Heritage Auctions will host the auction debut of the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie trading card - "the most desirable and valuable trading card printed in the last half century".
The lot will be offered as part of the Sports Catalog Auction on November 6-8 in Dallas, with a value of more than $80,000. The card presented for sale is graded BGS Pristine 10, and is one of only five examples awarded the elusive rating from Beckett, rival to top grading company PSA.
However, Beckett is known to be "maddeningly discerning" in its grading, according to Heritage. PSA has seen 194 Gem Mint 10 specimens of the Jordan rookie, accounting for just 1% of all examples submitted, while the five to have surfaced at Beckett come from over 7,400 submissions - around .0007%.
Such is its rarity, the card's discovery was announced in Beckett's Summer 2006 Basketball Card Plus magazine with the line, "Centering doesn't get any better! Razor-sharp Edges! Corners could be used as a weapon! Silky-smooth Surface! The first BGS Pristine 10 Jordan Rookie Card!"
It was then sold in a private sale for $200,000. However, with more pristine examples since discovered, its estimate of $80,000+ seems more appropriate for the current market.
In 2011, another pristine example of the card sold for $100,000, and similar bids can be expected in the present sale.
The market for basketball memorabilia - especially that of Michael Jordan - is booming. Several successful sales have prompted more consignments from auction houses, and basketball items now have a large presence in sports memorabilia auctions, second only to baseball - the favourite among collectors.
The shoes that Jordan wore as the USA won gold at the 1984 Olympics (his last competition before turning pro) are up for sale at Grey Flannel Auctions in December.
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