Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Most Expensive PSA Graded Rookie Cards Inserts
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Michael Jordan Basketball Card List

Michael Jordan is viewed as the greatest basketball player of all time. After making the game winning shot and leading North Carolina to an NCAA championship, Michael Jordan took the league by storm.

A few of his accolades include six NBA Championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular season MVPs, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, and Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 five assists over 1,072 games.

His Legacy Drives The Michael Jordan Basketball Card Market

His legacy has only continued to grow since his (third) retirement. Many of his cards are not rare, but they continue to go up in value because of this legacy. Notable for this list, certain inserts that were released in few packs are far more valuable than the base cards.

His popularity continues to rise, and he is the most sought after name in the basketball card community. Overall, he is the most popular basketball card to trade, and one of the biggest names in the hobby.

Michael Jordan is shown in a striking pose as he is about to reverse slam the ball. “In Your Face” is written on the side of the front of the card boasting.
Significant to this card is that it is an error card, which is rare for Jordan cards. It is actually the only recognized error. The card states that Jordan won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1985 and 1990, but he won in truth in 1987 and 1988. The error was quickly corrected, a revised batch was quickly released, so there are not many of these error cards that were produced.

Protective Coating & Durable Cardstock

With only 162 being seen by PSA, not many are in rotation so far. Gem mint 10 are fairly rare with only 47 in existence. 

Michael Jordan was only back for a few games and the playoffs in the 1994-1995 season. For that short season, he wore the jersey number 45 which was his baseball number and his brother Larry’s basketball number. Since he wore that number for a quarter of a season, this card is rarer.
The card is also notable for being an early parallel insert which are uncommon copies of the base cards while adding on a differentiating factor. While this card comes with a light refracting coating (a refractor), there can be foil, a stamped signature, and so on. This card looks best when shown under light at an angle.

Protective Coating & Durable Cardstock

The 1995 Topps Finest Refractor #331 Michael Jordan came with a protective coating, and they were also printed on high-quality stock which has led to a more durable card. However, if you want a valuable version of this card, it needs to be in excellent shape.

1994 Finest Set

The set itself is solid amongst investors because of the variety of inserts and excellent rookies including Hall of Famers Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. The set was split 331 cards in two. The second set with 165 cards is superior with Jordan, Kidd, Hill, Eddie Jones, and Jalen Rose. It is the sophomore year of the chromium set.

Condition Sensitive Centering

The condition is key, and the usual warnings apply with age. Be sure to watch for poor centering which is a common error with this set. Only the higher grades can sell for plenty, but still, a mint condition card can reach four figures in an auction. An ungraded card can go for $50.

The 1992-1993 Fleer Total D was on the first Michael Jordan inserts with some taste. The card shows off Jordan’s defense which is often considered secondary to his scoring ability. It pays homage to the grit and the grind of old school basketball. Almost every single card shows Jordan on the offensive: shooting, dribbling, or dunking.

This card is unique for praising his truly remarkable defensive ability. Keep in mind that Jordan was Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, and he was All-Defense nine times. Jordan deserves recognition for his defense, but he has traditionally been praised for his dunks and flash. This card is famous for paying homage to the grit and the grind of Jordan’s game.

Population Report:

PSA has seen 341 of the Jordan Total D inserts so far. With only 26 receiving a gem mint 10 grade, you have a .08% chance of success if submitting a copy yourself. 

The Fleer Metal series is interesting. The designs are non-traditional, unlike anything that was common for a basketball card. The set had a heavy foil and industrial theme with strange and alien-like figures lurking in the background.

There were also several names, including Net-Rageous, Maximum Metal, Molten Metal, Steel Slammin’, Fresh Foundations, and more. The Net-Rageous Michael Jordan is the most valuable. These are rather hard to find at 1:288 pack.

Population Report:

69 of these wacky Jordan inserts can be found in a PSA case but only 16 reside in a PSA 10 case. 

The 1988 Fleer set is the sophomore offering for Michael Jordan cards, and it also features the rookie seasons of Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, and John Stockton.

There are also notable cards from Hall of Famers including Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Each pack came with one sticker insert and a pack of gum. The set has more recently become popular, and it has gone overlooked for a couple decades.

A Early & Valuable Jordan Card

It is not nearly as expensive, rare, nor sought after as the 1986-1987 Fleer, but it is still a good look for collectors. Since there was a gap in basketball cards for a few years, including Jordan’s first two, this card has extra value as an early Jordan even though it is not a rookie.

Shorter Print in 1987

One aspect is that the print run was shorter for this year than the previous, and it is an overall smaller set with only 132 base cards. Also, this was the year, especially with the addition of Scottie Pippen, that the famous 90s Bulls were beginning to look like themselves.

Condition Sensitive Centering

The condition is key, and the usual warnings apply with age. Be sure to watch for poor centering which is a common error with this set. Only the higher grades can sell for plenty, but still, a mint condition card can reach four figures in an auction. An ungraded card can go for $50.

The name on this set is crazy, which is part of the reason why that I put it on this list. It is a unique looking card with the huge block letters of “Noyz Boyz” written in the background. It is also a valuable card.
The cards are definitely rare, but I found contradicting information as to the degree. Some sources claimed odds of 1:300. Others claimed 1:4500. This factor of ten difference was even found on two different articles within the same site. It seems as though nobody is entirely sure as to how rare the card is.

Population Report:

46 have made it into PSA for grading. 22 were declared gem mint condition, 22 were mint and 2 were near mint. Average selling price for a gem mint 10 is $3,000. Oddly enough, mint 9 copies don’t sell for any cheaper. 

The 1996 SPx is Michael Jordan’s first signed basketball card inserted into packs with other signed cards given away as promotions at Jordan basketball camps. Those cards, the ones were given away out of packs, have an authentication hologram, and the serial number begins with the prefix “BAC” or “BAD.”

These Jordan autos are growing increasingly rarer every day. They hardly ever surface for sale.

Population Report:

PSA has seen just two of these Jordan autographs. One of those two managed to stay in gem mint condition, the other one landed a mint 9 grade. The single gem mint 10 copy sold at auction on 5/9/2018 for a measly $3,352.

I hope the seller had a reserve because the mint 9 copy is up for auction on eBay and it has already surpassed that price. Bidding is currently at $3,433 with 7 days left!

1996 Flair Showcase has a 3-tier parallel set known as “Rows”. Both rookies and Hall of Famers can be found in either a Row 2, Row 1 and Row 0 parallel. Row 2 are the more common cards with Row 0 being more rare. On top of the Row parallels are the Legacy Collection Parallels.

Flairs Legacy Collection Parallels have the honor of being the first serial numbered basketball cards to enter the hobby. Michael Jordan cards are limited to only 100 copies while other players have 150 copies. 

Population Report:

Michael Jordan has fourteen of his Row 0 cards graded so far. With only three being in gem  mint condition, the competition is pretty brutal to own one. 

The 1996-1997 E-X2000 is a good looking card. Some call it a game changer because the general design was innovative and unique. The card shows off a beautiful blue sky background with clouds. The gold foil outline plays wonderfully against the white background. 

It is important to note that due to the innovative design, the cards are particularly sensitive to wear and many have not held up well over time.

Population Report:

33 of the Jordan Credentials have made their way into PSA for grading. Surprisingly, only 2 came out in PSA 10 cases. Clarifying just how tough they are to find in great condition. 

This sticker screams Jordan rookie. Check out those old-school Nike sneakers he is sporting. Fleer had an 11-piece sticker set that was inserted into their 1986 Fleer packs at a rate of one sticker per pack. The stickers are standard size and feature many of the top players of the day, including a rookie issue sticker of Michael Jordan.

The stickers are fraught with centering issues which makes them difficult to find in high grade.

Population Report:

Because it is Jordan’s rookie year, the 1986 Fleer sticker has more copies slabbed than any of his other stickers.  PSA has graded well over 7,000 copies and declared 117 of them to be in gem mint condition. PSA 10 examples sell for $7,000 on average. 

Here’s a super-retro style Jordan card for you nostalgia collectors. Michael Jordan is pictured surrounded by a American flag theme with his name, position, and team scrolling vertically up the left-hand side of the card. 

Fleer nailed the vintage look but didn’t take into account the number of stars shown on the left-hand side. I counted twenty two stars. It would have been a whole lot cooler if they added just 1 more for a total of twenty three.

Population Report:

$8,000 for a 1987 Fleer Jordan Sticker? If you’re asking yourself why these sell for so much, take a gander at the population report. PSA has graded a staggering 4,907 of these to date. Of that huge number, only 24 were slabbed in a PSA 10 case. So they are extremely difficult to find in gem mint conditions. 

Not much can be said about the 2000 Ultimate Collection Signatures other than, wow. This is one of Jordan’s more elegant autographed cards. The Ultimate Signatures stamp can be found in gold foil above Jordan’s red hue picture. Furthermore, a gold serial number stamp /25 is found off-set center the photo as well.

A large blue ink signature is strategically placed over a solid white background just below Michael Jordan’s name and photo. To make the card balanced throughout, they finish with the Upper Deck logo, in gold foil, on the bottom. 

Population Report:

Not many of the Gold paralles have been up for auction. The most recent auction was a PSA 10 which ended at $8,400. Amazingly, a PSA 9 copy sold at auction for only $603 in 2007. Imagine what it would go for today? Needless to say, whoever won got a steal! 

1998 Hoops has two inserts that really make their product stand out. The Bams insert, limited to only 250 copies, and the Slam Bams insert which has only 100 copies of each player. Unlike the Bams insert the Slam Bams could only be found in hobby boxes which makes them more rare. 

Slam Bams are distinguishable on the fronts by having a gold tint to them while the Bams do not. Regardless, they are both highly collectible and valuable. A mint 9 copy just sold at auction for a whopping $8,988 on eBay. With only 3 copies in such condition it’s a wonder why it didn’t get any higher. 

Population Report:

PSA has graded a mere seven of the Jordan Slam Bams inserts so far. Unfortunately, none of those seven were in gem mint condition. The highest grade received has been mint with only three receiving such a grade. 

For the third consecutive year Fleer issued an 11-piece sticker set along with their trading cards. The standard-sized stickers were released at a rate of one-per-pack and featured many of the top players of the day. Also similar to years past, high grade examples are very difficult to obtain due to centering issues and the ease with which the colored borders chip.

For any retro Jordan card collector the Super Star sticker is a must have. It’s doused in patriotic red, white and blue and has an action shot of Michael Jordan centered on the card. The back is filled with highlights of Jordan that year in small print. 

Population Report:

PSA 10 examples have sold as high as $19,109 and as low as $7,320. Astonishingly, over 4,000 copies have been graded by PSA with only 11 making it into a PSA 10 case. Which is why a gem mint 10 copy sells for so much more than a mint 9 copy. 

With a nice shine theses inserts mimic something Pacific could have created with their Prism products a few years earlier. Michael Jordan’s 1998 SkyBox Premium Star Rubies parallel is one of the most desired parallel cards of all-time. Numbered to 50, it pictures Jordan dunking the ball as if it were a stroll in the park.

Jordan is found #29  and #235 in the set which both have the Star Ruby parallel. Although it’s left open for speculation, the #235 card seems to have higher selling points. Both cards have similar PSA pop reports at around 15. 

Population Report:

There are no gem mint examples of the #235 card yet however #29 has had one make the grade.

The Essential Credentials parallels alone make 1997 Skybox E-X2001 Basketball one of the top products of the 1990’s but the set also contains one of the most valuable inserts of the period. 

Jambalaya inserts are a die-cut set that celebrates the top dunkers in the league with a playful take on the name of a Cajun dish. At 1:720 packs, or roughly one in thirty boxes, these cards are incredibly tough to pull. Looking at the population reports will summarize just how rare the Jordan Jambalaya inserts really are. 

Population Report:

PSA has seen just 29 copies and declared only 13 to be in gem mint condition. However, Beckett has graded a much higher population at 73. No black labels were given however one card did manage to make it into a BGS 10 Pristine case. 

Michael Jordan game used cards made their debut in 1998 Upper Deck boxes. Upper Deck made six different Michael Jordan autographed jersey cards in 1998-99, all of which are numbered to 23. All rank among the best Michael Jordan cards ever. The example shown to the left is numbered LL-GJ and has had 3 known copies come thru PSA’s doors. This is the only PSA gem mint 10 in existence.

Only 23 Copies of each card

Jordan autographed 23 of them through his endorsement contract with Upper Deck and the cards were randomly inserted into packs. This is one of Jordan’s most sought after cards due to their attractive design, extreme limited quantity and signature with a game used jersey.

Unsigned copies were distributed one per 2,500 packs and generally sell for $2,000-$3,000 when placed on the market.

Many collectors are aware that Precious Metal Gems were available as foil base parallels in 97′-98′ Metal Universe Basketball. It is also known that only 100 total copies exist per player. What you may not know is how the first ten cards were Green and the final 90 are Red. 

Given their rarity and age, the red parallels for Michael Jordan don’t surface often and the  green parallel is rarely seen.

Foil Cards - Tough to Grade

A big downside to the Precious Metals Gem parallels, aside from the price and limited quantity, is that they are susceptible to damage. Many show considerable wear due to the foil fronts. 

The Red Michael Jordan is slabbed by PSA, but the card is only listed as Authentic, with no grading provided. This card was encased to show that the card is the true pack-pulled card. The seller chose not to have PSA assign a grade to the card since it truly is the only one in existence from the original print run from Fleer. The card does have chipping on the edges and corners.

The 1986-1987 Fleer Michael Jordan is one of the most important cards for modern card collecting because it is considered his true rookie card. Amongst the ranks of basketball and newer cards, it is comparable to a Mickey Mantle rookie in popularity.

Michael Jordan’s fame and prodigy results in an increasingly valuable card. The only Michael Jordan card that is more sought after than this one is the same card with a Jordan signature. Upper Deck bought 23 signed cards off of the secondary market and released them in packs.

Natural Wear & Tear

Chipping and general wear on the edges is common due to the multi colored borders. The back side can have some centering issues. Of course, this only increases the value of a mint card. While it is the most popular card in trading, it is not the most rare. There are 16,200 cards graded by the PSA, though only 300 have been graded GM MT 10.

Lost Cards Over The Years

Many of the cards have been lost or destroyed as basketball card trading went through a steep dive in the 1980s, especially in comparison to football and baseball. Basketball card trading dropped to such a level that Topps abandoned basketball cards all together. Topps last full release came in 1981-1982.

First Official Michael Jordan Rookie Card

Meanwhile, Fleer started making basketball cards in 1986. So, although Jordan took the court for the first time in 1984, there is no official basketball card until his third season (1986-1987). The set stands out with other rookie cards including Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Hakeem Olajuwon, Isaih Thomas and Dominique Wilkins among others making it a formidable combination.

1986 Fleer Boxes Sold for just $10

Fleer released boxes of 36 packs and 432 cards at a time for $10 in 1986. Some of those boxes, which contain three or four Jordan rookie cards are still going up for sale today unopened. Additionally, the boxes can have valuable stickers. The 1986 Fleer Stickers #8 can go for $7,500 at PSA Grade 10, and the 1987 Fleer Stickers #2 has been sold for $8,250. There are also other collectibles inside. In 2017 a box from 1986 sold for $85,000 in auction. Some traders will buy a box, sell individual packs for thousands of dollars, and allow the hobbyists to gamble for a Jordan rookie.

Counterfeits Infiltrate the Market

Notably, this rookie card, as well as all of Jordan rookie cards, are well known for having counterfeit issues. For the buyer, Rob Schneider, actor and card collecting enthusiast, posted a video on Facebook in which he gives a few pointers in comparing a real and fake 1986 Fleer. The video is quite useful as he shows real examples. Experts typically look for key differences in color and clarity. Buyer beware is true for all of card collecting, but for Jordan rookies the buyer has to be especially careful. Jordan rookies are the type of cards where it is extra useful to buy an officially graded one.

A highly unique yet valuable Michael Jordan collectible is actually a sticker. They were originally distributed from sports card machines that you would put a quarter in and a couple cards would pop out of the slot.

Due to the process, many of them were scratched. Also, since they were stickers, most were peeled off and put on binders, school lockers and other meaningless objects. Not many survived, and there weren’t many to begin with.

Design of the Sticker

A cartoon figure that somewhat resembles Michael Jordan  is the dominating aspect of the sticker. If it weren’t for the well placed number 23 on his jersey it would be difficult to distinguish that this is a drawing of Michael Jordan.  Reflective diamond shapes cover the sticker and really adds to the overall appeal. 

PSA Population Report:

Just an idea of how few of these are out there, there have been 66 graded by PSA with only 1 being in gem mint 10.

It may not be a surprise to most but to some collectors, seeing Jordan’s highest selling card isn’t the 1986 Fleer rookie will be shocking. It makes sense though. The 2003-04 UD Exquisite has a patch of a jersey that Jordan wore in an actual NBA game. There is a beautifully displayed blue ink autograph  on the right hand side or bottom of the card. To top things off, there are only 100 of these cards in existence. Additionally,  LeBron James rookie card is a key card in this set. 

PSA Population Report:

Although a gem mint copy of his rookie card is rare, highly collectible and valuable it is not Jordan’s known highest selling basketball card. Another surprising fact about these cards is how PSA has graded only four of them with all four receiving a mint 9 grade. BGS has graded 56 of them with just 14 being in gem mint condition. One can only imagine what a PSA 10 will sell for if one does ever come into existence. 

I could not find this card listed on the PSA website, nor hardly anywhere else for that matter. There are reportedly only three in existence that are graded at 9.5. There are no claimed 10’s. The first 9.5 did not even surface until 2014. I put this card at number 0 because I could not find good sources on it, but I put this card so high because it is valued as the highest rookie card. The value is not without controversy.

Evan Mathis Listed for $1,000,000

Evan Mathis, former Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard, listed this card on eBay for 1 million dollars in 2017. That is absurdly high, but keep in mind, Mathis is the one who sold the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle for a record breaking 2.8 million. So, Mathis should know something about pricing. It is not clear if this was a mistaken offering, a joke, a ploy, or completely serious.

Star Company Had Issues With Production & DIstribution

The producers of the card, Star Company, made cards in the early and mid 1980s as the only officially licensed NBA card distributor. The company had a number of production problems. Only 25% of their cards made it to market for a few teams in the 1983-1984 season. The cards were produced in limited quantities. Most runs had 5,000 or less. Also, the distribution methods were erratic with bizarre and ineffective regional distribution. These are some of the reasons why Star Co are not considered true rookie cards today, while the 1986 Fleer is considered the first cards since Topps exited in 1982.

Beckett Takes A Gamble & Grades Them

In general the Star Company cards are not considered legitimate in spite of their licensing and Topps/Fleer being out of the game. Part of the problem has been the ability to counterfeit, and another part has been the rarity of the cards. Many are betting on this mindset changing with the potential for a payout, and Beckett started grading the cards in 2008 which has increased its legitimacy.

Michael Jordan Extended Rookie Card

It was very difficult to find quality information about this card, but I felt that the list would be incomplete without it. Today, this card is considered an extended rookie card (XRC) because Star Co. is considered a “special” set versus a “standard” set (Topps Trades vs Topps; Fleer Update vs. Fleer).

Some believe that in the future there is a chance that Star Company is legitimized to a standard set, which would skyrocket the value of this card as the best Jordan rookie, to a rookie card (RC) from an XRC, as well as many of the rookies from the 1986 Fleer set listed above (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Isaih Thomas, etc). These people are holding onto to their Star Co cards in a gamble. After all, Star Co was officially licensed by the NBA at the time.

What are your thoughts?

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I have a bunch of Michael Jordan cards you listed as his top cards, along with Star set, a rookie, card that is graded a10 and one that is graded a #5 and a closet of his collectable items and all his starting line-ups, etc. Where can I sell this collection or parts of it? I have a Pete Maravich collection, a Koby, Shaq, Star Baseball players, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, a graded #10 and a #9 Drew Brees Rookie cards, autographed stuff, small bb signed from Shaq, signed Terry Bradshaw football, a signed Shawn Kemp jersey won… Read more »

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