All Vintage Cards Large Cap Value Basketball Portfolio

Updated Oct 04, 2023

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The All Vintage Cards Large Cap Basketball Portfolio is a collection of ten high-priced vintage basketball cards that we think have great long-term investment potential. 

As we discussed in our introduction piece, we are launching three portfolios for each major sport–Large Cap, Mid Cap, and Small Cap.

For those not familiar with the lexicon, this corresponds to mutual fund portfolios in the investment world.  Large-Cap within the investment space equates to a portfolio of the equity market’s largest companies.

For this All Vintage Cards Large Cap Value Basketball Portfolio we have selected ten cards, each with a value of $3000 or more.

Note that these selections are based on what we perceive as ‘relative’ value in the marketplace, meaning that we think these cards offer a good value versus other comparative cards. 

I will also note that this information is not investment advice, nor are we making any promises in relation to future performance.  Please use your own judgment and budget when accounting for any acquisitions of cards in this portfolio. 

Please also see our All-Vintage Cards Small-Cap Value and All-Vintage Cards Mid-Cap portfolios

Total Portfolio Value (as of 6/30/2021) = $63,900
Average Price Per Card = $6390

I did something a bit different with our Large Cap strategy.  We went after three classic rookie cards, but with Autographs.--those are the Bird/Magic rookie, Alcindor rookie and Dr. J rookie.  I really like the long term potential of these ones. 


1948 Bowman George Mikan (RC)

Estimated Cost - VG Condition: $8,000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: George Mikan aka ‘Mr. Basketball’ is known as one of the pioneers of professional basketball.  His 1948 Bowman rookie card is one of the most prized cards in the vintage basketball collecting community.  Most younger folks aren’t really as familiar with Mikan as they are Ruth, Mantle and Cobb.  But they should be.  

Current PSA Population: The higher numbers of the 1948 Bowman Basketball set (including Mikan) were produced in lower quantities and thus Mikan’s rookie card is somewhat scarce.  PSA has graded only around 300 of the Mikan cards with only 4 a PSA 9 grade. 

1957 Topps Bill Russell (RC)

Estimated Cost - VG/EX Condition: $9000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  Russell’s 1957 Topps rookie card is one of the cornerstone cards of the basketball card market, as the set represents the first entry for Topps into basketball cards

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded 600 of the Russell rookie cards with only 3 attaining a PSA 9 (Near-Mint) rating.  The set was rampant with print defects, mostly print spots, thus finding one in pristine condition is a feat on its own.

1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell PSA 4.5

End Date: Sunday May-26-2024 21:33:01 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $500.00
Buy It Now on eBay

1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell Rookie RC PSA 2


Buy It on eBay for only: $3,599.00
Buy It Now on eBay

1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain

Estimated Cost - EX Condition: $8000


An authentic '61 Fleer Chamberlain rookie

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  When it comes to iconic vintage basketball cards, there aren’t many that come close to the 1961 Fleer rookie card of all-time great Wilt Chamberlain.  I love the look of this set and it’s quite attainable, especially the Chamberlain card.

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded over 1000 of the Chamberlain rookie cards, although only 34 of those received a PSA 9 or PSA 10 grade.   Lower to mid-grade Chamberlain rookies can be found on eBay for under $5000, which I still like as an investment for long-term collectors. 

1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain BVG 7.5 #8


Buy It on eBay for only: $30,000.00
Buy It Now on eBay

1961-62 Fleer Set-Break # 8 Wilt Chamberlain SGC 1.5 FR

$510.00  (15 bids)
End Date: Monday May-27-2024 22:17:00 EDT


1961-62 Fleer Basketball #8 Wilt Chamberlain RC Rookie HOF SGC 1.5 LOW POP

$565.00  (11 bids)
End Date: Thursday May-23-2024 23:59:00 EDT


1969 Topps Lew Alcindor (RC) - Autograph 

Estimated Cost - VG/EX: $3000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  I love this card and I think that having an autographed copy just makes it that much of a standout as an investment for a card that has a plentiful population

Current PSA Population:  There are plenty of these cards available (PSA has graded over 2200), but because of the awkward size and age of the cards, finding mint versions is a big challenge. 

1972 Topps Julius Erving (RC) - Auto

Estimated Cost - EX-MT Condition: $4500


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  One of my favorite cards is the Dr J rookie card and I think a nice autographed copy is one of the better investments in vintage basketball.  Erving isn't getting any younger although he has been a somewhat generous signer in the past. 

Current PSA Population:  The base rookie card is not abundant, with only 744 copies graded by PSA.  The autographed copies are at a much lower population.  

1980 Topps Bird/Magic Rookie Card Auto

Estimated Cost - Auth/EX Condition -  $4000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: The Bird/Magic rookie card is one of the most iconic cards in the hobby.  But you know what's even more iconic?  A rookie card signed by Bird/Magic and Dr J!

Current PSA Population:   Just in terms of base cards, PSA has graded about 9,800 copies.  SGC has graded another 1,100 and Beckett has graded another 3,800 copies for a grand total of 14,700 copies. 

1981 Topps Larry Bird #4

Estimated Cost - GEM Mint Condition: $10,000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  This is by no means a rare card just in general, but when we talk about GEM Mint PSA 10 copies, it certainly is a lot harder to find.  The second year card of Larry Bird in GEM Mint condition should be a great long term investment. 

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded only 59 copies in PSA 10 of the Gem Mint Larry Bird 1981 Topps card.  In comparison they have graded a total of 4500 cards, meaning that only 1.3% of all graded cards have received a gem mint card.

1984-85 Star Michael Jordan XRC #101

Estimated Cost - NM Condition: $10,000


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  We are huge fans of Star Basketball cards and think the XRC Jordan Star card #101 is a better investment than his Fleer Rookie card.  Why?  The Star XRC Rookie has been graded only 939 times by Beckett (the only Star card grader) versus over 20,000 graded by PSA. 

Current PSA Population:  Need I say more, no PSA population that matters...1/20th of the 1986 Fleer card and technically his first rookie card.   

Note be careful --there are a lot of fakes out there.  

1984-85 Star Michael Jordan XRC RC #101 BGS 8 Rookie Card

End Date: Saturday May-25-2024 19:12:14 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $2,500.00
Buy It Now on eBay

1984-85 Star Michael Jordan XRC RC #101 BGS 8 Rookie Card (7.5,8,9,9.5) Subgrade

$18,100.00  (51 bids)
End Date: Sunday May-19-2024 22:25:29 EDT


1985-86 Star Michael Jordan #117

Estimated Cost - Gem-Mint Condition: $3800


An authentic 1987 Fleer Jordan card

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: Jordan’s second year base Star card and one that still pre-dates his 1986 Fleer Rookie card.  Much rarer than any of his Fleer early cards and in my mind a relative bargain.  Watch out for fakes

Current PSA Population:  No PSA Population--note PSA doesn't grade Star cards.  BGS has graded only 539 copies!

1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57 Rookie Card

Estimated Cost - EX/MT Condition: $3600


An authentic 1987 Fleer Jordan card

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: Jordan's rookie card has been on a very volatile ride and we were concerned.  There's just such a massive population of cards---most people don't know that PSA has graded nearly 20,000 copies.  But given the recent drop, I think it's still worth owning as a long term investment.  

And I think it's okay to just shoot for a mid grade card.  Why?  Well I think there will still be strong demand for Jordan's card in the coming years. Maybe not as much as there has been over the last few years, but enough to make it worthy as a long term hold. 

Current PSA Population:  All in all, between SGC, Beckett and PSA, the 1986-87 Fleer Jordan Rookie has been graded over 33K times.  Note this does not include the raw, ungraded population.  I'd estimate that at a minimum to be in the neighborhood of 10K-15K cards.  Thus Jordan's rookie card likely has a population of close to 50K.  

All Vintage Cards

About the author

Chris Rogers, is the founder of All Vintage Cards. Launched in 2018, All Vintage Cards is the hobby's leading resource for vintage sports cards. Chris is also the author of 'The Complete Guide To Selling Your Sports Cards'. Chris remains an avid collector and can be reached at

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