An unused ticket from the NBA debut of Michael Jordan in 1984 just sold at auction for a record price of $468,000! Read the story behind the ticket about a (now) lucky college student that couldn't find a taker for this extra ticket to MJ's very first game as a Chicago Bull and where the ticket has been stored until last month.
In December of 2021, Mike Cole was checking the score of an NFL game when he stumbled upon a story about a sale of a ticket stub from the game that Michael Jordan made his NBA debut. The sale price was a new record for any ticket - $252,000. Quickly forgetting about that football score, Cole was certain he had an unused ticket from the same game. Not only was he right about having the ticket but Cole ended up having the ONLY-known full, unused ticket from the game to date.
The $468,000 Michael Jordan Debut Ticket
Mike Cole had just started college at Northwestern. Growing up in Bethesda, MD., he rooted for the nearby Washington Bullets. A family friend that worked for the Bullets gifted Cole a pair of tickets to a game on October 26th, 1984 between his Bullets and the visiting Chicago Bulls. Cole asked a few college hallmates to attend the game with him, but the Bulls were pretty awful at that time and nobody wanted to take the train ride from Northwestern. Cole decided to make the trip to the game solo. He picked two tickets up at the will-call window, used one ticket to enter and stashed the spare ticket in his shirt pocket.
The Bulls won the game 109 - 93 behind 16 points from their first-round draft pick, Michael Jordan. Cole tossed the stub from the ticket he used to enter the game but saved that full ticket and placed it in an folder with tickets from other games he's attended. Over three decades later, Jordan became one of the greatest athletes in the world. Six championships, five MVP awards, two Olympic gold medals and more records than we can count.
The vintage ticket market has exploded over the last few years and tickets from Michael Jordan's debut game are no exception to those rising values. There are so many mobile-entry events these days, paper tickets are a thing of our past. Even in the paper ticket days, full tickets were torn/ripped upon entry. How many "stubs" do you have from your first Yankees game, Aerosmith concert, or movie ticket to the opening night of Empire Strikes Back? A full ticket to major events is simply rare. How rare is Cole's ticket? Until he ran to the basement and found his tickets in a box of memoires, there has NEVER been a known full ticket.
Cole called auction houses and decided to go with our friends at Heritage Auctions, who allowed us to use the photo of Cole's ticket for this article. Within minutes of calling, Cole heard back; everyone wanted to see if a FULL ticket form Jordan's debut did exist. Sure enough, Cole had the real deal! He had the ticket graded by PSA, a professional grading company that authenticated the ticket. You can see on the population report that few stubs from this game and now just one single full ticket.
The final sale price at Heritage Auctions brought Cole $468,000! A new record for a ticket. I'm sure Cole is now thrilled his college classmates decided to pass on joining him that night.
We are always buying rare and valuable tickets! Here is a copy of a Birmingham Barons baseball ticket stub from the day Michael Jordan hit his first professional baseball home run. During a short retirement from basketball, the legend gave baseball a shot! This copy is just one of four known according to PSA. If you have a ticket or any other Michael Jordan memorabilia you're interested in selling, we'd love to hear from you.
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