In this week’s edition of The Curator we’ll continue highlighting a variety of rare LeBron James issues ending on PWCC tonight. This includes inserts and parallels from popular sets like Topps Chrome, and lesser-known sets like Fleer Showcase. With that being said, let’s jump right into the headliners:
2004 Topps Pristine Refractor LeBron James /25 #23 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
Early career LeBron James cards with such limited print runs do not surface often. This 2004 Topps Pristine Refractor is numbered to just 25 and features LeBron in his signature fadeaway jump shot pose against a clean white and team color background. Not only is this card rare, but it also received a Gem Mint 9.5 grade from BGS.
2005 Finest Gold Refractor LeBron James /39 #85 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
Over the past few years, the hobby has become infatuated with gold parallels. A combination of serial numbered rarity, eye appeal, and a high-end aura have helped gold parallels shatter pricing records. This 2005 Finest Gold Refractor is one of LeBron James’s earliest gold parallel cards and is numbered to just 39.
2006 Fleer E-X Essential Credentials Future LeBron James /75 #6 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
The 2006 NBA season saw LeBron James reach the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. This E-X Credentials insert from that same year perfectly encapsulates LeBron’s season, showcasing a young “King James” throwing down a powerful dunk. This card is limited to 75 copies and received a Gem Mint 9.5 grade from BGS.
1996 Finest Gold Refractor Michael Jordan #291 PSA 10 GEM MINT
In 1996, Topps changed the format of the popular Finest set by introducing common (Bronze), uncommon (Silver), and rare (Gold) themed cards. Gold Refractors were considered a case hit and were found just once in every 288 packs. This Michael Jordan is naturally one of the major chases in the set. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, this card is part of a population of 21 copies.
2007 Topps Chrome Refractor Kevin Durant ROOKIE RC /1499 #131 PSA 10 GEM MINT
Kevin Durant’s most iconic rookie card. Topps Chrome was synonymous with basketball cards from the 90s through the late 2000s. The 2007 version of the set featured Refractors serial numbered to 1499 as one of the main chases. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, this card is part of a population of 189 copies.
2009 Topps Chrome Refractor LeBron James /500 #16 PSA 10 GEM MINT
2009 was the final year of the flagship Topps basketball product. Panini was slated to take over the NBA license shortly after release, which actually helped make this set shorter printed than in previous seasons. Chrome Refractors like this LeBron James were limited to 500 rather than 1499. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, this card is part of a population of just 12 copies.
2008 Topps Chrome Orange Refractor LeBron James /499 #23 PSA 10 GEM MINT
One of the most iconic LeBron James Topps Chrome issues. The 2008 Topps Chrome set is widely regarded as having the best photography in the set’s history, and this card is no exception. This Orange Refractor is serial numbered to 499, and in PSA 10 condition it is part of a population of 40.
2003 Topps Pristine Refractor LeBron James ROOKIE RC /1999 #101 PSA 10 GEM MINT
2003 Topps Pristine was a unique product featuring uncirculated cards, relics, press plates, and of course LeBron James rookie cards. This refractor limited to 1999 copies is a classic LeBron James rookie issue. In PSA 10 condition, this card is part of a population of 197.
2004 Topps Chrome Refractor LeBron James #23 PSA 10 GEM MINT
Another iconic LeBron James Topps Chrome issue. 2004 features a photo of LeBron from his rookie season throwing down a reverse dunk. Although the Refractor cards in the 2004 Topps Chrome set are not numbered, in PSA 10 condition this card is one of only 59 graded by PSA.
2006 Topps Chrome Refractor LeBron James #67 PSA 10 GEM MINT
Another Topps Chrome release, and another classic photo of LeBron James going up for a dunk. Ironically, this card shows LeBron dunking over the Miami Heat franchise that he would later lead to two NBA titles. One of the most difficult LeBron Topps Chrome Refractors to find in Gem Mint condition, this is one of only 18 graded by PSA.
2004 Fleer Showcase Hot Hands Die-Cut LeBron James #3 PSA 8 NM-MT
The Fleer Showcase set hasn’t been released in nearly two decades, but the product left us with some great looking insert cards. In 2004, the Hot Hands insert was one of the hardest to pull, showing up once every 192 packs. Given the die-cut nature of the card, grading is extremely difficult. This copy is the only to receive a PSA 8 grade, and there are only two graded higher.
2018 Panini Revolution Galactic LeBron James #40 PSA 10 GEM MINT
2018 marked LeBron James’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. While not always smooth sailing, LeBron was able to lead the Lakers to their 15th NBA title in the 2020 “bubble”. The Galactic parallel from Revolution has a niche following in the hobby due to its rarity and amazing eye appeal in-person. In PSA 10 condition, this card is part of a population of just four.