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.

1972 TOPPS JULIUS IRVING ROOKIE #195 BASKETBALL CARD PSA 6
1972 TOPPS JULIUS IRVING ROOKIE #195 BASKETBALL CARD PSA 6 $149.95
Time Remaining: 7h 55m
1996-97 fleer decade (1986) MICHAEL JORDAN rookie BGS BCCG 10 **
1996-97 fleer decade (1986) MICHAEL JORDAN rookie BGS BCCG 10 ** $49.00
Time Remaining: 15d 12h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
1986 FLEER # 23 WALTER DAVIS PSA 10 LOW POP
1986 FLEER # 23 WALTER DAVIS PSA 10 LOW POP $69.99
Time Remaining: 9h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
1972 TOPPS BASKETBALL #195 JULIUS ERVING RC PSA 7!!
1972 TOPPS BASKETBALL #195 JULIUS ERVING RC PSA 7!! $225.00
Time Remaining: 28d 22h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $225.00
1986 FLEER BASKETBALL # 66 MAURICE LUCAS PSA 9 MINT TOUGH CENTERED LOW POP
1986 FLEER BASKETBALL # 66 MAURICE LUCAS  PSA 9 MINT  TOUGH CENTERED LOW POP $89.99
Time Remaining: 9h 43m
1980-81 Topps #34 (Bird/Erving/Johnson) ROOKIE, BVG-6
1980-81 Topps #34 (Bird/Erving/Johnson) ROOKIE, BVG-6 $170.00
Time Remaining: 11h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $225.00
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER 57 RC + 1986 FLEER STICKER 8-- BOTH PSA 8.5 NM-MT!
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER 57 RC + 1986 FLEER STICKER 8-- BOTH PSA 8.5 NM-MT! $1,999.99
Time Remaining: 29d 20h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $1,999.99
1986 Fleer Chris Mullin #77 PSA 9 (OC) Rookie
1986 Fleer Chris Mullin #77 PSA 9 (OC) Rookie $9.99
Time Remaining: 13h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
1969-70 Topps Len Wilkens card #44 ~ PSA 5 ~ HOF
1969-70 Topps Len Wilkens card #44 ~ PSA 5 ~ HOF $0.99
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $7.99
1961 Fleer #008 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie SGC 20 = 1.5
1961 Fleer #008 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie SGC 20 = 1.5 $339.00
Time Remaining: 29d 5h
Buy It Now for only: $339.00
1961 - 1962 Bill Russell Fleer #62 Boston Celtics graded BVG 4.5
1961 - 1962 Bill Russell Fleer #62 Boston Celtics graded BVG 4.5 $73.99
Time Remaining: 1d 4h 39m
1986 Fleer Bernard King #60 PSA 9
1986 Fleer Bernard King #60 PSA 9 $28.99
Time Remaining: 1d 4h 56m
1986 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN #57 - PSA 7
1986 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN #57 - PSA 7 $799.99
Time Remaining: 2d 12h 8m
Buy It Now for only: $799.99
1993 - 94 Upper Deck MICHAEL JORDAN Mr. June # MJ 4 BGS 9.5 with Rare Pop of 5
1993 - 94 Upper Deck MICHAEL JORDAN Mr. June # MJ 4 BGS 9.5 with Rare Pop of 5 $129.99
Time Remaining: 1d 5h 10m
1993 Topps Finest Refractor Tim Hardaway PSA 10 Warriors Heat LOW POP
1993 Topps Finest Refractor Tim Hardaway PSA 10 Warriors Heat LOW POP $8.39 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 6h 43m
1985-86 Star #2 Michael Jordan All-Rookie First Team RC BGS 8.5 NM-MT+
1985-86 Star #2 Michael Jordan All-Rookie First Team RC BGS 8.5 NM-MT+ $169.99
Time Remaining: 8d 8h 24m
Buy It Now for only: $169.99
1980 Topps Carr Don Buse Elvin Hayes PSA graded near mint 7 card Celtics Suns
1980 Topps Carr Don Buse Elvin Hayes PSA graded near mint 7 card Celtics Suns $0.99
Time Remaining: 1d 7h 44m
Elgin Baylor Fleer 1961 Rookie Card!! BGS PSA
Elgin Baylor Fleer 1961 Rookie Card!! BGS PSA $69.99
Time Remaining: 1d 7h 52m
Buy It Now for only: $99.99
1988 James Donaldson Fleer #29 PSA 10
1988 James Donaldson Fleer #29 PSA 10 $19.99
Time Remaining: 29d 3h 24m
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
1986 86 Fleer Basketball #53 Magic Johnson Card BGS 9
1986 86 Fleer Basketball #53 Magic Johnson Card BGS 9 $22.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 9h 16m

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