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 big money, but there are probably more collectors that want the Mikan cards than the full 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.  As these are bread labels there will be very few in high grade, but when they do appear in as-new condition they go for strong 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.

Michael 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.

Fleer Jordan rookie cards have been rising in value on a steady basis despite tens of thousands in the market or in personal collections. High-grade Jordan cards have proven to be very good investments.

However, collectors can actually open more recent packs and find expensive Jordan cards, too. One example of this was his Fleer Retro autographed 1997-98 E-X 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 Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rookie card--which also includes Julius Erving from the 1980-81 Topps set 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 high grade rookie cards of the game’s greatest icons.

WILT CHAMBERLAIN 1961-62 FLEER ROOKIE RC #8 PSA EX 5 PHILADELPHIA WARRIORS
WILT CHAMBERLAIN 1961-62 FLEER ROOKIE RC #8 PSA EX 5 PHILADELPHIA WARRIORS $1,011.99
Time Remaining: 28d 19h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $1,011.99
1961-62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlin Rookie - PSA 6 - EX/MT - PSA 7? Beautiful card!
1961-62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlin Rookie - PSA 6 - EX/MT - PSA 7? Beautiful card! $1,595.00
Time Remaining: 15d 10h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $1,595.00
1980 Topps Larry Bird / Magic Johnson Rookie PSA 6
1980 Topps Larry Bird / Magic Johnson Rookie PSA 6 $245.00
Time Remaining: 29d 2h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $245.00
PSA 8 Larry Bird Julius Erving Earvin Magic Johnson 1980-81 Topps Rookie Card
PSA 8 Larry Bird Julius Erving Earvin Magic Johnson 1980-81 Topps Rookie Card $778.00
Time Remaining: 27d 13h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $778.00
1986 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN #57 ROOKIE PSA 8 NM/MT
1986 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN #57 ROOKIE  PSA 8 NM/MT $1,650.00
Time Remaining: 27d 10h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $1,650.00
1969 TOPPS LEW ALCINDOR ROOKIE CARD PSA-4
1969 TOPPS LEW ALCINDOR ROOKIE CARD PSA-4 $182.00 (45 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 27m
1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson Rookie SGC 60 = 5
1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson Rookie SGC 60 = 5 $309.00
Time Remaining: 22d 5h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $309.00
Michael Jordan 1985 Prism / Jewel Sticker BGS 8.5 NM-MT +
Michael Jordan 1985 Prism / Jewel Sticker BGS 8.5 NM-MT + $1,525.00 (15 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 5m
1961 Fleer #3 Elgin Baylor Rookie PSA 6
1961 Fleer #3 Elgin Baylor Rookie PSA 6 $269.00
Time Remaining: 26d 3h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $269.00
1986-87 Fleer #32 Patrick Ewing Rc BGS 9 Mint
1986-87 Fleer #32 Patrick Ewing Rc BGS 9 Mint $149.98
Time Remaining: 28d 4h 11m
Buy It Now for only: $149.98
1980 Topps Magic Johnson RC / Larry Bird RC / Julius Erving Scoring Leader PSA 6
1980 Topps Magic Johnson RC / Larry Bird RC / Julius Erving Scoring Leader PSA 6 $250.00
Time Remaining: 26d 8h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $250.00
1986 FLEER BASKETBALL COMPLETE SET ALL PSA, JORDAN ROOKIE PSA 7, PSA7-79/PSA8-53
1986 FLEER BASKETBALL COMPLETE SET ALL PSA, JORDAN ROOKIE PSA 7, PSA7-79/PSA8-53 $3,699.00
Time Remaining: 29d 18h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $3,699.00
1985 STAR GATORADE SLAM DUNK MICHAEL JORDAN #7 BGS 8 NM/MT BULLS W/9
1985 STAR GATORADE SLAM DUNK MICHAEL JORDAN #7 BGS 8 NM/MT BULLS W/9 $323.00
Time Remaining: 28d 23h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $323.00
1969 TOPPS BASKETBALL COMPLETE SET 99/99 Mid To High Grade With 27 PSA Graded!!
1969 TOPPS BASKETBALL COMPLETE SET 99/99 Mid To High Grade With 27 PSA Graded!! $599.00
Time Remaining: 8h 49m
1988/89 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan PSA MINT 9 *7073
1988/89 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan PSA MINT 9 *7073 $99.00
Time Remaining: 27d 3h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $99.00
1970-71 TOPPS #24 CHECKLIST 1-110 NM-MT PSA 8
1970-71 TOPPS #24 CHECKLIST 1-110 NM-MT PSA 8 $24.99
Time Remaining: 7h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $70.00
1957 Topps BILL RUSSELL #77 HOF PSA 1
1957 Topps BILL RUSSELL #77 HOF PSA 1 $579.00
Time Remaining: 9d 8h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $579.00
1969 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR RC HOF PSA 5 K2369765-550
1969 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR RC HOF PSA 5 K2369765-550 $374.99
Time Remaining: 26d 1h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $374.99
1980 Topps Bird Erving Johnson PSA 6 (Sharp Corners) -6094
1980 Topps Bird Erving Johnson PSA 6 (Sharp Corners) -6094 $234.00
Time Remaining: 27d 9h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $234.00
1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie PSA 4
1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie PSA 4 $845.00
Time Remaining: 22d 5h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $845.00

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