The 1986 Fleer Basketball Tupperware Collection

Michael Jordan Rookie Card Stored in Tupperware
  • March 07, 2021


If there was one reason you thought were EVER allowed to take a piece of your mom's Tupperware it would have been store a stash of 1986-87 Fleer basketball cards that included the iconic Michael Jordan rookie card!  Well, even then we'd hope mom never found out...  We're ecstatic to share a story of the latest find we just purchased: The 1986 Fleer Tupperware Collection! 

Michael Jordan cards have been HOT over the last few months.  The state of the sports card hobby is seeing heights none of us could have imagined just a year ago and at the forefront of the hobby is his Airness. Here at Just Collect, we've been buying collections faster than you could read this blog, and Jordan's rookie card is one of our favorite items we love to buy.  We were fortunate to purchase a collection this week that not only has the iconic 1986-87 Fleer MJ rookie along with other stars from the set, but HOW this set came out our office is a story and a half.  We introduce you to the The 1986 Fleer Basketball Tupperware Collection!

This blog is sponsored by JUST COLLECT where we specialize in buying vintage cards, autographs, and collections.  Michael Jordan rookies and early Fleer cards are certainly some of favorite cards to purchase.  We'll walk you through the fun and easy buying process! 

Father and Son Bonding

Back in 1986, Jason Vicar's father bought him packs of 1986-87 Fleer basketball.  For a son, there isn't anything cooler than your dad getting you into cards.  My dad used to bring home packs of 1987 Topps baseball cards from the Stewart's gas station (remember when gas stations like a Wawa sold wax packs?) and we'd keep track of the set by marking off all 792 players on graph paper.  Luckily for Jason, his dad would be able to take him where the Fleer basketball packs were sold!  I couldn't pedal my way to the Ames a town away where Fleer was hiding or I'd have more Jordan rookies than Bo Jackson Future Stars.  Regardless, that bond between parents and kids over cards is purely amazing at that age.  When Jason opened those packs 35 years ago with his dad, he placed them in a TUPPERARE container and there they sat.  Bold move, Jason - if I took a single piece of Tupperware from the cabinet, mom would turn into a super sleuth.  Wonder if Jason and his dad bonded more over the cards or the fact that they each hid that Tupperware together so long...  The bonding resurfaced last week as the duo took a road trip with the cards! 

Hitting the Road 

The Vicars wanted to sell their cards but were very apprehensive about shipping their 1986 Fleer basketball cards anywhere - not even to a grading company such as PSA.  Here at Just Collect, we are very aware of the Pandemic and travelling issues; safety is a MUST.  Normally we would offer to meet you and make a deal for your collection, be it plane, train, automobile, or wild beach horse.  Being unable travel to most places during the Pandemic, we do offer a shipping option!  If you choose to make an appointment us Just Collect and mail your cards, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards,  we will ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  Jason and his dad simply did not want to chance mailing their cards not just to us, but not to auction houses or to anywhere else - and we can't blame them.  Our top acquisitions buyer, John Palomares, understood the situation the Vicars were in and offered a unique solution: an in-person delivery to our New Jersey office.  Dad and son took the opportunity to build on that bond started in 1986 and relive some youthful memories by hitting the road!  The Vicars took the Tupperware filled with cards and made the eight-hour trip from Bluefield, Virginia!

Appraising the Collection

When Jason and his dad arrived to our office, our owner, Leighton Sheldon, met the collecting duo personally.  After the long drive, Leighton offered to buy the Vicars lunch before diving into the collection.  Unlike other companies or auction houses, Leighton LOVES cards.  Anyone can look at a Michael Jordan rookie card and give a quick appraisal, but when you're a card geek like us, we love going through each card and talking history.  I think sometimes these days collectors open up a pack just looking for a big hit and ignoring the rest of the cards - where is the fun in that?!  Remember when the only way to know how many cards were in a set was to look at the checklist or to know a player's stats you needed to read the back of the card?  Leighton wanted to sit with the Vicars and thoroughly evaluate the '86 Fleer cards and you can't do that on an empty stomach!  The Jordan rookie card was raw and while the card has a chance at a PSA 9, Leighton believes a little color bleeding on the back of the card will most likely result in the card receiving an 8.  If you're ever curious about grading cards, check out our grading blog here. Before Leighton could appraise the cards, he learned something cool.

First to Touch the Cards Since 1986 - Reminiscing of the Fairy Godmother Find

While going through the Tupperware collection for the appraisal, Jason and his dad told Leighton his were the first human hands to touch these cards since 1986 😯  This almost makes up for when Leighton couldn't ride his bike to the Wawa or Soda King to pick up packs back when he was kid. 

The feeling of holding an MJ rookie that has sat, untouched, since being pulled from a pack!  It's not every day you find stacks of '86 Fleer, untouched, sitting in Tupperware.  Leighton could almost TASTE THE GUM! The Vicar's cards reminds us of an incredible collection Just Collect purchased called The Fairy Godmother Find.  A man named Kevin and his father were cleaning out the father's Godmother's closest as his father was executor of the estate.  Little did this father and son combo know that the Godmother had a hatbox in her closet that held hundreds of T-206 cards including The SUPER RARE EDDIE PLANK!  Some use Tupperware for safe keeping and others use hat boxes.  Read about The Fairy Godmother Collection we bought here.

Inside the Tupperware

Time for the goodies!  What was hiding inside of the Tupperware that Jason and his dad drove with from Virginia?  Look at these beauties:

Card #57 Michael Jordan rookie


Trio of Hall of Famers: #77 Chris Mullin, #7 Charles Barkley, and #131 James Worthy

Barkley Worthy Mullen

Sticker #7 Michael Jordan Rookie

Jordan Sticker


Minus the Jordan, is what the full stack looks like:


The sticker set:


The Jordans, side by side!





Value of 1986 Fleer and Michael Jordan Rookies

Jason and his dad came at the right time - Jordan rookies have been HOT!  Back in July, we shared a story about a full, sealed case of 1986-87 Fleer basketball boxes.  The case holds 12 full boxes of cards with 36 packs per box and 12 cards + 1 sticker per pack.   Each box yields about 3 Jordan rookie cards.   How much was that case valued at?  The final sale price was $1,789,717!  You can read the full story about the rare case here.

At the time the case was sold in July of 2020, a PSA 10 Jordan rookie was selling for $90,000.  Between July 2020 and January 2021, a PSA 10 Jordan rookie soared in value from 90K to $738,000!  Our friend, Darren Rovell broke the story about the sales here

The difference between a PSA 8 or PSA 9 and 10 is a big swing, though.  The PSA 8 card is worth about $14,000 and the PSA 9 is worth about $53,000 as we type.  This is why getting your cards evaluated by a professional is important; you don't want to get shorted by thousands of dollars!  This is where John and Leighton can help; Just Collect has evaluated and purchased many 1986 Fleer cards!

Just Collect Frequently Buys Jordan Rookie Cards

Over our 20 years in business, Just Collect has proudly evaluated and purchased many 1986 Fleer cards and Jordan rookies.  Here are a few collections we've purchased over the years:


After Leighton reviewed the collection that the Vicars drove to the Just Collect office, Leighton explained the condition and value of the cards to the father and son.  After a little dealing, we all came to an agreement to buy the collection.  My favorite part about the story: Jason and his dad had to take the Tupperware back home with them.

I'm pretty sure that the Jason never told his mom that he snatched her Tupperware back in 1986 and is going to slyly return it now that the cards he stashed in there some 35 years ago no longer occupy the containers.  Makes us wonder - what is more valuable:  The cost of the collection or not having mom yell at you?

Our Buying Philosophy

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 20 years. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.

Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself

The Vicars chose NOT to grade their 1986 Fleer cards, and that's just fine! We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.

We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.

We Are Always Buying

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. We are also buying tickets and ticket stubs from sporting events, concerts, and other famous events such as Michael Jordan's NBA debut. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out our buy list blog here. 

We offer a FREE APPRAISAL! Just click here:


Contact Us ANY TIME About Valuable Michael Jordan Cards

Michael Jordan's 1986 Fleer rookie card is the most well-known of MJ cards, but the NBA legend has a few other rookies and valuable cards we'd be interested in.  Read about the Best Michael Jordan Basketball Cards here.

You can contact us about any of those valuable Jordan cards here:


If you'd like to meet Leighton Sheldon, the owner of Just Collect, and see a video of the cards we purchased from Jason and his dad, here is a great recollection of the The 1986 Fleer Basketball Tupperware Collection:



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