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.

1970-71 TOPPS DON CHANEY ROOKIE BASKETBALL CARD GRADED PSA 9
1970-71 TOPPS DON CHANEY ROOKIE BASKETBALL CARD GRADED PSA 9 $51.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 17m
1957 Topps JIM LOSCUTOFF #39 Celtics PSA 7 NM
1957 Topps JIM LOSCUTOFF #39 Celtics PSA 7 NM $195.00
Time Remaining: 28d 8h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $195.00
1961 Fleer # 58 Clyde Lovellette In Action SGC 80= 6 EX/MNT
1961 Fleer # 58 Clyde Lovellette In Action SGC 80= 6 EX/MNT $3.24 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 56m
1985-86 Star Michael Jordan #117 Second Year BGS 5
1985-86 Star Michael Jordan #117 Second Year BGS 5 $125.00
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
1969 Topps Basketball #25 Lew Alcindor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Rookie Card PSA 6
1969 Topps Basketball #25 Lew Alcindor  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Rookie Card PSA 6 $314.99
Time Remaining: 6h 32m
Buy It Now for only: $409.99
1971 Topps Don Kojis PSA 9 Mint #64 Seattle Supersonics Basketball Card
1971 Topps Don Kojis PSA 9 Mint #64 Seattle Supersonics Basketball Card $6.99
Time Remaining: 8h 27m
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: 9d 17h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
1971 Topps Barry Clemens PSA 8 NM-MT #119 Seattle Supersonics Basketball Card
1971 Topps Barry Clemens PSA 8 NM-MT #119 Seattle Supersonics Basketball Card $4.99
Time Remaining: 9h 2m
1992-93 FLEER SHAQUILLE O'NEAL ROOKIE #401 BGS 7 & 1993 -94 Topps Gold BGS 8.5
1992-93 FLEER SHAQUILLE O'NEAL  ROOKIE #401 BGS 7 & 1993 -94 Topps Gold BGS 8.5 $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 10h 22m
1969 Topps Basketball #5 Bailey Howell PSA 7 NM SHARP!
1969 Topps Basketball #5 Bailey Howell PSA 7 NM SHARP! $14.99
Time Remaining: 29d 13h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
LARRY BIRD (RC) - 1980-81 Topps #98 **BVG 9**
LARRY BIRD (RC) - 1980-81 Topps #98 **BVG 9** $15.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 10h 24m
ISIAH THOMAS (RC) - 1986-87 Fleer #109 **BGS 9**
ISIAH THOMAS (RC) - 1986-87 Fleer #109 **BGS 9** $60.00
Time Remaining: 10h 37m
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Card BVG 1
1961 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Card BVG 1 $179.99
Time Remaining: 19d 13h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $179.99
CHARLES BARKLEY (RC) - 1986-87 Fleer #7 - BGS 8.5 **Hall of Fame**
CHARLES BARKLEY (RC) - 1986-87 Fleer #7 - BGS 8.5 **Hall of Fame** $46.90 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 5m
1971 Topps #200 Dan Issel PSA 8
1971 Topps #200 Dan Issel PSA 8 $38.76 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 35m
1986 Star Court Kings #5 Rolando Blackman BGS 9 8.5/9/9/9
1986 Star Court Kings #5 Rolando Blackman BGS 9 8.5/9/9/9 $24.99
Time Remaining: 28d 2h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $24.99
1986 Fleer Basketball Card Set Lot Psa 8 62/132
1986 Fleer Basketball Card Set Lot Psa 8 62/132 $441.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 35m
1971 Topps #47 Dave Cowens PSA 8
1971 Topps #47 Dave Cowens PSA 8 $28.76 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 36m
1986 Fleer Basketball #82 Akeem Olajuwon RC PSA 8 MINT *8001
1986 Fleer Basketball #82 Akeem Olajuwon RC PSA 8 MINT *8001 $40.00
Time Remaining: 26d 4h 45m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1971 Topps #55 Pete Maravich PSA 8
1971 Topps #55 Pete Maravich PSA 8 $51.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 38m

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