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… keep reading to learn which Michael Jordan Rookie cards you should be buying!
MJ is larger than life and the most popular sports player to transcend pop culture.
Michael Jordan (2/17/1963) was drafted by the Chicago Bull with the 3rd overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft out of the University of North Carolina.
Jordan made an immediate impact in his first season with the Bulls playing 82 games and averaging a mind-blowing 28.2 points per game to go along with 5.9 assist and 6.5 rebounds… needless to say the Bulls had something special on their hands.
His career numbers are even more gaudy averaging 30.1 points per game to go along with 6 NBA Championship Rings and 5 league MVPs!
Michael Jordan Nicknames
- Mike, Air Jordan
- His Airness
- Black Cat
- Mr. June
- Captain Marvel
- Black Jesus
So we all know Jordan is the GOAT and always will be no matter what these LeBron fanboys say… but are his rookie cards a good buy…
In one word… YES!
We’ve prepared a list with everything you need to know about investing in Michael 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?
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 Michael Jordan hype train… all aboard!!! You’ll also have to watch out for counterfeit cards, so be wary if a price or deal seems too good to be true (we will get more into that later in the article.
With that in mind, here are some of the best Michael Jordan rookie cards for investment purposes.
Best Michael Jordan Rookie Cards
1. 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card #57 (buy on eBay)
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.
This card is so popular a guy on YouTube bought a few packs of 1986 Fleer on eBay in hopes of pulling the card… check out what happens below… pretty entertaining to say the least…
This Jordan RC is 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 (try to find a Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card PSA 10 or BGS 9.5 if you’re going to buy it), 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.
2. 1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo Rookie RC #2 (buy on eBay)
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.
3. 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker Rookie #8 (buy on eBay)
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 grade 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.
Michael Jordan Autographed Rookie Cards
You won’t see a true MJ autograph rookie card for auction very often but when you do it’s worth putting a bid on these babies as they are worth there weight in gold.
Just be sure its a true Michael Jordan autograph and not a reprint.
If you have any questions about a Jordan auto rookie card please email us at info@goldcardauctions with the link to the card before you place a bid.
1984 Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card #101 (buy on eBay)
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 card 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 that 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 Michael Jordan Interlake Rookie RC Bulls #1 (buy on eBay)
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 the 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.
1985 Michael Jordan Star Gatorade Slam Dunk RC #7 (buy on eBay)
Here is a pretty rare Jordan rookie card you won’t find up for auction very often and when you do it should be an affordable price.
Numbered #7 the card shows an awe-inspiring photo of Jordan with the basketball in the classic red home Chicago Bulls jersey.
The Michael Jordan Star Gatorade Slam Dunk rookie card has a gorgeous green border that clashes well with the Bulls Red Jersey.
The reverse of the card reads “Since entering the league as the third overall last June, Jordan has been a prime attraction and focus of attention… His hang time says Bulls assistant coach Fred Carter is better than Ray Guys Punts… a fixture in highlight films in each NBA city the Bulls visit… able to ignite and inspire teammates with his backboard shaking windmill dunks“.
Michael Jordan Rookie Card Checklist
- 1984 Star Company Michael Jordan XRC #101
- 1985 Nike Promo Michael Jordan #2
- 1985 Star Basketball Michael Jordan RC Rookie #117
- 1985 Michael Jordan Star Gatorade Slam Dunk RC Rookie #7
- 1986 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan #8
- 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan RC #57
Related: Best Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards
Best Michael Jordan Basketball Cards
1997 Michael Jordan Precious Metal Gems Universe #23 (buy on eBay)
This is the holy grail of non-Micahel Jordan rookie cards. Not only does it have a sick slime green (a tribute to Slimer in Ghostbusters) backdrop (or red depending on the version) but the image of Jordan with the ball flaming is the DRIP!
The card is numbered #23 and recently sold for a mind-blowing $121,000!
If you’re lucky, you might see this card once in your life, let alone have the chance to acquire it.
2004 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Finite Signatures Bulls HOF AUTO #FS-MF (buy on eBay)
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.
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This is BY FAR our favorite non-Jordan Rookie Card.
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 $10,000. Signed cards are always desirable for collectors, so it could be another solid investment.
1996 Michael Jordan Topps Chrome Refractor #139 (buy on eBay)
A sick Michael Jordan Topps Chrome card with a cool blue border.
Numbered #139 the card shows Jordan battling off the defender while attempting to make a layup (were assuming the ball went in).
The reverse of the card shows his vital stats and simply reads “Mike is the first ever to win four MVP NBA Finals Awards“.
1998 Michael Jordan Skybox Thunder Noyz Boyz Die-Cut #9 (buy on eBay)
This is one badass looking card… the color scheme is simply gorgeous.
Numbered #9 the card features MJ with the ball in an all-black Chicago Bulls uniform that blends perfectly with the all-black backdrop and the words “Noyz Boyz” in red… one word: DRIP!
2004 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Diamond Pro Sigs #PS-MJ
WHOA! Here is a big bo MJ rookie card that is not for the collector with a weak bank account.
The 2004 UD Michael Jordan Diamond Pro Sigs is numbered #PS-MJ and shows Jordan shooting a layup type shot with his autograph being the highlight of the card.
The reverse of the card reads “Congratulations! You have received a card personally autographed by Michael Jordan“.
A great non-rookie Jordan card to add to your sports card investment portfolio… it will cost you well into the 4 digits, however.
2000 Michael Jordan SPx Winning Materials Dual Game Used Jersey AUTO #MJA1 (buy on eBay)
This is a SUPER RARE GAME USED DUAL JERSEY AUTO Micahel Jordan card.
The Michael Jordan Winning Materials Rookie Card #MJA1 will go for slightly less than the SUPER RARE GAME USED SHOE PATCH AUTOGRAPH Michael Jordan card shown above.
Michael Jordan Rookie Card North Carolina
MJ rookie cards with the North Carolina Tarheels are not a great investment option… BUT… if you are huge Jordan FANBOY and just have to have them… go ahead and buy a couple as we don’t see the value going down by any means.
Below are all the Michael Jordan basketball cards we could find with him wearing a North Carolina Tarheels jersey.
2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck North Carolina UNC #170
A super cool looking MJ Tarheels basketball card showing Jordan shooting a free-throw with a gorgeous NC Blue backdrop.
2013 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Black UNC Logo Patch Signatures Autograph #LS-MJ
Another high-end Jordan college card highlighting the North Carolina Tarheels logo. The card shows a small picture of Jordan in the top right-hand corner while the NC logo steals the show taking up the majority of the card space.
Michael must have a lot of love for alma mater letting them put him on the bench and calling on the NC logo 🙂
All jokes aside this is a pretty cool card and one we wouldn’t mind owning.
2011 Michael Jordan SP Authentic North Carolina Tar Heels #1
SP Authentic cards usually command big dollars but this card can be had on the super cheap… were talking maybe less than $100 for high grades!
2010 Micahel Jordan SP Authentic Holo F/X North Carolina #23
Another SP Authentic Jordan basketball card (holo).
Were not a fan of this Jordan NC card and would rather have the 2011 SP Jordan card.
1989 Michael Jordan North Carolina Collegiate Collection Coca-Cola #18
Coca-Cola briefly got into the card sponsoring game in 1989 when they couldn’t resist teaming up with Jordan to create the 1989 North Carolina MJ Collegiate Collection card.
2010 Upper Deck North Carolina Michael Jordan NCAA All American #111
Jordan was no stranger to being named an NCAA All-American and this card highlights that achievement.
2010 Michael Jordan Upper Deck UNC #43
Another Upper Deck Michael Jordan North Carolina basketball card that shows MJ dribbling the ball down the court while deciding to pass the ball or drive to the hoop for an easy layup.
Michael Jordan Star Rookie Card?
When you hear the above term in regard to an MJ rookie card the person is most likely referring to the 1984-85 Star Company #101 Michael Jordan.
The card features MJ coming down with a rebound and will cost well over $5,000 for a card graded 8+ (BGS or PSA).
We don’t own this card and are not looking to purchase one anytime soon BUT it wouldn’t make a bad investment option.
Michael Jordan Rookie Card Baseball
Jordan had a short and mediocre baseball career but boy did the card companies take advantage of his mid-life in the NBA crisis to create some pretty sweet Michael Jordan Baseball Cards.
Below are some of the better MJ Baseball Cards worth adding to your collection.
Please note these cards will not increase in value nearly as quick as Jordans rookie cards but they are a decent buy as anything Jordan will increase your card ROI.
1995 Michael Jordan UD Collectors Choice SE Gold Signature Signed RC #238 (buy on eBay)
Were not big into Michael Jordan baseball cards but this one has some legit Jordan DRIP!
The card features Jordan patrolling the outfield while strutting around in the classic black White Sox jersey. He may not have played worth a lick but he can rock the hell of the White Sox jersey for sure.
On top of Jordan looking super cool in the black Whitesox jersey, the card also features a luxurious gold border which really has some pop to it… if only that autograph was real this card would be a monster!
Numbered #238 the reverse of the card reads “Many people dismissed Jordan’s attempt to play baseball as a pipe dream, but the former basketball player persevered and proved them wrong. Though he batted .202 at Class AA Birmingham, Jordan hit .260 in the season’s final month and placed fifth in the Southern League with 30 stolen bases“.
1991 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Baseball #SP1 SP Rookie (buy on eBay)
Upper Deck produced the first MJ baseball card in 1991 and this card has a super short-print. MJ was simply taking batting practice at the time while still playing for the Chicago Bulls and he was not under contract with the Whitesox… yet.
Numbered #SP1 the reverse of the card reads “On July 25, 1990, before the White Sox entertained the Cleveland Indians, Sox fans had the opportunity to see what #23 – the man simply known as “Michael” – could do with the baseball bat. Jordan impressed everyone with two homers, one going into the upper deck“.
1994 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Electric Diamond White Sox #19 (buy on eBay)
This is a minor league card of MJ playing ball for the playing for the Birmingham Barons. This isn’t a very sought after card and you can still get it in could condition at a very reasonable price.
Numbered #19 the reverse of the card reads “Both an offensive and defensive terror in basketball, Michael Jordan takes his incredible athletic talent and broad smile out of the hardwood courts and into the green cathedrals of baseball. He has played the game before as a junior varsity pitcher of Emsley A. Laney in high school in Wilmington, NC. “Air Jordan” has faced major league pitching twice before his 1994 spring training audition with the Chicago White Sox”.
How to grade an MJ rookie card?
If you are unsure which grading service to you please read PSA Grading vs Beckett Grading vs SGC Grading (Massive Guide and Review).
Authentic Michael Jordan Rookie Card (Fleer Fakes)
Should I be worried about buying a fake Jordan rookie card?
A major problem with some Michael Jordan rookie cards is some being fake, in particular the 1986 Fleer rookie card.
What is the best way to avoid falling trap to these fakes?
THE FLEER LOGO.
The first thing you will want to do is inspect that logo bro. On an authentic Jordan Fleer rookie card, the yellow arrow will be a darker shade of yellow, almost a golden color. If this is not the case with the card your thinking about buying… run… RUN away fast from the purchase and don’t think twice.
If you inspect the Fleer logo and are still on the fence in regards to authenticity please email us a picture of the card and we will take a look at it. Email us at email@example.com.
Michael Jordan Rookie Card Reprint Tips (Fleer)
- Check the Fleer Logo
- Look at the sellers online reputation (very helpful)
- Get a magnfying class and inspect the text box at the bottom of the card (it should feature cleanly printed text with a clear transitions)
- Check the eyes of the Chicago Bulls logo on the back (they shoul show white around the pupil… if they blend together around the pupils… Houston we have a problem)
- Finally email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will triple check it for you
Micahel Card Rookie Card Value
The value in MJ rookie cards has skyrocketed over the last few years, in particular, the 1986 Fleer card.
We (GoldCardAuctions) believe this will only continue over the years as he is a cultural icon, bigger than life, and beloved among all (do not buy Michael Jordan rookie cards on Craigslist as many listings are a scam).
Email us an image of your MJ rookie card for a price estimate… send the email to email@example.com and we will try to get back to you within 48 hours (may be longer based on the workload).
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 Michael Jordan 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.
Investment Rating: Very Strong Long Term Buy
Ownership Disclosure: None (sadly)