One of the great hobby ironies is that the most popular basketball player of all-time doesn’t have a true rookie card from a wax pack. Michael Jordan made his NBA debut in 1984, three years after Topps bowed out of basketball card production and two years before Fleer picked up the torch. Jordan does have a card from that first NBA season, though, and it may finally be picking up steam.
Beckett reports that the only 1984-85 Star Company Jordan rookie card (#101) ever to achieve a 9.5 grade has sold for a record price of $52,500—just four months after it sold for a little under $41,000 through the company’s auction division.
The new sale was a private transaction between the person who purchased the card after it failed to sell at auction in November and a new buyer.
While the 1986-87 Fleer Jordan has generally been considered his rookie card, primarily because of its widespread traditional distribution in wax packs, Star Company was the sole licensee of NBA trading cards between 1982 and 1985. It’s cards were sold primarily through mail order and in shops with some used as promotional giveaways by the teams themselves.
Long-time basketball card dealer Steve Taft, who helped broker the deal, says interest in the Star Company Jordan has been on the rise in recent months with some treating it as an investment.
“Since the original sale, the Jordan Star #101 has just been on fire in every grade,” he told Beckett. “As an example, when they turn up on eBay, they are going quick and I’m seeing a BGS 8 that five or six months ago, you could buy at $1,800 to $2,200, that’s a $3,500 card now and if you got a lucky break, you might get one for $3,200. This has been the hottest run that I’ve seen since the early 90s. It’s also pulling along all the other Star Company Jordans and even just the other Star Company cards.”
Beckett has graded only 378 1984-85 Star Company Jordan rookie cards.
Only two graded examples are currently listed on eBay.