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Basketball card

Happy Birthday Magic

While summers are usually quiet for basketball fans (under normal non-Covid circumstances), August just so happens to be a big month for L.A. Lakers fans. They have Wilt, Kobe, and Magic all celebrating their birthdays this month, and Magic is celebrating his 61st birthday today (August 14th).

If you’re a new visitor to the blog (which is everyone, I’m not popular… nor should I be… yet), you should know Magic is one of my all time favorite basketball players and I want to focus today on three of my favorite Magic Johnson cards that I’m lucky enough to have in my collection, and if possible, take a look back to see how those cards have done since 2018.

2000 Bowman’s Best Franchise Favorites Shaq & Magic

This is one of my favorite cards, not just of Magic, but in my entire collection. It has both Shaq and Magic’s on-card autograph and it has a mild refractor-like quality to it. It’s just a beautiful card all around.

2000 Bowman’s Best Franchise Favorites Magic Johnson & Shaq Auto (#FF3A)

This card is essentially broken down into four quadrants, the top left quadrant features a photo of Magic and the bottom right features a photo of Shaq. The photos on the card capture both Magic and Shaq in the yellow Lakers jerseys and both images are good quality shots of each player dribbling the ball.

Next to each player is their on-card autograph. Both players signed with what looks like blue sharpie, and the autos really pop off this card. Shaq even includes his #34 jersey number with most, if not all, his autographs for this card. I’ve noticed centers from the 80s and 90s tended to do this much more than players at other positions (e.g. David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning).

There was great space given to each player for them to sign their names and there isn’t anything unnecessary taking up space on this card. It is a great design and it features two of the greatest to ever play.

I believe I purchased this card back in 2019, right when I started to get back into the hobby, and I think I got it for under $100. I currently don’t see any copies selling on eBay and I didn’t see any price history on PSA. Given how so many cards have shot up like mad over the past year, I’d expect this ungraded card would probably fetch between $300-$500.

1981 Topps Super Action Magic Johnson #109 West

I can’t say what it is exactly about the Super Action cards from Topps back in their 1981 set, but I like them. Maybe it’s the comic book-ish “Super Action” call out in the bottom left hand side of these cards, because I also loved comic books as a kid and had a respectable collection of X-Men cards back in the 90s.

1981 Topps Super Action card featuring Magic Johnson (#109 West)
1981 Topps Super Action Magic Johnson (#109 West)

One thing about the Magic Super Action that I like for certain is the image of him cutting to the hole for a lay up. He’s up against the Washing Bullets and I love those vintage Bullets uniforms. While we are on the subject of the Bullets, another thing I love about Magic’s Super Action is that it pairs so well with the Larry Bird Super Action card (#101 East). For one, Bird and Magic will always be linked in my mind, but also Bird is also going up against the Bullets and they are wearing the exact same uniforms. Funny how that worked out.

These cards are not expensive and are easy to add to ones collection. A quick search on eBay and you should be able to find this card for under $25. There are lots of high graded copies of this card as well.

The PSA website lists over 600 graded copies of this card, however top grade PSA 10s are quite scarce with a low population of only 33. The most recent sale of a PSA 10 grade was in December, 2019 and that card sold for $410, but given the PSA 10 scarcity and all the hype around basketball cards right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next PSA 10 sale went for closer to $1,000.

There are many more PSA 9 copies of this card and those have been selling in the $150-$250 range. The median price for the last five sales is $235. If we go back to August, 2018 and see what the median price was then, we’d arrive at a price of REDICULOUSLY low price of $10-$15, so these cards are up more than 1,000%.

1980 Topps Scoring Leader Bird, Erving, Johnson

The last card to be covered is the crown jewel of my collection and is one of the best basketball cards ever made. It is the double rookie card for both Magic and Bird, plus it features Dr. J. It really does not get much better than that.

Image of the Bird/Dr. J/ Magic card use from my 2nd blog post

As I said in my full review of this card from July, 19, “there is so much to love about this card” and I stand by that. I will skip a deep dive of all that I love about this card (but check out my earlier post about just this card) and move on to the price history, but if you are new to the hobby you should know that this card does not come cheap.

Like so many other cards I’ve cover, the graded copies of this card, especially high grades, have been consistently on the rise for years. According to the PSA website, there are only 23 PSA 10 copies of this card in existence, and the most recent sale of a PSA 10 was back in February, 2019 and it sold for $114K. If one sells in 2020, I’d expect it would easily clear $150K and may even touch close to $200K. Absolutely wild!

The PSA 9s are much easier to track as they are sold frequently. The median price for the last five PSA 9s is $15,700. Going back to August, 2018 the median price of PSA 9s was roughly $3,300 so these cards are up significantly in two years time. Given the card features three HOFers and is the rookie card for two of the ten best players to ever play the game, I have every reason to believe this card will remain at the top of most collectors lists of most coveted cards.

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