After 23 years, a pair of Illinois brothers are parting with a rare Michael Jordan card. But don’t shed too many tears — these guys are going to realize a nice payday.
Bryan and Chris were like many brothers who lived in suburban Chicago during the late 1990s. Bryan was 7 and Chris was 12. Both youths were big sports fans and rooted for Chicago area teams. Every week, their mother would drop them off at a local sports card shop while she went shopping.
In November 1997, the brothers hit the jackpot, pulling a Michael Jordan autographed Season Ticket chase card from an Upper Deck UD3 basketball pack that cost $3.99.
The rare card is graded PSA 8, while the autograph is a PSA/DNA 10.
“We saw how ‘The Last Dance’ documentary brought back interest in the hobby,” Bryan, 30, said. “We saw all of this happening and decided that it was time to sell.”
The card had been reposing in a safe deposit box for more than two decades. Since it was placed into the auction catalog with a starting bid of $10,000, the card already has more than a dozen bidders, with the current high bid more than $71,000.
“In the trading card hobby, things like this can happen and it is always a feel-good story when your average collector hits a card that could generate life-changing money,” Goldin Auctions founder and CEO Ken Goldin said. “This is the reason unopened packs and material has been going up exponentially in value and is the latest craze in the hobby.”
Bryan was 7 and his brother was 12 when their mother dropped them off for their once-a-week visit to a card shop. While Mom went shopping, the boys would browse in the card shop.
“We collected pretty aggressively from 1997 to 2000,” Bryan said. “She’d go to the grocery store and would give us $10.”
The card shop owner allowed the boys to pick packs they wanted to buy, so Bryan reached into the box of UD3 basketball and picked the seventh pack down, “because I was 7.”
“We liked that set. There were three cards in the pack. One would be a see-through card, and one would be flashy,” Bryan said.
Bryan knew he found something big when he saw the chase card with Jordan’s autograph.
“I opened the pack and saw it. I knew what it was,” Bryan said. “I ran around the store.”
“The reaction of the store owner was like ‘Ohhhhhh …” said Chris, who is now 35. “He had like, a ‘Whoa’ reaction.”
The store owner immediately put the card into a “big, protective case,” and the boys’ parents later placed it into a safe deposit box.
“We had no intention of selling it,” Bryan said.
Then along came “The Last Dance,” and the brothers changed their minds, going to view the card for the first time in years and then contacting Goldin Auctions.
They still love the card and felt somewhat guilty about selling it, but the brothers recently decided to get the card graded. As a bonus, the pack the card was pulled from is included in the auction lot. The brothers’ mother kept the pack after it was opened.
“It’s been like a member of the family for so long,” Bryan said. “It was bittersweet because we were huge Michael Jordan fans,” Bryan said. “But finally, we said, ‘Thanks Michael, now go make us some money.’”
He is about to. The auction for this lot ends Sept. 20.