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27 Vintage Cards Every Collector and Investor Should Consider

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Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

As the value of basketball cards continues to skyrocket, you may be intrigued by the idea of owning the rookie card of a legendary player. Demand for these cards has far outnumbered the supply of late, and that demand has resulted in fierce bidding wars on eBay.

There are many factors involved in determining the value of a card, the most important of which is their PSA/SGC/BGS grade. The grade is given based on the condition of the surface, the sharpness of the corners, how perfectly the card is centered, etc. A full list of PSA grading standards can be found here.

This list of 27 of the most sought after and most iconic basketball cards of all-time is an overview of their market and recent value. After value, we focus on PSA grades and population in this article, as it is the leading grading company today.

1) 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan

jordan 86fleer
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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $90,000

PSA Population Report: 17699 total graded - PSA-10: 313 PSA-9: 2728, PSA-8: 7599, PSA-7: 3236, PSA-6: 1543, PSA-5: 910

This is the card that most consider to be the holy grail of basketball card collecting. Although there are 313 of them on the market, a PSA-10 is likely to fetch you $75,000+ with the highest recorded sale at $99,630 at an auction in May. In June, one sold on eBay for $90,000. 

2) 1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell

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PSA 6 up for auction: $22,985 (5 days left)

PSA Population Report: 663 total graded - PSA-10: 0, PSA-9: 3, PSA-8: 46, PSA-7: 87, PSA-6: 149, PSA-5: 106

This is another example of an iconic card that has no examples of a PSA-10 with only 3 PSA-9's in existence. The highest recorded sale of this card on record was when a PSA-7 sold for $38,400 at a Heritage auction on July 31, 2020.

3) 1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 9: $38,500

PSA Population Report: 1181 total graded - PSA-10: 3, PSA-9: 31, PSA-8: 179, PSA-7: 226, PSA-6: 222, PSA-5: 169

Wilt is considered to be the "Mickey Mantle" of basketball and his card could wind up the becoming the premier hoops card, simply because of his legendary status. There are 3 PSA-10's out there, but no record of any of them being sold. However, the most recent example of 1 of the 31 PSA-9's being exchanged on eBay sold for $38,500 on July 14, 2020 and on 8/11 a PSA-8 sold for $22,500.

4) 1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

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PSA Population Report: 2539 total graded - PSA-10: 2, PSA-9: 17, PSA-8: 161, PSA-7: 394, PSA-6: 621, PSA-5: 543

Many people consider Kareem to be the third greatest basketball player of all-time, further heightening his trading card value. Just like the John Havlicek card from this same set, there are only 2 PSA-10's ever graded. In an auction in 2017, one of these PSA-10's brought it a whopping $240,000 on November 11, 2017. The most recently sold listing on eBay was a PSA-7 and sold for $13,298 on August 17, 2020

5) 1980 Topps Larry Bird / Julius Erving / Magic Johnson

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 9: $19999

PSA Population Report: 8093 total graded - PSA-10: 23 PSA-9: 607, PSA-8: 2659, PSA-7: 2582, PSA-6: 1395, PSA-5: 500

Two of the top ten players of all-time share this rookie card and for many fans under 40, these two are icons. We can see this card exploding in value over the coming years. In 2019, a PSA-10 sold at an auction for $114,000. The highest recorded sale of this card on eBay was in 2016, with a PSA-10 going for $96,423. A PSA-9 recently sold on eBay for $19,999 on July 30, 2020.

6) 1972 Topps #195 Julius Erving

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 8: $10500

PSA Population Report: 3362 total graded - PSA-10: 1 PSA-9: 159, PSA-8: 906, PSA-7: 821, PSA-6: 693, PSA-5: 386

With only 1 PSA-10 on the market, the highest recorded sale of this card came recently on eBay, with a PSA-8 closing for $10,500 on August 16, 2020. This card was underrated for so long and has finally gotten the "heat" it deserves and we can see it taking a few more steps in the right direction. Older high-end collectors continue to reengage with the market, Dr. J was an original superstar and he's one documentary away from getting his just due.

7) 1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 6: $8600

PSA Population Report: 301 total graded - PSA-10: 1, PSA-9: 4, PSA-8: 23, PSA-7: 41, PSA-6: 43, PSA-5: 41

With only 1 PSA-10, and 4 PSA-9 grades ever given out on this card, it ranks amongst the rarest cards in the hobby. The most expensive recent listing on eBay for this card was only a PSA-6 and sold for $8600 on June 30, 2020. The only PSA-10 in existence sold for $403,664 in an auction in 2015. This card has the makings of a Honus Wagner or Jackie Robinson-esque card, with basketball cards become more and more mainstream. We're starting to see big money coming into the sport and we can see this card completely exploding in value, as it may become the "first" serious basketball card of all-time.

8) 1961 Fleer #36 Oscar Robertson

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 8: $7600

PSA Population Report: 801 total graded - PSA-10: 1, PSA-9: 14, PSA-8: 104, PSA-7: 173, PSA-6: 172, PSA-5: 137

Only 1 PSA-10 grade has ever been handed out for this card. There are 14 PSA-9's floating around and the most recent sale on eBay of one of them went for $18,133 in February. A PSA-8 sold on eBay in June for $7600. 

9) 1961 Fleer #43 Jerry West

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Recently eBay Listing PSA 8: $5250

PSA Population Report: 1031 total graded - PSA-10: 3, PSA-9: 28, PSA-8: 151, PSA-7: 213, PSA-6: 230, PSA-5: 168

Jerry West is so iconic that they literally modeled the NBA logo after him. There are 3 PSA-10's in the market, but no record of any of them being sold. In 2017, a PSA-9 sold for $21,581 at an auction. The highest recorded sale of this card on eBay was also in 2017, where a PSA-9 went for $18,200. Recently, a PSA-8 sold on eBay for $5200. 

10) 1985 Interlake Bulls Michael Jordan

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $29999

PSA Population Report: 141 total graded - PSA-10: 8 PSA-9: 21, PSA-8: 40, PSA-7: 12, PSA-6: 36, PSA-5: 17

This Interlake Bulls card - co-sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America - is super rare, with only 141 graded in PSA’s population report. Only 8 PSA-10's exist and when one of them went up for auction, it sold for $11,661. 

11) 1957 Topps #17 Bob Cousy

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 7: $4000

PSA Population Report: 697 total graded - PSA-10: 0, PSA-9: 3, PSA-8: 35, PSA-7: 111, PSA-6: 189, PSA-5: 137

There has never been a PSA-10 grade given out for this card. There are 3 PSA-9's out there, but there is no history of any of them being sold. In 2017, a PSA-8 sold at auction for $8,400. The top recent listing on ebay was a PSA-7, which sold for $4000. 

12) 1985 Prism Jewel Sticker Michael Jordan

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Recently Sold eBay Listing BGS 9: $38793

PSA Population Report: 76 total graded - PSA-10: 1 PSA-9: 8, PSA-8: 16, PSA-7: 13, PSA-6: 27, PSA-5: 7

In 2016, the only PSA-10 of this card sold on eBay for $25,600. However, recently a BGS-9 (Becket Grading) sold on eBay for $38,793. 

13) 1986 Fleer #82 Akeem Olajuwon

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $6455

PSA Population Report: 6165 total graded - PSA-10: 321 PSA-9: 1748, PSA-8: 3043, PSA-7: 743, PSA-6: 195, PSA-5: 80

In August of 2019, a PSA-10 sold on eBay for $760. Less than a year later, PSA-10's are selling in the $6000 range. We are seeing the PSA-10s in the iconic 1986 Fleer set really taking off when you factor in demand and the stunning low pop. In fact, there are currently more than 321 people who want a PSA10 Akeem!

14) 1970 Topps #123 Pete Maravich

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 9: $14500

PSA Population Report: 2257 total graded - PSA-10: 2, PSA-9: 82, PSA-8: 435, PSA-7: 475, PSA-6: 450, PSA-5: 348

There were only 2 PSA-10's ever given out for this card, and when one went to auction in 2019, it sold for $130,054. A recent eBay listing for a PSA-9 sold for $14,500.

15) 1986 Fleer #7 Charles Barkley

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $5519

PSA Population Report: 5961 total graded - PSA-10: 225 PSA-9: 1451, PSA-8: 2934, PSA-7: 876, PSA-6: 313, PSA-5: 95

PSA 10s of this Charles Barkley rookie are not as difficult to find as some of the other cards on this list, but they have been steadily rising in value. On April 30th, a PSA-10 sold on eBay for $3995. On June 1st, another sold for $4200. Most recently (July 30th) another PSA-10 sold for $5000. 

16) 1986 Fleer #68 Karl Malone

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $6299

PSA Population Report: 5902 total graded - PSA-10: 207 PSA-9: 1529, PSA-8: 3080, PSA-7: 781, PSA-6: 208, PSA-5: 74

This card has been absolutely on fire as of late. PSA 10's that were routinely selling for under $1,000 in 2019 were going in the $2300 range in June and July. However, the most recent PSA-10 that sold on eBay went for $6299. 

17) 1985 Nike Promo Michael Jordan

jordan nikepromo
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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $15400

PSA Population Report: 2430 total graded - PSA-10: 162 PSA-9: 898, PSA-8: 1016, PSA-7: 209, PSA-6: 86, PSA-5: 27

This was printed by Nike as a promotional set, with other athletes such as Dwight Gooden and John McEnroe. A PSA-10 recently sold on eBay for $15,400, by far the highest sale of this card in recorded history. Many speculate that with the hobby exploding in popularity, old "rules" can change and the 1985 version of this Nike card could begin to gain momentum as a Jordan rookie alternative. If it does, this card's ceiling could be as high as six figures. A PSA-9 is currently up on auction on eBay (six days left), with the current price set at $1225.

18) 1975 Topps #254 Moses Malone

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $4200

PSA Population Report: 1415 total graded - PSA-10: 36 PSA-9: 340, PSA-8: 633, PSA-7: 251, PSA-6: 88, PSA-5: 41

There have been quite a few PSA-10's popping up on eBay recently, all of which are selling in the $3200-4200 price range. One of the most underrated players of all-time could be experiencing his "Dr. J" moment. 

19) 1986 Fleer #121 Dominique Wilkins

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $5108

PSA Population Report: 3745 total graded - PSA-10: 91 PSA-9: 812, PSA-8: 1620, PSA-7: 821, PSA-6: 301, PSA-5: 74

The highest recorded sale of a PSA-10 was back in 2016 for $6432 at an auction. In 2019, PSA-10's could routinely be found on eBay for $2800. They are now selling in the $4500-$5000 range. 

20) 1961 Fleer #3 Elgin Baylor

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 5: $1250

PSA Population Report: 507 total graded - PSA-10: 0, PSA-9: 9, PSA-8: 63, PSA-7: 124, PSA-6: 107, PSA-5: 183

Another card that is without one single example of a PSA-10 grade, there are 9 PSA-9's out there. The most recent sale of a PSA-9 sold for $29,872. On eBay, this has been an extremely difficult card to find with the highest recent sale being $1250 for a PSA-5. 

21) 1969 Topps #20 John Havlicek

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 8: $1526

PSA Population Report: 1370 total graded - PSA-10: 2, PSA-9: 28, PSA-8: 245, PSA-7: 319, PSA-6: 333, PSA-5: 237

There are only 2 PSA-10's on the market, so it is no surprise that one of them fetched 6 figures ($100,655) at an auction in 2018. That exact same card sold in an auction for $25,273 in 2013. 

22) 1986 Fleer #26 Clyde Drexler

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $1999

PSA Population Report: 4960 total graded - PSA-10: 310 PSA-9: 1684, PSA-8: 2252, PSA-7: 512, PSA-6: 133, PSA-5: 46

Much like the Charles Barkley card from the same set, there are quite a few PSA-10's on the market and the value continues to rise. PSA-10's that were selling in the $100-$300 range in 2019 are currently selling for $2000. 

23) 1974 Topps #196 George Gervin

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 8: $1389

PSA Population Report: 894 total graded - PSA-10: 4 PSA-9: 64, PSA-8: 310, PSA-7: 303, PSA-6: 137, PSA-5: 45

There are only 4 PSA-10's in existence, with one of them selling on eBay in 2019 for $9,988. This is the highest recorded sale of this card on record. Recently, a PSA-8 closed on eBay for $1389.

24) 1969 Topps #98 Walt Frazier

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 7: $969

PSA Population Report: 815 total graded - PSA-10: 1, PSA-9: 15, PSA-8: 149, PSA-7: 206, PSA-6: 197, PSA-5: 135

In 2016, 1 of the 15 PSA-9's was sold on eBay for $3135, the highest sale of this card on record. 

25) 1986 Fleer Stickers #8 Michael Jordan

jordan 86fleer sticker
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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 10: $33900

PSA Population Report: 8154 total graded - PSA-10: 119 PSA-9: 1828, PSA-8: 3312, PSA-7: 1156, PSA-6: 696, PSA-5: 661

Sales of this card are all over the place. A PSA-10 sold on eBay on 5/16/20 for $10,000. On 5/22/2020 - only 12 days later - a PSA-10 sold for $33,900. The most recent PSA-10 that sold on eBay went for $23,370 on 7/20/20.

26) 1969 Topps #60 Willis Reed

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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 9: $1899

PSA Population Report: 726 total graded - PSA-10: 1, PSA-9: 30, PSA-8: 200, PSA-7: 198, PSA-6: 154, PSA-5: 89

The highest recorded sale of this card on eBay was just the other day, with a PSA-9 closing at $1899. 

27) 1969 Topps #56 Wes Unseld

wesunseld
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Recently Sold eBay Listing PSA 8: $393

PSA Population Report: 709 total graded - PSA-10: 1, PSA-9: 20, PSA-8: 174, PSA-7: 231, PSA-6: 158, PSA-5: 85

The highest recorded sale of this card on eBay was in 2018, where a PSA-9 sold for $1525. One of the most underrated players of all-time, Wes represents something very important on this list. While underrated, he is considered to be one of the best 100 players of all-time. ESPN has him on the lower end of their list but we put him here to make sure you do your homework on players like James Worthy, Bob McAdoo, and Elvin Hayes as they are most likely to be the next ones to "hit."

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