Top 10 Most Expensive Basketball Cards in 2021
Top 10 Most Expensive Basketball Cards in 2021
As discussions on the same over at runrex.com reveal, the most valuable basketball cards in the hobby can easily fetch upwards of 5 and 6 figures in price. Scarcity and fierce auction bidding contribute to these high prices, and can also have collectors searching for some of these cards for years. As the gurus over at guttulus.com point out, if you are lucky enough to own one or more cards on this list, then you have got something special on your hands. Without further ado, here are the top 10 most expensive basketball cards in 2021.
1968 Topps Test Issue – Wilt Chamberlain
As is highlighted in discussions on the same over at runrex.com, not many collectors are familiar with this 1968 Test Issue from Topps, mostly because, to this day, no one really knows the true origin of the set, with most assuming it was never meant for distribution. The set is quite rare, according to guttulus.com, and PSA has graded only 180 cards from the 22-card set. The Chamberlain card has only 11 PSA graded cards, which means finding one of them is quite challenging. Since none of the Chamberlain cards have been sold at auction in recent years, it is safe to assume that a high-grade version would sell for a lot more than the estimated price by PSA. This is seen by the fact that a PSA 8 card is valued at $50,000+.
1972 Topps – Julius Erving Rookie Card
Dr. J, as he was popularly known, was extremely popular at his prime, and his 1972 Topps rookie card, with the three-colored ABA ball and the yellow background, is a piece of art as outlined over at runrex.com. While it is not extremely rare, it is also not that abundant with only 744 copies graded by PSA. A PSA 9 graded card is valued at about $50,000.
1987 Fleer – Michael Jordan
In recent years, Michael Jordan’s second-year card has been highly sought-after, with collectors priced out of a Jordan rookie card rushing to scoop up copies of his harder to find 1987 Fleer second-year issue as discussed over at guttulus.com. It is difficult to find a PSA 10 Mint copy of this card as its white corners are easy to dent, which is why PSA has graded only 20o perfect 10’s. A PSA 10 copy of this card is valued at $50,000+.
1969 Topps – Lew Alcindor Rookie Card
This rookie card of Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) is one of the most iconic and well-known cards in the vintage basketball hobby. While there are many of these cards available – PSA has graded over 2,200 – the awkward size and age of the cards mean finding mint versions is very challenging according to runrex.com. While lower-grade versions of the card can be found for under $2,000-$3,000, a PSA 9 version of this card can fetch over $100,000.
1961 Fleer – Wilt Chamberlain Rookie Card
This is one of the most iconic vintage basketball cards, mostly because it is the rookie card of one of the game’s all-time greats. From discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, PSA has graded over 1000 of these cards, but only 34 of them have received a PSA 9 or PSA 10 grade. A PSA 9 version of this card is valued at $125,000+
1986 Fleer Sticker – Michael Jordan
Just as was the case for the 1986 Fleer sticker set, the 1987 Fleer stickers were inserted one per pack and were produced in fewer quantities than the regular cards as outlined over at runrex.com. There are over 4,700 Jordan stickers that have been graded by PSA, and a PSA 10 version of this card is valued at just over $20,000.
1948 Bowman – George Mikan Rookie Card
Also known as ‘Mr. Basketball’, George Mikan was one of the pioneers of professional basketball, which is why his 1948 Bowman rookie card is one of the most prized cards in the hobby according to the gurus over at guttulus.com. This card is very scarce with PSA having graded only around 300 of them, with only 4 receiving a PSA 9 grade. It is a tough card to find in mint condition, which is why a PSA 9 version of the card is valued at $300,000+.
1957 Topps – Bill Russel Rookie Card
Bill Russel is one of the best players of all-time in the history of the NBA and dominated the league as a member of the Boston Celtics. Russel’s 1957 Topps rookie card is one of the cornerstones cards of the basketball card market since the set represents the first entry for Topps into basketball cards as discussed over at runrex.com. Over the years, PSA has graded 600 of the Russell rookie cards, with only 3 attaining a PSA 9 (near-mint) rating. The set was riddled with print defects, and, therefore, finding one in pristine condition is a feat in itself. This is why a PSA version of this card is valued at $400,000+.
1980 Topps – Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Rookie Card
According to the subject matter experts over at guttulus.com, this card is a must-have for any basketball card collector out there. While PSA puts a value of $300,000 on a PSA 10 version of this card, in the current market, a PSA 10 version of this card could easily fetch upwards of $500,000. While the PSA has graded over 7000 of these cards, it is very tough to find in mint condition, and when you combine this rarity in PSA 10s and the fact that these cards feature 2 of the game’s biggest icons in Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, you can see why they are valued so highly.
1986 Fleer – Michael Jordan Rookie Card
It doesn’t get any better than the Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card if you are a collector. It is a must-have for your collection, mostly because it features arguably the game’s G.O.A.T. However, as the gurus over at runrex.com point out, you should expect to shell out a small fortune for anything in the PSA 9 to PSA 10 range as far as this card is concerned. There continues to be strong demand for the Jordan rookie card, and this is unlikely to slow down any time soon. However, you should beware that the Jordan rookie card is one of the most counterfeited cards in the hobby. A PSA 10 version of this card is currently valued at a mammoth $750,000.