All Vintage Cards Small Cap Value Basketball Portfolio

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The All Vintage Cards Small Cap Basketball Portfolio is a collection of ten Small-Cap (or ‘lower priced’) vintage basketball cards that we think have strong 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.  Small-Cap within the investment space equates to a portfolio of the equity market’s smallest companies.

For this All Vintage Cards Small Cap Value Basketball Portfolio we have selected ten cards, each with a value of $1000 or less.

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 Mid-Cap Value and All-Vintage Cards Large-Cap portfolios

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Looking for help valuing or selling your cards? All Vintage Cards has been dealing in vintage sports cards for over 30 years. Please see our BUY LIST before sending in an inquiry.


Total Value (as of 6/30/2021) = $5,050Average Price Per Card = $505


1951 Berk Ross Bob Cousy (RC) 

Estimated Cost – VG/EX Condition: $750


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  The 1951 Berk Ross Multi-Sport set is a bit of an oddball set, with many believing that the Berk Ross issue was actually an unlicensed issue. Out of the four basketball cards in the set, the Cousy is the most desired among vintage collectors.  While his 1957 Topps card is considered his true rookie card, the Berk Ross card is highly sought after due to its issuance six years earlier. 

Current PSA Population: PSA has graded roughly 100 copies of the Cousy Berk Ross card, making it a tougher find than his 57 Topps card, but at a lower price.  A relative bargain in my mind.  Note that there are many uncut Cousy cards that come in two player card sets.  Those are really cool and a tougher find than his individual card. 

1952 Wheaties George Mikan (Portrait) Hand Cut

Estimated Cost – Good Condition: $100


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  Wheaties issued cards on its cereal boxes in 1951 and 1952.  Mikan is featured in both sets and in my mind the 1952 issue is one of the best bargains in vintage basketball cards.  Collectors can typically find ones at around $100.  Note they were hand cut, so look for ones that haven’t been cut up too roughly. 

Current PSA Population:  Note that Mikan has a Portrait and an In-Action card in the Wheaties set.  We like the Portrait card and PSA has graded less than 100.

1957 Topps Tom Heinsohn (RC)

Estimated Cost – EX Condition: $300

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  The 1957 Topps Basketball set is a landmark set and in our mind, HOFer Tom Heinsohn’s rookie card in the set is undervalued.  During his playing days, Heinsohn was one of the cornerstone pieces to a Celtics franchise that won an amazing eight NBA championships.  Heinsohn was a six time NBA all star and one of history’s most intelligent players to hit the hardcourt. 

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded around 420 copies, making it fairly available and one of the better bargains in vintage basketball. 

1957 Topps Bob Cousy

Estimated Cost – Good: $750


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  While he had a Berk Ross issue several years prior, to most this is still considered the rookie card of Bob Cousy and one of the keys to the 1957 Topps set.  Cousy is well known for his dominance as one of the league’s premier point guards for the Boston Celtics, winning six championships over his thirteen year stint.  The ‘Couz’ as he was also affectionally known, was also a successful broadcaster for the Celtics.

Current PSA Population:  Not scarce by any means, with nearly 1000 graded by PSA–notably his Berk Ross card has about 1/10 the population.

1957 Topps Bob Pettit (RC) 

Estimated Cost – EX/MT Condition: $550

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: This is the rookie card of Hall-of-Fame great Bob Pettit. Pettit was a unbelievable scorer and one of the league’s first big men.  He earned rookie of the year in 1955 and went to eleven straight all star games winning two MVP awards.  When Pettit retired in 1965, he was the league’s highest scorer (20,880) and second highest rebounder (12,849).

Current PSA Population: Again, not scarce, with PSA grading around 650 copies, but ultimately I don’t think Pettit or his rookie card get the deserved attention.  

1961 Fleer Elgin Baylor (RC)

Estimated Cost – Good Condition –  $850


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: The 1961 Fleer Basketball set is probably my favorite vintage basketball set of all time, just for it’s cool design and the massive rookie and star power in the set.  This is the first rookie card of basketball legend Elgin Baylor, sometimes overlooked in basketball circles, but still a very important player in the history of basketball.  We were able to fit this one in our Small Cap Portfolio by going for a lower grade copy of the card. 

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded roughly 720 copies, so not rare, but given the hot demand for vintage cards from star rookies such as Baylor, we see this is a great investment for the longer term.  

1970 Topps Lew Alcindor (second year card)

Estimated Cost – NM Condition: $750


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  The Lew Alcindor second year card from the 1970 Topps set is actually the most valuable card in the set, yet still generally underappreciated in my opinion.  

Current PSA Population: The card has a slightly higher PSA population as opposed to the Chamberlain card in the set, with over 1500 graded by PSA, yet still fairly affordable.  A Near Mint copy (PSA 7) on average sells for $750; in my mind a good choice for vintage basketball collectors. 


End Date: Saturday Jul-20-2024 21:19:35 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $638.84
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1974 Topps George Gervin (RC)

Estimated Cost – NM Condition:  $300


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: This is the rookie card for one ‘Iceman’ George Gervin, who is considered to be one of the best basketball players of all time (ranked #47 by ESPN).  Gervin is known for his trademark finger roll, he won four scoring titles and earned twelve straight all star selections.  Will the Gervin rookie go crazy like the Jordan rookie? No, absolutely not.  But this is a key rookie for one of the top 50 basketball players of all time.  

Current PSA Population: It has been graded nearly 1000 times by PSA, so by no means rare, but still if you can find one in nice condition, it’s a nice cornerstone rookie.  At $300 for a Near-Mint copy, I’d say it still looks attractive.

1974-75 Topps George Gervin *Rookie*

End Date: Saturday Jul-20-2024 14:30:30 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $1,275.00
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1975 Topps Moses Malone (RC)

Estimated Cost – NM/MT Condition: $400


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: When we talk about players that came up in the 1970’s, I feel like Moses Malone gets overshadowed for some reason.  Dr. J’s name still hits the top tier of the conversations about the upper echelon of players, but maybe Malone is overlooked?  I mean ESPN’s rankings don’t mean everything — but they have Malone as the #18 best player of all time

Current PSA Population:  Not a rare card (PSA has graded over 1200 copies), as nearly all the 70’s Topps cards are not.  But in opting for a PSA 8, we can still spend only $400.  In my mind, it’s a great investment for vintage basketball collectors.

1976 Topps Julius Erving #1

Estimated Cost – NM Condition: $300

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: The oversized cards returned in 1976 and while there is not a lot of rookie power in the set, I really like this Erving card for some reason.  Plus, the set has a lower graded population than a lot of the other 1970’s Topps sets; I’m assuming it’s because of the larger size. 

Current PSA Population: A PSA 8 card can be found for around $300, even though there have only been roughly 340 cards graded a PSA 8 or higher. 

1976 TOPPS #127 JULIUS ERVING PSA 9 Mint 40405535

End Date: Friday Jul-19-2024 21:14:55 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $243.61
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