One of the 22 1980-81 Topps Magic Johnson-Larry Bird rookie cards graded PSA 10 sold at auction for $125,200 late Wednesday night. The price is the most ever paid for the card at public auction and the first time a copy of one of the most iconic basketball cards ever made had reached six figures.
The card was sold by Oregon-based PWCC, which called it “perhaps the single finest copy in the world.”
During the same auction, the company also sold a 1961-62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain rookie graded PSA 9 for $60,655.55, a record for the grade. The previous high for a PSA 9 Chamberlain was $45,000 set in 2017.
A total of 91 bids were made for the Bird-Johnson card, which jumped by over $20,000 in the final minute of the online auction on eBay.
PSA 10 copies of the card don’t show up very often but have been sold a few times in recent years. The previous auction record was set in 2016 at $96,423. Two other sales were recorded in 2017–one for $88, 988 and another for $75,100.
By comparison, the average price for a PSA 9 is currently just over $3,000. One sold last month for $2,800. There are 578 unqualified 9s in PSA’s Population Report.
PWCC also sold two PSA 9 examples of the rookie cards of Oscar Robertson ($22,400) and Jerry West ($17,300). However, neither price topped the highest previous sales.