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The 90s Top 100 Most Valuable Basketball Cards


Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius on TikTok, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. Join his 8,600 followers on TikTok! hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.


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While the 1990s are a distant memory, the explosion of basketball cards over the last few years easily brought us right back where we were as kids and teens just decades ago.

Much of our collection might be worth peanuts, but there are certainly diamonds in the rough withy that shiny cardboard of 1990-1999. And when I say “diamonds” I really mean precious metal gems, platinum portraits, star rubies, 24K, and other beauties.

Here are 1990’s 100 most valuable basketball cards:

PlayerCardValue
Hakeem Olajuwon1997 Metal Universe #59 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$9,750
Kobe Bryant1996 Topps Chrome #138 Refractor Raw$7,162.77
Kobe Bryant1997 Metal Universe #3 Platinum Portraits Raw$6,999.99
Vince Carter1998 Fleer Brilliants #105TG 24-Karat Gold /24 Raw$6,402
Shaquille O'Neal1998 SkyBox Premium #212 Ninety Fine - Star Rubies /50 Raw$4,626.76
Arvydas Sabonis1997 Metal Universe #37 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$4,371
Michael Jordan1998 Metal Universe #8-LP Linchpins Raw$4,344.29
Karl Malone1998 Fleer Brilliants #75TG 24-Karat Gold /24 Raw$4,200
Kevin Garnett1998 SkyBox Molten Metal #36F Supernatural - Titanium Fusion /40 Raw$4,000
Dikembe Mutombo1997 Metal Universe #106 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$3,850
Larry Johnson1998 SkyBox Premium #63 Star Rubies /50 Raw$3,605
Karl Malone1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #19 Essential Credentials Future (/62) Raw$3,544.52
Allen Iverson1998 SkyBox Premium #209 Ninety Fine - Star Rubies /50 Raw$3,500
Tracy McGrady1998 SkyBox Premium #42 Star Rubies /50 Raw$3,000
Grant Hill1997 Metal Universe #64 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$2,941.50
Michael Jordan1997 Metal Universe #1 Platinum Portraits Raw$2,900
Kobe Bryant1996 Topps Finest #269 Gold - Refractor (No Coating) Raw$2,818.33
Larry Johnson1997 Metal Universe #88 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$2,769.33
Shaquille O'Neal1998 SkyBox E-X Century #14 Essential Credentials Future (/77) Raw$2,738
Michael Jordan1996 SkyBox E-X2000 #5 A Cut Above Raw$2,627
Michael Jordan1996 SkyBox Z-Force #4 Big Men on Court - Z-Peat Raw$2,566.06
Kobe Bryant1998 Topps Chrome #A1 Apparitions - Refractor /100 Raw$2,550
Michael Jordan1996 Topps Finest #291 Gold - Refractor (with Coating) Raw$2,525
Kobe Bryant1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Star Rubies Raw$2,462
Dale Ellis1997 Metal Universe #24 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$2,395.88
Michael Jordan1998 Topps #EW5 East-West Refractor (w/Kobe Bryant) Raw$2,365
Kobe Bryant1996 Bowman's Best #R23 Atomic Refractor Raw$2,330.67
Michael Jordan1998 Flair Showcase #13TN takeit2.net /1000 Raw$2,222
Erick Dampier1997 Metal Universe #79 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$2,076
Isaiah Rider1997 Metal Universe #36 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$2,036.32
Damon Stoudamire1998 SkyBox Molten Metal #48F Supernatural - Titanium Fusion /40 Raw$2,000
Michael Jordan1998 SkyBox E-X Century #15DG Dunk 'N Go-Nuts Raw$2,000
Tim Duncan1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #8JB Jambalaya Raw$1,980
Bryon Russell1997 Metal Universe #99 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,975
Roy Rogers1997 Metal Universe #46 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,900
Michael Jordan1997 Metal Universe Championship #1CG Championship Galaxy Raw$1,890.50
Michael Jordan1997 Bowman's Best #60 Atomic Refractor Raw$1,855
Allen Iverson1998 Fleer #8PT Playmakers Theatre /100 Raw$1,800
Keith Van Horn1998 Hoops #7SB Slam Bams /100 Raw$1,800
Michael Jordan1996 Flair Showcase #1 Hot Shots Raw$1,725
Vitaly Potapenko1997 Metal Universe #102 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,686
Anfernee Hardaway1997 SkyBox E-X2001 Jambalaya Raw$1,650
Michael Jordan1997 Fleer Ultra #1-US Ultra Stars Raw$1,632.68
Kobe Bryant1996 Bowman's Best #BP10 Picks - Atomic Refractor Raw$1,603.05
Kobe Bryant1998 Fleer Brilliants #70G Gold /99 Raw$1,551.30
Allen Iverson1996 SkyBox E-X2000 #53 Credentials /499 Raw$1,546.50
Kobe Bryant1998 Flair Showcase #2 Row 1 - Legacy Collection /99 Raw$1,500
Shawn Kemp1997 Metal Universe Championship #78 Precious Metal Gems /50 Raw$1,499.99
Michael Jordan1996 Fleer #6 Thrill Seekers Raw$1,420.96
Michael Jordan1996 SkyBox Z-Force #4 Big Men on Court Raw$1,417.84
Kobe Bryant1996 Topps Finest #74 Bronze - Refractor (with Coating) Raw$1,407.74
Rony Seikaly1997 Metal Universe #10 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,399.99
Michael Jordan1997 Metal Universe #1 Titanium Raw$1,392.92
Charles Barkley1998 SkyBox E-X Century #23 Essential Credentials Future (/68) Raw$1,350
Michael Jordan1996 Bowman's Best #BC2 Cuts - Atomic Refractor Raw$1,349
Allen Iverson1996 Topps Chrome #171 Refractor Raw$1,301
Dennis Rodman1997 SkyBox E-X2001 Jambalaya Raw$1,300
Michael Jordan1996 Fleer Ultra #4 Scoring Kings - Plus Raw$1,265.37
Larry Johnson1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #48 Essential Credentials Now (/48) Raw$1,225.04
Kobe Bryant1998 Flair Showcase #2 Row 2 - Legacy Collection /99 Raw$1,225
Michael Jordan1997 Topps Finest #154 Gold - Refractor (No Coating) /289 Raw$1,202.11
Michael Jordan1996 Topps Finest #291 Gold - Refractor (No Coating) Raw$1,200
Austin Croshere1997 Metal Universe #12 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,200
Reggie Miller1998 SkyBox E-X Century #12 Essential Credentials Future (/79) Raw$1,150.50
Kobe Bryant1996 Topps Finest #74 Bronze - Refractor (No Coating) Raw$1,142.25
Kobe Bryant1999 Topps Chrome #125 Refractor Raw$1,140
Scottie Pippen1997 Fleer Ultra #15-US Ultra Stars Gold Raw$1,130.85
Michael Jordan1997 Fleer Ultra #1-SPS Star Power Supreme Raw$1,100
Michael Jordan1998 SkyBox Premium #4DDD 3D Raw$1,067.33
Tim Duncan1997 Flair Showcase #5 Row 0 /250 Raw$1,054.35
Michael Jordan1996 Fleer Ultra #2 Court Masters Raw$1,049.80
Michael Jordan1996 SkyBox Premium #5 Golden Touch Raw$1,031.83
Dale Davis1997 Metal Universe #100 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$1,026
Michael Jordan1997 Topps Chrome #123 Refractor Raw$1,025.26
Kobe Bryant1998 SkyBox Thunder #3NB Noyz Boyz Raw$1,023.40
Michael Jordan1997 Bowman's Best #96 Best Performance - Atomic Refractor Raw$1,021.42
Michael Jordan1997 SkyBox Premium #5TL Thunder & Lightning Raw$1,014.01
Rasheed Wallace1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #56 Essential Credentials Now (/56) Raw$1,009
Michael Jordan1997 SkyBox Premium #1GT Golden Touch Raw$980
Shaquille O'Neal1997 SkyBox E-X2001 Jambalaya Raw$974.50
Michael Jordan1997 Topps #RS1 Rock Stars - Refractor Raw$950
Michael Jordan1998 Fleer #6E Electrifying Raw$936.39
Michael Jordan1993 Topps Finest #1 Refractor Raw$932.45
Vin Baker1998 Fleer Brilliants #17TG 24-Karat Gold /24 Raw$924.99
Michael Jordan1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #6 Jambalaya Raw$910
Michael Jordan1997 SkyBox Premium #1PP Premium Player Raw$901.03
Michael Jordan1997 SkyBox Premium #3CA Competitive Advantage Raw$900
Danny Ferry1997 Metal Universe #85 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$900
Mitch Richmond1998 SkyBox Premium #126 Star Rubies /50 Raw$899.99
Jerry Stackhouse1998 SkyBox Premium #47 Star Rubies /50 Raw$878.88
Mario Elie1997 Metal Universe #32 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw$868
Kobe Bryant1998 SkyBox Premium #2IN Intimidation Nation Raw$867.77
Kobe Bryant1997 Topps Finest #323 Gold - Refractor (No Coating) /289 Raw$865
Shaquille O'Neal1996 SkyBox E-X2000 #32 Credentials /499 Raw$864.75
Chauncey Billups1997 SkyBox E-X2001 #71 Essential Credentials Now (/71) Raw$850
Vince Carter1998 Flair Showcase #25 Row 1 - Legacy Collection /99 Raw$850
Kobe Bryant1998 SkyBox E-X Century #6DG Dunk 'N Go-Nuts Raw$845
Bryant Reeves1998 SkyBox Premium #88 Star Rubies /50 Raw$822
Michael Jordan1997 Fleer Ultra #1-SS Ultrabilities Superstar Raw$807.50
Dirk Nowitzki1998 Topps Chrome #154 Refractor Raw$797.50

This is according to average sales data for “raw” cards in the Market Movers catalog sold over the last 365 days as of 1/11/2024.

Yes, you’re seeing that right:

  • Hakeem Olajuwon is at the top of the list
  • Arvydas Sabonis is on the list before Michael Jordan
  • Dale Ellis has a card in the top 25
  • Erick Dampier isn’t too far behind him

I really could go on and on with the point being that sure, player matters a lot, but the set could hold just as much value.

Starting with those names you might be shocked to see, what do they all have in common?

  • Arvydas Sabonis 1997 Metal Universe #37 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Dale Ellis 1997 Metal Universe #24 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Erick Dampier 1997 Metal Universe #79 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Byron Russell 1997 Metal Universe #99 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Roy Rogers 1997 Metal Universe #46 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Vitaly Potapenko 1997 Metal Universe #102 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Rony Seikaly 1997 Metal Universe #10 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Austin Croshere 1997 Metal Universe #12 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Danny Ferry 1997 Metal Universe #85 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw
  • Mario Elie 1997 Metal Universe #32 Precious Metal Gems Red /90 Raw

Catch my drift? It’s pretty easy to see that 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Red is in the conversation for greatest basketball card sets of all time.

In fact, on the list of 100, there are 16 total 1997 Metal Universe PMG Red /90 card.

Another set you can’t get too far into a 90s basketball card conversation before mentioning it is SkyBox Star Rubies. While the list has a mix of years and card types, it’s certainly a common theme, and a card to look for:

  • Shaquille O’Neal 1998 SkyBox Premium #212 Ninety Fine – Star Rubies /50 Raw
  • Larry Johnson 1998 SkyBox Premium #63 Star Rubies /50 Raw
  • Allen Iverson 1998 SkyBox Premium #209 Ninety Fine – Star Rubies /50 Raw
  • Kobe Bryant 1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Star Rubies Raw
  • Mitch Richmond 1998 SkyBox Premium #126 Star Rubies /50 Raw
  • Jerry Stackhouse 1998 SkyBox Premium #47 Star Rubies /50 Raw
  • Bryant Reeves 1998 SkyBox Premium #88 Star Rubies /50 Raw

Mostly 1998 with a sprinkle of 1996, SkyBox Premium Star Rubies represents a good chunk of the most valuable basketball cards of the 90s. And let me remind you that these are raw sales (the cheapest on the list is the Reeves with an average sales value of $822 RAW). To show where grading takes the value of these cards, a PSA 7 (not great) Michael Jordan 1998 Star Rubies /50 sold for over $200K (and a PSA 4 PMG Red MJ sold for over $300K)!

So with 16 PMGs and 8 Star Rubies, what’s left?

Well, there are 17 total Kobes on the list (one being 1996 SkyBox Premium #55 Star Rubies). But even greater, there are 34 Michael Jordan’s. We’ve already recapped Jordan’s 100 most valuable cards, so we won’t detail a ton more.

One other set I want to point out because it seems to be lesser known as one of the most valuable of the 1990s—1998 Fleer Brilliants 24-Karat Gold. On the list, you can see Vince Carter selling for over $6K! This set also holds a special place in my heart because knowing just a little about them enabled me to grab a Chauncey for about $8…and then selling it for $800!

@ballcardgenius

Lets just say this doesn’t happen often

♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box – takaya

So again, while you might feel like you’ll never have a chance of owning any of the best basketball cards from the 1990s, you could find yourself in the right place and right time.

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