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.

1988 FLEER BASKETBALL #17 MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 9 MINT BULLS
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL #17 MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 9 MINT BULLS $28.00 (13 Bids)
Time Remaining: 47m
1986 Star Michael Jordan #7 Career Highlights Bgs 9 Mint Mt W/ 2 9.5
1986 Star Michael Jordan #7 Career Highlights Bgs 9 Mint Mt W/ 2 9.5 $124.99
Time Remaining: 6d 23h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $124.99
1988 Fleer sticker Michael Jordan PSA 8
1988 Fleer sticker Michael Jordan PSA 8 $1.04 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 47m
Nice 1980-81 Basketball card #94 -Bird/Cartwright/Drew- BVG 9
Nice 1980-81 Basketball card #94 -Bird/Cartwright/Drew- BVG 9 $75.33
Time Remaining: 28d 22h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $75.33
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Michael Jordan Sticker on Back PSA 8
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Michael Jordan Sticker on Back PSA 8 $47.62 (17 Bids)
Time Remaining: 49m
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack PSA 9 Mint possible Michael Jordan
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack PSA 9 Mint possible Michael Jordan $28.62 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 51m
1985 Star #1 Michael Jordan Last 11 Rookie of the Years BGS 9 Mint
1985 Star #1 Michael Jordan Last 11 Rookie of the Years BGS 9 Mint $219.99
Time Remaining: 9d 4h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $219.99
1969 Topps # 25 Lew Alcindor *RC **50/50 CENTERED PSA 8
1969 Topps # 25 Lew Alcindor *RC **50/50 CENTERED PSA 8 $2,299.99
Time Remaining: 1h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $2,990.00
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT BILL CARTWRIGHT # 29 ....
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT BILL CARTWRIGHT # 29 .... $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1h 50m
1969 - 1970 Topps Elvin Hayes Rookie #75 PSA EX 5 P221
1969 - 1970 Topps Elvin Hayes Rookie #75 PSA EX 5 P221 $31.00
Time Remaining: 29d 16h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $31.00
Michael Jordan Rookie 1986-87 Fleer BGS 7 w/ HI Subs (9,9,8.5,6.5) PSA 8 or 9 ?
Michael Jordan Rookie 1986-87 Fleer BGS 7 w/ HI Subs (9,9,8.5,6.5) PSA 8 or 9 ? $686.00 (20 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 51m
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT CEDRIC MAXWELL # 8
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT CEDRIC MAXWELL # 8 $4.25 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2h 1m
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: 18d 8h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
1986 PATRICK EWING FLEER STICKER PSA 8 NM-MT!!
1986  PATRICK EWING FLEER STICKER  PSA 8 NM-MT!! $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 32m
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT SAM BOWIE # 162 ....
1984-85  STAR BGS 9 MINT SAM BOWIE # 162 .... $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 35m
MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 3 VG 1986-87 FLEER BASKETBALL ROOKIE #57
MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 3 VG 1986-87 FLEER BASKETBALL ROOKIE #57 $499.99
Time Remaining: 18d 5h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $499.99
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT LARRY SMITH # 157
1984-85  STAR BGS 9 MINT LARRY SMITH # 157 $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 41m
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT LARRY MICHEAUX # 133 ...
1984-85  STAR BGS 9 MINT LARRY MICHEAUX # 133 ... $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 45m
1986-87 fleer #57 MICHAEL JORDAN bulls rookie card BGS BCCG 8 (nicely centered)
1986-87 fleer #57 MICHAEL JORDAN bulls rookie card BGS BCCG 8 (nicely centered) $675.00
Time Remaining: 27d 23h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $675.00
1984-85 STAR BGS 9 MINT KEVIN GREVEY # 130
1984-85  STAR BGS 9 MINT KEVIN GREVEY # 130 $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 2h 50m

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