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The Five Most Expensive Michael Jordan Basketball Cards Ever Sold

Michael Jordan

One thing you can be sure of, is that the legacy of one Michael Jordan will be with us for as long as there are people on the planet. This sports icon not only performed artfully, with skill and intent, but also took great care of his fans. This not only means warm memories for fans, but also hot money for collectors. That's right folks, the sun will never set on the legacy of sports athletes such as Jordan and this means that his memorabilia will remain toasty for decades to come. As such, he's seen as a dependable investment where collectors are concerned, guaranteeing them a good return on investment. We've collected some of the five most expensive Michael Jordan Basketball cards ever sold, for you to take in. Whether you're a newbie at card collecting, a pro, or simply curfious, there's a chance you'll find the results quite startling.

5. 1985 Prism Jewel Sticker Michael Jordan Rookie Card: $450,000

This card/sticker has a different origin. Instead of being part of a company set, such as Fleer, they came out of those vending machines found outside of stores. You know the ones, some are filled with gum balls, others packed with trinkets. These stickers were found in such machines, and have recently become quite valuable. As they were just stickers, not many have been found in good condition, and it's been reported that some have been falsely replicated. According to Eric Norton of Beckett Media, “Authentic Prism Jewel cards carry a lot of value. It’s something that’s been duplicated and forged, so you’ve got to be careful on those." and have found ways to test to see if it's authentic before you buy. One of these are currently up for dibs on eBay for $450,000.

4. 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card #57 PSA Gem Mint 10: $645,000

Before we begin, a word to the wise: This card is one of the most replicated cards in the business, so beware if you've an interest. This card was auctioned off on February 4, 2021 for a solid price of $645,000.00. The image is that of Jordan as a rookie player. It's hard to believe that Jordan was sliced from his college team as a sophomore for not being good enough. Naysayers are just there to prove you were right all along. This may be of his rookie years, but it remains on of the most desired grabs for collectors. This popular card raked in the amount of $645,000.00 due to it's mint condition, meaning the color was crisp, image clear and edges were sharp. Whenever you see "Gem Mint" on a card description, it tells you that the card is as perfect as it can be. Different grading companies tend to use the phrase to their choosing. For instance, this particular card used PSA's grading system. PSA stands for Professional Sports Authenticator. PSA views "Gem Mint" as follows: “Attributes include four perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus and full original gloss. A PSA Gem Mint 10 card must be free of staining of any kind, but an allowance may be made for slight printing imperfection, if it doesn’t impair the overall appeal of the card. The image must be centered on the card within a tolerance not to exceed approximately 55/45 to 60/40 percent on the front and 75/25 percent on the reverse.” Those other cards of the same ilk can still fetch up to $1,000.00 or more even if ungraded.

3. 1997 Metal Universe Card in Green Precious Metal Gems: $915,000

In December of 2020, Heritage Auction house sold a Michael Jordan basketball card for the hefty price of $915,000.00. The card is described as a 1997, Metal Universe card in green, Precious Metal Gems. Only 100 cards were made in this set, with this card numbered at 9. Precious Metal Gems were cards which saw the light of day during 1997-98 and quickly became one of the most sought after collectibles in cards. Also known as PMG's, these cards were instrumental in boosting how we collect cards today by introducing artificial scarcity. This meant that to keep the cards collectible, card companies had to invent scarcity, and did so by placing serial numbers on cards. PMG's only came in 90 red and 10 green copies, with just 100 cards per player, hence artificial scarcity. Another element which makes this and other PMG's valuable is that they were purposefully made to degrade quickly, which makes it harder for collectibles to keep them in good condition. If you're interested in taking a peek at one of these cards currently up for auction, visit the Heritage Auction house page where they currently have one up for $1,372,500 or best offer.

2. 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey #GJ13S Basketball Card: $1.4 Million

In February 2021, Heritage auctioned off a rare gem of a card: A 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey #GJ13S basketball card. The card went for an astonishing $1.440,000 million US dollars. At the time of this auction, it became the most expensive Michael Jordan Basketball card ever sold up until that point. The price of this piece of memorabilia was a stunning 1.4 million dollars. Several factors made this card so valuable. First, it was one of a set of 23. Second, this was a Game Jersey card. If you're not familiar, a game jersey card carries with it a swatch of the jersey that the player wore in the game. In this case, the 1992 All Star Game. Finally, it was autographed and numbered by the Great One himself. The card was also in pristine condition

1. 1997-1998 Upper Deck Autographed Game Jersey Card #GJ13S: $2.7 Million

At the time of this writing, the most expensive Michael Jordan card was purchased for a cool $2.7 million. Not only is it the most expensive card, it's also one of the most expensive Michael Jordan collectibles on the market. Sold by Goldin Auctions, this was an Upper Deck patch card. Patch cards are those cards which have a swatch of cloth taken from the patches on the players jersey. Patches can include team logos, names, and numbers. This is different from a Jersey Card, which are cards with swatches of the players jersey. The swatch on this particular card comes off of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Beckett Grading Services gave the card an autograph grade of 8 and the card itself has a grade of NM-MT 8. According to Ken Goldin, “Michael Jordan was one of the most pivotal athletes of all time. It makes sense that this card – and the innovative new designs and cards styles that it spawned in the industry – is one of the most pivotal in our hobby. Owning this card is like owning a sliver of MJ’s legacy and we were very proud that we were trusted with this record-breaking transaction.” A scarce card, with only 23 of these cards made, This particular card being number 6 out of 23.

Final Thoughts

There you go, our list of five of the most expensive Michael Jordan Basketball cards ever sold. As you can tell, collecting sports cards isn't for the young any more. Gone are the day when you'd go shopping with mom and as her for money to buy a pack of sports cards. Today, people devote entire museum quality cases to house their cards in. In fact, the trading card accessories available are not only designed to make your best cards look their best, but also protect them from the environment. Remember, to sell a card for the best price, their condition needs to be as close to perfect as possible. Meanwhile, take full enjoyment of your hobby/business. Anything that fills you with joy and peace is worth your time and effort.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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