Population two!

    1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant Refractor #138 Beckett Black Label Pristine 10. Just eighteen years old and fresh out of high school, Kobe (along with Kevin Garnett) pioneered the new NBA trend of skipping college en route to professional domination, paving a path for the likes of LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady. It's hard to believe that two decades have passed since that auspicious debut, and now all that's left to add to the five Championship rings and eighteen All-Star jerseys in Kobe's resume is an inevitable Hall of Fame plaque.

    Much like the man it honors, the presented trading card finds itself nearly unequaled in competitive excellence, one of only two representations to achieve the nearly impossible full house of four perfect 10 subgrades for centering, corners, edges and surfaces. If you've never seen a Beckett black label before, there's good reason--only in this rarest of occurrences is that deviation from standard white utilized.

    And as tough as it is to earn straight tens from the hobby's most respected modern card authority, the degree of difficulty is amplified considerably by the delicate nature of the rare Refractor variation, a card treatment that is particularly susceptible to wear. In order to provide a sense of proportionality, we remind collectors that three Gem Mint 10 examples of Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps rookie appear on the PSA population report, while this Kobe is one of two on Beckett's.

    Thus the natural inclination is to consider past as prologue, to imagine that Kobe's top rookie might follow the same course as Mickey's has blazed in years to come. Certainly the Mick's Gem Mint examples would soar past a million dollars at auction today without breaking a sweat.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
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