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Basketball Cards

Organized basketball dates back to the late 1800s, but basketball cards have a more random history, with card makers jumping in and out of the market for decades in response to market demand. It wasn’t until the 1980s that basketball cards achieved a steady presence in the collecting world.

The Egyptiene Cigarrette company made the first basketball cards in 1910, called College Athlete Felts B-33. The products had a package insert to mail in exchange for a card. Next, the cigarette company Murad had a 1911 series of 150 cards, containing just six college basketball cards. A long break followed, until 1932, when chocolate maker C.A. Briggs and Goudy Gum produced a few cards.

In the late 1940s, Bowman produced a set containing the coveted George Mikan card. In subsequent years, cards were made by Topps, Fleer, Upper Deck, and others until 2009, when Panini bought Donruss and became the exclusive, licensed NBA (National Basketball Association) card maker; a multi-year extension followed in 2012.

Basketball card value is often linked to a player’s rookie status. Some of the highest netting cards in basketball include the 1986-87 Fleer cards for Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and James Worthy, among others. Topps had a 1980 set which produced valuable Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Julius Irving cards. Bowman’s 1948-49 George Mikan card is also a key find.


Quick Facts

  • In 2009, a George Mikan rookie card in gem mint condition sold at a Memory Lane Auction for $218,500, the highest price ever recorded for a basketball card sale. Lower-grade Mikan cards are earning anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 at auction
  • Michael Jordan cards are popular collector’s items. In 2011, one of his mint 1986-87 Fleer rookie cards sold for $100,000 at auction
  • Kobe Bryant signed a multi-year exclusivity deal with Panini in 2009. The agreement included TV and radio advertising, as well as autograph and memorabilia rights

Recommended Items at Auction

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1979-80 Topps Basketball complete set - Most NM - Few VG Commons
Mar 07, 9:00 PM EST
1979-80 Topps Basketball complete set - Most NM - Few VG Commons
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$9648 Bids
2017 OPTIC MARKELLE FULTZ ROOKIE KINGS HOLO PSA 10
Mar 07, 9:00 PM EST
2017 OPTIC MARKELLE FULTZ ROOKIE KINGS HOLO PSA 10
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$2110 Bids
1989 Hoops Michael Jordan Psa 10
Mar 18, 2:00 PM EDT
1989 Hoops Michael Jordan Psa 10
by Saco River Auction
Est: $100- $200
$808 Bids
1976-77 Topps Basketball lot of 15 with Stars
Mar 10, 7:00 PM EST
1976-77 Topps Basketball lot of 15 with Stars
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$507 Bids
1980-81 TOPPS BASKETBALL 50 CARD LOT NM
Mar 07, 9:00 PM EST
1980-81 TOPPS BASKETBALL 50 CARD LOT NM
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$187 Bids
2021-22 PANINI DONRUSS OPTIC BLUE LAZER ANTHONY EDWARDS
Mar 05, 6:00 PM EST
2021-22 PANINI DONRUSS OPTIC BLUE LAZER ANTHONY EDWARDS
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$97 Bids
1996 Scoreboard Kobe Bryant Hs Rookie
Mar 04, 2:00 PM EST
1996 Scoreboard Kobe Bryant Hs Rookie
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$507 Bids
(10) Different 1986 Fleer Basketball Stickers
Mar 04, 2:00 PM EST
(10) Different 1986 Fleer Basketball Stickers
by Saco River Auction
Est: $200- $300
$557 Bids
Basketball Star lot with LeBron RC's
Mar 10, 7:00 PM EST
Basketball Star lot with LeBron RC's
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$126 Bids
1980-81 TOPPS BASKETBALL 7 CARD LOT STAR LOT KAREER, GERVIN, WALTON, MALONE, GERIN, NM
Mar 07, 9:00 PM EST
1980-81 TOPPS BASKETBALL 7 CARD LOT STAR LOT KAREER, GERVIN, WALTON, MALONE, GERIN, NM
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $100
$216 Bids
1980-81 TOPPS SCORING LEADER LARRY BIRD, JULIUS ERVING AND MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 7
Mar 23, 10:30 AM EDT
1980-81 TOPPS SCORING LEADER LARRY BIRD, JULIUS ERVING AND MAGIC JOHNSON PSA 7
by National Artifacts
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$6506 Bids
1986 Fleer Charles Barkley Rookie Sgc 7.5
Mar 04, 2:00 PM EST
1986 Fleer Charles Barkley Rookie Sgc 7.5
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$706 Bids
(11) 1988 Fleer Basketball Stickers
Mar 04, 2:00 PM EST
(11) 1988 Fleer Basketball Stickers
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$356 Bids
1992 SKYBOX GOLD MEDAL GAME W/ MICHAEL JORDAN
Mar 03, 7:00 PM EST
1992 SKYBOX GOLD MEDAL GAME W/ MICHAEL JORDAN
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$66 Bids
Topps 1992-93 NBA Basketball Complete Set Of Series 1 & 2 Picture Cards Sealed Box
Mar 03, 6:30 PM EST
Topps 1992-93 NBA Basketball Complete Set Of Series 1 & 2 Picture Cards Sealed Box
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $25- $40
$406 Bids
Skybox NBA Basketball Cards 1990-91 Season Lot Of Three Sealed Boxes
Mar 03, 6:30 PM EST
Skybox NBA Basketball Cards 1990-91 Season Lot Of Three Sealed Boxes
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $50- $80
$1006 Bids
1996 UPPER DECK MICHAEL JORDAN #165
Mar 03, 7:00 PM EST
1996 UPPER DECK MICHAEL JORDAN #165
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$76 Bids
1970-71 TOPPS OSCAR ROBERTSON VG/EX
Mar 26, 7:00 PM EDT
1970-71 TOPPS OSCAR ROBERTSON VG/EX
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$115 Bids
1990 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN
Mar 03, 7:00 PM EST
1990 FLEER MICHAEL JORDAN
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$75 Bids
1995 TOPPS FINEST MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 8
Mar 06, 7:30 PM CST
1995 TOPPS FINEST MICHAEL JORDAN PSA 8
by Auctions By Moldenhauer
Est: $250- $500
$505 Bids
1996 ULTRA KOBE BRYANT PSA 9
Mar 19, 9:00 PM EDT
1996 ULTRA KOBE BRYANT PSA 9
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $10- $300
$285 Bids
1970-71 TOPPS JERRY WEST NM
Mar 26, 7:00 PM EDT
1970-71 TOPPS JERRY WEST NM
by Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.
Est: $1- $10
$135 Bids
2007 Topps Kevin Durant Rookie Psa 9
Mar 04, 2:00 PM EST
2007 Topps Kevin Durant Rookie Psa 9
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$355 Bids
1986 Fleer Magic Johnson
Mar 18, 2:00 PM EDT
1986 Fleer Magic Johnson
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$305 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Basketball Cards


Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.

Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.

Saco River Auction

Saco River Auction

Figlio Designs LLC

Figlio Designs LLC