Dr. J was a rare player. He won titles and MVP awards in two leagues and lifted the profile of the sport of basketball through his amazing athleticism. When he was at the top of the NBA, Falco’s music videos were popular, Hulk Hogan had just won his first championship and Knight Rider was a new show on TV but there are still many who collect Julius Erving basketball cards today.
Older fans remember Erving and young fans discover him by watching his highlight clips. Dr. J was one of the most exciting—and successful—players of the 1970s and much of the 80s. Not only does he have classic cards to collect from the years when he operated in the NBA but Panini America continues to release new Erving cards, including some that are autographed by Doc.
Click the red links inside the story to see those cards on eBay and you can add some nice cards to your basketball card collection.
6 Valuable Erving Cards From His Playing Days
Topps was the sole producer of NBA trading cards when Erving’s professional basketball career started and continued in that role until the early 1980s. Erving’s first Topps cards, especially those with high grades, are the most expensive. The year he became a champion with the Sixers was one when there were no NBA cards, but for three years after that Star Company jumped on board, with plenty of Erving in their sealed sets. He did play long enough to have cards in several Fleer sets later in the 1980s.
Listed next are some of the Hall of Famer’s most famous cards. Erving’s ABA career, with the Virginia Squires and New York Nets, went from 1971-72 to 1975-76 and he was a Philadelphia 76er in the NBA from 1976-77 to 1986-87.
The Julius Erving rookie card is one most collectors want to own. He is pictured in his red Squires uniform with a yellow background. Strangely, the card lists his position as center on the back and forward on the front. Recent eBay prices for graded cards include a Beckett Graded 8.5 for around $400, a PSA 8 for $338, PSA 7 for $225 and PSA 5 for $107.99.
A collector looking to acquire every Dr. J card will have to compete with those who collect Bird, Magic, Celtics, Lakers and complete 1980-81 sets. But what a card! The Bird/Erving/ Johnson card in mint condition will cost more than $1,000. An ‘8’ will run about $450-500. The only BGS 10 sold on eBay in the fall of 2014 for a whopping $33,43.
Erving collectors can get the Scoring Leader panel for a lower price by choosing the Erving/Johnson/Jan Van Breda Kolff or Erving/Junior Bridgeman/Ricky Sobers combo versions, which costs a lot less.
This gigantic card provides the space for a lot of player information on the back, while the front shows The Doctor sitting on the bench having a drink with the glorious afro he wore in the era of the ABA/NBA merger. The large size may also be a reason why there are not as many better graded examples around as there are for standard-sized cards. $15 can buy a decent ungraded example while a nm/mt graded card from this set will cost $50-75.
There’s also an Erving All-Star card from the set, which shows him leaping at the rim in his red, white and blue Nets uniform. Those can be had for under $10.
The late 1970s Topps basketball issues are very inexpensive. A PSA 10 example of this card sold for $115, not very much considering its age. A ‘9’ can be owned for less than $30. Another interesting option is the old autographed buybacks that were part of a Scoreboard promotion many years ago. Erving signed 1,978 of them in gold ink.
One of the fun “floating heads” cards, that main picture shows Erving about to shoot the ball during pregame warmups while a white circle on the card has another picture of his head. You can own a graded NM/MT example for under $65 at present. Ungraded examples in near mint condition are around $30.
6 Action-Packed Erving Cards From His Playing Days
Julius Erving provided many highlight plays during his career, from monster dunks in traffic to big blocked shots, and his fans can find a plethora of basketball cards that capture these moments. These cards are readily available and except for the cards that have perfect grades are very affordable for all collectors.
A great picture on this card shows where Erving operated, high above the court. One Kentucky Colonels player is in shock as The Doctor flies by, another is attempting a block but probably can’t get high enough for that while a third player is looking up and seeing Erving fly over him.
1983-84 Star Company ‘Julius Scoops’ Sixers Champs #18
One of the best action shots of any Dr. J basketball card came in this early “Sixers Champs” set from Star Company. He’s shown demonstrating the majestic scoop against the Lakers. These are a little hard to find, but for the money, well worth picking up.
The quintessential leaping dunk in the ABA All-Star dunk contest is captured forever on this magnificent beast with a signature at the bottom. Upper Deck has done a lot of nice Erving autographed cards over the years–even now when they don’t have an NBA league card license.
This is from the Super Action subset and it’s a pretty remarkable photo. The picture is from the original Boston Garden as Erving rises up in the paint against Celtics defenders, preparing to drop in two points. The card was part of the East regional set in the unique configuration Topps used in its final year of 1980s basketball card sets.
The card has a powerful reverse dunk from Erving, and he is so high in the air his head is nearly in the basket too.
One of his very early cards, Erving has split the defenders and has started his flight to the basket.
1984-85 Star Julius Erving #13
Yet another card that shows how Erving played up above the other players in the NBA.
6 Julius Erving Autographed Erving Cards From 2013-14
2013-14 was a good year for collectors of The Doctor as Panini products were full of Erving cards. Those looking for autographed cards had many options and could find cards of him as a Squire, Net and 76er, and his Philadelphia cards had even more variety too as big hair or short hair and red, white or blue uniforms were all covered on the cards.
Recent eBay sales for a couple of 2013-14 Panini Flawless 1 of 1 Erving cards show he is still popular with collectors. One autographed card showing Erving in his Nets uniform went for $450 as a Best Offer Accepted. Another Flawless 1 of 1 with Erving pictured playing for the Squires sold for $325 after 48 bids.
Below are some of the best Erving autographed cards from last season’s card releases, that are readily available at the moment and won’t break the bank to acquire.
With a large, multi-colored patch as well as an autograph and a card design that is famous among collectors his Silhouettes Prime card is one of the best from last season. They are numbered to 25 and sell for around $250 on eBay.
A nice card of the Doctor, driving with the ball and bearing his usual nice signature. Horizontal format and just a very nice looking card.
An exciting card design that uses a gold signature on a black background makes this card one to look out for. They are numbered to 49 and usually sell for $75-100 on eBay.
The Doctor fills up the right side of the card, as he is just about to shoot a jumper. On the left side, his autograph has been written from the bottom left corner to the top. Numbered to 60, and selling for around $60, the card stands out with its different design.
Numbered to 49, this card shows Erving in his dark blue 76ers uniform with the ball above his head and looking to make the pass. One of the lower prices for his autographed cards, some are around $40.
Something for Upper Deck fans, and those who want a card showing Erving in his college days. These cards are numbered to 40 and have been selling for around $45. The University of Massachusetts logo fills the card, with the classic Upper Deck Black autograph along the bottom in gold ink on a black background.
6 Erving Cards That Are Educational For Collectors
Those who want to learn more about Julius Erving can find the knowledge they seek on some of his basketball cards.
As a small forward he not only scored at a high rate but often led his team in blocked shots too.
The numbers from his MVP season of 1980-81 are phenomenal. 24.6 points, 8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
Every season of his career, for both leagues, he was selected to play in the All-Star Game and he won the MVP award for the NBA event twice. There are also forgotten and unique newsworthy items from his career to learn about, and while he was only a 76er in the NBA he was actually drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and even played preseason games for the Atlanta Hawks.
The following cards are not among his most expensive ones out there but are full of information.
This Team Leaders card has Julius Erving, Bobby Jones and Maurice Cheeks. It sort of explains why the 76ers really wanted to acquire Moses Malone, as their centers at that time were not as good as their other starters. The 76ers then had Erving and Jones at forward, with Maurice Cheeks at point guard and Andrew Toney at shooting guard.
Turning over this card, which has a picture of Erving on the front, reveals a checklist for the Star set and all the players from the All-Star Game. A basketball fan can see who Erving’s rivals were at that time.
This card has the ABA’s scoring leaders, and Erving just misses out for the league lead in the ABA’s farewell season. George McGinnis, Erving and Ron Boone are pictured on the front, and the top 10 scorers are listed on the back of the card.
1996 Topps Stars Finest #15
Sometimes it isn’t easy to find a card with the complete statistics for a player’s career, this card has all of Erving’s ABA and NBA numbers.
On the front of this Star card is Erving celebrating his NBA championship, on the back is a list of achievements he had up to that point of his career.
His college stats are listed as are the various school records he set.