Michael Jordan Rookie Cards Investment
Michael Jordan is arguably the most famous basketballer of all time and a massive part of the ‘90s pop culture.
From Space Jam to Air Jordans, he transcended the sport to become an icon across the globe.
It’s not bad for a player who was only the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft.
MJ rookie cards are always tempting from an investment perspective, but are they actually worth it?
We’ve prepared a list with everything you need to know about investing in Micheal Jordan rookie cards, including five of the very best to look out for.
Why MJ Rookie Cards Are Such a Good Investment
MJ cards are highly sought after for a number of reasons. His star power is legendary, and most of his fans are old enough to have large amounts of disposable income.
His rookie cards are especially valuable, which makes sense considering nobody knew he would go on to be a 5x MVP and a 6x NBA champion.
His legacy continues to live on, and people love picking up a piece of sporting history.
Jordan also came through at a time when manufacturers only made one version of a rookie card, so the market isn’t completely overflooded.
They’re also incredibly easy to sell, given the huge demand for his memorabilia at auction.
As always, much depends on the condition of the card, and whether it’s been graded professionally.
Are They the Best Investment in the Hobby?
In terms of the best investment opportunity, you may see greater margins if you’re willing to scope out the next big thing, but it’s pretty unlikely they’ll match Jordan’s recent gains.
It’s hard to see MJ cards going south any time soon. In fact, they’ve risen notably in recent years, and the trend is likely to continue.
A pristine copy of the 1986-87 Fleer card sold for $100,000 back in 2011, highlighting just how valuable MJ rookie cards can be at the very top of the game. This also sparked further growth for lower-rated Jordan cards in the next few years, leading to today’s valuations.
At this rate, it would take a massive controversy to derail the MJ hype train. You’ll also have to watch out for counterfeit cards, so be wary if a price or deal seems too good to be true.
With that in mind, here’s a list with five of the best Michael Jordan rookie cards for investment purposes (and one non-rookie card).
1985 Nike Promo Michael Jordan #2
We’ll begin with an entry-level card that has one of the most iconic images in sport on the front.
It features Jordan stretching for a slam dunk, with a Nike logo in the lower-left corner and is a MUST for beginning Jordan collectors.
This promo card is larger than normal, with no text spoiling the picture. It was the perfect way to show off his skills, and a great way to market Air Jordans.
The back of the card is filled with his early stats, as well as career highlights up to that point.
If you take the time to check them out, it’s clear he was always destined for greatness.
Typically, it’s difficult to find perfect cards because of the larger size.
You should expect to pay upwards of $900 for a mint condition version, and it’ll always be popular as a piece of sports memorabilia.
1986-87 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card #57
This is the most popular MJ rookie card, as well as one of the easiest to find.
The 1986-87 Fleer edition highlights Jordan as he’s about to hit a slam dunk in his Chicago Bulls kit.
It’s another familiar image for anyone with a passing interest in the sport, and it really is a great looking card.
However, the back is quite basic, showing key stats from his first two seasons in the NBA.
Prices have jumped since the mid-2010s, with an 8.5 likely to set you back by at least $3,500 at auction.
It’s an average 200% increase over the past five years, which explains the surge in popularity.
It’ll likely take a fight if you’re aiming to win one, even if it isn’t the rarest card available for purchase.
The ‘perfect’ version sold for $100,000, and there are only a few graded as mint in the entire world.
It’s seen as the best Jordan rookie card for collectors, so it could be worth considering from an investment point of view.
1986-87 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan #8
This is a 1986 sticker that has Jordan dribbling past New Jersey’s Otis Birdsong, flashing his tongue in an image that takes up the majority of the card.
His name and team are displayed on the left-hand side, and Jordan is wearing his iconic Chicago Bulls kit.
The back features a large paragraph talking about Jordan’s early achievements, instead of the usual list of statistics.
A PSA 10 rating can take it up into the thousands price-wise because most stickers have already had the back removed in years gone by.
Needless to say, a peeled sticker is almost worthless, even if MJ is displayed on the front.
If you don’t mind stickers, this could be a valuable investment if prices continue to rise at current trends.
1984-85 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #101
The 1984-85 Star card is one of the most expensive rookie cards, and a 9 will cost upwards of $10,000.
You can pick up lower-rated copies for roughly $3,000, which is still a serious chunk of change for most collectors and investors.
Another great looking card, the front is red and white and features Jordan in the thick of the action after a rebound.
There’s a large, red border, with a team logo at the bottom left and player information on the right.
However, unauthorized prints were made using the original plates in the 1990s, leading to fakes which were hard to identify. Auction houses claim to be able to tell the difference, with Heritage saying:
“Small variations were soon discovered, allowing experts to determine which cards were the genuine article, and which were the 1990s knock-offs.”
Of course, it can make some investors and collectors nervous, but they do sell easily.
1985 Interlake Michael Jordan RC #1
Another rare card, the 1985 Interlake can cost upwards of $3,000 for a mint version.
It’s bigger than the norm at 5″ x 7″, featuring Jordan dribbling in his white Chicago Bulls jersey.
He has his tongue out in a signature pose, which always makes it more interesting for potential collectors.
It’s not a licensed NBA card, which does lessen the value slightly.
They were produced by Interlake Youth Incentive Program and the Boy Scouts of America in Chicago, with both logos visible on the front.
The card shows MJ’s name and his team, as well as his height and position.
This version is blank at the back, which is a bit of a shame.
The Interlake card is still a popular collectible, with multiple bids at almost every auction.
Best Non-Rookie Michael Jordan Card?
2004-05 Upper Deck Finite Signatures Michael Jordan Bulls HOF AUTO
It’s not a rookie card, but the 2004/05 Upper Deck Signatures is another great piece of Jordan memorabilia to look out for.
The border is grey, with an image of Jordan taking a shot on the right-hand side.
The signature itself is directly in the middle of the card, along with the Chicago Bulls and Upper Deck logos.
The reverse confirms that the player signed the card in the presence of a UD rep, and there’s also a close-up of the image found on the front.
A 9.5 will easily sell for over $4,000. Signed cards are always desirable for collectors, so it could be another solid investment.
Michael Jordan Rookie Card with the North Carolina Tarheels?
There are a few MJ North Carolina rookie cards available but none are worth collecting.
How to grade a Michael Jordan rookie card?
Michael Jordan is a living legend, and his rookie cards are reflective of his status as one of the best ever.
One could make a solid case that a high-end MJ Rookie Card is a better future investment than gold, real estate, and even stocks (sorry Microsoft).
You only have to look to the ridiculous amount of accolades he’s received over the years to understand his impact on the sport, and why collectors are always interested in his memorabilia.
Prices for MJ cards are fairly high, but they’ve continued to increase in recent years due to factors like the era in which they were released, nostalgia for the late ‘80s and ‘90s, and his sheer popularity with the general public.
If you can snag a Jordan rookie card for a reasonable fee it should be a great investment for the future as long as prices continue to rise. For now, there are no signs that the bubble is about to burst, and there are also other cards (like the 1985 Prism Jewel) which we didn’t have space to list.
The same goes for non-rookie cards, like the 1997-98 PMG Jordan. The Precious Metal Gems card recently blew past the 1986-87 Fleer version and sold at auction for an eye-watering price of $350,100.
MJ cards are less volatile than cryptocurrencies, and demand always seems to outweigh supply. If you’re looking to invest, you can always start at the top of the tree with a player that is always going to sell.