If you were a kid growing up in the 1950s, chances are you had never seen a basketball card before. With interest in the NBA lagging behind baseball, football and even hockey for many, the market was limited. Bowman had produced a one and done set in 1948 but for the next eight years, the hoop landscape was totally barren. That drought came to an end in 1957 when Topps produced its first set of NBA trading cards. Now, the original file copy sets stored by the company 58 seasons ago are on the auction block.
The lone PSA 10 graded example of George Mikan’s 1948 Bowman rookie card sold for $403,664 in SCP Auctions’ 2015 Fall Premier online auction, which concluded early Sunday morning. The card previously sold in 2009 when SCP purchased it for a client, but this auction nearly doubled its previous world record price. The entire auction of more than 1,000 sports memorabilia lots brought in more than $4 million.
George Mikan’s 1948 rookie card sold for $403,664 in SCP Auctions’ Fall Premier online auction, a record for a basketball card. SCP Auctions said Sunday that the buyer wished to remain anonymous. The card of the Minneapolis Lakers’ Hall of Fame center is from the lone Bowman basketball card set ever produced and is the only one of its kind to receive a grade of ”Gem Mint 10” from third-party authenticator PSA Cards. The card previously sold in 2009 for $225,000.
Michael Jordan might still be the king of cardboard when it comes to basketball, but even he can’t stop a vintage gem from breaking records. A PSA 10 1948 Bowman George Mikan rookie card sits at more than $150,000 with several days remaining at SCP’s Fall Premier Auction. And while that’s a big number, expect to see some big jumps. The same card sold for $225,000 in 2009. Pre-auction estimates suggest it could double this time around.
I must admit that I barely ever heard of George Mikan, dubbed “Mr. Basketball” for his pioneering play and dominance, until his card came up for auction. But now I’ll have a hard time forgetting him. His 1948 Bowman rookie card— the only specimen ever graded a PSA 10 gem mint— will probably reach $.5 million in an auction that closes on December 5th. “This particular card sold for $218,500 in 2009 and we certainly anticipate that will double that price this time out,” says Terry Melia of SCP Auctions, in Laguna Niguel, California. “It’s basketball’s equivalent of the Honus Wagner T206 baseball card.” As of this posting, the card is up to $129,690 at www.scpauctions.com.