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.

1980-81 Topps #6 Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Rookie Card BVG 7
1980-81 Topps #6 Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Rookie Card BVG 7 $139.90 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 4h 17m
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER STICKER PSA 8 ! *UNDERGRADED ! DEAD CENTERED ! REGRADE
MICHAEL JORDAN 1986 FLEER STICKER PSA 8 ! *UNDERGRADED ! DEAD CENTERED ! REGRADE $219.99
Time Remaining: 9d 12h 36m
Buy It Now for only: $219.99
1986-87 Fleer Basketball card # 82 Akeem Olajuwon Psa 9 mint
1986-87 Fleer Basketball card # 82 Akeem Olajuwon Psa 9 mint $98.00 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4h 48m
1961 Fleer Basketball #43 Jerry West Rookie Card PSA 4.5
1961 Fleer Basketball #43 Jerry West Rookie Card PSA 4.5 $299.99
Time Remaining: 28d 6h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie #57 PSA 6 EXT-MT Looks Better! Great Centering!
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie #57 PSA 6 EXT-MT Looks Better! Great Centering! $621.00 (22 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 7m
1986-87 FLEER STICKER KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR #1 PSA 8 PSA 10 just sold for $10,000
1986-87 FLEER STICKER KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR #1 PSA 8 PSA 10 just sold for $10,000 $67.09
Time Remaining: 6h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $120.00
1972 ICEE BEAR DICK VAN ARSDALE SUNS PSA 8
1972 ICEE BEAR DICK VAN ARSDALE SUNS PSA 8 $5.50
Time Remaining: 6d 18h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $5.50
1970 Topps Pete Maravich #123 PSA EX 5 Rookie Card HOF RC Basketball Graded
1970 Topps Pete Maravich #123 PSA EX 5 Rookie Card HOF RC Basketball Graded $94.00 (15 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6h 48m
1957 Topps Basketball Art Spoelstra #52 BVG 5 EX Lakers
1957 Topps Basketball Art Spoelstra #52 BVG 5 EX Lakers $3.75 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 32m
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor RC #25 BVG 5.0 Excellent, Raw Review!!
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor RC #25 BVG 5.0 Excellent, Raw Review!! $219.99
Time Remaining: 9d 9h 2m
Buy It Now for only: $219.99
2008-09 Fleer Derrick Rose 1986-87 Rookies Rookie Card Insert PSA 9
2008-09 Fleer Derrick Rose 1986-87 Rookies Rookie Card Insert PSA 9 $3.29 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 24m
1986 Fleer Derek Harper #44 PSA 9
1986 Fleer Derek Harper #44 PSA 9 $13.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 8h 28m
1970 TOPPS #125 DAVE BING PISTONS HOF PSA 7 K1790281-499
1970 TOPPS #125 DAVE BING PISTONS HOF PSA 7 K1790281-499 $8.99
Time Remaining: 28d 21h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $8.99
MICHAEL JORDAN 1988 FOURNIER ESTRELLAS #22 PSA 10 GEM MINT
MICHAEL JORDAN 1988 FOURNIER ESTRELLAS #22 PSA 10 GEM MINT $8.05 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 39m
MICHAEL JORDAN 1988-1989 FLEER #120 BGS/BCCG 8
MICHAEL JORDAN 1988-1989 FLEER #120 BGS/BCCG 8 $5.50 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 50m
1961 Fleer Bask #48 Larry Costello PSA 9 MINT Sharp SMR $525
1961 Fleer Bask #48 Larry Costello PSA 9 MINT Sharp SMR $525 $700.00
Time Remaining: 29d 23h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $700.00
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL WAX PACK SHOWING MAGIC JOHNSON STICKER PSA 8 NM- MINT
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL WAX PACK SHOWING MAGIC JOHNSON STICKER PSA 8 NM- MINT $34.99
Time Remaining: 8h 52m
1985 - 1986 # 95G Green Border Larry Bird Star Graded Beckett BGS Authentic
1985 - 1986 # 95G Green Border Larry Bird Star Graded Beckett BGS Authentic $8.50 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 54m
1961 Fleer Bask #11 Walter Dukes PSA 9 MINT Sharp SMR $475
1961 Fleer Bask #11 Walter Dukes PSA 9 MINT Sharp SMR $475 $675.00
Time Remaining: 29d 23h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $675.00
WILT CHAMBERLAIN 1961 FLEER BASKETBALL #47 PSA 8
WILT CHAMBERLAIN 1961 FLEER BASKETBALL #47 PSA 8 $165.50 (31 Bids)
Time Remaining: 9h 30m

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