A Look Back at the 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Set

There are some sets that simply define an era; sets that contain so many legends that it becomes impossible to ignore their place in history. If we had to only pick one however, one that would stand out way above the rest, then we have to point to 1986-87 Fleer Basketball as the end all be all of modern day sports collectable treasures.



At only 132 cards, 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set a standard for sheer volume of rookie cards. More specifically there were rookies from basketball legends such as:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Charles Barkley
  • Karl Malone
  • Danny Ainge
  • Clyde Dexter
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Chris Mullin
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Spud Webb
  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Joe Dumars
  • Joe Worthy
  • Isiah Thomas

Perhaps one of the most recognizable rookie cards in the history of the hobby is the 1986-87 Fleer card #57. It depicts a young Michael Jordan mid-air, ready for a massive slam dunk. This photo is so iconic, every collection, no matter the focus, would love to have it. These cards don’t come cheap though, as even at PSA 7 this Michael Jordan rookie card can go for well over $3,000.

PSA 10 graded Michael Jordan rookie cards are multiple times more valuable and have been breaking records since the first half of 2020. Right after ESPN aired the Jordan mini-series, the price paid for a PSA 10 was an astounding $99,630 in May 2020, and it only continued to escalate from there.

The card then sold for $215,000 in December of 2020, and shattered records once again, fetching $738,000 during January 2021's Goldin Auctions Elite sale. 


1986-87 Fleer Basketball Sticker Inserts

Every 1986-87 Fleer pack contains 1 out of 11 different sticker inserts. Naturally, Michael Jordan’s sticker has the highest demand with PSA 10 graded stickers selling robustly. The highest price paid for a PSA 10 Michael Jordan sticker was $115,000 in February 2021. The rest of the roster was no slouch either, with prices ranging in the high hundreds, to the multiple thousands per sticker. One quirk with the 1986-87 Fleer packs however, was that they were semi-transparent on the back, meaning that buyers could often make out which sticker was inside.

1986-87 fleer michael jordan sticker


A Word Of Caution

Many collectors have fallen victim to counterfeiters who look to make a few bucks by ripping people off with fakes, most notably of course, the Michael Jordan rookie card. You can usually spot a counterfeit card from this set by looking at the NBA Players’ Association logo on the back of the card, as well as the team logos. Two quick examples, on a genuine Fleer Jordan rookie, you will see a crisp white in the eyes of the Bull’s logo. You should also see the white laces of the basketball in the Player’s Association logo.

Unless you are well versed in this set, we recommend you stick to buying standalone cards from a reputable company that might have already acquired authentic and graded versions of the cards.


1986-87 Fleer Basketball Packs and Boxes

While significantly rarer today, you can still buy unopened wax packs and even entire boxes but be warned they are quite pricey. Single unopened graded packs can sell anywhere between the mid $3,000’s and can reach over $10,000. Boxes on are now selling for over $300,000.  While yes, this is a very significant price tag, for those who are looking for high graded cards, it could be worth every penny. Each box will contain 3 or 4 of each card, along with 3-4 of each sticker. This means that you may in fact have a chance of hitting the “jackpot” and opening a rookie, or sticker that can grade out as a 10 or... perhaps find the elusive PSA 10 Jordan which may eventually top a million dollars.

1986 Fleer basketball box REA Auction

Keep in mind that these boxes do not have a factory seal. This means that purchasing these items from reputable dealers and vendors is even more important. Remember “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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