The Michael Jordan Fleer RC #57 is our pick for the top investment in all of the trading cards for the next ten years and maybe the best sports card investment period (including stocks, real estate, and bitcoin).
Most Valuable Michael Jordan Basketball Cards
“Michael Jordan and valuable cards go together like basket and ball. His playing days might be long gone, but a selection of his collectible cards have aged like fine wine, and they can still have a major impact on the hobby as a whole” – From: cardboardnerds.com
The thing is, he’s amassed an extensive collection of cards over the years, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell if they’re worth anything.
Our Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Picks
Best Overall ROI: 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer RC #57 (SHOP EBAY)
Best Value/Bargain: 1985 Michael Jordan Nike Promo RC #2 (SHOP EBAY)
Most Unique: 1991 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Basbell RC #SP1 (SHOP EBAY)
Best Looking: 1985 Michael Jordan Prism Jewel Stickers RC #7 (SHOP EBAY)
The Greatest: Shop the Greatest Michael Jordan Cards on eBay
We’ve come up with a list containing five of the most valuable Michael Jordan cards, with info about each one and an explanation as to why they’re so expensive in the first place.
Why Are Michael Jordan Basketball Cards So Valuable?
There are no two ways about it. Michael Jordan’s rookie cards and cards, in general, are some of the most expensive basketball cards that money can buy.
It’s partly a case of being in the right place at the right time, but there’s no denying that he helped to revolutionize the sport for the better, taking charge of his team as he led the Red Bulls through one of the most dominant eras in modern sports.
He’s the original star player in the NBA, loved worldwide, and Jordan made basketball relevant again in the US. Everyone wanted a piece of MJ at the time, which is why his collectible cards helped to kickstart the hobby in the mid-1980s.
In terms of his collectibles, the earlier, the better is generally preferable, but only if you’re looking at his Fleer or Star rookie card options, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Most of the cards that make a list are infrequent or were released decades ago, so you’ll need to look for the best possible grades, which is why they tend to be so pricey.
The Top Ten
The list has a range of cards from three decades, including RCs, signed patches, and even an appearance from LeBron James.
We’ve reviewed sales over the last six months to find the five most valuable MJ cards on the market. “If you can afford just one of the Michael Jordan cards on this list, you are doing very well in life… very well indeed!”
It’s hard to find a more iconic card than Michael Jordan’s 1986 Fleer. Everything from the red, white, and blue background to the image is memorable, as Jordan soars towards the net in a classic action shot.
The set helped to kickstart the hobby again in the mid-’80s, partly thanks to Jordan but also because it boasted rookie cards from several all-time greats, including Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Isiah Thomas, and Hakeem Olajuwon. It’s a solid supporting cast for the greatest ever.
“A 1986 Fleer Jordan card which earned a PSA 10 grade went for $99,630 in May 2020, making national news at the time.”
It deserved the attention, especially as the card had continually broken the record over the past two months. The same card went for $48,600 in March of the same year, marking an increase of over 50% in roughly 60 days.
This is partly attributed to the release of The Last Dance, as His Airness hit mainstream attention once more, and fans began clamoring to own a piece of basketball history.
They were plentiful when the set was initially released, so why is it so expensive The borders found on the front of the card are particularly susceptible to wear and chipping, and the card can also have issues with centering.
Seen as ‘the Jordan RC’, it’s easy to see why this classic option makes the list of his most valuable cards.
1997 Michael Jordan E-X2001 Jambalaya #6
Here is one of the most expensive but also one of the best-looking MJ cards ever printed. The 1997 Michael Jordan E-X2001 Jambalaya is a stunning specimen and a must for all high-end Michael Jordan card collectors.
Numbered #6, the card features Jordan getting major air while slamming down the rock.
1997 Michael Jordan Upper Deck Game Jerseys HOF Patch #GJ13
Despite being released over a decade after the Fleer, this card is still comparable in terms of value and prestige. The ’97 UD Game Jersey set signaled the start of the Jersey Patch craze, with a large, luxury player patch that comes from Jordan’s ‘92 NBA All-Star game.
There’s no need to worry about a hangover from the junk wax era, as the odds of pulling a Jordan card from this set were 1 in 55,000. That’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory levels of luck, and it’s a golden ticket by modern standards.
Must Read: Must Own Kobe Bryant Rookie Cards
As well as the massive patch and a unique design, the addition of an aftermarket signature on the front only helps to make it more attractive for potential collectors.
There are also a couple of images of Jordan on the front, just in case you weren’t sure which player kickstarted the concept of patches.
It’s somewhat basic compared to the many special patches released in the modern era, but it’s still a real piece of sporting history. As an experimental piece, the edges are susceptible to damage and the lining of the patch itself.
He’s pictured in his All-Star gear rather than his Bulls uniform, but that’s no major issue considering the prestige of the UD brand and the fact there’s a patch from the ‘97 game attached.
2003 Michael Jordan Exquisite Collection Limited Logos #MJ
Patch and Autograph?! Now we’re talking! The 2003 Michael Jordan Exquisite Collection Limited Logos basketball card is produced by Upper Deck and will cost more than $100,000 at high grades.
Numbered #MJ the card has a Michael Jordan headshot at the top, while his autograph is found at the bottom. The game used patch is placed in the center.
1984 Michael Jordan Star XRC #101
If you didn’t know, this is the earliest Jordan card you’ll be able to find, produced by the little-known Star Company. It’s not considered his official rookie card by any measure, which is why it’s given the XRC designation. (Extended Rookie Card.)
The card features a deep red border, with a good action shot of Jordan dominating in his classic Chicago Bulls jersey. He also has Rookie of the Year (#288) and Olympic team (#195) variants, although we’d stick to the base card if you’re looking for an investment piece on the market.
Given the age, it’s only natural that there aren’t many mint versions left in the world, and the first BGS 9.5 Michael Jordan XRC was only found in October 2014. There’s always a chance that others could arise, but you’ll need to be wary of ungraded versions, which regularly do the rounds.
It’s alleged that the original owner of Star had been working with a print shop to produce new backdated 1980s Star cards, causing difficulty in terms of authentication. This has made Beckett the only grading company willing to take on their selection of cards.
XRC or no, the Star is another great option from the mid-1980s, and it’s the first-ever Jordan card. That makes it prestigious in its own right, although it’ll never compare to the Fleer in terms of value.
2009 Michael Jordan LeBron James Exquisite Collection /23 #ED-JJ
This lousy boy sold for a little over $46,000 in June of 2020, ungraded (pic above)… imagine what it would go for as a PSA 10 or BGS 9.5.
One player who can match up to MJ in terms of star power is LeBron James. A card featuring both will always be a prospect for any list of the most expensive cards, doubly so when it’s part of the Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball collection.
The card has everything you could want, with the card split in half to share dual signatures from LeBron and MJ. There are only 23 overall to match their shirt numbers, and you’ll be able to check via a serial number located on the front of the card. In the middle is a patch shaped in the form of a 23.
Action shots of both players take up separate quarters of the card, while Jordan’s image comes out of the background is a nice touch. The theme makes sense as they shared the shirt number, even though James’ rookie season occurred when Jordan retired for the third and final time.
LeBron dropped the No. 23 number in time for the 2019-20 season, passing it over to Anthony Davis. Regardless, it’s still a great card and is likely to continue to rise in value over the next few years. As the name suggests, his 2009-10 Exquisite Collection is another premium option, and it’s the newest card on the list by a fair margin.
1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Stickers RC #8
If you worry about the six-figure price tag and the issues found with the 1986 Fleer card, you could always check out the sticker variant released in the same year. Part of an 11-piece sticker set was inserted into 1986 Fleer packs; a mint version will sell for roughly a quarter of the price of the Fleer card.
The sticker set is helped by the addition of legendary players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, making it extremely difficult to collect if you’re looking for good grades.
A young Jordan is pictured mid-dribble, with his tongue out as he concentrates on leading the attack for the Bulls. Everything from the vintage kit to his Nike sneakers is visible, even if it’s challenging to get used to an image of Jordan with hair.
You’ll have to pay special attention to the edges to ensure no peeling. The stickers also suffer from centering issues, which was standard then.
They’re two of the main reasons why it’s so hard to find mint editions, while the association with the card version of the Fleer also influences the price. Just try not to think about the Jordan stickers that were carelessly left on walls or peeled off over the years.
Our Favorite Michael Jordan Basketball Card?
The 1986 Prism Jewel Sticker RC is our favorite MJ Card. It’s not the most expensive or popular among collectors, but to us, it has a specific IT factor that we can’t get over if you have this card in a PSA 9 or PSA 10 or can get us in touch with someone that can email email@example.com.
Most Valuable Michael Jordan Cards from the 1990s
The ’90s were a great time to be alive. Social media wasn’t around, ESPN Sports Center was a great show to watch, and Alabama football was garbage; how we long for those days.
Snap back to reality, and let’s check out the most expensive Michael Jordan Cards from the ’90s.
- 1997 Michael Jordan Row 1 Flair Showcase Legacy /100 #1
- 1997 Michael Jordan NBA Hoops High Voltage #14 Michael Jordan Bulls HOF
- 1997 Michael Jordan Metal Universe Platinum Portraits #1
- 1996 Michael Jordan Flair Showcase Row 1 Legacy Collection
- 1996 Michael Jordan Flair Showcase Hot Shots Die-Cut #1
Most Expensive Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Sold on eBay (last year)
- 1986 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan ROOKIE RC #57 PSA 10 GEM MINT sold on 12/20/2020 for a mind-blowing $208,100
- 1986 Fleer Sticker Basketball Michael Jordan #8 PSA 10 GEM MINT sold on 2/4/2021 for $200,001
- 2008 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems PMG Green Michael Jordan 10/10 #23 BGS 9 sold on 1/19/2021 for $120,100
Buyers Guide & Investment Outlook
2020 has been a challenging year for most, but The Last Dance documentary’s release has helped inflate Jordan’s card prices in recent months. Owners and investors are sure to be happy at any rate.
Average one-day sales for Chicago Bulls items spiked a staggering 5,156% following the first episode. At the same time, all sellers and auction houses have noted that Jordan cards are currently flying off the shelves.
In an interview with MarketWatch, the founder of Steiner Sports Memorabilia acknowledged that Jordan’s cards helped to bring the hobby out of regional markets, as everyone wanted his cards around the world. Brandon Steiner said;
“Let’s be clear here, Michael Jordan, we all should be giving him a check, he lifted sport licensing onto a legitimate level. It was practically nothing before he got into the game.”
Even now, his cards are the gift that keeps on giving, although it’s easy to say with the benefit of hindsight. It’s great if you were picking up Jordan memorabilia six months ago, but it’s got to be challenging if you sold a card only to see it double in price after roughly 60 days.
Options like his PMG cards might have failed to make the list, but they’re further examples of rare options that should be on your radar as they continue to beat records every time a high-grade version is listed.
The boost seen after The Last Dance is well documented and could be a flash in the pan, considering the mainstream attention Jordan has been getting.
However, the prices of MJ cards have been rising steadily since his retirement, so this could be a bump along the road that happened to speed things up a little.
Given the 50% increase in recent months, the Fleer gets most of the attention from collectors and investors. However, almost every Jordan card saw rising prices in 2020.
When it comes to the best collectible basketball cards, it’s clear that Jordan has to be considered in the conversation. The GOAT player deserves GOAT cards.