The highest price ever paid for a Michael Jordan trading card is not for his iconic 1986-87 Fleer rookie card.
In fact, the most valuable Jordan card doesn’t even include the NBA legend in his famous Chicago Bulls jersey. What it does include, though, is his autograph and a patch from one of his game-worn All-Star jerseys.
Only two Jordan cards have sold for more than $2 million, and both were copies of his 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Patch Auto card.
Only 23 copies of the card exist and, according to PWCC Marketplace, of the top five all-time top-selling Jordan cards, four were the 1997 Upper Deck card. PWCC has a BGS 8 version of the card in its January Premier Auction, which opened Jan. 5 and closes Jan. 19.
“It’s a piece of history in that it was the very first time you could pull a game-used and autographed Michael Jordan card out of a trading card pack,” said Jesse Craig, vice president of sales at PWCC Marketplace. “With only 23 copies of the card released, this card was almost impossible to pull out of a pack. And, to this day, it remains one of the most in-demand basketball cards that can show up on the market.”
The PWCC Jordan card is graded BGS Near Mint 8, but the blue ink autograph is graded a 10, a difficult designation to achieve with the surface design of the card.
This 1997 Upper Deck release is also notable as one of the first basketball sets to ever feature game-worn jersey patches.
“Upper Deck changed the trajectory of sports card designed when introducing this game-worn patch set,” Craig said. “It started to normalize the expectations we have today for what makes a premier card.”
PWCC’s January auction features more than 250 lots across all sports, including several high-end NBA and soccer cards.
Other highlights include:
• A 2003 Exquisite Collection Basketball sealed case three-count box authenticated by BBCE. The set could include Rookie Patch Auto cards from one of the best draft classes in NBA history, including such stars as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, as well as possible Jordan inserts.
• 2003 Exquisite Collection LeBron James ROOKIE PATCH AUTO /99 #78 BGS 9 MINT, one of the most sought-after cards on the market.
• 2013 Panini Prizm Gold Prizms Giannis Antetokounmpo ROOKIE /10 #290 PSA 9 MINT, one of just four graded PSA 9 or higher.
• 2011-12 LeBron James game-worn photo-matched sneakers from two 2012 games with the Miami Heat.
• 1986 Fleer Basketball Complete Set PSA 10, including a Jordan rookie card.
• 1986 Fleer Sticker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #1 PSA 10 GEM MINT, one of just 15 in existence.
• 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizms Lionel Messi /10 #12 PSA 9 MINT
• 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizm Kylian Mbappe ROOKIE 10/10 BGS 8.5 NM-MT+
• 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Tom Brady ROOKIE AUTO 97/100 BGS 8.5
• 2018 Panini Flawless Star Swatch Platinum Luka Doncic RC PATCH AUTO 1/1 BGS 9
• 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA 6.5 EXMT+ (PWCC-A)
• 2009 National Treasures Gold Stephen Curry ROOKIE PATCH AUTO /25 #206 BGS 9.5