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
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 1980s 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.
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.
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.
Even more Michael Jordan rookie cards and early releases can be seen in our detailed look at 1980s Michael Jordan cards.
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 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:
- The exaggerated start and loop of the letter "M" form an abstract number "23", which was his jersey number
- 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
- 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
- The remaining letters in his last name are merely a straight line at a similar angle as the above
Signed Basketball Pricing:
Signed Jersey Pricing:
Signed 8x10 Photo Pricing:
Signed Shoe Pricing:
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.
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
- Shop for Michael Jordan Figures and Toys
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
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
- Michael Jordan Rookie Cards and Top 1980s Cards
- Top Michael Jordan Game-Used Cards for All Budgets
- Ultimate Michael Jordan Exquisite Collection Basketball Guide and Gallery
- Real-Time Top 50 Hottest Michael Jordan Card Tracker
- The Top 23 Michael Jordan Cards of All-Time
- Top 20 Michael Jordan Inserts
- Top Michael Jordan Game-Used Washington Wizards Cards
- Top 10 Michael Jordan Base Cards of All-Time
- Michael Jordan Guide to 2011-12 Fleer Retro Basketball
- Detailed Guide to 2012-13 Fleer Retro Basketball Michael Jordan Cards
- 2013 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Master Collection
Autographed Cards Guide
- The Top Michael Jordan Autographed Cards of All-Time
- Top Michael Jordan Washington Wizards Autograph Cards
Other Trading Card Guides
- Comprehensive Michael Jordan Baseball Card Guide
- Michael Jordan Golf Card Guide
- 1996-97 Upper Deck Space Jam Trading Cards
- How to Spot a Fake Michael Jordan Rookie Card and Not Get Scammed
Air Jordan Shoe Guide
Other Michael Jordan Collecting Guides
- Ultimate Michael Jordan Figure Guide
- Top Michael Jordan Collectibles of All-Time
- Michael Jordan Gift Guide
- Michael Jordan Fathead Wall Decals Released
- Top Michael Jordan Card and Memorabilia Sales of 2014-15
For more information on Michael Jordan, his career on and off the court, career statistics and accomplishments be sure to visit these sites.