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.

1972 TOPPS JULIUS ERVING PSA NM-MT 8 BASKETBALL CARD
1972 TOPPS JULIUS ERVING PSA NM-MT 8 BASKETBALL CARD $275.00 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 19m
1988 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan #17 MINT PSA 9
1988 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan #17 MINT PSA 9 $34.99
Time Remaining: 9d 3h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $34.99
1980-81 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson Rookie Card NM/MT+ SGC 92
1980-81 Topps Larry Bird Magic Johnson Rookie Card NM/MT+ SGC 92 $430.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8h 25m
1972 Topps Julius Erving RC graded BVG Authentic looks like 7 or better
1972 Topps Julius Erving RC graded BVG Authentic looks like 7 or better $99.99
Time Remaining: 6d 6h 14m
Buy It Now for only: $99.99
1972 Topps Julius Erving Rookie BVG 8.5
1972 Topps Julius Erving Rookie BVG 8.5 $300.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 9h 10m
1985 Prism / Jewel Moses Malone Stickers PSA 6 EX-MT HOF 76ers
1985 Prism / Jewel Moses Malone Stickers PSA 6 EX-MT HOF 76ers $6.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 11h 47m
1988/89 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan BGS NM-MT+ 8.5 *3212
1988/89 Fleer #17 Michael Jordan BGS NM-MT+ 8.5 *3212 $25.00
Time Remaining: 29d 9h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL PSA GRADED NM9 SAM PERKINS CARD # 31
1988 FLEER BASKETBALL PSA GRADED NM9 SAM PERKINS CARD # 31 $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 11h 59m
1970-71 Topps Basketball Jerry Lucas #46 PSA 8
1970-71 Topps Basketball Jerry Lucas #46 PSA 8 $9.59 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 46m
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS Authentic Altered
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS Authentic Altered $579.99
Time Remaining: 29d 3h 54m
Buy It Now for only: $579.99
1970-71 Topps Basketball #148 Jerry Sloan PSA 8
1970-71 Topps Basketball #148 Jerry Sloan PSA 8 $9.38 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 49m
1986 Fleer Basketball Set 1-132 W/ #57 Michael Jordan RC PSA 8 & Sticker Set
1986 Fleer Basketball Set 1-132 W/ #57 Michael Jordan RC PSA 8 & Sticker Set $1,495.00
Time Remaining: 12h 50m
PSA 10 1986 FLEER BASKETBALL # 36 GEORGE GERVIN BULLS
PSA 10 1986 FLEER BASKETBALL # 36 GEORGE GERVIN BULLS $69.99
Time Remaining: 6d 11h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $69.99
1970-71 Topps Basketball #156 Dave Newmark PSA 8
1970-71 Topps Basketball #156  Dave Newmark PSA 8 $5.88 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 50m
1970-71 Topps Basketball #151 Art Williams PSA 8
1970-71 Topps Basketball #151 Art Williams PSA 8 $3.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 12h 50m
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 14h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
1970-71 Topps Basketball #160 Jerry West PSA 8
1970-71 Topps Basketball #160 Jerry West PSA 8 $24.43 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 52m
1971-72 Topps Stickers Greer 13, Green 14, Hayes 15 PSA 7
1971-72 Topps Stickers Greer 13, Green 14, Hayes 15 PSA 7 $7.50 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 53m
1986 Fleer 57 Jordan RC BVG 3.5 508387
1986 Fleer 57 Jordan RC BVG 3.5 508387 $404.00
Time Remaining: 7d 13h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $404.00
Lebron James 2007-08 Topps Chrome 1957-58 Variations BGS 9.5 Gem Mint
Lebron James 2007-08 Topps Chrome 1957-58 Variations BGS 9.5 Gem Mint $1.29 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 55m

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