Rare Kobe Bryant rookie card sells for $1.795 million

A Kobe Bryant rookie card sold for $1,795,800 at auction on Saturday, the most expensive for a card of the Lakers legend

Los Angeles Lakers - Kobe Bryant   -  Reuters

A flawless Kobe Bryant rookie card, considered "one of the rarest in existence," according to Goldin Auctions, has sold to an anonymous buyer for $1.795 million.

The Topps trading card is one of just two in the world considered to be in "black label pristine condition," the auction house said, and is the most expensive Kobe Bryant card ever sold.

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) champion died a little over a year ago in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and seven others at the age of 41, shocking the world of sport and sending fans of the Los Angeles Lakers star into mourning.

"The fact that it sold for the final auction price of $1.795 million, the all-time record for any Kobe Bryant card, speaks to just how beloved he was around the world," said Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin.

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The 18-time NBA All-Star retired from the league in 2016 after one of the most decorated careers in basketball history, and is the NBA's fourth all-time leading scorer.

Basketball rookie cards, which are often coveted by collectors, are trading cards that are the first to feature an athlete after they reach the professional ranks.