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.

1988 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan PSA 8 & 1988 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen RC PSA 8
1988 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan PSA 8 & 1988 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen RC PSA 8 $38.00
Time Remaining: 29d 16h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $38.00
1972 Topps #195 Julius Erving RC PSA EX-MT 6 (UNDERGRADED!) Looks New-New Label
1972 Topps #195 Julius Erving RC  PSA EX-MT 6 (UNDERGRADED!) Looks New-New Label $289.00
Time Remaining: 14d 2h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $289.00
TOPPS 1971 PETE MARAVICH #55 PSA 5 ....SHARP....HOF
TOPPS 1971 PETE MARAVICH  #55  PSA 5 ....SHARP....HOF $4.85 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 22h 10m
1986 86 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 PSA 3 VG GREAT COLOR, NEW PSA LABEL
1986 86 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 PSA 3 VG GREAT COLOR, NEW PSA LABEL $649.00
Time Remaining: 6d 19h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $649.00
1985-86 Star John Stockton #144 BGS 9. Mint
1985-86 Star John Stockton #144 BGS 9.  Mint $34.00 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 50m
1986-87 Fleer Dominique Wilkins PSA 8 Rookie RC
1986-87 Fleer Dominique Wilkins PSA 8 Rookie RC $27.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 58m
1985-86 Star Hakeem Olajuwon #18 BGS 8.5. NM-MT+
1985-86 Star Hakeem Olajuwon #18 BGS 8.5.  NM-MT+ $9.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 51m
1988-89 Fleer Scottie Pippen #20 (BULLS) BGS 7
1988-89 Fleer Scottie Pippen #20 (BULLS) BGS 7 $12.00
Time Remaining: 27d 3h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $12.00
1993 Ultra Power In The Key Michael Jordan #2 BGS 8.5
1993 Ultra Power In The Key Michael Jordan #2 BGS 8.5 $8.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 21h 33m
1969 Topps #99 Checklist 1 - 99 PSA 4 VG - EX
1969 Topps #99 Checklist 1 - 99 PSA 4 VG - EX $54.53 (12 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 36m
1957 Topps Basketball - Ed Conlin (#52) - PSA 7 NM
1957 Topps Basketball - Ed Conlin (#52) - PSA 7 NM $7.16 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 3h 44m
1988 PANINI Reggie Miller Pacers BGS 8.5 NM-MT+ RC Rookie
1988 PANINI Reggie Miller Pacers BGS 8.5 NM-MT+ RC Rookie $29.00
Time Remaining: 27d 17h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $29.00
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor PSA 5 RC Lot Earl Monroe Wes Unseld Willis Reed
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor PSA 5 RC Lot Earl Monroe Wes Unseld Willis Reed $152.50 (11 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 47m
1988 Fleer #20 SCOTTIE PIPPEN - PSA 8 !!
1988 Fleer #20 SCOTTIE PIPPEN - PSA 8 !! $20.00
Time Remaining: 22d 22h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $20.00
1986 Fleer - Charles Barkely PSA 8 NM-MT - Sixers
1986 Fleer - Charles Barkely PSA 8 NM-MT - Sixers $6.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 3h 19m
1984-85 Star Clyde Drexler #165 BGS 7.5. Near Mint+
1984-85 Star Clyde Drexler #165 BGS 7.5.  Near Mint+ $4.25 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 54m
1980 Topps Assist Leader Monroe, Silas, Tyler PSA 9 MINT (9463)
1980 Topps Assist Leader Monroe, Silas, Tyler PSA 9 MINT (9463) $12.00
Time Remaining: 25d 3h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $12.00
1970 TOPPS DON CHANEY #47 BOSTON CELTICS PSA 8 NM-MT **BQVIST**
1970 TOPPS DON CHANEY #47 BOSTON CELTICS PSA 8 NM-MT **BQVIST** $0.50 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 3d 4h 44m
1993 Ultra Scoring Kings Michael Jordan #5 PSA 8 NM-MT
1993 Ultra Scoring Kings Michael Jordan #5 PSA 8 NM-MT $149.99
Time Remaining: 27d 14h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
1972 Topps Artis Gilmore PSA 7 RC
1972 Topps Artis Gilmore PSA 7 RC $1.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 5d 46m

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