This Michael Jordan rookie card isn’t scarce. Not in the true sense of the word. PSA has examined over 17,000 of them alone and when you count Beckett and SGC and the many cards sitting in sets or just left ungraded, it’s clear you don’t have to go far to find one. However, the 1986-87 Fleer Jordan rookie card is clearly the most popular basketball card ever made and prices continue to steadily climb. You can check out a list of the popular Jordan cards on eBay below.
There is all kinds of Michael Jordan memorabilia to buy if you’re so inclined and the rookie card is at or near the top of the list.
It’s not ‘rare’ like the T206 Honus Wagner but the story is kind of a modern era equivalent to the Babe Ruth autographed baseball: many exist, but still not nearly enough to satisfy demand.
Investing in Michael Jordan rookie cards
From kids who idolized his ability and are now grown and able to afford one to adults who believe there is more growth to come and are investing in Michael Jordan rookie cards, there is always interest. Way back in 2009 we wrote that high grade Jordan rookie cards still seemed to be a good buy and indeed, dealers have seen semi-explosive growth in the last several years. In short, if you took our advice back then, you’ve made out like a bandit.
A card you could have pulled from a 50-cent pack at the time of issue has proven to be one of sports collecting’s best investments. While the product wasn’t a smash hit at the time, Jordan’s ascension to international superstar and the rise in popularity of basketball cards has helped fuel the growth.
The key to what your Michael Jordan rookie card is worth has everything to do with condition–and you can’t really rely on our own naked eye evaluation. If it has four sharp corners and is well centered with no print marks, it has a chance to earn a high grade. Grading any MJ rookie is worth it, though, if you have an ungraded one and yo’re thinking of selling. And don’t buy an ungraded one unless you know what to look for. There are too many counterfeits.
Best Graded Jordan Rookie Cards
Each company’s grading scale is a bit different.
A check of the population reports shows Beckett having graded nearly 10,000 Jordan rookies with 1,540 Jordan rated Mint 9; 514 at 9.5 and 6 as Pristine 10s.
PSA has examined over 20,000 MJ rookie cards with about 14 percent of those rated Mint 9 and over 300 graded as Gem Mint 10.
About ten percent of the Jordan rookie cards graded by SGC have come back as Mint 9 with only about 20 rating Gem Mint 10 out of 1,798 graded.
Prices for mint Jordans (graded 9) have doubled since 2014. PSA 9s often struggled to reach $2,000 early in 2013 but have recently been selling for over $50,000.
Beckett Graded 9.5 Michael Jordan rookie cards are hot, too. After a Pristine BGS 10 sold for $100,000, there was growth for lesser graded Jordan rookies. Now, BGS 9.5 examples have tripled in price to over $70,000 while BVG 9s, a little more plentiful, still average a princely sum. In the summer of 2015, 9.5s were selling for an average of $15,300, again showing a 300% growth rate compared to 2007 levels when the going rate was around $5,000. Even in 2012, average selling prices fell between $8,000 and $9,500.
The PSA 10 Gem Mint Jordan Fleer rookie card has taken on a life of its own. After one of them sold for over $50,000 another sold for $96,000 just three weeks later. In late 2020, one crossed the $200,000 mark. Then, early in 2021, two sold through Goldin Auctions for more than $700,000 each. While prices have since slid backward quite a bit in the ensuing months (10s are now in the $375,000-$550,000 range), if you bought in before 2021, congrats. You’ve made a small fortune.
“There are significant high net worth individuals who have decided to put millions of dollars into sports cards,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. New people are coming in each day.”
Prices of Michael Jordan rookie cards in all grades had actually dipped a bit from unusually high levels in 2016 but the settled market gave investors and collectors a little more confidence. With the “Last Dance” series on ESPN giving worldwide publicity to the 1990s Bulls in the spring of 2020, interest in the highest-graded Jordan cards exploded beyond the traditional sports card collecting audience.
From September of 2013 to February 20 of 2014, no Jordan card graded 8.5 (NM/MT+) by PSA sold for over $1,000. Since then, the average price has risen to five figures. Even Jordans in pretty rough shape are selling for very respectable sums.
Even if you bought into MJ rookie cards at some point, you’ve done very well. If you’re holding one that’s ungraded–get it graded. Now. Even if it doesn’t grade high, it’s still worth the expense– and the wait.
Part of the reason the appeal and value of Michael Jordan rookie cards may be long-lasting is basketball’s appeal as a worldwide sport. There are basketball collectors all over the world who covet a Jordan rookie, which increases already strong demand. Other interest has some from investors who have seen the strong performance of what has become the most popular basketball card of all-time.
The Jordan sticker from that inaugural 1980s Fleer set has also been climbing in price, especially high-grade examples. It’s not to be dismissed. The MJ sticker has become a top shelf investment of its own merit.
A live list of the ‘most watched’ graded Jordan rookie cards currently up for auction on eBay is below. It’s a great place to check out the bidding for the “best of the best” and is updated automatically twice an hour. You can also see a live list of all of the most watched Jordan cards, including some of his autographed Upper Deck issues here.
Sell Your Michael Jordan Rookie Card
The fastest way to sell your graded Michael Jordan rookie card is on eBay. You can sign up to buy and sell here. You can literally put it up for sale or auction in a few minutes and have the selling price in your account right after the auction.
If you have a graded example but you want someone else to handle the process for you and enjoy the marketing that comes with it, you might reach out to one of the auction companies that advertise on our website. They love to sell high-grade Jordan rookie cards.
Want to check out the hottest Jordan rookie cards up for auction right now? Check out the live list below. You can check back anytime to see what the market looks like as sellers market their best cards.
100 Most Watched 1986-87 Michael Jordan Rookie Card Auctions
- Unopened 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Case Sells for Nearly $1.8 Million
- Value, Interest in Michael Jordan’s 1991 Upper Deck Baseball Card on the Rise
- 30 Cool, Cheap Michael Jordan Cards
- Top 100 Most Watched Basketball Cards on eBay
- New Record Price for BGS 9.5 1984-85 Star Company Jordan Rookie
- Upper Deck Renews Autograph Contract with Michael Jordan
Love collecting? Want to keep up? Get our daily headlines delivered via email. Click here to sign up.