I get a lot of questions regarding the authenticity of Michael Jordan rookie cards, but I also get a lot of questions on what grade a card will receive from PSA.
While we’ve covered the basics of card grading (along with a visual representation of card grades), I thought it might be fun and even helpful to create a similar sort of visual guide for card grades using just Jordan’s rookie card.
If you’re new to card grading or just looking for a quick visual representation for Jordan rookie cards (or even any card for that matter), this should be a good resource.
As always, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 10 (Gem Mint)
Current Value: $750,000
In order to earn a PSA 10 (Gem Mint) from PSA, the card has to be a 'virtually perfect card' with sharp corner and no staining or defects. There is a tolerance for off-centering, but not to exceed 55/45 to 60/40 in the front or 75/25 on the reverse.
This PSA 10 Jordan rookie card is flawless; note that PSA 10's can have a tiny, tiny bit of edging on the red or blue border as this one does, but as shown, it is basically flawless.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 9 (Mint)
Current Value: $50,000
With a Mint (PSA 9) card there is often some minor corner or border wear that leads to the downgrade of the card from Gem Mint to Mint. Often times the card's appearance will be quite close to that of a Gem Mint copy.
On this PSA 9 Jordan rookie below, we can see that there is a little bit of border wear on the red top of the card, along with some more noticeable corner wear, albeit minor on the bottom left corner.
Note that there is some more centering leniency on a PSA 9 card, with centering guidelines of 60/40 or 65/35 and 90/10 on the reverse.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 8 (Near Mint to Mint)
Current Value: $13,000
A Near Mint to Mint card (designated as PSA 8) is one that might have a slight wax stain, slight wearing on corners, a minor printing imperfection or off white borders. Centering has to be 65/35 to 70/30 on the front and 90/10 or better on reverse.
This PSA 8 Jordan rookie card looks great at first glance, with near perfect centering but a closer look shows that the bottom two corners have wear and there is a slight mark on the bottom right blue border.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 7 (Near Mint)
Current Value: $10,000
A Near Mint (or PSA 7) card might have slight surface wear or fraying on the corners. Minor printing blemishes and wax stains are acceptable, although anything more significant would likely result in a qualifier. Centering guidelines are slightly loosened here as 70/30 or 75/25 on the front is OK. Thus, you might see some very off-center PSA 7 cards without any qualifiers.
This PSA 7 Jordan rookie card is more off-center and could have been bumped down due to centering; there are minor blemishes (I see some white dots in a few of the blue borders and in the top left red border) but the corners look fairly clean.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 6 (Excellent to NM)
Current Value: $9,000
In order to earn a PSA 6 (Excellent to Near Mint) from PSA, the card typically has minor wear on the corners, 80/20 or better centering, and no major flaws.
This PSA 6 Jordan rookie card has worse centering than the PSA 7 above, and corners that are just a bit more dinged up...see that top right corner, while the other three corners all have some damage. Again, not major wear but enough to knock it down a few grades.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 5 (Excellent)
Current Value: $7,000
A PSA 5 (or Excellent) card is still an attractive card, but may have light rounding of the corners, very light creasing, minor wear on the surface, and centering of no worse than 85/15.
This PSA 5 Jordan rookie has some top to bottom centering issues and note that top right corner which is a bit banged up.
Then note the back of this Jordan rookie which has a small stain on the back of the card, see the bottom middle in the light pink background.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 4 (VG to Excellent)
Current Value: $5500
A PSA 4 (or VG to Excellent) means that a card’s corners may be slightly rounded. Surface wear is also noticeable but modest. May have light scuffing or light scratches. Some original gloss will be retained. Borders may be slightly off-white. A light crease may be visible. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.
This PSA 4 Jordan card gets a lower grade due to the noticeable corner wear; it's clear that these are not just minor dings, but more noticeable damage. Also see the border wear along the top of the card.
Quick note about grading and something that we can't see from the images; cards can very easily get surface damage from screw down holders. We've had experience with old cards in screw downs that had surface damage and warping of the card that we didn't initially see with our naked eye.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 3 (Very Good)
Current Value: $4000
A PSA 3 (Very Good) card has noticeably rounded corners (albeit not extreme), with printing defects, light creases, or small wax stains possible. Surface wear and edge wear is also common. Centering must be 90/10 or better.
This PSA 3 Jordan clearly has more corner damage versus the PSA 4 copy from above. The centering looks pretty good, but it's the all around border and corner wear that leads this one to a VG grade.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 2 (Good)
Current Value: $3000
According to PSA, a grade of PSA 2 (Good) indicates a card with obvious defects, normally significant corner and/or surface wear. Creasing is very possible, along with staining, scratching or cuffing. Centering must be 90/10 or better.
This PSA 2 Jordan rookie card has some noticeable corner and border damage and a minor crease in the bottom of the card. Just a bit worse than the PSA 3 we showed above.
Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card - PSA 1 (Poor)
Current Value: $2000
A PSA 1 (or Poor) graded card has many of the same qualities as PSA 1.5 (Fair) card –such as heavily rounded corners, discoloration, staining, heavy surface wear, creasing etc, but the wear is much more significant in nature and as PSA notes ‘the card has almost vanished in entirety’
This PSA 1 Jordan rookie card is in really rough shape and certainly would qualify as being in Poor condition. Rough corners, creases, surface damage...this one has it all. The poor grade certainly can have varying degrees of bad and this one would be near the poorest of the poor classification.