The Fascinating History of Michael Jordan’s Fleer Rookie Card

When we talk about basketball legends, there’s one name that will forever be etched in history…With his iconic combination of unparalleled skills and charisma, he’s changed basketball (and footwear) forever while inspiring generations to follow in his footsteps. And, if we had to pick one collectible that symbolizes his greatness, it’s his Fleer rookie card.

In 1986, the trading card industry witnessed a seismic shift when Fleer, released their basketball card set featuring the rookie card of a young and promising player named Michael Jordan. Little did they know that this card would become one of the most coveted and valuable trading cards in history.

At that time, the basketball card market was dominated by the Topps brand. However, due to a licensing dispute, Topps stopped producing basketball cards after the 1981 season, leaving an unexpected void in the market. Fleer seized this opportunity and acquired the license to produce NBA trading cards, including the iconic Michael Jordan rookie card, and you could say that the rest is history.

The ’86 Jordan Rookie

There are lots of incredible athletes with snazzy trading cards though. What makes Jordan’s so special? There are potential reasons for this, but in this case one of the primary factors is the scarcity of the card. As the years have passed, many of these cards have been lost, damaged, or simply discarded. Not surprisingly, this scarcity has created a high demand among collectors, driving up the card’s value.

“There’s only one Michael Jordan.”

Michael Jordan

Another factor is the iconic status of Michael Jordan himself, I mean, obvious right? As one of the most influential athletes of all time, he’s accomplished so much both on and off the court that his impact has elevated the value of his rookie card to astronomical heights, astonishing both collectors and investors alike. At one point, the card was relatively affordable, even selling for a few dollars.

In recent years, the surge in interest from both seasoned collectors and new enthusiasts has driven the value of the card to absolutely BONKERS levels. In fact, in 2020 a PSA Gem Mint 10 Jordan rookie card sold for a record-breaking price of $738,000 at an auction!

Investing in a Jordan Fleer Rookie

With such a massive potential payoff possible, most collectors (pretty much anyone, really) perk up and start wondering how they can get their hands on a pristine Jordan rookie. Obviously a great idea, right? A mint Jordan rookie can certainly be a lucrative venture if done wisely. It’s had a consistent upward trend in value, making it an attractive investment option. However, it’s important to note that, just like playing Wolf of Wall Street, investing comes with risks and uncertainties. Before diving into sports card investing, take time to thoroughly research and analyze the trends and patterns in the card’s value. Consult with experts, stay updated with the latest news, and consider diversifying your investment portfolio to mitigate potential risks.

Also, keep in mind that future values are difficult to predict. However, given the enduring popularity of Michael Jordan and the scarcity of his Fleer rookie card, it is likely that it will continue to be a valuable investment option in the coming years.


Like so many iconic trading cards (1952 Mantle, Honus Wagner, and so many more), Michael Jordan’s Fleer rookie card is not just a piece of cardboard; it’s a symbol of excellence, greatness, and the impact one individual can have on a sport. The rise in the card’s value reflects the enduring legacy of Michael Jordan and the passion of collectors and investors worldwide.

Whether you’re a dedicated collector, an astute investor, or simply a fan of the game, the allure of Michael Jordan’s Fleer rookie card is undeniable. If you’ve caught the itch to own a piece of sports card collecting and NBA history, go ahead and embark on your own journey to acquire this holy grail of basketball cards and, if you’re lucky, the legend of Michael Jordan can live on in your collection.

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