Michael Jordan cards have been hit by massive volatility in recent years, culminating in hype that saw two 1986 Fleer PSA 10s sold for a record $738,000 each via Goldin Auctions in January 2021.
It was predicted that their price could rise to over $1m. Instead they crashed to $200,000 in the weeks that followed. As of November 2022, the most recent sale price was for $191,563.
Prices appear to have stabilised over the past 12 months, so here’s a rundown with the best Michael Jordan cards that money can buy.
The Best Michael Jordan Cards Ever
Any piece of MJ merch released during his playing career is likely to sell for a large sum. Especially if it has been graded by the likes of PSA or BGS.
We’ve come up with a list containing five great options that have attracted a lot of interest in recent months.
5. 1985-86 Star All-Rookie Team Michael Jordan RC #2 (eBay)
The first card to make the list is an XRC (eXtended Rookie Card), and one of the earliest to feature the focus of The Last Dance.
The 1985-86 Star Rookie is one of a number of early Jordan collectibles released by the company between 1984 to 1986. It includes a red-framed #101, a blue-framed Rookie of the Year (#288) and an Olympic team (#195) card.
Historically they’ve been disregarded in favour of the famous 1986 Fleer, but it’s a solid collection that is far cheaper.
4. 1986 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan RC #8 (eBay)
The 1986 Fleer sticker is another viable option for fans who are looking for a cheaper Jordan RC.
Fleer released a sticker set to accompany their cards in 1986, including Jordan in an action shot as he dribbled along the court. There aren’t many collectors who would prefer a sticker over a card, so it plays second fiddle to the sturdier alternative.
However, it started to gain popularity as the price of the Fleer card rose rapidly, even if it’s a slightly less prestigious option.
3. 2001 Upper Deck Legends Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant RC #57 (eBay)
This 2001 Upper Deck Legends dual patch auto is definitely worthy of a spot on the list.
As well as MJ, Kobe Bryant makes an appearance on the ‘Legendary Jerseys Autographs’ card, doubling the star power for anyone interested in the rarest basketball collectibles.
There’s an unsigned silver backed version, while the Gold card seen above is limited to just 10 copies.
It might have been released after the turn of the century, but it’s still one of the most valuable when looking at graded copies.
2. 1998 Fleer Classic ’61 Michael Jordan /61 #142 (eBay)
The late 1990’s saw the release of a number of rare Michael Jordan cards, including the 1998 Fleer Classic.
An understated option, it uses the legendary 1961-62 Fleer basketball card design, with the added bonus of being limited to just 61 copies.
(There’s also another version of the 1998 Fleer ’61, with no sign of the serial number found on the reverse.) This card is especially difficult to locate on the market. It’s no surprise given the tiny print run.
1. 1986 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan RC #57 (eBay)
The 1986 Fleer RC is one of the most popular base cards ever created. It’s also the most coveted Michael Jordan collectible by a wide margin.
Prices have fluctuated wildly in the past, and are currently in the $200,000 range. (PSA notes the last sale of a gem mint card was for $191,563.) This is down roughly $100,000 from last year.
PWCC Marketplace reported the record sale for a PSA 10 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card was $840,000 in July 2021.
To give some idea of the scarcity, there are currently 323 Michael Jordan rookie cards that have earned a 10 grade according to PSA’s Population Report.
Graded Jordan rookie cards are a decent value proposition at the moment. That’s as long as you’re aware that they can fall in price as well as rise.
A number of investors were caught out by pure FOMO during lockdown. Prices increased to unprecedented levels at a rapid rate. The bubble appears to have burst to an extent, although Michael Jordan cards are still far more expensive than they were a decade ago.
Jordan collectibles from the late 1980’s are often underrated, and could be some of the best cheap options overall. However, the average graded Jordan card released during his early career is still going to be relatively expensive compared to any others, due to his enduring legacy. Also, be wary of any fakes or forgeries, especially if you’re looking at the famous 1986 Fleer RC.
Even Jordan sneakers can sell for massive amounts, never mind his best ever cards.
The best MJ investment card is still the 1986 Fleer RC, even if the bubble has burst in recent months. The most recent sale is over 50% less than the ATH, so it’s a great time to buy. However, it’s not ideal for those who purchased the card as an investment at the peak.
Anything with a serial number and a signature is also sure to be popular with collectors. If in doubt, stick with parallels.
You’re getting a lot more bang for your buck if you’re on the market for MJ cards in the latter stages of 2022. Prices also seem to be recovering in the meantime, which is good news for potential sellers.
With high-value items, we’d stick to reputable eBay sellers and graded copies if you’re looking online.
It might take a long time to reach the $1m mark, but you can never say never with a collectible like the Jordan RC. From the popularity of the Air Jordan brand to his legacy on the court, he’s still unmatched for many fans. It’s unlikely to happen anytime soon given the number of PSA 10 graded copies on the market. (There are 323 the last time we checked.)
The best Jordan cards are still decent investment options as of now, while the market is less competitive compared to the January 2021 high.
Jordan is also one of the most over-invested players of the recent bubble.