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 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 high grade rookie cards of the game’s greatest icons.

1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 8 '86
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 8 '86 $1,099.99
Time Remaining: 1h 51m
1986 Star Best Of The Best #3 Larry Bird BGS BCCG 10
1986 Star Best Of The Best #3 Larry Bird BGS BCCG 10 $19.97
Time Remaining: 10d 2h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $19.97
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 4
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card PSA 4 $479.99
Time Remaining: 1h 58m
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: 7d 6h 56m
Buy It Now for only: $49.00
1969 Topps Bill Bradley RC #43 BVG 6.5 EX-MT+ Princeton
1969 Topps Bill Bradley RC #43  BVG 6.5 EX-MT+  Princeton $11.61 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 45m
Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie Sticker BGS 8.5 subs 9.5
Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie Sticker BGS 8.5  subs 9.5 $250.00
Time Remaining: 6h 44m
1986 #57 Michael Jordan RC BGS Authentic Looks NM
1986 #57 Michael Jordan RC BGS Authentic Looks NM $425.00
Time Remaining: 27d 15h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $425.00
1988 Fleer Basketball MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 9 MINT Fleer Super Star Sticker insert
1988 Fleer Basketball MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 9 MINT Fleer Super Star Sticker insert $1.25 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 9m
Michael Jordan 1992 and 1993 Lot of 6 all PSA 9
Michael Jordan 1992 and 1993 Lot of 6 all PSA 9 $19.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 8h 41m
1980 TOPPS CHONES-CHEEKS-GEORGE GERVIN PSA 8 K1941526-374
1980 TOPPS CHONES-CHEEKS-GEORGE GERVIN PSA 8 K1941526-374 $5.99
Time Remaining: 28d 20h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $5.99
Michael Jordan 1988 Fleer All Star #120 PSA 10 Gem Mint
Michael Jordan 1988 Fleer All Star #120 PSA 10 Gem Mint $227.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 9h 17m
Lew Alcindor - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1969 Topps #25 PSA 6
Lew Alcindor - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1969 Topps #25 PSA 6 $205.00 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 23h 24m
1970 Topps Oscar Robertson #100 PSA Graded - AWESOME INVESTMENT!
1970 Topps Oscar Robertson #100 PSA Graded - AWESOME INVESTMENT! $17.99
Time Remaining: 22d 22h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $17.99
1970 Topps #104 Bill Hosket psa 6 SP tough card
1970 Topps #104 Bill Hosket psa 6 SP tough card $4.99
Time Remaining: 23h 42m
1970 Topps #122 Bernie Williams psa 7 - looks nicer
1970 Topps #122 Bernie Williams psa 7 - looks nicer $4.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 23h 43m
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS BCCG 7
1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card BGS BCCG 7 $539.99
Time Remaining: 26d 3h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $539.99
1993 Upper Deck Shaquille O'neal SE Die Cut All Star PSA 9 rare E13
1993 Upper Deck Shaquille O'neal SE Die Cut All Star PSA 9 rare  E13 $19.95
Time Remaining: 1d 11m
1970 Topps #65 ELGIN BAYLOR ~ PSA 7 NEAR MINT LAKERS
1970 Topps #65 ELGIN BAYLOR ~ PSA 7 NEAR MINT  LAKERS $14.99
Time Remaining: 1d 49m
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
1986 Star #8 Michael Jordan BGS 5.5 The 1986 Playoffs from Subset
1986 Star #8 Michael Jordan BGS 5.5 The 1986 Playoffs from Subset $64.99
Time Remaining: 26d 8h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $64.99
1986-87 FLEER STICKERS MICHAEL JORDAN BGS 8.5
1986-87 FLEER STICKERS MICHAEL JORDAN BGS 8.5 $225.00
Time Remaining: 1d 1h

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