Most Expensive Basketball Cards

Basketball card collectors will spend big to secure two types of rare cards, vintage cards in perfect condition and low-numbered modern cards of NBA superstars. A list of the most expensive basketball cards usually involves both. At the top of the list is the first true pro basketball superstar.

George Mikan rookie cards and other rarities picturing the former Minneapolis Lakers sensation command some of the biggest prices. In December of 2009, one of his cards sold for $218,550 at a Memory Lane Inc. auction. Not only was it his rookie card, but it was in the same condition it was when it was made. The card was the 1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan, with a grade of PSA GEM MINT 10. Any Mikan rookie is valuable, and on eBay his rookie card with a grade of PSA EX-MT 6 sold recently for $3,063.23.

Any complete sets that have a Mikan card go for high prices, but there are probably more collectors that want the Mikan cards than the complete sets. Not only was Mikan in 1948 Bowman but in 1948-49 Exhibits Sports Champions, 1948 Kellogg's and 1950-51 Bread For Health and 1951 Bread For Energy. Christie's sold a Bread For Energy Mikan for $2,420. As these are bread labels there will be very few with a high grading, but when they do appear in as-new condition they go for high prices. Two Bread For Health Mikans sold in 2012 with low grades. A George Mikan graded SGC 20 FAIR 1.5 sold for $1,279.25 at a Mile High Card Company auction and another sold at SCP Auctions, that was graded SGC FAIR 20 and sold for $1,172.00.

Jordan cards can obtain high prices. Selling for $13,000 on eBay in 2012 was his 1984-85 Star #101 extended rookie card, with a grade of BGS 9 MINT. That card and his Fleer 1986-87 rookie card often have the highest values. But collectors can actually open this year's packs and find expensive Jordan cards.

A recent example of this was his Fleer Retro autographed 1997-98 E-X EX Jambalaya Buyback. The bidding went up to $29,299.69 in the fall of 2012, as this card is a 1 of 1. Buyback cards should continue to bring strong prices, especially Jordan cards like his 2001-02 Ultimate Collection Buybacks. Michael Jordan autographed older Upper Deck cards, and these along with an accompanying certificate were in the Ultimate Collection packs. There are 1 of 1 cards, and others with only two or three ever made.

There are also graded rookie cards of Chamberlain, West, Russell and other superstars that go for  hundreds--sometimes a few thousand dollars in ultra high grade. A 1980 Topps #16 Larry Bird and Magic Johnson rookie card--which also includes Julius Erving was graded PSA 10 GEM MINT and sold for $16,000.  PSA 7 examples sell for around $175 with 8's at about $400-500.

The most expensive basketball cards typically involve rookie cards of the game’s greatest icons.

1986-87 Fleer Basketball #32 Patrick Ewing Rookie RC Knicks BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #32 Patrick Ewing Rookie RC Knicks BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5 $66.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 22m
1969-70 Topps #99 Basketball Checklist 1-99 Unmarked VG+ BVG 3.5
1969-70 Topps #99 Basketball Checklist 1-99  Unmarked  VG+  BVG  3.5 $58.05
Time Remaining: 24d 18h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $58.05
1957 Topps Basketball #41 Joe Graboski Philadelphia Warriors PSA 6 EX-MT
1957 Topps Basketball #41 Joe Graboski Philadelphia Warriors PSA 6 EX-MT $22.52 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 32m
ADRIAN SMITH-1969 TOPPS-# 97-CINCINNATI ROYALS-PSA EX-5 NQ
ADRIAN SMITH-1969 TOPPS-# 97-CINCINNATI ROYALS-PSA EX-5 NQ $9.50
Time Remaining: 29d 6h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $9.50
1957 Topps Basketball #34 Woody Sauldsberry Warriors PSA 8 NM-MT (OC)
1957 Topps Basketball #34 Woody Sauldsberry Warriors PSA 8 NM-MT (OC) $11.63 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 32m
1957 Topps Basketball #18 Larry Foust Minneapolis Lakers PSA 8 NM-MT (OC)
1957 Topps Basketball #18 Larry Foust Minneapolis Lakers PSA 8 NM-MT (OC) $18.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 32m
1993 Hoops Michael Jordan #28 basketball PSA GEM MINT 10
1993 Hoops Michael Jordan #28 basketball PSA GEM MINT 10 $12.59
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $12.59
1957 Topps Basketball #71 Jack Twyman Cincinnati Royals PSA 5 EX
1957 Topps Basketball #71 Jack Twyman Cincinnati Royals PSA 5 EX $36.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 32m
1985 Star Crunch N Munch Michael Jordan #4 BGS 9 mint gem 9.5 centering rare
1985 Star Crunch N Munch Michael Jordan #4 BGS 9 mint gem 9.5 centering rare $599.99
Time Remaining: 6h 22m
1993 Topps Finest Larry Bird #2 PSA 10
1993 Topps Finest Larry Bird #2  PSA 10 $20.00
Time Remaining: 26d 7h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $20.00
1986 Fleer Mark Eaton PSA 9
1986 Fleer Mark Eaton PSA 9 $9.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 8h 23m
1961 Fleer#18 Cliff Hagan PSA 8 NM-MT - SUPER SHARP!
1961 Fleer#18 Cliff Hagan PSA 8 NM-MT -  SUPER SHARP! $77.77 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 9h 23m
1972 TOPPS BASKETBALL #177 ROLAND TAYLOR VIRGINIA SQUIRES PSA 5 EX
1972 TOPPS BASKETBALL #177 ROLAND TAYLOR VIRGINIA SQUIRES PSA 5 EX $4.00
Time Remaining: 29d 7h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $4.00
1993 CME DOG TAGS Michael Jordan Prototype SAMPLE Proof RARE Pro Mags BGS 8.5 10
1993 CME DOG TAGS Michael Jordan Prototype SAMPLE Proof RARE Pro Mags BGS 8.5 10 $17.23 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 28m
1985 Star Michael Jordan OLY #195 BGS 6
1985 Star Michael Jordan OLY #195 BGS 6 $149.00
Time Remaining: 10h 34m
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Card BVG 1
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Card BVG 1 $179.99
Time Remaining: 29d 9h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $179.99
1988 Fleer Dominique Wilkins PSA 9 Mint #5 Atlanta Hawks Basketball Card
1988 Fleer Dominique Wilkins PSA 9 Mint #5 Atlanta Hawks Basketball Card $4.99
Time Remaining: 10h 55m
1988 Fleer All-Star Dominique Wilkins PSA 9 Mint #125 Atlanta Hawks Basktball
1988 Fleer All-Star Dominique Wilkins PSA 9 Mint #125 Atlanta Hawks Basktball $4.99
Time Remaining: 10h 56m
1957-58 Topps # 25 Jim Krebs Rookie Lakers PSA 5
1957-58 Topps # 25 Jim Krebs Rookie Lakers PSA 5 $25.00
Time Remaining: 13h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
1988-89 Fleer Scottie Pippen Rookie UER BGS 8 (8, 9, 8.5, 8) Nice Subs! Error
1988-89 Fleer Scottie Pippen Rookie UER BGS 8 (8, 9, 8.5, 8) Nice Subs! Error $9.99
Time Remaining: 11h 12m

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