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A guide to collecting the best Michael Jordan cards

Choosing a Michael Jordan autograph card

If you're interested in adding a Michael Jordan auto card to your collection be sure to consider a few points before investing a fair amount of money to be sure you get the card you are after.
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The ultimate addition to any Michael Jordan fan’s card collection has to be an authentic autographed card. To have something in your collection that MJ himself not only held but signed caps off your collection nicely.

It isn’t as easy as it might seem to add an authentic Michael Jordan auto card to your collection though. In fact in these days of abundant auto cards there is more you need to look out for.

So before you invest a good amount of cash into an MJ auto card make sure you check through the following to make sure you’re not disappointed with your purchase.

Beware of fake Jordan autos

Fake Jordan autos are rife among online marketplaces. Only ever buy cards that are authenticated (for example PSA DNA, Fleer Autographics or Sign of the Times) or from a seller you completely trust. Better yet - stick to pack pulled autograph cards. Ideally, even pack-pulled autograph cards should be bought graded.

Familiarise yourself with Jordan’s autograph throughout the eras to learn how to spot potential red flags.

Look out for ‘on sticker’ autos

To cut costs some card manufactures do not send the card to the player for signing. Instead they send a sheet of clear plastic stickers. The player then signs the stickers which are later adhered to the cards by manufacturing staff. This also means they can ‘bank’ the player’s autograph for future cards without having to go through the process again.

Personally, I don’t like this trend as I believe autographed cards should be just that - autographed cards. On sticker autos can be hard to see so do your research or ask the seller before buying. The card below is an on sticker auto. Notice the faint outline of the sticker.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with these cards - they still hold an authentic Michael Jordan autograph - however it’s worth checking to decide if you’d prefer on sticker or on card autos.

06-07 Michael Jordan Signature Styles
06-07 Michael Jordan Signature Styles
Nicely designed MJ autograph card - an example of a sticker autograph Jordan card.

Autograph condition

Just like the card itself, autographs come in a variety of conditions. To the discerning buyer the condition of the autograph should be just as important as the condition of the card.

Look for clarity in the autograph and any streak marks. Ideally, the autograph shouldn’t run off the card.

The auto should be a standout Michael Jordan signature if it is to be a show piece in your collection.

Autograph grading

Due to autographs being condition sensitive they can also be graded. Both BGS and PSA offer autograph grading services along with or instead of grading of the actual card itself.

The Michael Jordan Sign of the Times below has been graded by BGS with a 10 for its autograph and 9 for the card itself.

Sign of the Times BGS 9 with 10 autograph

The Michael Jordan Signature Swatches below has been graded as authentic without a numerical grade by BGS.

Signature Swatches authentic only BGS grade with no numerical grade

Cards may additionally be authenticated along with a numerical grade for the autograph or designated only ‘Trading Card’ with authentication of the autograph or accompanied by a numerical grade.

Numerical grade for the autograph only
Numerical grade for the autograph only

Buy-back autograph cards

These cards are highly sought after due to their rarity (blog post: Michael Jordan Buy Back Auto Cards). When you buy a buy-back autograph card you can be almost certain that the player has held and signed the card (I haven’t seen on sticker buy back autos myself).

Just remember that this card was in circulation in the open market. As a result it may be in less than perfect condition. The card below is the buy back autograph card of the Michael Jordan rookie card. This has to be one of the ultimate Jordan cards to own.

86-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card Buyback Auto
86-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card Buyback Auto
The most recognisable trading card of all time but held and signed by Michael Jordan himself.

All the best of luck tracking down the perfect Jordan autograph card to add to your collection. As always do your research and don’t rush into any purchases and you should have no problems.

Happy collecting.