What Is The Rarest Basketball Card Of All Time?

As we noted in our discussion of The Rarest Baseball Card of All Time, identifying the rarest basketball card of all time is a challenge.

The reason?  Over the history of basketball cards, many oddball misprints, or error cards or type cards were produced that have a very, very low population.

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Bell Brand Elgin Baylor card. In terms of regional basketball issues, this one is likely the rarest.

In addition, basketball truly had a late start in terms of becoming a mainstream sport (as compared to baseball); hence, the first widely produced basketball sets didn't begin until 1948

Thus, in answer this question, I like to focus first on the players that people care about, thus avoiding the common players that might be rare but aren't really in demand aside from set builders. 

In addition due to the dearth of early mainstream basketball card sets, we need to also examine some of the regional basketball card issues.

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What Is The Rarest Basketball Card Of All Time?

PSA Grading Star Basketball Cards (Again) – Time To Buy?

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In a move that I knew was only a matter of time, PSA announced recently that it would tiptoe back into grading 1980's Star Basketball cards

PSA used to grade Star cards and after getting burned multiple times on Type II counterfeits decided that it would put a halt to any Star Basketball card grading. 

In our past conversations with Star expert Steve Taft he noted that fear among the grading companies (aside from Beckett) is what drove the decision to avoid the cards.

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PSA Grading Star Basketball Cards (Again) – Time To Buy?

1961 Fleer Jerry West Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

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As nicknames go, Jerry West has two of the greatest.

"The Logo" (in honor of his iconic profile on the NBA trademark) and "Mr. Clutch" (in recognition of his uncanny effectiveness in big moments), 

West’s legendary 60-foot buzzer-beater to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals to overtime is one of many examples.

These handles befit the sweet-shooting West, a fierce competitor on the court and one of the game's premier all-around players.

He's one of only seven players who led the NBA in both scoring (1970) and assists (1972) during his career.

West's outsize contributions to the game over a span of decades as a player, coach, and executive make him a familiar favorite for collectors of multiple generations.

In particular, the 1961 Fleer Jerry West rookie card is one of the hobby's most sought-after vintage cards and a centerpiece issue for serious Lakers collectors.

Let's take a closer look at this iconic Jerry West card and the career of "Mr. Clutch."

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1961 Fleer Jerry West Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

SGC Card Grading (A Collector’s Guide)

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PSA gets all the fanfare, but SGC is the second oldest grading company in the hobby. 

Launched in 1998, about seven years following the start of PSA, SGC has built a reputation as one of the most trustworthy and reliable card graders in the business. 

Unfortunately, PSA graded cards still sell at a sizeable premium to both SGC and Beckett graded cards. 

My hope is that at some point, SGC graded cards earn the due that they deserve. 

As follows is a full review on SGC.

Please let me know your thoughts on SGC in the comments section.

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SGC Card Grading (A Collector’s Guide)

Beckett Card Grading (A Collector’s Guide) BGS, BVG, BCCG

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Beckett has long been a powerhouse in the media business. 

It's monthly price guide magazines are synonymous with card collecting from the 80s and 90s.

Beckett Card Grading was launched back in 1999 and remains among the top tier of today's card grading companies. 

In this piece, we review the history of Beckett Grading and explore some of the details of its different card grading options.

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Beckett Card Grading (A Collector’s Guide) BGS, BVG, BCCG

Shaq Rookie Card (The 21 Most Valuable, Best Investments)

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There’s only one Shaquille O’Neal.
 
The towering NBA legend has a resume that most players can only dream of.
 
From his dominance at LSU to the NBA, Shaq is one of the most accomplished players to ever grace the court.
 
Shaq’s rookie cards were a big hit when released back in 1992.
 
Today, his rookie cards are still big sellers, even despite massive production runs.
 
In this piece, we step back in time to review the rookie cards of the one and only big man, Shaquille O’Neal.
 
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Shaq Rookie Card (The 21 Most Valuable, Best Investments)

1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

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Pete Maravich was one of the most exciting players to ever grace the NBA.

“Pistol” Pete could make things happen on the court that nobody else could and always put on a show for the fans.

Even today, more than forty years after he last played in the NBA, Maravich remains one of the most popular players in league history.

The 1970 Topps Pete Maravich rookie card also remains one of the hobby’s hottest and most valuable basketball cards

In this piece, we explore the career of Pete Maravich, while examining his rookie card in more detail.

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1970 Topps Pete Maravich Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

1957 Topps Bill Russell Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

bill-russell-rookie-cardIn basketball, there are a few select players who are considered true legends – and Bill Russell is one of them.

With 11 NBA championships, 5 MVP Awards, and 12 All-Star appearances, Russell’s resume is undeniable.

Bill Russell’s 1957 Topps Rookie card is considered among the Mt Rushmore for basketball card collectors.

It is also one of the hobby’s most valuable cards, and, unfortunately out of reach for many. 

In this piece, we examine the past career of Bill Russell and provide more intel into his Topps rookie card. 

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1957 Topps Bill Russell Rookie Card (Value, Rarity, Investment)

Has The Jordan Fleer Rookie Card Finally Hit Rock Bottom?

Jordan Rookie Have We Hit The BottomI’ve written quite extensively about the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card.

Covering everything from authentication (here and here), to fake Jordan’s in fake flips, to different PSA grades, investment potential, even scandals involving the Jordan rookie card.

To me, especially since I grew up opening packs of 86 Fleer basketball cards, it’s one of the most polarizing cards in the hobby.

But, over the last year or so, prices on the Jordan rookie card have fallen off a cliff. 

It wasn’t all that surprising. After all, Jordan’s PSA 8 Fleer Rookie card went from $3,000 to $25,000 in a little more than a year.

Plus, we are seeing many similar excesses wrung out in other speculative areas of the capital market (high growth stocks, bitcoin). 

Card prices can’t go up forever, and sometimes a correction is warranted. Helping to restore sanity to a market, where rational thinking can take over. 

In this piece, I dive deeper into the rise and fall of the Jordan rookie card, trying to determine what the future holds.

Has the Jordan Rookie Card reached rock bottom?

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Has The Jordan Fleer Rookie Card Finally Hit Rock Bottom?

1969 Topps Lew Alcindor Rookie Card: A Closer Look

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There aren’t many players that had the same sort of impact on the game of basketball as one Lew Alcindor.

Alcindor’s dominance on the court was evident early on, as he won three NCAA championships with the UCLA Bruins and then six NBA championships with the Bucks and LA Lakers. 

Not only was Alcindor a great basketball player, but a prominent cultural figure for the African American community.

Alcindor boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics due to the unequal treatment of black players. He also changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabaar in 1971 as a testament of his faith and to stand up for black Americans. 

The Lew Alcindor rookie card has taken on a renewed identity of its own in recent years, skyrocketing to among the hobby’s most valuable basketball cards, even despite a somewhat abundant supply.

As follows, we’ll examine the 1969 Topps Alcindor rookie card in detail, taking a closer look at overall value, scarcity, along with our take on future investment potential. 

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1969 Topps Lew Alcindor Rookie Card: A Closer Look