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.

1993-94 Fleer Ultra Scoring Kings MICHAEL JORDAN BGS 9.5
1993-94 Fleer Ultra Scoring Kings MICHAEL JORDAN BGS 9.5 $432.20 (18 Bids)
Time Remaining: 40m
1986 Fleer Stcker # 5 Julius Erving BGS 8
1986 Fleer Stcker # 5 Julius Erving BGS  8 $18.95
Time Remaining: 29d 3h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $18.95
1988 Fleer Michael Jordan #17 PSA 9
1988 Fleer Michael Jordan #17 PSA 9 $30.76 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 8m
1986-87 Fleer #17 Michael Cooper ALL BGS 9 (No 8.5 Subgrades)
1986-87 Fleer #17 Michael Cooper ALL BGS 9 (No 8.5 Subgrades) $35.00
Time Remaining: 29d 13h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $35.00
1970 Topps Basketball NBA FT PCT Leaders #4 PSA 8 SP
1970 Topps Basketball NBA FT PCT Leaders #4 PSA 8 SP $435.00 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3h 46m
1970 Topps Basketball Lou Hudson #30 PSA 9 MINT
1970 Topps Basketball Lou Hudson #30 PSA 9 MINT $39.95
Time Remaining: 3h 46m
1986 FLEER #103 DEREK SMITH CLIPPERS PSA 9 K1723323-285
1986 FLEER #103 DEREK SMITH CLIPPERS PSA 9 K1723323-285 $6.99
Time Remaining: 29d 22h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $6.99
1986 Fleer Basketball Terry Cummings #20 PSA 10 MINT
1986 Fleer Basketball Terry Cummings #20 PSA 10 MINT $64.95
Time Remaining: 3h 47m
1986-87 Fleer #7 Charles Barkley RC ROOKIE CARD GRADED PSA 8 NM-MT 76ERS
1986-87 Fleer #7 Charles Barkley RC ROOKIE CARD GRADED PSA 8 NM-MT 76ERS $45.00 (12 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4h 26m
1961/62 Fleer #58 Clyde Lovellette In Action PSA NM 7 *9104
1961/62 Fleer #58 Clyde Lovellette In Action PSA NM 7 *9104 $39.00
Time Remaining: 27d 6h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $39.00
Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie Psa
Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie Psa $290.00 (21 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 39m
LARRY BIRD-HOF-1988 FLEER-# 9-BOSTON CELTICS-PSA NM/MT-8 NQ
LARRY BIRD-HOF-1988 FLEER-# 9-BOSTON CELTICS-PSA NM/MT-8 NQ $1.29 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 46m
1972 Topps Basketball #1 Wilt Chamberlain Lakers PSA 8 NM-MT
1972 Topps Basketball #1 Wilt Chamberlain Lakers PSA 8 NM-MT $75.00
Time Remaining: 9d 10h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
1986- 87 FLEER BASKETBALL 7 CARD LOT PSA 8 AND 8.5
1986- 87 FLEER BASKETBALL 7 CARD LOT PSA 8 AND 8.5 $42.00 (18 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 56m
1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan Sticker #7 BGS 6.5 (6, 8.5, 8, 6.5)
1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan Sticker #7 BGS 6.5 (6, 8.5, 8, 6.5) $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 11h 14m
1986 Fleer #4 Danny Ainge Celtics PSA 10 GEM MINT (4333)
1986 Fleer #4 Danny Ainge Celtics PSA 10 GEM MINT (4333) $120.00
Time Remaining: 29d 4h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $120.00
1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 ROOKIE PSA 8 NEAR MINT-MINT Chicago Bulls
1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 ROOKIE PSA 8 NEAR MINT-MINT Chicago Bulls $950.00 (20 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 24m
1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan #120 AS All Star BGS 8.5 (8, 9, 9, 9.5)
1988-89 Fleer Michael Jordan #120 AS All Star BGS 8.5 (8, 9, 9, 9.5) $5.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 33m
1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie RC #57 PSA 9 Mint
1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie RC #57 PSA 9 Mint $2,595.00
Time Remaining: 27d 20m
Buy It Now for only: $2,595.00
1980-81 Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Topps ROOKIE #6 BGS 8 NEAR MINT/MINT HOF
1980-81 Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Topps ROOKIE #6 BGS 8 NEAR MINT/MINT HOF $300.00 (18 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 45m

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