While there is hardly a whisper of objection to the contention that Michael Jordan reigned as the premier figure of 1980’s and 1990’s basketball, the debate as to which trading card should be considered his most important is recorded at a significantly higher volume. The 1986 Fleer #57 card is generally defended as the supreme example by most collectors, but for those hobbyists moved by heightened rarity and earlier production, the 1984-85 Star Co. set is the genesis of Jordan’s ultimate rookie.
Heritage Auctions will make one serious collector the sole owner of that Star Co. card’s original DNA, as their current Platinum Night auction supplies the original production transparencies that printed 24 of the 100-card set, the Jordan #101 specimen counted among them. A full, uncut sheet is included the lot, which is estimated to sell for more than $60,000.
“The singular rarity of the Jordan transparency puts it solidly in the running for the most significant article of ‘modern’ trading card collecting to reach the hobby’s major auction block in years,” expressed Chris Ivy, director of Sports auctions at Heritage. “It’s the ultimate pop-one-of-one rarity.”
The issue has been somewhat of a controversial one ever since the news broke that unauthorized prints were made using the original plates in the 1990’s, with several of the top card grading services declining to encapsulate any following that upsetting revelation. However, small variations were soon discovered, allowing experts to determine which cards were the genuine article, and which were the 1990’s knock-offs.
Along with the #101 Jordan RC, there’s a second MJ on the sheet, the #195 Jordan Olympic Card. The sheet also includes card numbers 101-200, with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clyde Drexler, Dan Issel, Alex English and other stars of the day. The framed sheet measures 40×31.
The transparencies and the full sheet were purchased in the early 1990’s by famed collector Bill R. Schonsheck directly from the owner of Star Co. Schonsheck is the consignor.
The current bid stands at $15,000 at the time of this writing. Bidding continues through August 18 at HA.com.