Even though Serena Williams hasn’t played for more than two months, she continues to break records. This time off the court.
An autographed Serena Williams rookie card printed in 2003 has become the most expensive women’s sports card after fetching $44,280 at auction last weekend, New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions said.
The previous record was $34,440 for a rookie card of former U.S. soccer player Mia Hamm sold in June.
ESPN reported the Williams card was bought by alternative-asset trading platform Alt on behalf of a private client.
“People are accepting women’s trading cards as collectables,” ESPN quoted Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin as saying.
“We’ve seen that gradually increase over the past three years, with a heavy increase in the second half of 2020 up through 2021.
“On forum boards and social media, I see people looking for women’s sports cards.”
The 40-year-old Williams, who is still hunting a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, has not competed since limping out of her first-round match at Wimbledon in August.
“The effect you have with Serena is that there are a lot of people putting together GOAT collections,” Goldin said.
“They want Pele, Ali, Jordan, Tiger, Brady … and they include Serena. I think that’s the single biggest impact that is lifting her cards above all other women athletes.”
Though the Serena Williams card went for a record price there is still a huge disparity between male and female sporting icons.
A 2003-04 LeBron James rookie patch autograph card sold for $2.46 million at the same auction.
“Of course, there’s still a long way to go (in terms of gender disparity),” Goldin said.
“I believe it will (get crazier) for Serena. We’re gonna have new women’s tennis product come out, I think that’s a 100% lock.”