Basketball cards: What is Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan rookie card worth?

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan rookie card worth (Mandatory Credit: Al Bel)
Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan rookie card worth (Mandatory Credit: Al Bel) /

What is a Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan rookie card worth?

Chicago Bulls GOAT Michael Jordan is one of the most marketable stars in the NBA’s history, still drumming up a ton of attention even in 2020 in pop culture and beyond. Most directly, The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary centered on his career recently won an Emmy.

The basketball cards trading hobby has gotten more and more popular in the 21st century with the emergence of stars like LeBron James and Zion Williamson. Even the instant skill of Ja Morant has led to the collecting hobby becoming more and more interesting for casual fans.

Those who know how to collect can sometimes build very respectable collections and can even turn a profit on their hobby if they make the right trades and sales.

For longtime collectors, one of the most sought-after cards is a Michael Jordan rookie card.

What is Michael Jordan rookie card worth?

The value of a Michael Jordan rookie card is a bit of a complicated question because there are many factors at play. Usually, when people talk about rookie cards, there is one specific one to point to — the 1986-87 Fleer card. In mint condition and PSA graded at “10”, the most this particular card has sold for on eBay is $99,000.

You might notice 1986 isn’t actually Jordan’s rookie season. More on that in a bit in this article.

Even for cards graded at 9.5, there is a stark dropoff from the ceiling price on this card, many selling for the $40,000 to $45,000 range. “8” typically has gone for $12-15,000. There are not many “10s” that have been found over the years.

Be wary of reprints, as this card was reprinted over the yearsReprint versions are often valued at less than $50. Counterfeits may exist as well, which would be virtually worthless. Be sure to be a skeptical and careful collector.

Cards with tears, folds, discoloration, or any other visible issues would be valued at much less than the high value of the highly graded PSA cards mentioned above. PSA grading is one of the best and only ways to verify the authenticity and condition of your card to gauge its market value.

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What is the most valuable Michael Jordan basketball card?

Though cards fluctuate in price, since Jordan has been retired for years the general hierarchy of which cards are the most valuable is pretty much set in stone. Far and away the most valuable Michael Jordan card is the 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Green card. One sold for $350,000 in February 2019. Only 10 green cards were ever produced, and there are 90 red cards. A red has sold for over $60,000.

Why are Michael Jordan basketball cards worth so much?

As PSA Collector points out, one of the main reasons this card is worth so much (beyond it being Michael Jordan) is that a vast majority of the Jordan rookie cards from Fleer have been lost and destroyed since the 1980s. Though cards are making a major comeback in the NBA space, overprinting in the 1980s and 1990s devalued the NBA card market and as a result, many collections went by the wayside completely, even some that included this Jordan card.

This is an interesting card, too, because it’s not technically his rookie card. Since there was a gap between when Fleer started manufacturing cards and when Topps stopped, Jordan’s first card didn’t come until several years into his career (again, as pointed out by PSA Collector).

If you have a Fleer 1986 card in good condition, it’s probably worth some serious coin. But if you have one that has been sitting in a damp basement with rugged edges and folds, it won’t be worth much. Same with counterfeits and reprints, as mentioned above.

It just goes to show how waiting out the hobby can pay off for many collectors, and that collecting sports cards is a long game. Imagine if Jordan’s rookie card were to be made today, especially with some of the foiled/colored parallels? That’s a card you might hold for a while.

Who might be that next card? It could be Zion Williamson, or it could be someone who hasn’t even come into the league yet.

Next. 30 best players in Bulls history. dark