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 Michael Jordan #17 PSA 10 GEM MINT
1988 Fleer Michael Jordan #17 PSA 10 GEM MINT $1,999.99
Time Remaining: 29d 14h 7m
Buy It Now for only: $1,999.99
1980 Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Topps Rookie PSA 7 Near Mint
1980 Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Topps Rookie PSA 7 Near Mint $289.00
Time Remaining: 28d 9h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $289.00
1988 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan BGS 9.5
1988 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan BGS 9.5 $1,989.99
Time Remaining: 3d 11h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1,989.99
1986 FLEER #57 MICHAEL JORDAN RC HOF SGC 84 NM 7
1986 FLEER #57 MICHAEL JORDAN RC HOF SGC 84 NM 7 $1,350.00
Time Remaining: 29d 8h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $1,350.00
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL #15 PSA REGISTRY SET GRADED PSA10 & PSA 9 SET AVERAGE 9.6
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL #15 PSA REGISTRY SET GRADED PSA10 & PSA 9 SET AVERAGE 9.6 $1,900.00
Time Remaining: 18d 6h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $1,900.00
1986 Fleer Clyde Drexler PSA 9 Mint Nice Centering BGS SGC
1986 Fleer Clyde Drexler PSA 9 Mint Nice Centering BGS SGC $119.00
Time Remaining: 18h 13m
1972 Topps #195 Julius Irving RC PSA 8
1972 Topps #195 Julius Irving RC PSA 8 $525.00
Time Remaining: 29d 8h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $525.00
1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC Rookie PSA Graded 5 EX
1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC Rookie PSA Graded 5 EX $899.99
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $899.99
1980 - 1981 TOPPS BIRD / ERVING / MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 8
1980 - 1981 TOPPS BIRD / ERVING / MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 8 $599.99
Time Remaining: 28d 21h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $599.99
1970-71 Topps Basketball Card #123 Pete Maravich Rookie PSA Graded 6
1970-71 Topps Basketball Card #123 Pete Maravich Rookie PSA Graded 6 $235.00
Time Remaining: 3d 21h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $235.00
1986 FLEER #57 MICHAEL JORDAN RC HOF SGC 84 K1599025-001
1986 FLEER #57 MICHAEL JORDAN RC HOF SGC 84 K1599025-001 $1,349.99
Time Remaining: 27d 22h 23m
Buy It Now for only: $1,349.99
1988 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen Rc Rookie BGS 9.5
1988 Fleer #20 Scottie Pippen Rc Rookie BGS 9.5 $1,289.99
Time Remaining: 3d 11h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $1,289.99
1988 FLEER JAZZ JOHN STOCKTON ROOKIE CARD PSA 9 MINT
1988 FLEER JAZZ JOHN STOCKTON ROOKIE CARD PSA 9 MINT $19.99
Time Remaining: 24d 9h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
1972 Topps #100 Kareem Abdul Jabbar PSA 10
1972 Topps #100 Kareem Abdul Jabbar PSA 10 $2,500.00
Time Remaining: 29d 8h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $2,500.00
1961 Fleer #16 Hal Greer RC BVG 7
1961 Fleer #16 Hal Greer RC BVG 7 $125.00
Time Remaining: 25d 18h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card #57 PSA 8 NO QUALIFIERS
1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card #57 PSA 8  NO QUALIFIERS $2,400.00
Time Remaining: 3d 16h 19m
Buy It Now for only: $2,400.00
1986 Fleer Sticker Larry Bird PSA 9 Mint Nice Centering BGS SGC
1986 Fleer Sticker Larry Bird PSA 9 Mint Nice Centering BGS SGC $123.23
Time Remaining: 18h 13m
1986 Fleer Sticker Basketball #8 Michael Jordan Bull Rookie HOF BGS 5 Ex
1986 Fleer Sticker Basketball #8 Michael Jordan Bull Rookie HOF BGS  5 Ex $250.00 (35 Bids)
Time Remaining: 48m
1970 Topps Wilt Chamberlain Psa 9
1970 Topps Wilt Chamberlain Psa 9 $720.00
Time Remaining: 29d 18h
Buy It Now for only: $720.00
1980 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson Rookie Card PSA 8 Dr J Julius Erving
1980 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson Rookie Card PSA 8 Dr J Julius Erving $699.99
Time Remaining: 29d 14h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $699.99

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