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Tracking MJ’s NBA rookie card movement


For so long, Michael Jordan’s 1986 Fleer rookie card has been one of the most recognizable pieces of memorabilia in the sports industry. Rightfully so, because the man featured on it has ascended to a near-mythical level because of his accomplishments. The thing is, the coveted card itself is doing the opposite: trending down hard.

We take a look below at how His Airness’ rookie card is performing and what it means for the card industry as a whole.
The State Of Michael Jordan Cards Before The Card Market Exploded
Before COVID-19 shut everything down in March of 2020, Jordan’s PSA 10 Fleer rookie card could be purchased for $39,600, as reported by Sports Collector Daily. At the time, this was considered a good price for an in-demand item on the card market. 

Little did everyone know that this value would skyrocket soon, thanks to several important factors. Some of these include COVID-19’s impact on the country, shutting everything down in the process, and the anticipation of Jordan’s docuseries, The Last Dance. The former forced everyone to look for alternative sources of funds, which led a lot of people to sell their sports card collections. The latter, meanwhile, drove interest up in Jordan-related memorabilia, including his gem-mint rookie card slabs.
At the onset of the pandemic and the release of said documentary, prices of His Airness’ PSA 10 Fleer rookie card jumped up to $51,000. It was at that point when this particular card would really take off. (Robert Edward Auctions 51,000 Research)
The Peak Of Michael Jordan Cards
After the premiere of The Last Dance, the public turned their attention to anything related to Jordan. His trading cards, in particular, became the focus of a renewed interest due to their increasing value. Around the summer of 2020, PSA 10 prices of Michael Jordan cards, especially his rookie offerings, were being sold for $70,000 to $90,000. By August of that year, a gem-mint Jordan slab breached the $100,000 mark at a Heritage Auctions sale.

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This past weekend Goldin Auction of New Jersey, sold the 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card in PSA GEM MT 10 (the highest grading, given only to truly flawless cards) for $738,000. The previous record for a PSA GEM MT 10 was $217,200 just weeks ago. https://t.co/N3yPf3lbOO
— Shawn DuBravac, PhD (@shawndubravac) February 3, 2021

By the start of 2021, Jordan’s Fleer rookie cards were approaching the peak of their demand. Last February, Goldin Auctions announced that two of these coveted cards were sold in an auction for $738,000 each. The card community waited in anticipation whether it would surpass the million dollar level soon.
Unfortunately, that expectation would fall flat on the ground. The influx of more than 300 PSA 10 Jordan Fleer graded rookie cards would pull the price down from its peak in February. Since the volume caught up with the demand, prices went down to $588,000 at that point in time.
How Are These Cards Doing Right Now?
With the whole card market dropping from its peak at the start of 2021, so too are the value of Jordan’s cards. As March ended, prices of these graded cards started to drop below $500,000. Earlier this month, that figure fell hard to $270,000. But that wasn’t the end of its fall at all.

PWCC says the 1986 Fleer MJ rookie auction this week, which resulted in a five month low for the card ($180,000) has been declared “invalid.” pic.twitter.com/wBIhGHjeLJ
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 18, 2021

A PSA 10 was auctioned off on eBay by PWCC using a flash auction feature. At the end of its auction period, said Michael Jordan card only reached $180,100. To the surprise of everyone, the transaction was deemed invalid by PWCC and eBay due to an alleged glitch that blocked last-minute bids on the card.
Whether this was the truth or not, the fact of the matter is that Jordan’s PSA 10 rookie card value is not the same now as it was a few months ago. It remains to be seen if it can go back up in the future, or even drop further down the road.
What’s important here is to always keep a close eye on how these rare cards move on the market. From there, a pattern can be made and this can form a good foundation for your card purchasing. Always keep in mind that, in the end, it will always come down to what you think a card’s worth should be.

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