He’s back! Michael Jordan’s second return to the NBA has added interest to the basketball season, but the secondary memorabilia market appears to be taking a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the legendary player.
“The odd thing about collecting the world’s greatest basketball player now, compared to his first return from retirement, is that the memorabilia market and Jordan interest is decidedly flat,” said Dennis Tuttle, a contributor to the sports card and memorabilia magazine Tuff Stuff.
Despite his high approval ratings with fans, the Jordan secondary market has registered nary a blip since his most recent return.
Tuttle attributes some of the yawns to the flatline economy and lack of interest in the Chicago Bulls legend wearing a Washington Wizards uniform.
“His market is holding,” said Oscar Gracia, author of Collecting Michael Jordan Memorabilia . “But I was expecting a big surge.”
Though the market is anything but bullish for the Wizards star, Gracia believes this may be the best time since the early part of His Airness’ career to buy Jordan items.
“There are many things not being bid on, so great buys can be found,” said Gracia of the thousands of Jordan items offered in online auctions.
Taking that challenge, here is a sampling of Jordan items chosen by Tuttle and the Tuff Stuff editors as good buys with future market potential:
No. 45 jersey — When Jordan came out of retirement the first time, he wore No. 45 for one season. Replicas of that Bulls jersey never took off, and there are few on the market now. The going price is about $60.
ESPN magazine — Jordan has adorned the cover of this bi-monthly several times, but the June 29, 1998, issue of him leaping in celebration on a solid white cover is a classic. It makes a wonderful display piece for remembering him in his prime.
“If you could secure MJ’s signature on the cover, wow!” said Tuttle.
Chicago Bulls post-season programs — Each year the team was in the playoffs with Jordan aboard, special double-issue magazines for the playoffs and the finals were produced. Prices range from $12 to $50.
1994 Upper Deck Baseball #19 card — “Jordan’s foray into baseball led to a slew of baseball cards, but this issue is considered his rookie,” said Tuttle. The current price is about $15.
“Come Fly With Me” sticker — The 1989 video featured a sticker that could be redeemed for a limited edition Jordan T-shirt. The shirts are fairly common. The sticker, a rarity, fetches about $50.
“Chaos in the Windy City” card — Some collectors believe this card was part of a promotional campaign for the Nintendo game of the same name, but its origin has not been firmly determined. The card is extraordinarily rare and not often scene on the market. Current price is about $250.
Signed baseball — A nice reminder of Jordan’s season in the minors.
“The real find is getting an MJ signature on an official Southern League ball, since that is where he played for the class AA Birmingham Barons,” said Tuttle.
Prices run about $80, though an Upper Deck Authenticated ball will cost several hundred dollars.
North Carolina Cards — Jordan cards from the 1990-91 Collegiate Collection are the most desirable Prices range from $3 to $5.
Wheaties boxes — Jordan has appeared on Wheaties boxes more often than any other athlete, including Canadian, German and French releases that have insert cards.
The values of most have slipped far under their initial market peak. The one that remains decidedly undervalued is his 1992 Olympics issue with the “Dream Team.” The box is hard to find and generally priced around $45 in mint condition.
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