There is no question that Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court. His legacy also extends off the court, with collectors avidly searching for memorabilia and unique basketball cards depicting the GOAT’s image.
If you want to make money selling MJ cards, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will look at some of the most valuable Michael Jordan basketball cards and give tips on selling them for top dollar.
How Many Michael Jordan’s Cards are There?
There are A LOT of Michael Jordan cards out there. So, it’s difficult to say precisely how many MJ cards have been out in circulation since his rookie year in 1984-85. However, it’s much easier to guesstimate how many Michael Jordan rookie cards there are as these editions only had a limited run during his rookie season. All in all, experts assert that there are about 6000 rookie card variations for Jordan. That number doesn’t even include variations or autographed cards!
With so many options available, it can be tough to determine which ones are worth your time and money. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most in-demand Michael Jordan cards on the market today.
And because he had a 15-year career, Jordan cards aren’t exactly the rarest of cards. However, the valuable variants of the card, those limited releases, are the ones that can sell for millions. So, without further ado, let’s get into the list!
How Much Are Michael Jordan Cards Typically Worth?
Because the cards aren’t exactly rare, you can find a typical Michael Jordan card for not much money. In fact, a regular MJ card from his playing days can go for as low as $50. However, there are certain cards, such as autographed versions, that can fetch prices upwards of $5000!
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and some cards are worth significantly more than others. For example, a PSA-graded 9 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card is one of the most iconic cards in existence and sells for an average of $300,000 consistently. At one point, a PSA 10 even sold for $700,000.
However, one huge factor determining how much Michael Jordan basketball cards are worth is their condition. The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), a third-party assessor of sports memorabilia, is the primary grading company for NBA cards. They use a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest and most valuable score.
Here are the qualifications for each score:
PSA 10 – Gem Mint
Gem Mint cards are essentially perfect. The corners are all sharp, and the face of the card retains its original gloss and shine. The PSA does leave allowances for imperfections, but not if they affect the card’s overall eye appeal. And because PSA standards are pretty exacting, these Jordan cards are rare. The few that exist are probably already in the hands of the most dedicated collectors.
PSA 9 – Mint
Mint cards are also quite perfect but may have just one slight imperfection, such as a wax stain on the back, discoloration on the border, or slight off-centeredness. Nevertheless, collectors still highly regard these cards; therefore, they often fetch the maximum dollar at auctions.
PSA 8 – Near Mint/Mint
Near Mint cards would pass off as Mint to untrained eyes. They generally have similar imperfections to Mint condition. The only difference is that Near Mint/Mint cards typically have more than one slight imperfection. Cards sell for 20 to 40 percent less than PSA Gem Mint cards in this condition.
PSA below Near Mint/Mint
Cards with a PSA score below Near Mint/Mint have been well-loved and used. They generally have more wear and tear, such as creases, folds, or stains. These types of cards are the most common in existence and can be had for a relatively low price.
If you’re an investor, stay away from cards in these conditions as they hold very little value. For collectors, on the other hand, these may scratch an itch especially if triple-digit purchases aren’t an option for you.
Cards graded higher are worth more money but are much rarer. So, knowing what you’re looking for is essential before making a purchase.
Which MJ’s Cards are Worth the Money?
Much like his signature shoe line, MJ cards are some of the most collectible items on the planet. The rarest, therefore, can fetch a lot of money. However, some MJ cards may not be as rare and are, therefore, worth a lot less than
So, whether you’re collecting or investing, it’s essential to know which Michael Jordan cards are actually worth buying.
Here are three of the most expensive Michael Jordan cards in existence:
The 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card – $350,000
The average market value of the infamous 1986 Fleer #57 is $350,000, but it has sold for $700,000 at auction before. So, if you’re lucky enough to find one in good condition, you could make a fortune! However, anything less than Mint condition can diminish the value by a significant sum, so double-check the card’s condition before making a purchase.
The 1997 Upper Deck Game Jerseys Michael Jordan #GJ13S – $250,000
In 2021, the PSA 7 graded #GJ13S fetched a hefty price of $1.4 million at auction, making it one of the most valuable Michael Jordan cards from the ’90s. However, in the years prior, Gem Mints of this card only sold for around $54,000. So, it’s still too early to say that the #GJ13S has the staying power of the Fleer #57. Today, Gem Mints of the #GJ13S average still hovers around $250,000. Who knows? This particular Michael Jordan upper deck card may still overtake the Fleer #57 in the future.
1997 Metal Universe Michael Jordan (Precious Metal Gems) #23 – $165,000
Perhaps one of the surprises of the pandemic market is the 1997 Metal Universe Michael Jordan card, more commonly known as the PMG #23. The company made only 100 of these cards in the series, with 90 being made up of red foil while the rest of the 10 were made with green or emerald foil.
Naturally, the rarer emerald foil cards are much more expensive. It made its highest selling point at $915,000 at auction in 2021. However, since so few of these cards exist, we only know of one of these cards being sold publicly. On the other hand, the much more accessible red foils with a Mint or Near Mint rating routinely sell for $250,000 – $500,000 with an average of $165,000.
Are Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Worth It?
As with all purchases, the question of worth depends on what you’re looking for. For collectors, the answer is a resounding yes. Some of MJ’s cards are not only worth a pretty penny but also bring a lot of joy. In some cases, even cards in bad condition sell for a lot of money just because a collector would love to add them to their collection.
For investors, however, answering the question of are Michael Jordan basketball cards worth money is a tricky one. If you’re investing and looking for a profit, doing your research first is vital as the market can be volatile. Because of its volatility, it might be best to be more conservative on your next investment piece. Be sure to research the market demand first before letting money leave your hands for an MJ card and pay only what you’re willing to lose.
Don’t forget to get your cards appraised by either the PSA or Beckett. This should help you move cards quicker, as collectors and investors are always on the lookout for cards that have been professionally graded.
But if you’re just starting out and looking to get your feet wet in the world of MJ cards, then we suggest getting more common and less expensive cards. PSA Near Mint/Mint cards are a great place to start as they’re not too expensive but still quite valuable.
Furthermore, you can never go wrong buying autos, patches, and rookie cards. These cards pick up value quickly and are excellent investments in the long run.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Are Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Worth?
Michael Jordan cards are some of the most valuable and iconic. But, the historical value shouldn’t blind you to what you’re trying to accomplish by buying them.
Some MJ cards, for example, are not worth much because they’re not rare or in high demand. Others can be quite expensive, but their value might not last in the long run.
As with any investment, it’s important to do your research first and understand the market before buying an MJ card. And if you’re just starting out, we recommend getting more common and less expensive cards. PSA Near Mint/Mint cards are a great place to start as they’re not too expensive but still quite valuable.
But whatever you do, don’t forget to have your cards appraised by the PSA or Beckett! This will help you move your cards quickly and get the best return on your investment.
So, which MJ card do you have your sights set on?
If you’re interested in learning Michael Jordan’s story, check out this basketball biography book.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.
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