The 1988 Fleer #43 Dennis Rodman card is certainly his key rookie card; some say his only rookie card. But that may be because many people don’t realize there are two other basketball cards, released in 1988/89, that his fans can collect. Rodman has two cards in the 1988 Panini Spanish Sticker set, #97 and #101. In this article, I’ll give a quick overview of Rodman’s NBA career, the 1988 Panini Spanish Sticker set, and compare the populations and prices of his Fleer and Panini Sticker cards.
Dennis Rodman was a more assertive scorer earlier in his career but eventually became a defensive ace. And while Rodman was a polarizing player over his career (and after as well), his hustle, defensive prowess, and rebounding skill earned him a place on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. He was a 2x NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner, 7x NBA All-Defensive First Team member, and he led the league in rebounding seven times and won 5 NBA championships. Over his career, he averaged 7.3 points per game, 1.8 assists per game, and an incredible 13.1 rebounds per game, which is even more impressive when you consider he is “only” 6 ft 7 inches tall.
The 1988/89 Panini Spanish basketball set has 292 stickers about 2″ by 2 5/8″ in size. The front of the cards have white borders, with the player’s portrait or action shot above the card number, player’s name, and team name. The set numbers the cards via team, alphabetically, within the divisions of each conference. A few star subsets are found at the end of the set, cards 253-292.
First, there’s no denying that the 1988 Fleer basketball set is incredibly popular, and the Rodman rookie is one of the bigger cards in the set. It’s so popular PSA has graded over 6700 copies of the card. There are 227 PSA 10s and over 2000 PSA 9s, so the cards have a large enough population to be pretty liquid. However, the PSA 10 is now over $3000 (9s are more affordable, around $150). Mid-grade cards, like a PSA 7, are much more affordable, around $30.
The two 1988 Panini Spanish Sticker Dennis Rodman cards are far rarer graded.
Card #97 only has a PSA population of 17. 6 are PSA 10, 6 are PSA 9, 2 are PSA 6, 2 are PSA 4, and there is 1 PSA 2. The last PSA 9 sold for $550 in February 2021, and the last PSA 10 sale was for $833 in January 2021.
Card #101 has a PSA graded population of 15. The population breaks down with 6 as PSA 10s, 4 PSA 9, 1 PSA 8Q, 1 PSA 7, 1 PSA 5, 1 PSA 4, and 1 PSA 3. There aren’t a lot of public sales of this card; the last PSA 9 sold for $200, but that was back in November 2020, and PSA lists only three other sales, with the two 10s having been sold in 2018 well before the run-up in card prices.
Currently, there are 3 1988 Panini Spanish Sticker #97 Rodman’s on eBay (and no #101s): a PSA 10 listed for $4500, a BGS 9.5 listed for $4500, and a BGS 9 listed for $699.
So when you compare the two, the ultra high-grade cards, in both sets, are pretty expensive. And, because of their rarity, the lower-grade Panini Spanish Stickers are probably going to cost you more than a Fleer Rodman rookie. So if you’re a Dennis Rodman fan, you’re going to need to show some patience and save a few dollars to get his oddball, Panini Sticker, rookie cards.
If you collect Rodman cards, let me know if you’ve targeted the Panini Stickers in the comments, and happy collecting!