Sporting memorabilia gains value over time, so it's unusual for a new item to incite much ardour.

Often the older pieces fetch the big prices, such as a 1920s Babe Ruth Jersey which is now valued at $NZ6million.

However, a one-of-a-kind LeBron James rookie trading card is expected to sell at auction for some mind-blowing cash.

Described as "the most valuable and coveted LeBron James card in the world," bidding on the 2003-04 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection is already up to $NZ89,000 with less than 12 days remaining.


The auction sites estimates a final winning bid of $270,000 or more.

"It's sort of like finding Willy Wonka's golden ticket," sports memorabilia expert Ken Goldin told's Joe Noga. "It really is the Holy Grail of modern trading cards."

The collectible is autographed by James himself and features a game-worn jersey patch.

To compare, James' game-worn jersey from game one of the 2016 NBA Finals is currently selling for $72,000 on NBA Auctions.

Decades from now, this card could go down at this era's version of the T206 Honus Wagner collectible, which sold for just under $3million.