I need that Clemente!

    1. You know, I am feeling that way more and more. The only way this turns out bad for me is IF he gets the Lebron graded and IF it comes back with a high grade and IF, in the 6 months it is going to take to do that, the basketball market stays as incredibly bloated high as it is now. And that's a lot of IFs.

      Plus, I get to enjoy the Clemente now.

    2. Well, I look at it this way. In the short run, I wouldn't be surprised if the LeBron goes up. But in the long run, who knows whether collectors down the road will be motivated to make sure they have all the LeBron SN inserts and such? But as long as there are card collectors, a 1950s card of a Hall of Famer from a classic set like that is always going to be very much sought-after.

      Besides, if you weren't going to sell that and you aren't going to sell this, then really all that matters is that you're happy with the card.

  3. Sweet trade! I'd take the Clemente over that Lebron any day of the week. The whole basketball craze blows me away, but my buddy is a big basketball guy and he tells me that there are tons of guys in China and Japan with deep pockets who collect Jordan, Kobe, and Lebron... which explains why you were able to get such a sweet card for this modern day piece of cardboard. Congratulations!

    1. That 'foreign money' idea is one of the few that really make a lot of sense to me for the huge increases we have seen. Interesting!

  4. Not only is there false scarcity attached to the LeBron card, but there's also a lot of false hype as well. All of the "influencers" have been telling people to invest in him over the last couple of months, and like the good sheep that most of them are, their dropping serious money on all of his cards. And no, we don't want Queen James to win a title this year. It would be much better if the Lakers under perform for another season or two, and then he ditches them to go glam on to another "star", so that they can carry him to another ring (he's made a career of that).

    Good trade on your part, if that Clemente was high on my list of wants, I probably would've done the same.

    1. Yeah, you make solid points about Lebron. And you make me happy that I don't know any of the 'influencers'!