Last Updated On: September 19th, 2023
This post highlights the primary base Michael Jordan Upper Deck cards of the nineties and their general value for comparison. There are several other Upper Deck-produced brands that are not covered in this article such as Black Diamond, Collector’s Choice, UD3, and SPx.
Table of Contents
Michael Jordan Upper Deck Cards of the 90’s
Note: current values and population numbers published below are for the PSA 10 gem mint condition of each card mentioned. Also, the value and pop numbers are as of the writing of this post in January, 2023.
1991 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #44 PSA 10
Card Value: $75
Total Population: 2,000+
The 1991 release from Upper Deck is the first basketball set under the Upper Deck brand. With iconic photos and premium stock, the successful launch kicked off a decade of popular Jordan releases, with each successive year being comparable, if not better, than the prior year’s photography.
What makes this card all the more important is that Michael Jordan would go on to win his first NBA championship in the 1991season, marking the beginning of the Chicago Bulls dynasty, and the last NBA finals of Magic Johnson’s amazing career.
1991 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #SP1 (baseball) PSA 10
Card Value: $475
Total Population: 2,000+
Randomly inserted into the 1991 Upper Deck baseball set, the Michael Jordan #SP1 card was an instant success depicting Jordan in baseball uniform on one of his first baseball cards. The card wasn’t exactly a short print by the standard definition known today, as over 18,000 copies have been graded by PSA alone, with just over 2,000 assessed as Gem Mint 10 condition.
1992 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #23 PSA 10
Card Value: $158
Total Population: 1,100+
The 1992 Upper Deck set included rookie cards of Shaquille O’Neal, and Alonzo Mourning — the top two draft picks of the 1992 NBA draft.
As a follow-up to the 1991 MJ card, the 1992 UD #23 card depicts Jordan in a familiar dunk pose, and also had similar print numbers judging by the PSA population report numbers. Only 1 in 7 of the cards is assessed in Gem Mint 10 condition by PSA versus 1 in every 5 for the 1991 card in comparison.
1992 marked yet another important milestone in Jordan’s career, where he would win his second NBA championship beating up the Blazers in the 1992 NBA finals.
1993 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #23 PSA 10
Card Value: $80
Total Population: 878
1993 would mark the year Michael Jordan would achieve his first NBA championship 3-peat, topping the Phoenix Suns in the NBA finals. The 1993 Upper Deck MJ card appears to have a lower print run than the prior two years by comparison, with approximately 1 in 5 PSA graded Jordans achieving the PSA 10 Gem Mint rating.
Upper Deck would also go on to include several additional Michael Jordan cards in the 1993 set, including multiple ‘Season Leaders’ cards for scoring and steals, NBA finals game cards, ‘Signature Moves’, and ‘Breakaway Threats, to name a few. It was evident the Michael Jordan hysteria was in full effect in the sports cards hobby by this time.
1994 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #19 (baseball) PSA 10
Card Value: $600
Total Population: 100+
Michael Jordan would go on to retire in October of 1993, just a few months after securing his 3rd NBA title. That didn’t stop Upper Deck from producing Michael Jordan cards, however.
The Upper Deck #19 MJ card was a great addition to the baseball set produced in 1994. Only a little over 100 copies have received the illustrious PSA 10 Gem Mint grade, with a total population of well over 5,000 graded cards. This represents just a 2.3% gem rate (aka just around one in every 40 cards would get a PSA 10 grade). The highly sensitive foil design made it tough to pull the card out of a pack in pristine condition.
A parallel version of this card also exists, stamped with the words ‘Electric Diamond’. These were more rare, with only 1/5th of the total population by comparison. Only 11 copies exist today in Gem Mint condition, out of over 1,000 graded.
1995 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #23 PSA 10
Card Value: $175
Total Population: 100+
It didn’t take long for MJ to get bored playing baseball and declare that he was indeed coming back to basketball in March of 1995. Back then, he communicated his comeback via fax machine (remember those things?) with the words “I’m Back”. It didn’t take long for Upper Deck to fire up the card printers and create multiple Michael Jordan cards in the 1995 Upper Deck basketball release.
The 1995 release had much lower print runs compared with prior years, with the #23 base card graded over 900 times and just over 100 assessed with Gem Mint PSA 10 condition. As with the 1994 baseball set mentioned above, UD would include an ‘Electric Court” parallel version of the card, along with an ‘Electric Court Gold’, each stamped accordingly. The Electric Court parallels are much rarer, with approximately 300 total graded of the base parallel and only 67 golds.
Multiple MJ subset cards were included in this set as with prior years of the Upper Deck release, along with similar electric parallels (e.g. ‘Major Attractions’, ‘Slams & Jams’, and more).
1995 Michael Jordan Upper Deck SE #100 PSA 10
Card Value: $220
Total Population: 90
The Upper Deck Special Edition (SE) Michael Jordan card from 1995 is indeed special, as it is the only card in the set from that year. As mentioned previously, Upper Deck usually made a habit of including several different MJ cards in a given release year, with the primary card being the most popular and normally numbered #23, but not always. This card exists in PSA graded form less than 400 times in the pop report, with just 90 assessed Gem Mint 10. There is also a Gold parallel of the same card which is 6x more rare.
1996 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #16 PSA 10
Card Value: $140
Total Population: 150+
Upper Deck chose to only launch two Michael Jordan cards in the 1996 product release, with #16 becoming the primary choice amongst collectors. Almost 800 copies of this card have been graded by PSA, with over 150 in Gem mint 10 condition. Card #165 in the same set is about half the population by comparison, and the checklist card #180 has been graded 14 total times.
1996 marked the year the Chicago Bulls would return to their dynasty form, winning another NBA championship by beating the Seattle Supersonics in six games. This was first Jordan’s full year back from retirement, kicking off the 2nd 3-peat championship run of the Jordan era. Being a championship year along with the limited release of Jordan cards in 1996 Upper Deck makes this card all the more special.
1997 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #18 PSA 10
Card Value: $500
Total Population: 30
In 1997 and in 1998 the Chicago Bulls would face the Utah Jazz in the NBA finals, winning in six games both times. The 1997 Upper Deck Michael Jordan #18 card commemorates Game 1 of the NBA finals in ’97, where Jordan hit a game winning shot to take Game 1. Later that series, the iconic ‘Flu Game’ was played, where Jordan is remembered for toughing out a gutsy 38 point performance while noticeably sick.
Multiple Jordan cards were included in the 1997 product release, all of which are fairly limited in print numbers. We chose the #18 card as the primary card given it’s a shot of MJ against the Utah Jazz, with a total population of jus 30 cards in Gem Mint 10 condition via PSA.
1998 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #23 PSA 10
Card Value: $250
Total Population: 39
In 1998, Upper Deck would go back to substantially pumping out Michael Jordan cards in the product release, with at least 15+ MJ cards included the basketball card set. As is customary, #23 serves as the primary base card in the set, depicting Jordan at the 1998 All-Star game where he would win the Most Valuable Player award.
The Michael Jordan cards in this set were limited in print run versus most of the earlier Upper Deck product release years we have discussed thus far. Given the limited population, along with ‘Bronze’ and ‘Gold’ parallels for each card, cracking a factory sealed box of 1998 Upper Deck is a Jordan collector’s dream.
One more thing: the importance of 1998 in Jordan’s legacy career cannot be understated. In the 2nd NBA finals against the Utah Jazz in back to back years, Jordan would be remembered for ‘The Last Shot’, where he would first steal the ball from Karl Malone with 20 seconds to go, and bury the eventual game winner over Byron Russell with 5 seconds left in the game. The Chicago Bulls would secure the NBA championship and the second 3-peat of Jordan’s career.
1998 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #UDX PSA 10
Card Value: $100
Total Population: 100+
As mentioned above, the 1998 Upper Deck basketball product contained many MJ cards. The #UDX special insert at the end of the set is important in that it marks MJ’s 2nd retirement from basketball. Apparently Jordan felt it was necessary to retire each time he secured a 3-peat for championships. The UDX card has been graded over 400 times by PSA, with only a little over 100 getting Gem Mint 10 status. It’s truly a special card with the Bulls red color match and foil print design.
1999 Michael Jordan Upper Deck #134 PSA 10
Card Value: $50
Total Population: 19
Last but not least, the final card in our 1990’s Upper Deck MJ card list includes the Air of Greatness card of 1999 Upper Deck, number 134. This card has only been graded in Gem Mint 10 condition a total of 19 times by PSA.
Upper Deck included upwards of 20 different Michael Jordan cards in this product release, with several having parallels in Bronze (serial numbered to /100) and Gold (serial numbered to just /1).
Other Notable Upper Deck MJ Cards
Several years of Upper Deck included parallel versions of the primary card in a given set. For example, the 1995 #23 card has Electric Court and Electric Court Gold parallels which are rarer versions of the base card, and much harder to find in PSA 10 condition as a result. While these parallels are highly collectible and worth noting, the pricing is not included in the list above. Also keep in mind they’ll be more valuable cards given their relative lower print numbers.
A few of the cards in the list above stand out as good value-buys having lower population numbers and current values to their counterparts:
- The 1995 Upper Deck card #23 only has around 110 PSA 10 cards in existence (gem mint condition) and goes for $175, compared with the 1992 Upper Deck card that has a population of over 1,100 at $158.
- 1998 Upper Deck Michael Jordan #23 PSA 10 is very limited with 39 total copies, and is only going for $250 in price. It’s also one of the more unique MJ’s with a horizontal design.
As you’ve noticed, many of the MJ Upper Deck cards mentioned throughout this post are still available at accessible price points to collectors. PSA 9, or even raw versions of the cards are much cheaper and abundantly available in the marketplace. Long time collectors know and love many of these cards, with Michael Jordan’s legacy having been defined in the 1990s, including multiple retirements from basketball and a brief baseball stint.
Be sure to check out MJ’s 10 best Fleer inserts of the ’90s as well!