6 Original Photos That Transformed into Iconic Basketball Cards

When I wrote my article about 14 Incredible Photos Topps and Bowman Used to Inspire Classic Cards, I kicked off the list with a PSA Type 1 photo used for the 1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan card. But that was the only basketball card that made the cut that day. So, today here’s a short basketball-dedicated list of 6 original pictures that Topps, Kahn’s Wieners, Fleer, and Bowman used to create some awesome cards.

1968 Topps Test #5 John Havlicek

Heritage Auctions sold this unique 8×10’’ photograph of John Havlicek that Topps used for their scarce 1968 Topps Test Issue; it sold for just $312 in February 2020.

John Havlicek Photo – Front
John Havlicek Photo – Reverse
1968 Topps Test #5 John Havlicek

1960 Kahn’s Wieners Jerry West

I’ve written about all the Kahn’s Wieners sets on the Oddball Archive, including the 1960 set. I don’t know if this photograph is a Type 1 example, but it is autographed and authenticated by JSA. The photo is listed for sale on eBay for $8750

Jerry West Photo – Front
Jerry West Photo – Reverse
1960 Kanh’s Wieners Jerry West

1961 Fleer #19 Tommy Heinsohn

The following 8×10’’ Type 1 image of Tommy Heinsohn is listed for sale on eBay for $1800. Heinsohn was an all-time great and was elected to the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

Tommy Heinsohn Photo – Front
Tommy Heinsohn Photo – Reverse
1961 Fleer #19 Tommy Heinsohn

1961 Fleer #22 K.C. Jones

Robert Edward Auctions sold this Type 1 image of Boston Celtics Hall of Fame great K.C. Jones for $1100 in their 2020 fall auction.

K.C. Jones Photo – Front
K.C. Jones Photo – Reverse
K.C. Jones Photo – LOA
1961 Fleer #22 K.C. Jones

1976 Topps #60 Pete Maravich

Lelands Summer Classic Auction had three great Type 1 basketball photos used for the 1976 Topps basketball set, but the Maravich stood out. It sold for $1375.

Pete Maravich Photo – Front
Pete Maravich Photo – Reverse
Pete Maravich Photo – LOA
1976 Topps #60 Pete Maravich

1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan

Finally, here’s the Mikan photo I mentioned in the introduction. It’s also signed and sold for $30k in Robert Edwards Auction’s 2018 Spring Auction. 

George Mikan Photo – Front
George Mikan Photo – Reverse
George Mikan Photo – LOA
1948 Bowman #69 George Mikan

I hope you enjoyed seeing these amazing original photographs. If you have any other type photographs that were used to create basketball cards, particularly any from the 80s Fleer basketball sets, please get in touch with me via email, in the comments, or on Twitter. Happy collecting!

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