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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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Factory Sealed 1991-92 NBA Hoops Series II Rack Pack Box - 12 Rack Packs & 47 Cards/Pack
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
Factory Sealed 1991-92 NBA Hoops Series II Rack Pack Box - 12 Rack Packs & 47 Cards/Pack
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $50- $100
$5215 Bids
Gem Mint 10 LEBRON JAMES Rookie Basketball Card
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Gem Mint 10 LEBRON JAMES Rookie Basketball Card
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$11014 Bids
Factory Sealed 1991-92 NBA Hoops Series II Rack Pack Box - 12 Rack Packs & 47 Cards/Pack
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
Factory Sealed 1991-92 NBA Hoops Series II Rack Pack Box - 12 Rack Packs & 47 Cards/Pack
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $50- $100
$5213 Bids
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2017-18 Panini Donruss Optic Red & Yellow Rated Rookie Jayson Tatum RC #198 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2017-18 Panini Donruss Optic Red & Yellow Rated Rookie Jayson Tatum RC #198 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $200- $400
$11213 Bids
SGC 10 (Gem Mint) 2018-19 Panini Chronicles RC Obsidian Preview Prizm Trae Young Rookie #575 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
SGC 10 (Gem Mint) 2018-19 Panini Chronicles RC Obsidian Preview Prizm Trae Young Rookie #575 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $150- $300
$7013 Bids
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2000 Pacific Aurora Tom Brady Rookie #84 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2000 Pacific Aurora Tom Brady Rookie #84 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$1,10011 Bids
Gem Mint 10 LEBRON JAMES Rookie Basketball Card
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Gem Mint 10 LEBRON JAMES Rookie Basketball Card
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$10010 Bids
1980 Topps Basketball Bird/magic Rookie Near Mint
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
1980 Topps Basketball Bird/magic Rookie Near Mint
by Saco River Auction
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$55010 Bids
1987 Fleer Michael Jordan Nm-mint+
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
1987 Fleer Michael Jordan Nm-mint+
by Saco River Auction
Est: $400- $500
$20010 Bids
Gem Mint 10 MICHAEL JORDAN Rookie Basketball Card
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Gem Mint 10 MICHAEL JORDAN Rookie Basketball Card
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$15010 Bids
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2018-19 Panini Prizm RC Luka Doncic Rookie #280 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2018-19 Panini Prizm RC Luka Doncic Rookie #280 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $800- $1,400
$4608 Bids
Beckett 7 (NM) 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird (#34) , Magic Johnson (#139) , Julius Erving (#74) Rookie Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
Beckett 7 (NM) 1980-81 Topps Larry Bird (#34) , Magic Johnson (#139) , Julius Erving (#74) Rookie Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$6957 Bids
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2019-20 Panini Prizm Draft Picks RC Zion Williamson Rookie #64 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2019-20 Panini Prizm Draft Picks RC Zion Williamson Rookie #64 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $100- $200
$406 Bids
(NM-MT) 2013-14 Panini NBA Hoops Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie #275 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
(NM-MT) 2013-14 Panini NBA Hoops Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie #275 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $150- $300
$1036 Bids
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2019-20 Panini Chronicles RC Zion Williamson Rookie #614 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
PSA 10 (Gem Mint) 2019-20 Panini Chronicles RC Zion Williamson Rookie #614 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $50- $100
$246 Bids
(PSA 10) Gem Mint 2018-19 Select RC Trae Young Rookie #45 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
(PSA 10) Gem Mint 2018-19 Select RC Trae Young Rookie #45 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $200- $400
$1126 Bids
(EX-EXMT) 1970-71 Topps Basketball Calvin Murphy Rookie #137 (HOF) Football Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
(EX-EXMT) 1970-71 Topps Basketball Calvin Murphy Rookie #137 (HOF) Football Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $25- $50
$146 Bids
(Mint) 1996-97 Topps Finest Kobe Bryant Rookie (W/ Protective Seal) #74 Basketball Card
Nov 07, 9:00 PM EDT
(Mint) 1996-97 Topps Finest Kobe Bryant Rookie (W/ Protective Seal) #74 Basketball Card
by Boston Sportscard Exchange
Est: $150- $300
$196 Bids
1996-97 Fleer Kobe Bryant Rookie
Nov 01, 5:00 PM EDT
1996-97 Fleer Kobe Bryant Rookie
by Saco River Auction
Est: $50- $100
$356 Bids
2009 Topps STEPHEN CURRY 1st Rookie Basketball Card
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
2009 Topps STEPHEN CURRY 1st Rookie Basketball Card
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$1305 Bids
Lebron James Upper Deck Complete
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lebron James Upper Deck Complete
by Premier Auctions Live
Est: $80- $120
$1605 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Basketball Cards


Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.

Gem-Mint Auctions, LLC.

Saco River Auction

Saco River Auction

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Boston Sportscard Exchange

Boston Sportscard Exchange