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My Holy Grail – The 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC

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I managed to scrape together some more money after my wife decided to do some house cleaning. After selling off some junk we had laying around, I was up to almost $1,100 dollars which was the price range I wanted to spend.

After adding every PSA 9 Jordan to my watch list, I noticed one that was hovering around the $850 mark with 12 hours to go. The only problem was that the seller only had 41 feedbacks. The upside was that they were all positive, and all from buyers. I messaged him to get more info on him and the card. Turns out he owns a card shop in Boca Raton, FL. I looked up the card shop on the online yellow pages and asked about the card (this was done more to verify the identity of the seller). After we talked, I decided to set my snipe. $1,050. It sat at the $850 mark until just a few minutes before the auction's ending. Then $915, $950, $955. I was getting nervous, but I knew I wasn't going to pay over $1050. I decided to just let my max bid stand.

At auction's end, I won it for $1,000 even. After shipping and insurance the total was $1,016. It was well worth the price to add this gem to my collection. Card has shard corners, no edge chipping, no surface scratches, front centering L-R and T-B 50/50, back centering L-R and T-B 60/40. The only thing I can see keeping it from a perfect 10 is a small fisheye on the left side of the blue nameplate. Below are the scans...

Approximate cost for a PSA/BGS graded MINT 9 Jordan RC: $1,100*.

Current savings: $1,000.

To go: $0.00.

Estimated Purchase Date: SOLD!!!!!
*(See follow-up comments below for my market research.)

The Plan.

At my savings rate of $200 per month, minus miscellaneous junk, my approximate purchase date will be SEPTEMBER 2009. If I'm able to save more than that or the sale prices decline, I will shift the timeline to the left. Conversely, if some unexpected costs pop up, I'll shift it to the right. Stay tuned...

The history of my quest.

Remember the guitar shop scene in Wayne's World? That's me every time I go to a card shop or show and see that beautiful red, white, and blue border; the arm fully extended; the tongue wagging; the sense of greatness to come. Wayne said it best: “It will be mine. Oh, yes. It will be mine”.

To understand my quest, it might be necessary to explain how my love for collecting began. Rewind to Christmas Day 1988. I don't remember a single present I got that year – except a gift from a family friend. The gift wasn't even wrapped. It was left between the screen door and front door. It was a card collecting kit complete with a binder, sticky pages (you know... the cheap, stiff pages that sound like they're going to crack like peanut brittle as you pull them apart), a pack of miscellaneous baseball cards, and a price guide. My most valuable card was a 1988 Donruss Roger Clemens. That's right, the Rocket. It booked for $.65, and I was ecstatic. For a kid on a $5.00 per month allowance, that was some serious coin.

I continued to buy packs here and there with my allowance looking for that big score, the 1989 Gregg Jeffries Topps Future Stars. I was a baseball card kid because basketball cards weren't sold at my grocery store. I don't even remember seeing basketball cards until 1991 when Upper Deck launched. During that era, the Jordan RC was selling for around $100. I decided that I wouldn't be able to afford it for a few more years so I continued to collect those Larry Johnson and Dikembe Mutombo RCs.

1995 came and went. I started college on a budget (been there?). The Jordan RC was climbing in value, and so was my college debt. The MJ had doubled in value to around $200, and I started noticing a little note in the price guides: BEWARE JORDAN COUNTERFEITS. Huh? I decided that the $200 was not worth the risk of picking up a fake MJ. My quest was ended abruptly...or so I thought.

The internet is a wonderful thing for us collectors. PSA and Beckett were broadcasting to the world. They developed authentication processes for high dollar, altered, and counterfeit-prone cards. GAME ON! Looks like I wasn't the only one with the same agenda. The prices for the Jordan's surged in price. A PSA 9 or better card couldn't be bought for less than $2,000.

Prices have declined as supply has increased and his popularity has declined since his retirement. Currently, PSA's Sports Market Report values a PSA 9 MINT Jordan RC at $1,175. Luckily for me, I did well in college and make a decent living as an engineer in the military. After the bills, wife, and kids, my play money is around $200 per month. So continues my quest...

Updated 01-02-2010 at 07:08 AM by tarheelsnipe

THE HUNT - What I'm Looking for NOW


  1. chekers's Avatar
    Good luck, I hope you get the MJ Rc.
  2. tarheelsnipe's Avatar
    Thanks buddy. I had some successful Ebay sales last week so I might be able to shift the purchase date to the left a little. Just waiting for the payments to roll in...
  3. tarheelsnipe's Avatar
    Timeline shifted to the left! I had some successful Ebay sales this week including a PSA 9 Montana RC for $305.
  4. tarheelsnipe's Avatar
    Jordan's RCs in PSA 9 have fallen to approx. $1,000 - $1,050. Two BGS 9's sold on Ebay for $1,125 and $1,310. Thepit.com's last sale was $825. I will adjust the average price from $1,200 to $1,100. Purchase date shifted to APRIL 2009!
    Updated 01-11-2009 at 09:49 PM by tarheelsnipe

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