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 #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC HOF BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC HOF BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5 $810.00 (25 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 18h 10m
PSA 10 1980 TOPPS BASKETBALL RICHARDSON MIX PARRISH pop 4
PSA 10 1980 TOPPS BASKETBALL RICHARDSON MIX PARRISH pop 4 $649.99
Time Remaining: 1d 13h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $649.99
1961 Fleer Basketball Tom Meschery #31 PSA 7 Near Mint
1961 Fleer Basketball Tom Meschery #31 PSA 7 Near Mint $39.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3h 19m
1957 Topps Basketball #77 Bill Russell Rookie Card PSA 4.5
1957 Topps Basketball #77 Bill Russell Rookie Card PSA 4.5 $1,229.99
Time Remaining: 29d 11h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $1,229.99
1988-89 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen Rookie Card PSA Graded NM-MT 8 (WH)
1988-89 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen Rookie Card PSA Graded NM-MT 8 (WH) $8.25 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 37m
1986 Fleer JOE DUMARS #27 PSA Graded NM-MT 8 Pistons (WH)
1986 Fleer JOE DUMARS #27 PSA Graded NM-MT 8 Pistons (WH) $7.56 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 9h 18m
1971 Topps #47 Dave Cowens PSA 8
1971 Topps #47 Dave Cowens PSA 8 $40.00
Time Remaining: 22d 13h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1986-87 fleer #77 CHRIS MULLIN rc rookie BGS BCCG 9
1986-87 fleer #77 CHRIS MULLIN rc rookie BGS BCCG 9 $17.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 9h 20m
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 9 oc '86-'87
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 9 oc '86-'87 $1,099.99
Time Remaining: 11h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1,449.99
Julius Erving 1986-87 Fleer Card BGS 9 MINT with all 9 subs!!
Julius Erving 1986-87 Fleer Card BGS 9 MINT with all 9 subs!! $40.00
Time Remaining: 28d 14h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1986 Fleer Basketball #26 Clyde Drexler Rookie Card PSA 9
1986 Fleer Basketball #26 Clyde Drexler Rookie Card PSA 9 $49.97 (17 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 38m
1970 Topps #120 Walt Frazier (HOF) Knicks! PSA 7
1970 Topps #120 Walt Frazier (HOF) Knicks! PSA 7 $19.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 13h 13m
1961 Fleer Walter Dukes #11 – PSA 7 (NM)
1961 Fleer Walter Dukes #11 – PSA 7 (NM) $33.00
Time Remaining: 27d 18h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $33.00
1970 Topps #106 Walt Frazier A.S. (HOF) PSA 8
1970 Topps #106 Walt Frazier A.S. (HOF) PSA 8 $24.95 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 13h 13m
1971 Topps Basketball # 55 Pete Maravich PSA 7 NM Near Mint Atlanta Hawks
1971 Topps Basketball # 55 Pete Maravich  PSA 7 NM Near Mint Atlanta Hawks $29.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 14h 58m
1969 -70 TOPPS BASKETBALL HENRY FINKEL # 34 PSA 9
1969 -70 TOPPS BASKETBALL HENRY FINKEL # 34   PSA 9 $104.85
Time Remaining: 29d 17h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $104.85
1961 Fleer #51 Tom Gola IA In Action PSA 8 NM-MT. Centered.
1961 Fleer #51 Tom Gola IA In Action PSA 8 NM-MT. Centered. $24.50 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 15h 26m
1983-84 Star Clyde Drexler XRC/RC BGS 9!
1983-84 Star Clyde Drexler XRC/RC BGS 9! $175.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 16h 4m
1971 Topps Dave Cowens PSA 8 Rookie
1971 Topps Dave Cowens PSA 8 Rookie $49.99
Time Remaining: 29d 17h 10m
Buy It Now for only: $49.99
1961 Fleer Walt Bellamy PSA 6 HOF #4 Hall of Fame Set Break Chicago 61 Rookie IU
1961 Fleer Walt Bellamy PSA 6 HOF #4 Hall of Fame Set Break Chicago 61 Rookie IU $26.11 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 16h 20m

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