One of the best quality sets of the hobby’s most popular basketball card issue is going on the auction block and it’s expected to fetch big bucks.
Beckett Auction Services has obtained a complete 1986-87 Fleer Basketball set with each of the 132 cards graded 9.5 (Gem Mint) and will sell it in their upcoming online auction. Bidding will start at $25,000.
The set includes the official rookie cards of Michael Jordan and numerous other stars who debuted after Topps ended its basketball card deal with the NBA in 1982. Colored borders prone to showing even the slightest nick have made piecing together complete high-grade sets a challenge.
BGS has graded over 49,000 cards from the set over the years, but only 5,255 have been awarded a 9.5 grade. There are several cards in the 1986-87 Fleer set with fewer than 25 copies rated 9.5, meaning the competition for those cards among collectors, investors and set builders is often fierce.
“We are super excited to offer this set in our February auction because it’s not just a centerpiece of the basketball hobby, but the whole hobby,” said Rob Springs of Beckett Auction Services. “The amount of time it takes to put a set like this together and just the overall toughness to build this particular set is quite a feat.”
The person who put the set together told BGS he spent almost 1,000 hours and over two years to complete the set, submitting over 100 cards to have crossed over from another grading company’s holder and purchasing 9.5s to add to the set.
Ironically, the 1986-87 Fleer set wasn’t exceptionally popular with collectors upon release and complete sets were sold inside hobby publications for as little as $10 many months later. Unopened boxes, now valued at around $20,000, sat unsold on store shelves.
Jordan’s rise as a superstar and the belief that basketball cards were undervalued helped push interest and prices higher as the 1990s approached and in recent years, the value of the Jordan rookie card has continued a steady climb, especially at the highest levels. Sales of BGS 9.5 Jordan rookies have been ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 in recent months with lower graded cards inching up as well.
The auction will open February 12 and conclude on February 22.