Sports memorabilia prices continue to soar like Michael Jordan executing one of his classic dunks. That is only fitting, since a Jordan game-worn jersey from his 1982-83 season at the University of North Carolina just fetched a record price.
Jordan’s No. 23 Carolina blue jersey, photo-matched to his Player of the Year season with the Tarheels, sold for $1,380,000 during the second night of Heritage Auctions’ Spring Sports Catalog Auction. It’s the most ever paid for a Jordan jersey, even those worn during his championship days with the Chicago Bulls.
The previous high price paid for a Jordan jersey was $480,000, sold last October in a Heritage Auctions sale. That MJ jersey was a Bulls jersey from the 1986-87 season.
“Over the last year Heritage has set dozens of world records in the red-hot Michael Jordan collectibles market, and now we’re extremely proud to have shattered the records for a Jordan game-worn jersey,” Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of Sports Auctions, said in a statement. “As the final price tag proves, this jersey has everything any serious collector could possibly want.”
The jersey originally sold in 1999 for a then-record price of $63,500. It is the one Jordan was wearing when he was featured on the cover of The Sporting News as the NCAA player of the year, and also used during a North Carolina-Stanford game during the Stanford Invitational in 1983. That’s when one of Stanford’s team managers acquired it in a trade.
— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) May 8, 2021
Jordan items seem to grab most of the limelight, but there were some other big-ticket items during the Heritage Auctions sale. Over 40 lots in the three-day event sold for over $100,000.
The second highest selling item in the auction was one of the modern card hobby’s hottest issues–a 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Championship Ticket. Numbered 34/100 and graded 8.5 by BGS with a 10 autograph grade, it went for nearly $1.6 million.
The auction included dozens of the hobby’s top vintage cards, including a pair of 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookies. One graded 9 by SCG, pulled in $690,000. The other card, graded PSA 8.5, landed at $528,000.
A 1952 Topps PSA 9 card of Jackie Robinson fetched $960,000, the second of its kind to narrowly miss the seven-figure mark at auction.
Robinson’s teammate in Brooklyn, Sandy Koufax, made his major league baseball card debut in the 1955 Topps set. An SGC 9 rookie card of the left-handed pitching legend, who struggled in Brooklyn but excelled when the franchise moved to Los Angeles, sold for $222,000.
Ty Cobb cards are enjoying a renaissance and are commanding higher prices every month. A 1910-11 M116 Sporting Life of the Georgia Peach that was a PSA 9 sold for $264,000.
A more recent Yankees legend, Derek Jeter, had a six-figure winner with an unusual lot. Offered for sale was a complete, 42-card rookie collection of The Captain — all graded PSA 10 — along with an uncut sheet and 1992 Little Sun cards. The lot was sold for $444,000.
The lone 1948 Leaf rookie card Warren Spahn graded at PSA 10 soared to a record $252,000. Heritage had sold the same card for $192,000 in 2018.
Soccer was represented by a 1958 Alifabolaget rookie card of Pele, which graded out at PSA 8.5. The winning bid was $372,000.
The biggest Yankees legend, Babe Ruth, was featured on a 1933 Sport Kings card that graded at PSA 8. It sold for a record $210,000. Heritage had sold another 8 for $114,000 just four months ago and early last year, another sold for just over $50,000.
The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, pulled in $240,000 with a 1979 O-Pee-Chee rookie card that ad a PSA 9 grade. Basketball was represented by a 1957 Topps rookie card of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, which graded PSA 8 and sold for $192,000.
The seventh best 1967 Topps baseball set on PSA’s Registry was the top selling vintage complete set in the auction, bringing in $174,000.
One card that didn’t sell was a PSA 7 Babe Ruth rookie card. The 1916 M101-5 Sporting News card with a blank back did not meet the $3 million reserve, but prospective buyers can snag the Bambino card for $3.6 million in a post-auction sale.