Record-breaking Jordan rookie card sells for $1M

    Hajducky is a reporter/researcher for ESPN. He has an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University and played on the men’s soccer teams at Fordham and Southern Connecticut State universities.

A rare Michael Jordan rookie card sold with auction house Christie’s for $1.008 million, including fees and premiums — a record for the 1986-87 Fleer Jordan that set the sports card industry aflame in the wake of “The Last Dance.”

Fleer’s 2006-07 basketball release (Fleer was purchased by Upper Deck in mid-2005) included a 20th anniversary buyback autograph program: 23 numbered 1986-87 Fleer Jordan rookies were rereleased, signed by Jordan, into 2006-07 boxes along with certificates of authenticity.

This card, numbered 21 of 23, was graded an overall 8.5 from Beckett Grading Services, with a 9 autograph grade. (Both are out of a maximum 10.) Of the 23 that were released, only 14 are known and graded, held in private collections. It’s assumed that the remaining nine were never pulled — which explains why an unopened box sold for $5,000 on eBay in early April.

Also in the Jordan-specific Christie’s auction, called Six Rings: Legacy of the GOAT, were a number of player-exclusive, game-worn and signed Jordan sneakers. One pair stands out: Game-worn, signed Air Jordan Low XIIIs, which Jordan wore in the first two quarters of Game 5 of the 1998 NBA Finals — his last season as a Bull, as well as his sixth and final title where he won his unprecedented sixth NBA Finals MVP.

The Air Jordan Low XIIIs sold for $378,000. Jordan game-worn sneakers have had quite a year; last October, a pair of Nike Air Ships Jordan worn in his rookie season sold for $1.472 million, breaking a record for most expensive game-worn footwear of all time.

Today happens to be the 24th anniversary of Jordan’s championship-clinching shot over the Utah Jazz’s Bryon Russell.

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