Sometimes the main event lives up to its billing.
Vintage pack breaking specialist Just Rip It offered a vintage basketball packapalooza last Thursday night, opening 11 packs of vintage basketball cards in a live broadcast. 100 break spots were sold at a cost of $200 with each participant receiving one of the first 100 cards pulled in a random draw. Every participant would then share in any proceeds from the best cards pulled from a 1980-81 Topps pack that was opened last.
The first ten packs saw some dandies pulled: a 1976-77 Topps Julius Erving and a 1975-76 Topps Pete Maravich among them.
Then it was time for the “main event.” The 1980-81 Topps pack, graded Mint 9 by GAI many years ago, held eight cards and a pin-up insert. JRI purchased the pack knowing a Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rookie card was visible through the back, but the quality of the card was impossible to know.
The first seven cards, including one featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and David Thompson were generally well-centered and sharp but then it was time for the big reveal…
The Bird-Johnson rookie, along with other cards from the pack, are being sent to PSA for Express grading. The corners and centering on many of the cards was exceptional. The key card was the same, but has a small print mark on the lower right
“Once we receive the grades we will do our best estimate to add it all up and if it exceeds the total Event of $20,000 we will go to auction and we will split the proceeds amongst the ticket holders,” Just Rip It’s Charlie Parrino told us. “If not we will randomize all eight cards back to the original 100 people that were in the event.”
Bird-Johnson rookie cards have been somewhat elusive in mint or gem mint grades with 611 9s and just 24 10s awarded out of nearly 11,000 graded.
Recent sales of NM/MT PSA 8 Bird-Johnson rookie cards have been in the $15,000-$20,000 range with 9s soaring to $60,000-$90,000 in the last four weeks.