Recruiting letters written to Michael Jordan by former North Carolina coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge in 1980 will be on display at the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Expo January 30 – February 1. The three-day show will be held in the Long Beach, California Convention Center, 100 S. Pine Ave.
The items had originally been on display in Jordan’s “23” restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC, then shuttled off to a public storage facility after the restaurant closed. The storage unit was eventually abandoned by the person who was renting it and the contents were purchased at public auction.
The two recruiting letters and Jordan’s UNC diploma will be displayed courtesy of Goldin Auctions in advance of the company’s upcoming February 7 sports memorabilia auction. Bidding on the Smith letter has reached nearly $12,000 in the opening days of bidding.
On Wednesday, Jordan’s mother Delores told NBC5 in Chicago and ESPN that the items are copies and that she has the originals in storage, a fact Goldin Auctions’ President Ken Goldin disputes. Delores Jordan didn’t produce either of the letters she says are in a bank vault until a Jordan museum can be constructed. The Smith letter being sold contains a hand-written note from Smith at the bottom which Goldin says is written in ballpoint pen.
Admission to the Long Beach Expo is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and children aged 8 to 16. However, as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebration, anyone can get a free admission coupon online for the upcoming show.
Collectors can visit the show’s website, click ‘Get Passes’, enter the promo code PR214 and print out the coupon to present at the show’s registration desk.
There will be educational seminars and club meetings during the show, and special coin and stamp collecting activities for children on Saturday, February 1. More than 500 dealers will be buying and selling gold and silver coins, paper money, stamps, postcards, sports memorabilia, historical documents, estate jewelry and other collectibles. Many of the dealers offer free, informal appraisals for the public.