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.

1986-87 Fleer Basketball #39 Rickey Green Jazz BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #39 Rickey Green Jazz BGS 9.5 GEM MINT $28.05 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 24m
1971 Topps #141 Oscar Robertson PSA 8
1971 Topps #141 Oscar Robertson PSA 8 $15.00
Time Remaining: 24d 13h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $15.00
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC Chicago Bulls BGS 9 MINT
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC Chicago Bulls BGS 9 MINT $1,376.00 (63 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 25m
1988 Fleer Scottie Pippen #20 PSA 7 NM HOF ROOKIE Card
1988 Fleer Scottie Pippen #20 PSA 7 NM HOF ROOKIE Card $14.99
Time Remaining: 29d 20h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #116 Mel Turpin Cavaliers BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #116 Mel Turpin Cavaliers BGS 9.5 GEM MINT $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 17h 25m
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC HOF BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC HOF BGS 9 MINT w/ 9.5 $229.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 17h 59m
1957 Topps BILL RUSSELL Rookie RC #77 PSA 4 Boston Celtics HOF!! (New Holder)
1957 Topps BILL RUSSELL Rookie RC #77 PSA 4 Boston Celtics HOF!! (New Holder) $999.99
Time Remaining: 28d 14h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $999.99
1986 86 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS BCCG 9
1986 86 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS BCCG 9 $799.99
Time Remaining: 5h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1,039.99
1986 - 87 FLEER MICHEAL JORDAN RC BGS 8 Chicago Bulls
1986 - 87 FLEER MICHEAL JORDAN RC BGS 8  Chicago Bulls $670.00 (31 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 51m
1971 Topps Trios Stickers 1A Jones/Wise/Issel PSA 8
1971 Topps Trios Stickers 1A Jones/Wise/Issel PSA 8 $135.00
Time Remaining: 24d 13h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $135.00
1993-94 ULTRA POWER IN THE KEY - MICHAEL JORDAN *** PSA 7*** NM CARD#2
1993-94 ULTRA POWER IN THE KEY - MICHAEL JORDAN *** PSA 7*** NM   CARD#2 $14.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 7h 53m
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC Bulls HOF - Graded BGS 6
1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC Bulls HOF - Graded BGS 6 $599.00
Time Remaining: 8h 49m
1961 Fleer Walter Dukes #11 – PSA 7 (NM)
1961 Fleer Walter Dukes #11 – PSA 7 (NM) $33.00
Time Remaining: 29d 17h 55m
Buy It Now for only: $33.00
1957 Topps BASKETBALL TRADING CARD # 40 ARNIE RISEN PSA EX-MT 6 # 22751265
1957 Topps BASKETBALL TRADING CARD # 40 ARNIE RISEN PSA EX-MT 6 # 22751265 $24.99 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 52m
1971 Topps #160 Mack Calvin RC PSA 9 Centered Future HOF'er
1971 Topps #160 Mack Calvin RC PSA 9 Centered Future HOF'er $39.99
Time Remaining: 13h 59m
(2) 1986-87 FLEER BASKETBALL #7 CHARLES BARKLEY RC PSA 9 MINT LOT OF 2
(2) 1986-87 FLEER BASKETBALL #7 CHARLES BARKLEY RC PSA 9 MINT LOT OF 2 $399.99
Time Remaining: 29d 15h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $399.99
1970 Lew Alcindor PSA 5
1970 Lew Alcindor PSA 5 $19.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 14h 40m
1986 FLEER Michael Jordan RC Sticker PSA 8
1986 FLEER Michael Jordan RC Sticker PSA 8 $88.00 (18 Bids)
Time Remaining: 15h 9m
PSA 10 1980 TOPPS BASKETBALL RICHARDSON MIX PARRISH pop 4
PSA 10 1980 TOPPS BASKETBALL RICHARDSON MIX PARRISH pop 4 $649.99
Time Remaining: 3d 13h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $649.99
MICHAEL JORDAN 1985-86 STAR BASKETBALL #117 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT CHICAGO BULLS
MICHAEL JORDAN 1985-86 STAR BASKETBALL #117 BGS 9.5 GEM MINT CHICAGO BULLS $454.00 (15 Bids)
Time Remaining: 15h 57m

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