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.

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Yankees RC Rookie HOF SGC 50 PSA 5? Looks Nicer!
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Yankees RC Rookie HOF SGC 50 PSA 5? Looks Nicer! $34,900.00
Time Remaining: 3h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $34,900.00
1986-87 Fleer Basketball Complete Set (132) w Michael Jordan RC PSA 9 + Stickers
1986-87 Fleer Basketball Complete Set (132) w Michael Jordan RC PSA 9 + Stickers $7,200.00
Time Remaining: 9d 15h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $7,200.00
PSA 10 PERFECT LARRY BIRD 1986 FLEER #9 CELTICS LOW POP GEM MINT
PSA 10 PERFECT LARRY BIRD 1986 FLEER #9 CELTICS LOW POP GEM MINT $799.00
Time Remaining: 27d 9m
Buy It Now for only: $799.00
1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul Jabbar Rookie BVG 6.5 CENTERED
1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul Jabbar Rookie BVG 6.5 CENTERED $635.00
Time Remaining: 23d 14h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $635.00
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Set 1-132 PSA 9 + 10 Complete
1988-89 Fleer Basketball Set 1-132 PSA 9 + 10 Complete $355.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 51m
1988 Fleer PSA 9 Sticker #7 Michael Jordan
1988 Fleer PSA 9 Sticker #7 Michael Jordan $202.50 (30 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 27m
1988 Fleer PSA 9 Sticker #1 Mark Aguirre 1/9
1988 Fleer PSA 9 Sticker #1 Mark Aguirre 1/9 $511.81 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 15m
1969 Topps #25 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar RC Lew Alcindor PSA 8 NM-MT
1969 Topps #25 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar RC Lew Alcindor PSA 8 NM-MT $4,800.00
Time Remaining: 20d 23h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $4,800.00
1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson Royals Rookie Ex-Mt PSA 6
1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson Royals Rookie Ex-Mt PSA 6 $769.99
Time Remaining: 19d 7h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $769.99
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain rookie rc psa A phenomenal eye appeal
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain rookie rc psa A phenomenal eye appeal $550.00
Time Remaining: 16d 11h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $550.00
1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain RC PSA 7 (Centerd-Looks Undergraded)
1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain RC PSA 7 (Centerd-Looks Undergraded) $4,500.00
Time Remaining: 20d 23h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $4,500.00
1969 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR RC HOF PSA 6 K2490251-003
1969 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR RC HOF PSA 6 K2490251-003 $649.99
Time Remaining: 19d 46m
Buy It Now for only: $649.99
1969 TOPPS BASKETBALL #20 JOHN HAVLICEK ROOKIE CELTICS PSA 9++ WITH 10 QUALITIES
1969 TOPPS BASKETBALL #20 JOHN HAVLICEK ROOKIE CELTICS PSA 9++ WITH 10 QUALITIES $7,000.00
Time Remaining: 22d 1h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $7,000.00
1993 - 94 MICHAEL JORDAN Fleer Living Legends # 4 BGS 8.5 !!!!!
1993 - 94 MICHAEL JORDAN Fleer Living Legends # 4  BGS 8.5  !!!!! $11.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 7h 10m
1972 Topps Julius Erving Rookie #195 PSA 8, Perfect centering, Should b a 9
1972 Topps Julius Erving Rookie #195 PSA 8, Perfect centering, Should b a 9 $1,200.00
Time Remaining: 23d 12h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $1,200.00
1988 FLEER #43 DENNIS RODMAN RC PISTONS HOF PSA 10 K2478333-587
1988 FLEER #43 DENNIS RODMAN RC PISTONS HOF PSA 10 K2478333-587 $499.99
Time Remaining: 26d 22h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $499.99
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER ROOKIE RC #57 BULLS HOF PSA 9 DEAD CENTERED
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER ROOKIE RC #57 BULLS HOF PSA 9 DEAD CENTERED $3,800.00
Time Remaining: 29d 5h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $3,800.00
1986 Fleer partial set lot: 55 diff: ALL PSA GRADED 8, 9 Olajuwon, Wilkins, Bird
1986 Fleer partial set lot: 55 diff: ALL PSA GRADED 8, 9 Olajuwon, Wilkins, Bird $387.00 (13 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 7m
1969-70 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR ROOKIE RC SGC 55 VG/EX+ 4.5 HOF WELL CENTERED
1969-70 TOPPS #25 LEW ALCINDOR ROOKIE RC SGC 55 VG/EX+ 4.5 HOF WELL CENTERED $314.95
Time Remaining: 28d 8h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $314.95
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor #25 PSA 7.5, Very High End, Should be a 9, Perfect Card
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor #25 PSA 7.5, Very High End, Should be a 9, Perfect Card $5,000.00
Time Remaining: 23d 12h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $5,000.00

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