Have you ever seen an entire, unopened, CASE of 1986-87 Fleer basketball boxes? Imagine pack-fresh Michel Jordan rookie cards, SEALED in case. You've probably seen as many of these sealed cases in your lifetime as you've seen unicorns; they simple don't exist...until now. You could now own this magical case, which holds 12 full boxes that have never seen the light of day. Let's see how many MJ rookies are possible, how much the case will set you back, and the big question – would you open the case?Seeing even just a single unopened pack of 1986-87 Fleer basketball now is a rarity; super expensive to buy, too. These Fleer packs could contain your Holy Grail; the Michael Jordan rookie card. Coupled with The Last Dance and Quarantine boredom, the market is sizzling for the Fleer packs. Prices per single pack have now reached around $2,295 each! For the first time in decades, perhaps the last-known, full, sealed CASE is making to the auction block!
History of the 86 Fleer Set
Baseball cards were king back in 1986-87, with the "junk wax" era being ushered into your collections. During the boom, you were probably snatching up that '86 Topps Traded card of Bo Jackson. There was a time when you could walk into a store and not find a single pack of basketball cards. While that sounds familiar the retail stock today, there was no Zion-Mania in 1986; there was no mania at all.
In 1986, the NBA finals were on TAPE DELAY. Picture finding out the winner of the NBA finals hours after the fact in 2020. While Michael Jordan was an upcoming star, he had yet to: Win a tile, an MVP, a dunk contest, and was far from earning the title of the GOAT. While other card companies could afford to get into the NBA game, why would they? Fleer decided to pony up the cash at perfect time to buy their licenses, and create a small set of 132 cards. For comparison, the 1986 baseball set has 792 cards, and even the 2020 NBA Donruss base set is at 250 cards.
The 132-card set was packaged into wax packs of 12 cards and 1 sticker card, and inserted to boxes of 36 packs. The price in 1986 – around $10 per box, and $0.40 cents a pack. This was more than the $0.35 cents a pack of Topps baseball cards took from your pocket, which, at the time, was the "better investment."
While not as extreme as the dumping of 1952 Topps baseball cards, Five and Dime retailer TG&Y was known to drop the price of 86 Fleer packs down to TEN CENTS to get the product off of shelves.
After Jordan etched himself into the sports Mount Rushmore, and baseball went on Strike, basketball cards took the industry lead. The forty-cent pack was hovering around a hundred bucks in the 90's, and has since continued to skyrocket in price.
A long-time dealer, Larry Fritsch, is consigning probably the only known sealed case of 1986-87 Fleer in existence. You may have seen packs or boxes of 86 Fleer available, but zero are labeled FASC: From a Sealed Case. Cases simply just no longer exist. HERE is THE CASE auction.
Fritsch has owned tons of unopened material from the original year issued, and he busted out the Holy Grail of Holy Grails (is that a thing? It is now).
In the case:
- Each pack has 12 cards plus 1 sticker card
Given the ever-rising value of an MJ rookie, collectors have often opened up the packs and boxes in hopes of getting Gem Mint Joran. This case survived collectors for over 30 years!
Just looking at the case, you can see the original packing tape! The label on the box is great, too: Trading cards, photo stickers, and bubble gum. Can you recall the last time you said "trading card" or had a stick of gum from a pack? This case is like a ride in Doc Brown's DeLorean; probably as expensive, too.
ONE MILLION DOLLARS MUWHAHAH. No, for real.
Collect Auctions, the house handling the sale, set the opening bid at $250,000. A quarter mil wasn't going to cut the mustard just a minute later when the bidding was at a million dollars.
The auction will end on August 6th, so there are still plenty of time for the price to continue to soar higher than a classic MJ dunk.
Given full boxes are selling for $100,000 now, the price for 12 boxes in the only known sealed case makes the million-dollar price tag actually seem low..."low."
Potential Haul and Profit
If you were able to buy the case, and be brave enough to OPEN the case (think about this; more on it momentarily), the amount of iconic cards you may pull out is stellar:
- 1 box = 432 cards
- 1 box = 36 stickers
- 12 boxes = 5,184 cards
- 12 boxes = 432 stickers
- About 40 ...FORTY Michael Jordan rookie cards
- About 36 Jordan Rookie Stickers
How much are the cards worth?
A PSA 10 Jordan card is now selling for around $90,000 for just ONE card.
If you get lucky and just ¼ of the Jordan cards are a PSA 10, you're already at $900 K back of the million dollars. Now you can see why just a million bucks may be a "low" offer.
You know that all 40 Jordan cards probably aren't going to come back a PSA 10 either. The current Pop report has 17,574 graded (Non-qualifier) cards, and only 312 are graded a 10; just 1.77% of submissions. You do have a better chance as all of these Jordan cards would be pack-fresh, though! The grade of an 8 is the highest percentage at 7,570 copies for a percentage of 43.1%! Just say half of the submissions are an 8. The PSA 8 Jordan is worth about $10,000. If you don't get lucky, and all 40 Jordan cards are a PSA 8, you're still at 400 grand, with plenty of other cards and stickers to go.
There are 12 Hall of Famers with Rookie cards in the set, all that fetch top prices! This is the value page right from PSA:
- Charles Barkley PSA 10 = $950 | PSA 9 = $250 | PSA 8 = $100
- Clyde Drexler $325 | $80 | $30
- Joe Dumars $200 | $35 | $18
- Patrick Ewing $750 | $150 | $60
- Karl Malone $625 | $175 | $50
- Chris Mullin $800 | $200 | $30
- Hakeem Olajuwon $500 | $175 | $75
- Ralph Sampson $100 | $25 | $12
- Isaiah Thomas $400 | $100 | $22
- Dominque Wilkins $1,500 | $300 | $80
- James Worthy $600 | $200 | $30
On the secondary market today, must like the Jordan card, expect to pay DOUBLE these prices. We've talked about the factors driving up prices of all cards, especially this set. The factors, Quarantine boredom and lack of sports, has driven up the cost of the Charles Barkley rookie, for example, as follows: PSA 10 = $3,500 | PSA 9 = $650 | PSA 8 = $225.
Getting 40 Barkley cards at $3,500 sounds like your profit could climb.
Just doing the math of $1,000,000 and 5,484 cards, you would need to average just $182 per card. Could be doable!
Don't forget the STICKERS! Here are recent, eBay sales of the sticker set:
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar $15,000 ((using PSA price guide; no recent sales) | $1,600 | $356
- Larry Bird = $1,300 | $325 | $80
- Adrian Dantley = $590 | $110 | $42
- Alex English = $625 | $140 | $ 65
- Julius Erving = $1,100 | $204 | $90
- Patrick Ewing = $1,215 | $199 | $76
- Magic Johnson = $2,500 | $149.99 | $57
- Hakeem Olajuwon = $700 (using PSA price guide; no recent sales) | $311.59 | $99
- Isiah Thomas = $750 | $234 | $77
- Dominique Wilkins = $2,175 | $278.88 | $78.77
Just with MJ, you're getting about 36 of these stickers. While the meat of the results are a PSA 8, there are 119 PSA 10 Jordan stickers out of 8,021 submissions. Pack-fresh could mean at least one 10, right?! If all of the MJ stickers are an 8, you still add around $32,000 back of the case buy-price.
If bidding remains around a million dollars, it appears you could recoup your investment – IF you open the boxes. There is our big question...
Would YOU Open the Case?
If you're going to spend over a million dollars into a product, chance are you want to make a profit. With the value of the cards inside, especially the MJ rookies, would you open the case and grade the cards?
While the appeal of seeing over 40 brand new Jordan rookies become available, the allure of having the only sealed case of 1986-87 Fleer basketball left may outweigh having the new Jordan cards. While the PSA 10 Jordan cards are rare, you could opt to buy one of the 312 known. There is only one case out in the card world.
Would you buy the case?
Let us know on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!
We Have 1986-87 Fleer You Can BUY!
You probably don't have seven figures to drop on the sealed case, but Just Collect has a few chances at pulling a Jordan rookie – or any other card in the set you're looking for at a much cheaper price! Our Sister site, Vintage Breaks, has a pack and a full set available.
PACK BREAK: You can buy one, or all of the cards in a PSA-graded 1986-87 Fleer basketball pack. For $295 per spot, get a spot HERE.
SET BREAK: Spots in a full set break are available in a set that includes a PSA 9 Jordan! Spots are only $150 HERE.
WE ARE BUYING! Have any 86 Fleer cards, or any other items you'd like to sell? Fill out a FREE appraisal form, reach out at (732) 828-2261, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
1986-87 Fleer Box Break Video:
To see what full box of 1986-87 Fleer basketball box or packs will possibly yield, check out a video from Vintage Breaks back in 2017 with a GEM of a Jordan: