10 Greatest Wilt Chamberlain Cards of All-Time

10 Greatest Wilt Chamberlain Cards of All-Time

Wilt Chamberlain is a giant in the basketball world, both literally and figuratively. Despite appearing at a time that was not very receptive to basketball cards, Wilt Chamberlain cards remain very popular.

During his 13 seasons, Wilt Chamberlain played for the Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and retired as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Hall of Fame player racked up an impressive list of accomplishments, including two NBA Championships, four MVPs, 13 All-Star selections and Rookie of the Year in 1960. However, Wilt Chamberlain is most famous for scoring 100 points in a single game versus the the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. He was also reportedly very popular with the ladies, famously claiming in his autobiography he slept with 20,000 different women. But that is not a topic we will get into here. Unfortunately, in 1999, Wilt Chamberlain passed away at the age of 63.

Despite his contributions to the game, many fans and collectors are unable to appreciate how dominant he was because basketball was not nearly as popular during the time that Wilt Chamberlain played. Combine that with limited footage from that era of basketball and a generally outdated playing style from the NBA as a whole, and it is easy to see why the average fan cannot appreciate him the same way as LeBron James or Michael Jordan. Regardless, as a dominant and athletic seven footer, Wilt Chamberlain was clearly ahead of his time. Wilt Chamberlain cards represent a great option for collectors to obtain a groundbreaking player and connect with the roots of the game.

When Wilt Chamberlain came into the NBA in 1959, basketball cards were not very popular. Although Wilt Chamberlain cards would have been among the top options for collectors during this period, basketball cards were viewed as a novelty. Regular releases did not even begin until later in Chamberlain's career. Just a few Wilt Chamberlain cards were released during his playing days and most of the officially licensed NBA cards were from Topps.

The following list represents some of the most popular Wilt Chamberlain cards. The majority are from his playing days, so card condition is especially relevant when trying to determine value.

Top 10 Wilt Chamberlain Cards

10. 1972-73 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #168

Wilt Chamberlain was an NBA All-Star in every one of his 13 seasons so it is only fitting to kick the list off with an All-Star subset card. Found in 1972-73 Topps, this Wilt Chamberlain card remains an in-demand card despite a poor image and a text box that covers over 25% of the card. Like most of the cards during this time, and on this list, centering was a huge problem.

Wilt Chamberlain cards - 1972-73 Topps Basketball #168 Wilt Chamberlain

9. 1973-74 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #80

Already out of the league at this point, Topps still included a Wilt Chamberlain card in their release. 1973-74 Topps Basketball included one of the few full action images of Wilt Chamberlain as most of the other cards feature single-color backgrounds, filled in around him.  This card represent one of the most affordable options for Wilt Chamberlain collectors. Ungraded copies can be found for around $20 to $30.

Top 10 Wilt Chamberlain Cards

8. 1971-72 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #70

This design for this card is distinctively 70's card with the bright pink background and light blue text. 1971-72 Topps Basketball marked the switch back from the "Tall Boy" format it had used during the previous two seasons. This is another relatively cheap Wilt Chamberlain card for collectors to obtain.

7. 1970-71 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #50

Featuring a "Tall Boy" design, Wilt Chamberlain's  1970-71 Topps Basketball card better shows the size of the giant center. The close-up image shows rich colors along with a red background. Wilt Chamberlain's name, team and position are displayed in white text over an image of a basketball in the bottom corner.  Ungraded copies can be found for around $50.

6. 1972-73 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #1

1972-73 Topps Basketball marked the final season for Wilt Chamberlain. Despite a strong run in the playoffs,  Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to overcome the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. The first card in the set, Wilt Chamberlain's card featured a thick black border with a bright blue background. Combined with a green "LAKERS" text, this card is one of the more colorful Wilt Chamberlain cards. Although he is posing with with his typical straight face, it is hard to take him seriously since Chamberlain has his jersey on backwards.

5. 1969-70 Topps Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #1

Once again the first card in the set, this Wilt Chamberlain card is the more popular of the two "Tall Boy" basketball sets from Topps. 1969-70 Topps Basketball was also the first basketball set from Topps since 1957-58 Topps Basketball. The set helped begin a string of successive Topps basketball sets that lasted until 1981-82 Topps Basketball. Employing a red background, the border features four small drawings of basketball players on the corners of the card.

4. 1961-62 Fleer Basketball Wilt Chamberlain #47

Card #47 is the not the top Wilt Chamberlain available in this release, but it still commands strong attention from collectors. This card was part of a subset that highlighted in-action images. The card shows Wilt Chamberlain throwing down a dunk as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors. Understandably, the card layout is virtually identical to his rookie card from the same set.

3. 1999-00 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Wilt Chamberlain #WC Autograph

After Wilt Chamberlain retired, a long time passed before his certified autograph appeared in any products. The aptly named Upper Deck Retro featured a very popular Inkredible autograph set which contained a Hall of Fame checklist never seen before. Although these un-numbered autograph cards appeared 1 per box, on average, values took off. The Wilt Chamberlain card is the clear favorite of the on-card autographs and prices have pushed into the thousands. Also, make note of the large smile because this was a rare occurrence on Wilt Chamberlain cards. A very rare Level 2 parallel is serial numbered #/13 in reference to Wilt Chamberlain's jersey number.

2. 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures Wilt Chamberlain #WC Autograph

Another great option from Upper Deck, Epic Signatures features on-card autographs from an, indeed, epic group of former players. Like Upper Deck Retro, the Epic Signatures appeared at a rate of around one per box. Upper Deck did a great job paying homage to the former elites of the NBA with a classic card design. The huge signing area and simple image combined to showcase a great example of how less can be so much more. Collectors can expect prices for these popular cards to start at about $2,000.  A century parallel features a gold image and is hand-numbered #/100.

1. 1961-62 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain RC

No surprises here. The unquestioned top Wilt Chamberlain card is his rookie offering from 1961-62 Fleer Basketball. Two shades of red and blue text oddly work well in this amazing card. Like 1980-81 Topps and 1986-87 Fleer, 1961-62 Fleer Basketball is an iconic set, and this is the number one card.

Top eBay Listings

Panini 2014-15 Prizm SP's Prizms Gold Pulsar #21 Lakers Wilt Chamberlain 05 10
$31.00

WILT CHAMBERLAIN 12-13 UD FLEER RETRO PLAYMAKERS THEATRE INSERT 100
$5.50

RARE Gem-Mint 10 WILT CHAMBERLAIN Fleer ROOKIE Card
$6.95

1972 TOPPS WILT CHAMBERLAIN NRMT + 1973 LEADER NRMT + 1992 UD HEROES SET 10CARD
$15.99

13 14 Panini Flawless Diamond 20 Wilt Chamberlain LA Lakers # 84
$579.99

1969 70 TOPPS BASKETBALL 1 WILT CHAMBERLAIN VG-EX L A LAKERS CARD W FREE SHIPP
$59.49

Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers 1969-70 Topps NBA Basketball Card #1
$28.50

Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers 1970-71 Topps NBA Basketball Card #50
$16.50

Wilt Chamberlain Los Angeles Lakers 1971-72 Topps NBA Basketball Card #70
$15.28

1992 Upper Deck Basketball Heroes Insert Card Set 10-18 Wilt Chamberlain
$5.95

2012-13 Panini Select Prizm Refractor NBA #125 Wilt Chamberlain LA Lakers
$6.00

2013-14 Panini Prizm Prizms #257 Wilt Chamberlain - NM-MT
$7.00

1972-73 TOPPS WILT CHAMBERLAIN #1 LOS ANGELES LAKERS
$19.95

2008-09 Topps T51 Murad Mini #159 Wilt Chamberlain - NM-MT
$5.60

1971-72 Topps Trios Stickers Wilt Chamberlain Johnson Van Lier BVG 5.5 EX+ NBA
$45.00

2004-05 Topps Luxury Box Wilt Chamberlain Season Ticket
$7.00
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Trey Treutel

E-Mail Author | 
Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

User Comments

  1. I really dont know what to do or what I have but I was cleaning out this old house and ran across some sportcards.everything from mike to wilt please contact me back.thank you

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