In this new, ongoing series, we explore various sets on the PSA Set Registry, featuring the trading cards of iconic athletes. Select cards will be highlighted and the requirements of each set will be included.
He was one of the greatest shooters the game had ever seen. In fact, he’s regularly mentioned as one of the greatest players of all time. Period. He weaponized the 3-point shot and the perimeter game, and brought a new meaning to clutch. He’s one of only two players to win back-to-back-to-back NBA MVPs, aside from fellow legend Bill Russell. But he didn’t just score; this lanky legend could dish the ball out and steal it back with the best of them.
Larry Bird dominated the court, piling up NBA All-Star selections, NBA Championships, and MVPs just like he did with game-winning shots.
The best part? He accomplished all of these incredible accolades while looking as if he’d never touched a dumbbell in his life. An inspiration to the every-man, he may not have looked like a prototypical athlete, but when he laced up few athletes could hold a candle to him. And when his body could no longer keep pace, he lended his mind to the game and garnered Coach of the Year honors during his tenure as head coach for the Indiana Pacers.
Yes, “Larry Legend” is an indisputable basketball god. Immune to pressure, and muscle mass, he propelled his team to capture three NBA Championships, amassed 12 All-Star nods, three MVPs and authored a slew of highlight reel performances. Forget greatest in NBA history; It wouldn’t be off base to label him one of the greatest athletes, in general, of all time.
You’d think cards of a player of such stature would go for tremendous values, and in some cases, you’d be absolutely correct. We’ve selected four key cards from Larry Bird’s career, that range in trading card value from an incredible six-figure price tag to several hundred dollars.
This is the Larry Bird chase card, his key rookie card. The card is such a cardboard powerhouse, it contains not one but three Hall of Famers (Magic Johnson and Julius Irving join Bird on this card). Bolstered by this fact, and the fact it is also the key rookie card of Magic, high-grade examples of Bird’s 1980 Topps issue are surefire money, not unlike Bird from the perimeter. PSA 10 examples are valued at the six-figure mark. In addition to its extremely sought-after nature, this card is no easy grade. It is notorious for having black print defects on the front and centering issues.
PSA Mint 9: $5,413
PSA Gem Mint 10: $114,000
PSA Mint 9: $58
PSA Gem Mint 10: $860
Fresh off his Rookie of the Year campaign, Bird entered the 1981 NBA season on top of the world. Though that standing didn’t carry over into this card aesthetically – a somewhat underwhelming, non-action shot of the young star – his 1981 Topps issue is a key card to compiling his basic set. This also marks the year Bird captured his first NBA title with the Celtics. It doesn’t hurt that this early Bird release can be yours in PSA 9 for just around $90. And if you’re a fan with tremendous Celtic pride, the loud green borders framing Bird in a green jacket, and embellished by a green burst on the bottom, can’t scream “Let’s Go Celtics!!!!” much louder.
This card design looks familiar … Yes, Michael Jordan’s legendary rookie card isn’t the only cardboard commodity that resides in the 1986 Fleer Basketball issue. MJ is also joined by Bird, along with a star-studded pack of other Hall of Fame veterans and rookies, including the likes of Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone, to name a few. This was a huge year for Bird, capping it off with an NBA Championship and an NBA Finals MVP. This card bolsters a set seen as the definitive basketball release. PSA 9 examples are an approachable $90, while PSA 10 jumps up to around $1,100. Those colored borders are susceptible to chip, too, so it isn’t necessarily an easy bucket in the grading room.
PSA Mint 9: $90
PSA Gem Mint 10: $1,100
Though 1987 Fleer didn’t replicate the tremendous success of its inaugural basketball release the year prior, the set does boast a full suite of second-year cards of legendary players and, of course, Larry Bird, who already added two more championships to his impressive resume. This card sees a huge boast in value from PSA 9 to 10 due its tough grading challenges and thin PSA 10 population. As of this writing, there are 247 PSA 9s and just 32 PSA 10s.
PSA Mint 9: $70
PSA Gem Mint 10: $1,000
Larry Bird Cards Required to Complete the Set
(Including PSA Weights)
- 1980 Topps Bird/Erving/Johnson Scoring Leader (10.00)
- 1981 Topps #11 Larry Bird (3.00)
- 1986 Fleer #9 Larry Bird (4.00)
- 1987 Fleer #11 Larry Bird (2.00)
- 1988 Fleer #9 Larry Bird (1.50)
- 1989 Fleer #8 Larry Bird (1.50)
- 1989 Hoops #150 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1990 Fleer #8 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1990 Hoops #39 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1990 Skybox #14 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1991 Fleer #8 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1991 Hoops #9 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1991 Skybox #12 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1991 Upper Deck Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Fleer #11 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Hoops #10 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Skybox #10 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Stadium Club #33 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Topps #1 Larry Bird (1.00)
- 1992 Upper Deck #33A Larry Bird (1.00)
Browse through the card images within the image gallery section of the Set Registry.
Larry Bird Card Values Score Buckets
Some athletes leave a lasting impact on their sport. Aside from revolutionizing the perimeter game, the position of small forward and showing the true meaning of “clutch,” he compiled NBA titles, MVPs and All-Star nods. There’s no doubt Bird left a lasting impact on the game. He isn’t known as “Larry Legend” for nothing.
Because of his legacy, Larry Bird card values remain strong. Whether you’d like to try your hand at collecting a legend, or simply get a glimpse of cards released at a time when he was dominating the league and crafting his art, head to the PSA Set Registry and check out the Larry Bird Basic Set.Start Your Set Today