Michael Jordan Card and Memorabilia Buying Guide

Michael Jordan

Date of Birth: February 17, 1963
Rookie Card Year: 1986-87
Investment Rating: 10.0


When it comes to collectibility, in the sports card and memorabilia market, few can rival Michael Jordan. His dominating style of play that led to 6 NBA Championships, and numerous personal awards was nothing short of legendary. It can be argued that Jordan single-handedly made the sport of basketball and the NBA the global phenomenon that it is today. No other player in the history of sports is more widely recognized around the world and as such his investment rating, when it comes to trading cards and memorabilia, is unparalleled.

His ability to cross-over from the hardwood to pop culture has earned him a place in sports and American history held by few others. As a result the value of his rookie cards and autographed memorabilia is tantamount to putting money in the bank. Transcending sports to become the face of numerous brands insures that his popularity, legacy and fame will continue for years to come. Michael Jordan and the Upper Deck Company, which owns his rights for signed memorabilia, have carefully constructed and executed a strategy to insure that the supply of his autographs never outstrips demand. As such, the value of his signed memorabilia continues to rise.

Michael Jordan's career started at a time before trading card manufacturers were able to produce multiple rookie cards of the same player. The benefit to collectors and fans is that Jordan has just three rookie cards. At the peak of their demand, prices for Michael Jordan rookie cards, set new records for modern trading cards. While prices have decreased by single digit percentages from their heyday of the late 1990's, high-grade examples can still command tens of thousands of dollars on the secondary market.

Michael Jordan Rookie Card Guide

1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC #57

1986 87 Fleer Basketball Michael Jordan RC 211x300 Image

The 1986-87 Fleer card is the most sought after of all Michael Jordan rookie cards. This is because it is his only NBA licensed, base set issued rookie card. It has repeatedly set and then re-raised the bar for modern era investment-quality sports cards. High grade Michael Jordan Fleer rookie cards have repeatedly commanded six figure sales prices at auction.

Featuring Jordan in a classic, poster-worthy dunk shot, the image defines the early part of his career where he gave new meaning to the term "playing above the rim",  The demand for this card in any grade is so great that the cost of unopened boxes of 1986-87 Fleer Basketball has skyrocketed to a level that is virtually unheard of for 1980's era sports cards. One thing to watch for is counterfeit copies. Here's a guide to help you avoid buying a fake Michael Jordan rookie card.

1986-87 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan #8

1986 87 Fleer Basketball Sticker Michael Jordan Image

Included in packs as an insert, these sticker cards are an economical way to add a Michael Jordan rookie card to your collection. The stickers from this product are known for being severely mis-cut. When found in mint condition, they are well worth the expense of grading, which increases the card's value tremendously. Fleer had the insight to provide a different photo for the sticker version, making it a truly unique card. It also showcases a whole new dimension of Jordan's game - his uncanny ability to get to the basket.

1984-85 Star Company Michael Jordan XRC #101

1984 85 Star Michael Jordan Image

Technically defined as an extended rookie card due to its limited distribution, the Star Co. card #288 has the dubious distinction of being one of the most counterfeited cards of all-time. As such, collectors need to be extremely vigilant when purchasing this card. Here are some guidelines to use when trying to determine the authenticity of a Star Company Michael Jordan rookie card:

There are distinct, and noticeable difference to look for that are the tell-tale signs of a bogus card. Counterfeit samples are notorious for having a predominant left border and very little right. In addition, on the cards' reverse, counterfeited versions will show a slight color bleed along the edge of the card from the front. Reproductions have bolder colors and out-of-registry text in comparison to authentic copies. The Star Co. made the mistake of using the original printing plates to reprint the cards, devaluing the originals significantly. Grading companies, typically, won't grade the card because it is near impossible to tell the original from the reprints.

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Michael Jordan 1986-87 Fleer Style Alternate Reprint RP ACEO Card Rookie RC
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Michael Jordan Fleer Factory Sealed Box Set with 200 Cards+1986 GU RC RP FLOOR
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1986-87 Fleer Basketball Wax Packs Box EMPTY!! Michael Jordan RC Year #57
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1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie RC PSA 10 GEM MINT
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1986-87 Fleer Near Complete Set 99 132 75% Michael Jordan RC BGS 8 NM-MT
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Michael Jordan 1998-99 Stadium Club Royal Court Insert #RC9 RARE
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1985 STAR #CB1 MICHAEL JORDAN XRC RC Card 5x7 SUPERS BGS 9 (huge subs! 3 9.5s!)
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1984-85 STAR Court Kings #26 MICHAEL JORDAN XRC RC Card 5x7 BGS 4 VG-EX 9 5 7 3
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1988 Fleer Near Complete Set 127 132 Jordan Stockton Miller Rodman Psa 8 RC
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MICHAEL JORDAN 1984 Topps GLOSSY Rookie Card RC PSA 10 GEM 1993 Chicago Bulls
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Signed Memorabilia

Michael Jordan Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide

Below you will find examples of what an authentic Michael Jordan autograph looks like. Currently, the Upper Deck Company, is the sole rights holder of official Michael Jordan autographed memorabilia. Autographed items that are not specifically accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity (LOA) from Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA) should be avoided. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.

Cut Signature Exemplar

Michael Jordan Signature Exemplar 260x107 Image

Michael Jordan Key Signature Attributes: Although his signature varies from time to time, an authentic Michael Jordan signature will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of  the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:

  1. The exaggerated start and loop of the letter "M" form an abstract number "23", which was his jersey number
  2. Without lifting the pen, the letter "M" begins the rest of of the letters in his first name, with only the small closed loop "l" being discernible
  3. The letter "J" is very unique with a closed bottom loop, open top loop and an extending flourish line at the top with a slight angle
  4. The remaining letters in his last name are merely a straight line at a similar angle as the above

Signed Basketball Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Basketballs

Michael Jordan Signed Basketball 260x195 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Basketball2 260x195 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Basketball3 260x195 Image

Signed Jersey Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Jerseys

Michael Jordan Signed Jersey 225x300 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Jersey2 260x195 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Jersey3 260x171 Image

Signed 8x10 Photo Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Photographs

Michael Jordan Signed Photo 260x218 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Photo 3 244x300 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Photo 2 239x300 Image

Signed Shoe Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Sneakers

Michael Jordan Signed Shoes 260x149 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Shoes 2 260x203 Image  Michael Jordan Signed Shoes 3 260x208 Image

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Magic Johnson Michael Jordan Dual Signed 16X20 Photo Lakers VS Bulls UDA 1232
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Michael Jordan UD Authenticated auto signed framed "Last Shot" 83 123 Free Deliv
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Michael Jordan Autographed Chicago Bulls Emotion Collage 16x20 Photo (UDA); NEW
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Michael Jordan autographed photo in frame #23 Chicago Bulls w Certificate
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Michael Jordan Autographed Bulls 3x6" Game-Used Floor Piece & Display Case UDA
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Michael Jordan Autographed 2009 Edition Chicago Bulls 88 Slam Dunk Photo (UDA)
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Michael Jordan & Magic Johnson Inscribed DUAL Signed FS Spalding Basketball COA
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MICHAEL JORDAN Signed 2009 HOF Collage UDA LE 123
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MICHAEL JORDAN Hand Signed UNC Flight Photograph UDA
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MICHAEL JORDAN Signed Championship Shots Signed Jersey Numbers UDA
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MICHAEL JORDAN Signed "Gatorade" 20 x 24 Photo UDA
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MICHAEL JORDAN Signed GU Floor Piece Display UDA LE 100
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MICHAEL JORDAN Signed UNC "The Show" 46 x 20 Photo UDA LE 123
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Fan Shop/Apparel

Michael Jordan Fan Shop Apparel and Souvenir Guide

While many athletes have been gifted with their own basketball shoes, very few have been responsible for the launch entire brands. The Air Jordan, Jordan and Jumpman23 lines of shoes and apparel are some of the most iconic fashion brands in the entire industry, rivaling such notables as Tommy Hilfeger and Ralph Lauren. With a full line of clothing that includes performance, casual and sports wear, there is no shortage of options to choose from.

Michael Jordan jersey's and shoes remain high on the list of collectible investments made by fans and collectors the world over. From his early years at the University of North Carolina, his glory years with the Chicago Bulls and his post-retirement comeback with the Washington Wizards, a full line of jersey's is available for the discerning fan or collector. Additionally, Jordan collectibles encompass a wide range of memorabilia including figures, artwork, posters photographs and more.

Jerseys and Shoes

Manufacturer: Nike, Addidas, Champion, JORDAN

Adidas is currently the licensed provider of NBA jerseys. However, the league has also had licenses with Nike and Champion. Michael Jordan's North Carolina jersey is typically made by his own brand, JORDAN.

While Nike is the definitive source for Michael Jordan branded shoes and apparel, Adidas is the official supplier of jerseys for the NBA. The current, officially licensed NBA jerseys are available in three different styles. The Replica jersey is a lightweight polyester mesh fabric with screen printed lettering and numbers and is perfect for casual everyday wear. The Swingman jersey is a step up in quality and features a similar style fabric but features twill lettering and numbers. The Authentic jersey is made of a heavier weight polyester and is designed with patented ClimaCool technology for outstanding performance. It also features an embroidered NBA patch and twill letters and numbers and is as close as you will get to the real deal.

Michael Jordan Jersey 260x260 Image  Michael Jordan Shoes 260x260 Image

For more on the history and evolution of the Air Jordan shoes and brand, read our guide here.

Figures and Toys

Michael Jordan figures are available in a wide range of styles and prices. From toy figures to intricately detailed and hand crafted works of art, their is no shortage of choices and options. Whether you are shopping for a mere toy or a treasured keepsake, through the years several companies have produced figures of His Airness.

Manufacturers: Upper Deck, Starting Line-up, Mattel, Enterbay, Storm Toys

Michael Jordan Figure 260x260 Image  Michael Jordan UD Pro Shots 110x300 Image  SLU 260x286 Image

Photographs, Prints and Artwork

When you play larger than life, becoming a legend while your still on an active NBA roster, you can rest assured you will be the subject of numerous photographers and artists. Such is the case for Michael Jordan. From pictures to posters, lithographs, prints and original artwork, the sky's the limit for imagery of the greatest basketball player to ever live. With pieces available for any budget, decorating your man-cave is as limitless as your imagination. Official NBA licensed material is available from a wide variety of vendors. Some of the primary ones are listed below.

Rights Holders: Mounted Memories, Getty Images, Nike, Upper Deck

MJ Wallart 260x185 Image  MJ Wings 260x87 Image  MJ Dunk 260x194 Image

Collecting Guides
Michael Jordan is the single most collected athlete in the world, bridging all manner of language, socioeconomic and geographical barriers. As such we have barely scratched the surface in this player collecting profile. Find out more in-depth information on the specific type of Michael Jordan cards, collectibles and/or fan gear you're interested in by browsing our featured guides and resources below:

Michael Jordan Basketball Card Guides

Autographed Cards Guide

Other Trading Card Guides

Air Jordan Shoe Guide

Additional Resources

For more information on Michael Jordan, his career on and off the court, career statistics and accomplishments be sure to visit these sites.

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

User Comments

  1. Hi, any idea how rare the NBA Hoops 1988 All-Star MVP card of MJ is? I’ve tried looking for a value on it and don’t see much mention of it anywhere. Thanks

  2. Taylor Kohl (ID 38821) » Hi Taylor, Are you able to describe the card a little – border color, perhaps? What number is on the card? Hoops didn’t start making cards until 1989 so I’m wondering if that might be the case.

  3. I have a 95-96 upper deck sp Jordan Gold card. 791/1000. Can’t find anywhere online. You ever seen one??

  4. Todd (ID 47902) » I have not. What is the card number?

  5. Any idea on how much an nba hoops michael jordan/karl malone scoring leaders of 92 card worth? Its also hand signed by Jordan and i have the COA.

  6. There is a Tarheels uncut sheet with several of MJ’s cards on it that I can purchase, but am uncertain of what to pay. The price is $29. Ideas?

  7. Steve (ID 113749) » Those sound like an oddball piece – something that is tough to put a price on. That said, if you’re wanting to display them and you’re happy with it, $29 sounds reasonable.

  8. Does anyone know anything about the “1980’s Star Company Basketball Cards A Buyers Guide” by Joe Guerci? I am trying to locate one and cannot find one anywhere and I know that it is rare but would greatly appreciate any info. regarding this…Thanks!…Kevin.

  9. looking for a price on a Michael jordans USA basketball High Light upper deck 1984 signed card?

  10. We have some Michael Jordan cards…. Rated Rookie, skybox, nba hoops… Are they worth anything?

  11. I met Jordan on 10-8-84 in Marshall fields shopping alone. I had just bought a Eddie Bauer wallet in the same building. I asked Jordan to sign it. He did. How much do u think they worth.

  12. I have a Michael Jordon card, Fleer93-94, Gold circle on right bottom (League Leader). Back of card holding a trophy saying great moments from the NBA Finals 90-91. Is it worth anything?

  13. I have an autographed Michael Jordan Space Jam jesrsey. Do you know the value of it? Do you know where I can sell it?

  14. hi, my son has a rookie 86 fleer rookie card of Michael Jordan but it has a crease on the right hand side of the card; think it could be worth something ; shall we think about having it graded even though it has the crease; thanks so much/have a good day.

  15. I have a MJ 84-85 upper deck rookie card, #1. Is it worth any thing?

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