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.

1986 Fleer #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers PSA 9 MINT (3901)
1986 Fleer #1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers PSA 9 MINT (3901) $145.00
Time Remaining: 27d 15h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $145.00
Michael Jordan Star 101 1984-85 XRC BGS 6.5
Michael Jordan Star 101 1984-85 XRC BGS 6.5 $4,500.00
Time Remaining: 28d 5m
Buy It Now for only: $4,500.00
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan PSA 8
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan PSA 8 $3,199.00
Time Remaining: 9d 21h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $3,199.00
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 8!
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 8! $2,348.23 (40 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6h 47m
MICHAEL JORDAN 1985-86 STAR #117 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT FLAWLESS 2ND YR STAR CARD!!
MICHAEL JORDAN 1985-86 STAR #117 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT  FLAWLESS 2ND YR STAR CARD!! $810.00 (15 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 5h 6m
1988 FLEER BASKETBALLL MICHAEL JORDAN #17 PSA 9 MINT
1988 FLEER BASKETBALLL MICHAEL JORDAN #17 PSA 9 MINT $179.00
Time Remaining: 29d 21h 14m
Buy It Now for only: $179.00
1984 Star Slam Dunk #9 Dominique Wilkins BGS 9
1984 Star Slam Dunk #9 Dominique Wilkins BGS 9 $29.99
Time Remaining: 35m
1980 Topps Basketball Larry Bird & Magic Johnson ROOKIE RC PSA 8 NM-MT
1980 Topps Basketball Larry Bird & Magic Johnson ROOKIE RC PSA 8 NM-MT $699.99
Time Remaining: 29d 5h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $699.99
1972 Topps Basketball Julius Erving ROOKIE RC #195 PSA 8 NM-MT Squires 76ers
1972 Topps Basketball Julius Erving ROOKIE RC #195 PSA 8 NM-MT Squires 76ers $503.00 (20 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 13m
1970 Topps Jerry West #160 PSA MINT 9
1970 Topps Jerry West #160 PSA MINT 9 $495.00
Time Remaining: 20d 4h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $495.00
1980 TOPPS LARRY BIRD MAGIC JOHNSON JULIUS ERVING ROOKIE RC BVG BGS 7
1980 TOPPS LARRY BIRD MAGIC JOHNSON JULIUS ERVING ROOKIE RC BVG BGS 7 $269.00
Time Remaining: 6d 4h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $269.00
1980 Topps Basketball Magic Bird Rookie PSA 6 Nice
1980 Topps Basketball Magic Bird Rookie PSA 6 Nice $210.00
Time Remaining: 21d 21h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $210.00
1957/58 TOPPS MAURICE STOKES #42 PSA 7 ROOKIE HOF REGISTRY
1957/58 TOPPS MAURICE STOKES #42  PSA 7 ROOKIE HOF REGISTRY $149.95
Time Remaining: 27d 1h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $149.95
1980/81 Topps Scoring Leader Bird Erving Johnson PSA NM 7 *5474
1980/81 Topps Scoring Leader Bird Erving Johnson PSA NM 7 *5474 $309.00
Time Remaining: 28d 17h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $309.00
1986 FLEER CHARLES BARKLEY PSA 10 GEM MINT
1986 FLEER CHARLES BARKLEY PSA 10 GEM MINT $2,400.00
Time Remaining: 27d 20h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $2,400.00
1986-87 1986 Fleer MICHAEL JORDAN Rookie PSA 8 Chicago Bulls
1986-87 1986 Fleer MICHAEL JORDAN Rookie PSA 8 Chicago Bulls $3,699.99
Time Remaining: 28d 25m
Buy It Now for only: $3,699.99
Oscar Robertson Milwaukee Bucks HOF 1972 Topps #15 PSA 9 Mint
Oscar Robertson Milwaukee Bucks HOF 1972 Topps #15 PSA 9 Mint $349.00
Time Remaining: 1d 18h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $349.00
1986-87 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN STICKER BGS 6.5 W/8.5 EX-MT+ RC SHARP EDGES PSA HOF
1986-87 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN STICKER BGS 6.5 W/8.5 EX-MT+ RC SHARP EDGES PSA HOF $375.00
Time Remaining: 6d 19h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $375.00
1986 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC BGS 7
1986 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC BGS 7 $1,804.99
Time Remaining: 29d 17h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $1,804.99
1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC #57 Rookie Graded BGS 8.5 Basketball Card 86/87
1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC #57 Rookie Graded BGS 8.5 Basketball Card 86/87 $2,300.00 (12 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2h 47m

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