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How to Sell Basketball Cards (Vintage & Modern)

[Updated September 21st 2017]

Got vintage basketball cards you're looking to sell? Not sure where to start? You've come to the right place.

How to Sell Basketball Cards

Selling your basketball cards is surprisingly easy, but does require a little effort on your part. You'll need to:

1. Compile a brief but detailed list of what's in your collection, including the years of issue and an estimate of the quantity of the cards.

2. Identify specific high value players and highlight any complete sets.

3. Scan or photograph your best cards to assist with the preliminary evaluation.

4. Pick the appropriate venue to sell, whether a national card dealer, auction house, or if you're especially daring, eBay.

Want to sell your basketball cards right away or get a free appraisal? You can do that online using our sports card appraisal form below.

A Vintage Basketball Card Collection Scanning example.
Say you have a 1961 Fleer Basketball set. Scan the fronts and backs of the Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Bill Russell and Elgin Baylor cards. Also include a few scans or images of a random sampling of cards from the set that gives a representative idea of the balance of the set's condition. For more on how to scan your cards, view our sports card scanning guide.

What determines the value of basketball cards?
Some basketball cards are extremely rare and very highly sought after, while others are very common and hold little value. The value of vintage basketball cards is determined by several factors including:

  • When the card was issued in a player's career

  • What set it was issued in

  • Condition of the card(s)

  • Supply and demand

Rookie or first year issues are the most valuable cards of a player. Cards from more rare regional sets or from issues with extremely limited availability may have increased value. Cards in better condition will have more value than those in lesser condition.

Best and Most Valuable Vintage Basketball Rookie Cards

If you have any of these gems, nicely done.


• 1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan
1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell
• 1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain
• 1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
• 1970 Topps #123 Pete Maravich
• 1972 Topps #195 Julius Erving
• 1980 Topps Larry Bird/Erving/Magic Johnson
• 1984 Star #101 Michael Jordan
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan
• 1996 Topps Chrome #138 Kobe Bryant
• 2003 Upper Deck Exquisite #78 Auto/Jersey Lebron James

Best Vintage Basketball Sets

Did you know that from 1940 to 1968, only three mainstream basketball card sets were issued to the public? These early issues contain players whose names are synonymous with basketball. Bill Cousy, Hot Rod Hundley, George Mikan, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor are just a few of the names that graced these early cardboard gems.

In a day when the shorts were short and set-shot reigned, these giants of the hardwood played for the love of the game. These are a few of the sets that are high on our WANTED LIST:

• 1948 Bowman
1957 Topps
1961 Fleer
• 1968 Topps Test
1969 Topps
• 1970 Topps
1984-1985 Star
1986 Fleer
• 1996 Topps Chrome

We are looking to buy these sets in most conditions, ranging from Very Good (VG) to Mint! Even if you don't have complete sets or the key rookies, we are also buying partial sets, single stars, rookies, and Hall of Famers as well as high condition vintage commons and minor stars.

"Should I try to sell my basketball cards on eBay?"
Do you have the hours to set aside to prepare your cards for listing to eBay? Are you prepared to pay eBay and PayPal fees? Are you ready to answer countless questions and endure the possibility of negative feedback and the inevitable returns? You are probably not an expert in the field, so you run the risk of not listing the items properly, which in turn can result in lower realized sale prices or even more serious consequences. Remember, just because you list them, they are not guaranteed to sell! Still not convinced, you might want to check out our blog post on 7 reasons why you should NOT try to sell your cards on eBay.

"Should I use an auction house?"
You could consign your items to a large auction house, but you typically won't get paid until after the auction ends and the auction house has been paid and that payment has cleared. Most auction houses have several months of lead time for their auction and an additional length of time before they pay their consigners. Subtract 15-20% from the final sales price for the Buyer's Premium and deduct what the auction house charges you as a Seller's Premium (typically 10-15%) and you could watch upwards of 35% of the final price vanish from your items' value and that's if they even accept your items for consignment.

We eliminate all of that stress with a cash offer NOW and we've made the process as simple as possible.

Our Free Basketball Card Appraisal
Once we review your submission, we'll schedule an appointment to value/appraise your collection. This can be done at our Somerset, NJ office or in some circumstances, we can travel to see collections that are too large to transport. We also have two remote New Jersey locations for after-hour or weekend appointments in Bridgewater and Hoboken, NJ.

If you're not in the New York City metro area, you can mail us your collection. We know that may seem intimidating for some, but if we don't reach an agreement we'll pay return shipping with no questions asked.

We’ll make you a cash offer for your basketball cards
After your appraisal is complete, we can make you an offer on the entire collection. If you're meeting us in person, this offer will be made on the spot and payment can be in the form of cash or a company check. If you drop off or mail in your collection, the appraisal will be completed within 48 hours. If we agree to terms, we'll mail you a company check the following business day or return the collection to you at our expense.

Unopened packs and boxes
We also love buying unopenend sets and boxes of basketball cards. If you have any unopened material that you're interested in selling please contact us before opening!

Just Collect Reviews:

"Scott was very thorough and took his time explaining the value and condition of my cards. He made me feel comfortable with my collection as I was not very knowledgable about the items. He also took great care with the collection and helped me unpack and pack everything carefully. The transaction went smoothly and I felt good about it in the end."

--- Lori, New York

"Great experience with Dave and Just Collect. He was very polite and informative as he explained the process of getting the cards appraised and determining their value. His offer was right where I expected it to be. I was slightly nervous about sending my cards off to someone I'd only spoken with, but it was definitely worth it. Highly recommend."

--- Emory, North Carolina