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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

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.

1986-87 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan #8

1986-87 Fleer Basketball Sticker Michael Jordan

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 XRC

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.

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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

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:

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Michael Jordan Signed Basketball  Michael Jordan Signed Basketball2  Michael Jordan Signed Basketball3

Signed Jersey Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Jerseys

Michael Jordan Signed Jersey  Michael Jordan Signed Jersey2  Michael Jordan Signed Jersey3

Signed 8x10 Photo Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Photographs

Michael Jordan Signed Photo  Michael Jordan Signed Photo 3  Michael Jordan Signed Photo 2

Signed Shoe Pricing:

Active Listings for Michael Jordan Signed Sneakers

Michael Jordan Signed Shoes  Michael Jordan Signed Shoes 2  Michael Jordan Signed Shoes 3

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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  Michael Jordan Shoes

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 - Enterbay  Michael Jordan UD Pro Shots  Michael Jordan SLU

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  MJ Wings  MJ Dunk

More Info
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

Other Michael Jordan Collecting Guides

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.

 |  E-Mail Author | 
Rob is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff and co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio.He is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby.

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?

  16. What should I sell my Jordan 1988 fleer card for( all star)?

  17. Pat Kakalow – Even with a crease in the card, there is more value in a graded card with a crease than a non-graded card. Hope this helps

  18. Ray – your 84-85 card is work about $3 – $10 ungraded and the condition has to be very, very nice to get $10..

    Steve Reyes – It is not the main card, but an MJ card all the same. Again, depending on the condition, can be from $5 – $15. Better get it graded.

  19. One thing to remember….it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for!!

  20. Ray, I just read your question better…doing this at work…There never was an 84-85 Upper Deck Card. Upper Deck came around 1989 with Baseball as it’s breakout edition.

  21. Hi, my name is Shawn Burgess Sr. I have in my possession and in immaculate condition, a Michael Jordan (Rise to Greatness), Upper Deck basketball card dated 1984-1990 #13. How much is it worth today (there is no autograph on this card)?

  22. I am trying to find out how much a Michael Jordon card is.. I have 2 One has gold trim, shows Michael Jordon slam dunking call.. It has Chicago Buls on the bottom left corner with the bull symbol.. It says skybox in the rt upper corner and was printed in 1990… Its a number 41 card, and on the back it shows Michael Jordon playing golf.. The other one I have is a Behind the scenes number 382 printed in 1990 the official nba basketball card.. On the front it says Michael Jordons Playground and a symbol of a basketball that says inside stuff.. It shows a camera shooting a pic of Michael Jordon.. Any help is appreciated..

  23. I recently acquired a 2006 Upper Deck vip nba#1 michael jordan Anaheim the national sports collectors convention card limited to 500 not for general public I have no clue of the value of this card I can’t find anything on the net or in a book can anyone help me

  24. I have a Michael Jordan 86-87 fleet rookie card it is my prize possession but as is with life situations come up where w have to let go of possessions because of a bigger picture.I don’t want to let it get out of my family but a critical time in my life has come and I have to make a choice believe you me sometimes I still look in the mirror and sing the if I could be like Mike song.But I will still have my memory of him beating the Atlanta hawks in the playoffs and I was in the sixth row behind the basket,it was the best day of my life.Please contact me with some fair offers its time for me to grow up and let someone else cherish. This card.You may call me at 470 3885571 if u are intrested.I need to get as much as I can but I will be fair and have a new path in life I must follow but M.J will always be that guy that brought big dreams to Chicago and showed us what a true professional Is all about and there will never be another.

  25. I got a star 84 Michael Jordan card how to tell if it’s fake or real

  26. i was thinking of buying this card what you think the value is worth? 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card #57 Chicago Bulls PSA 8 NM-MT

  27. jack The easiest thing to do is check the completed listings on eBay. Check this to see recent sales data: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=%281986-87%2C1986%2C86-87%29+fleer+michael+jordan+psa+8&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.X%281986-87%2C1986%2C86-87%29+fleer+michael+jordan+psa+8+-sticker.TRS0&_nkw=%281986-87%2C1986%2C86-87%29+fleer+michael+jordan+psa+8+-sticker&_sacat=0

  28. I have a Star International all-rookie team set. Purchased on Home Shopping direct from Star. The border is deep blue. What’s the deal, is it real or is it fake?

  29. I have a Washington bullets michael jordan jersey that is size 56 and also has his name stiched on the two . Cant find this online anywhere to get a price

  30. Is there any reason i can not find any 1998-99 upper deck mjx jordan cards from the mid 40 to mid 60 numbers on the secondary market. thanks

  31. I have a few big name Upper Deck, 1991/92 Cards in mint condition. Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Reggie Lewis, Patrick Ewing, and several others as well…How much are they worth, or who do I need to talk to, to find out?

  32. Hi, I have a Michael Jordan nba hoops I think card of him with his arm up holding a basket ball and a gold hologram behind him of the same pic but gold . I can’t find it on the card on the net anywhere please help

  33. You do not have price value for1992 2002 michael jordan silver lagence basket ball card collection 1-50.

  34. Should i send you a picture of #1 of 50 of michael jordons 1992 #23 in 2002 legancey vasket ball collection.To you

  35. I have over 300 MJ cards, a complete Legends magazine 94′, (2) different Vol. 1 comic books, and a 1995 seris one dollar bill with his face in place George. I’m taking bids, only serious need reply or make a bid! chelleluvs40@gmail 8163851684

  36. This is a crystal clear, excellent article that explains what exactly is Jordan’s rookie card. I was always a bit confused between the “’86 ‘Fleer’ Jordan” versus the “’84 ‘Star’ Jordan” this article clears everything up. I think I’ll be going with the ’86 Fleer Jordan in ‘Excellent’ condition (save a few bucks going with Excellent as opposed to Near Mint). Thank you.

  37. I have a 84/85 Upper Deck Michael Jordan rookie card in mint condition in case. Is it worth anything? If so how much?

  38. His finest refractor cards are going through the roof. Is there any chance the bubble will burst or will it still keep climbing. Lebron with 2 more rings may change that. I had 5 years ago a 7.5 would go for 700$ now 1200? Cant last there are 1000s of these.

  39. Hi all have been trying to get some info on a card i have held onto since i was a kid but can not find it anywhere as hard as i search. Its a michael jordan nscc card. If anyone knows much about these cards can they email me joey_is_bac@hotmail.com

  40. I just recently picked up the Printing Plate Negative for the 1986 Michael Jordan rookie card, #57. I can’t seem to get any idea from any card register as to what to do, or how much it could be worth. So, if anyone knows something please help me.

  41. I have Sports superstars annual series 1 cards 1,2,3 connected. On back, says, Revolutionary series cards series 1, cards 1,2,3 Micheal Jordan. “Air Jordan”, It is Airness”, “Mike”. Have three sets and curious what or if they are collectible or monetary valuable.

  42. I have some Jordan oddball cards incl White Sox, any value?

  43. I have 1990/1991 Beckett basketball magazines with Michael Jordan on the front cover does any one know if these are worth anything?..

  44. I have a Star 85 Michael Jordan card #101 in a factory sealed bag starting with MJ on top and going to card #112 being Orlando Woolridge. Does anyone have any idea how much this could be worth? I haven’t been able to find a price for the pack anywhere. Thanks for any help.

  45. My name is Tyrone Bradshaw I’ve been collecting Michael Jordan cards since I was a teenager today I’m 39 years old with over 50 Michael Jordan cards that I don’t know what is worth and I’m looking to sale them all for the right price

  46. I has Michel Jordan 2009-10 Jordan 23 legacy 1-50 complete set can’t find a price on it

  47. I have 1986-87 Michel Jordon Fleer Chewing gum rookie card I purchased back in the 80’s. At that time there were not many grading companies but I had it graded by Superlative Baseball card certification and the card is encased in a protection hard shell sleeve along with a label and a hologram sticker on the backside. the card # is SBC 000006812 and was rated a 96. Do you think I should send it out to PSA to be re-graded or leave it as is? I am a little concerned about just sending it to someone and worried I might not get my original card back. Any feedback is appreciated.

  48. Hi I have a michael jordan rookie card but it says skybox or usa on the back of is it worth anything I can’t seem to find a price online or it be mentioned. thanks

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