“Iron” Mike Tyson is one of the most ferocious and successful heavyweight boxers of all time. And his dominance in the ring (along with a handful of controversies), has earned him world renown most pugilists can only dream of.
Tyson was a mean, mean fighter, even in his rookie days… especially in his rookie days. He won his first 19 fights by knockout in the first round. And became the youngest ever boxer to claim a heavyweight title — there’s a reason he was known as Kid Dynamite back then!
In the sports card game, he’s a triple threat:
- He showed otherworldly talent as a young buck entering the sport.
- Tyson lived up to the promise he showed early on.
- He went down in history as one of the all stars.
In light of this, it’s easy to imagine he has some exceedingly valuable rookie cards out there somewhere in the ether. So, let’s take a look at them and what they might be worth.
Mike Tyson: Does He Have A Rookie Card?
Want to know something interesting about “The Baddest Man on the Planet”? He doesn’t, strictly speaking, have a rookie card.
Bonkers, right? With such a presence in the ring before he even reached the age of 21, you’d think he’d be prime real estate for some valuable early career cards.
Well, there are a couple of reasons for this notable absence in the world of sports cards. Firstly, boxing cards were never as popular as the cards detailing the athletes of other more mainstream sports. Particularly those like soccer, basketball, baseball, and football.
Secondly, Mike Tyson experienced such a meteoric rise. The timeframe in which he could be considered a rookie elapsed in a flash.
But fortunately, that doesn’t mean there are no rookie relics at all for collectors and investors to drool over at auctions, and here they are!
Mike Tyson Rookie Cards And Their Value
1986 – Mike Tyson Panini Supersport #153
This amazing release shows a babyface (an incredibly ripped baby) Kid Dynamite. Skin glistening under the ring lights and smiling as he speaks into the yellow microphone of an interviewer.
Although it’s technically a sticker rather than a card, it certainly is the best representation of Tyson’s rookie days. Before that “Iron” prefix was tacked on to his name and he’d no longer be known simply as Mike.
Panini Supersport #153 was actually an Italian-only release. This meant we boxing nuts over the pond had to play the waiting game to get our mitts on them. However, enough time has passed that they’re finally attainable.
But will we have to sell our cars and remortgage our homes to snag one? Well… it depends.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the value of sports cards and stickers can fluctuate wildly. Not just from time period to time period, but from card/sticker to card/sticker.
A reprint of this piece of boxing history, in perfect condition, may only set you back something to the tune of $20. But the original printing, with a BGS or PSA rating of 8 and above will set you back a lot more!
On eBay, you’d need to fork out between $4K and $8.5K to bring this rookie sticker home to your collection. Excuse me while I smash my kids piggy bank.
For a lesser quality example, you might be able to cinch one for between $700 and $1500. Which isn’t exactly chump change, but is definitely more within the realms of reality for the average Joe collector.
So, if you’ve got one of these 1986 marvels, I highly recommend you take immaculate care of it. Keep it clean, keep it dry, keep it away from sunlight, keep it covered, and keep it somewhere safe. In fact, a safe is exactly where this rookie relic should live.
1987 – A Question Of Sport, Mike Tyson
Here we have the very first actual card produced showing Mike Tyson in his formative years (or should I say, year). And what a shot it is! The image presents a rippling Tyson finishing a brutal left hook. With his opponent about to go down for the count in the foreground.
Although this isn’t technically a sports card in the strictest sense (it was actually part of the British A Question of Sport trivia board game release). It is still widely considered to be one of the most sought after Mike Tyson cards.
If you look at the image again you will see a gum shield heading across the ring. I didn’t notice this first time I looked.
Arguably, at this point, Tyson’s rookie days were well and truly over. Although most regard this as a rookie card of sorts. But how much is this board game bruiser worth?
Well, according to eBay, this Mike Tyson card will set you back something between $400 and $500, assuming that it’s rated BGS or PSA 8.5 or above.
For those that are a little rougher around the edges, you can expect to pick one up for about $200. Although a few great deals do surface every now and again, so if you’re willing to bide your time, you may well be rewarded.
I picked one up from a UK seller on Ebay for about $15. It certainly wasn’t the highest quality but they are getting scarcer so I decided to grab it.
1987 – Mike Tyson Panini Supersport #160
The last example of what could be considered a Mike Tyson rookie card is this one from Panini (again) that came out a year after their initial (highly valuable) offering.
On this sticker, Tyson’s smiling face is replaced by a shiver-inducing glare, as he stands, fists clasping the waistband of his shorts — this is what peak performance looks like, folks!
The image is cuffed by a white, double arch border, and is accompanied by a Tyson nameplate, a boxing icon, and, of course, the old red, white, and blue.
This bad boy, while not quite as valuable as the first Panini print, will fetch a decent price at auction or in a specialist store — we’re talking $900+ for a good condition sticker.
Why Is Mike Tyson So Revered?
Revered is an apt descriptor for Mike Tyson, but feared may be more accurate.
Besides the golden god of boxing himself, Muhammed Ali, there really is no other boxer that has become more of a household name than Tyson, and that’s because of his technical prowess in the ring, his brute force, and of course, the “ear thing”.
For an incredibly large man, he had exceptionally fast hands, and was capable of reading offenses while formulating his own — a born boxing machine!
There you have it — Mike Tyson rookie cards may not exist in the way we typically think of rookie cards, but there are still these three insanely valuable options to either collect or sell.
Whichever camp you belong to (buyer or seller), make sure you take good care of these historic releases; they might just put your kids through college!