Few athletes have had the impact on their sport like Mike Tyson has on boxing. Aside from Muhammad Ali, no other modern boxer has generated more interest, both inside the ring and out of it. It shouldn't be surprising that Mike Tyson cards are more popular than ever, not that he has a lot to begin with.
While there have been a lot of peaks and valleys in Iron Mike's popularity, in recent years, things seem to have settled. While still a polarizing figure due to his controversial past, nostalgia for the past and a turn on stage and screen have helped people see a warmer side of the Baddest Man on the Planet.
Here are ten key Mike Tyson cards that are extremely popular on the secondary market.
Top 10 Mike Tyson Cards
I know, kicking off a list of Mike Tyson cards with a sticker. But this is the key piece in any Mike Tyson card collection. Predating any mainstream trading card by several years, the 1986 Panini Supersport sticker, which was distributed in Europe, trades at a couple hundred dollars for raw copies. A PSA 10 version sold in February, 2013 for $5,000.
Collectors have no choice but to go oddball for early Mike Tyson cards. 1987 A Question of Sport is a board game released in the UK. Stemming from a long-running British quiz show, the game includes cards from several sports. The 1987 A Question of Sport Mike Tyson card shows the boxer in the ring throwing a punch. The back is green with the game's logo and a small inner border. Tyson is also identified on the back.
Like the traditional second-year card, the 1987 Panini Supersport Mike Tyson sticker doesn't have nearly the prestige as his 1986 sticker, but it's still extremely popular. The white-bordered design of the sticker is simple, but it shows the tough side Tyson is known for.
Technically, this card didn't come out until 1992. Inserted in random 1992 Kayo Heavyweight Hologram sets, the card is a reported short print. The set had a print run of 35,000 with one of several promos inserted in every set.
One of the most attractive Mike Tyson cards available, the 1991 Ringlords card comes with and without a "Sample" stamp on the back. The full-bleed design pictures a celebrating Iron Mike, belt slung on shoulder, with legendary promoter Don King at his side. The version without the stamp is particularly rare as it was only inserted in five-card cello test packs.
It's amazing to think that the first widely available pack-inserted Mike Tyson card didn't arrive until 2006. And even then, it took a baseball set to do it. The minimalist design shows Tyson ready to fight. Several mini card parallels add to the chase as well as the number of available Mike Tyson cards.
There are several levels to what makes this a great card. First, it comes from the debut Topps Allen & Ginter set, one of the most popular releases of the aughts. It's also the first autographed Mike Tyson card. Although not numbered, it has a stated print run of 200 copies. Most are now firmly entrenched in personal collections so not many show up on the secondary market.
Classic Mike Tyson, at least the tattooed version. The photo on this autograph is about as intense as you get. It's a memorable shot with one a great on-card autograph. The silver version has a printed run of 40 while a gold version is limited to 10.
Mike Tyson isn't only one of the best fighters who ever lived, he also knows how to deliver some awesome quotes. A handful of those quotes are captured in 2012 Leaf Inscriptions. The set not only includes autographs from some of the most popular athletes in sports, but added notes as well. For Tyson, that means getting gems from his appearance in The Hangover and "I want to eat your children."
If you're simply looking for autographed Mike Tyson cards, 2012 Upper Deck All-Time Greats Sports Edition is a great place to start. He has several different cards in the set. And while all are extremely limited on an individual basis, the many options make them one of the best bets for landing one.