In 2013, LeBron James will be celebrating his tenth year of working with sports memorabilia and trading card company Upper Deck. Since joining Upper Deck to be an exclusive signer (no other company can sell trading cards and memorabilia with authentic LeBron autographs) in 2003, James has made hobby history with the company, producing some of the most desirable – and expensive – trading cards ever in that span. Ever thought you’d pay more than $12,000 to own James’ best rookie card? Upper Deck and their innovative printing technology and breathtaking designs – not to mention gutsy business decision to insert them in $500 packs – made that happen.
Upper Deck’s goal has been to bring fans as close to the game and LeBron as possible without the need for a restraining order. Not only are autographs with James in high demand, but so are his game-worn gear. While fans have been able to pull trading cards embedded with jerseys worn by LeBron for years, Upper Deck recently started up a program for those collectors looking for a little bit more.
Last year, Upper Deck instituted what is called the “Suite 1-of-1” program that is dedicated to only the most hardcore and opulent of collectors. Featuring unique memorabilia ranging from Tiger Woods Nike shirts to fully functional Jordan Motorsports vehicles, these items are not for the kid that likes to pick up a pack or two at Target on the way to the checkout stand.
For the LeBron collector that can afford the “Suite 1-of-1” offerings, Upper Deck has made available original paintings used in actual trading cards signed by James himself. For example, they are currently selling a painting of LeBron depicting him in his infamous “Decision” attire. The price tag for the piece, which includes LeBron’s signature? A measly $5,000.00.
But what about the sneakerhead who wants trump their buddies with some exclusive LeBron heat but has never heard about Upper Deck? Well, they have that covered now.
During James’ infamous first season with the Miami Heat, he partnered up with Upper Deck to make some of his game-worn kicks available to the public. Signed by James along with an inscription about the game, Upper Deck sold the shoes through their online store and promptly sold most of them. While a majority of the shoes featured here are exclusive Nike LeBron 8 player exclusives, there are a few surprises that are sure to raise some eyebrows.