Last Updated On: August 17th, 2023
Michael Jordan sports cards are highly sought after by collectors around the world. Big card brands have continued to create MJ cards well beyond his retirement given his undying popularity and collectibility. With an NBA playing career that spanned almost 20 years, multiple retirements, and a lot of winning, there’s no shortage of choice for basketball card collectors.
In this post, we’ve put together some of the most fascinating facts about Michael Jordan’s sports cards, including how many Michael Jordan cards there are in the market, the total market value of the 1986 Fleer rookie and rookie sticker between PSA and BGS graded MJs, information about MJ’s first refractors, the popular 1997 game used jersey card, and so much more.
Key Stats for Michael Jordan Cards
1. Approximately 6,000 different Michael Jordan sports cards exist as of May, 2020.
(Nat Turner, President of PSA authentication, via Chicago Tribune)
According to Nat Turner, the President of PSA Authentication, there are approximately 6,000 different Michael Jordan cards as of May 2020. There are several million printed commutatively in all likelihood.
2. The most valuable Michael Jordan sports card is worth approximately $1.36 million dollars.
The Michael Jordan 1997 Skybox Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems (PMG) Green version, numbered to just /10 copies is worth around $1.36 million dollars according to CardLadder’s estimate (PSA authenticated). It last sold in December, 2020 for $915,000.
Be sure to take a look at the top 10 most valuable MJ cards in raw condition (not graded).
3. There are 24,650 PSA graded 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 rookie cards.
According to PSA, 24,650 graded Michael Jordan rookie cards exist in their population report. Only 318 of them are rated with a PSA 10 “Gem Mint” condition, and 2,901 are considered to be in “Mint” condition, PSA 9.
4. There are 13,246 BGS graded 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 rookie cards.
According to Beckett grading, 13,246 Jordan rookie cards have been graded and registered within the BGS grading population report. Only 6 of them have been rated BGS 10 “Pristine” condition, followed by 535 in “Gem Mint” condition, BGS 9.5. There are also 1,819 BGS 9 “Mint” condition copies.
5. The total value of PSA graded 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #57 rookies is $200 million.
Using CardLadder estimates and PSA’s population report, the estimated value of the 24,650 Jordan rookies graded by PSA is approximately $200 million dollars.
6. Average value of a 1986 Jordan Fleer RC is $8,100.
With 24,650 graded PSA copies, and a total cumulative value of $200,000,000, the average Jordan rookie #57 graded by PSA is worth $8,100.
CardLadder estimates the raw version of the #57 rookie card (ungraded) is $955. Keep in mind there are a ton of counterfeits in the market so this could lend to a lower value for the card when purchased unauthenticated.
7. The 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan RC sold 262 times in January, 2023.
As one of the most popular basketball cards of all time, it’s no surprise the Jordan Fleer RC sells often. In a given day, that means there are approximately 8 Jordan Fleer rookies sold — and that’s just publicly through auction houses, including eBay. Imagine how many additional sales happen privately at card shows, local card shops, and through social media across the country, let alone the world!
8. PSA has authenticated 67 autographed Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer #57 rookie cards.
For having graded over 24,000 Fleer rookies, PSA has only 67 registered as signed by Michael Jordan himself. Only 3 of the copies are in “Mint” PSA 9 condition.
9. There are 17,909 PSA graded 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker #8 rookie cards.
Jordan’s Fleer Sticker rookie card doesn’t get as much attention as the ever popular Fleer #57, however it is more rare and tougher to get in a high grade relatively speaking. PSA has only 121 Gem Mint 10 copies registered in its population report vs. 318 for the Fleer #57.
10. The total value of PSA graded 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Sticker #8 rookies is $22 million.
Using CardLadder estimates and PSA’s population report, the estimated value of the 17,909 Jordan stickers graded by PSA is approximately $22 million dollars. The card has appreciated 1,383% since 2006.
11. Average value of a 1986 Jordan Fleer Sticker RC is $1,200.
With 17,909 graded PSA copies, and a total cumulative value of $22,000,000, the average Jordan sticker rookie #8 graded by PSA is worth $1,200.
12. Michael Jordan’s first appearance on a basketball card was the 1984 Star Rookie Card.
Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls as the #3 pick in the 1984 draft. His rookie card is widely considered the popular 1986 Fleer #57 card, although as Jordancards.com argues, the 1984 Star Co. Michael Jordan #101 is his true rookie card given it was licensed, printed, and depicts Jordan during his rookie year in the NBA.
13. 1997 Upper Deck Game Used Jersey #MJ is Jordan’s first pack-pulled jersey card.
The 1997-98 Upper Deck Game Jersey card was the first basketball card produced to feature a piece of an NBA game-worn jersey. The Jordan card includes a swatch of his 1992 All-Star jersey. A BGS 9.5 Gem Mint copy of the card recently sold via PWCC Premier Auctions for $84,000.
Upper Deck subsequently launched a series 2 version of the Upper Deck product that included a signed version of the Jordan Game Jersey card. Only 23 hand-numbered autographed Game Jersey cards were randomly inserted into packs. A recent copy — specifically numbered 18 of 23 in BGS 8 Near Mint-Mint condition — sold via PWCC Premier auctions in the same January 2023 auction for $840,000.
14. Michael Jordan’s first Refractor card is the 1993 Topps Finest Refractor #1.
Michael Jordan’s first refractor card was produced by Topps in 1993-94 as part of the inaugural Finest basketball set. The reflective design of the cards was unique at the time, and set the tone for premium-level stock on future basketball cards for years to come. The 1993-94 set included base cards and shiny refractor versions of many future hall of famers, including Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen, and Hakeem Olajuwon, and popular rookie cards of Chris Webber, Anfernee Hardaway, and Alonzo Mourning, to name a few.
15. Michael Jordan’s first Topps Chrome Refractor card is the 1996 Topps Chrome refractor #139.
The Topps Chrome brand is one of the most popular card brands ever produced by Topps. It’s first launch was in 1996, coinciding with arguably one of the best NBA draft classes of all time. The cards are condition sensitive and especially prone to greening or “hulking” over time, making it even more difficult to find an MJ in gem condition. Only 7 Gem Mint PSA 10 Jordans have ever been assessed out of a total of 140 graded.
16. The Michael Jordan Player Index (CardLadder) is up 1,094% since inception in 2004.
CardLadder first started the Michael Jordan player index at a point value of 1,000 in 2004. Since then, the index which currently contains 1,741 cards is up to 11,938 for a total return of 1,094% (almost 12-fold increase in value). Imagine how much the Jordan index is up if you started counting back from day 1 in 1984 — probably 100,000%!
17. Average Daily Sales Volume of Michel Jordan Cards is $155,000.
Over the last two years, CardLadder estimates $155,000 worth of Michael Jordan cards are sold on average per day. While there are huge peaks and troughs depending on the card or auction ending on a given day, hundreds of cards are selling on average with almost $700 million in total market cap combined.
18. There are 51 BGS 10 Pristine “Black Label” Michael Jordan basketball cards ever graded.
It’s extremely difficult to obtain the BGS “Black Label” grade from Beckett. So much that, BGS has graded hundreds of thousands of Michael Jordan cards manufactured during his playing career from 1984 through 2003, only to assess 51 of those cards with the illustrious BGS 10 Pristine Black Label condition. If you’re unaware of the designation, it’s essentially a rating of BGS 10 “pristine” for all four categories assessed by BGS for any given card (Centering, Corners, Edges, Surface).
Since we went through the pain staking effort of scouring the BGS population report already, here is a breakdown of Black Labels per year of Jordan’s career.
|Card Year||BGS 10 Pristine Black Label Total|
|1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992|
1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002
|All Years Combined||51|