Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson Debut Tickets Shatter Sales Records at Auction
Heritage Auctions. Pictured: A ticket from Michael Jordan’s NBA debut that was auctioned on Saturday.
Tickets as collectibles had a coming-out party on Saturday night as two tickets shattered the all-time sales record.
The only known existing full version of a Michael Jordan debut ticket sold for $468,000 at Dallas-based Heritage Auction, and a 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers ticket from Jackie Robinson’s color barrier-breaking debut game sold for $480,000.
Prior to last year, tickets weren’t seen as much as a collectible. A signed ticket to Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech at $95,600 was the record holder among the four major sports for almost seven years.
But the $100,000 barrier soon fell. In October, a Mickey Mantle debut ticket sold for $141,000. In November, fractional share company Rally sold a Wilt Chamberlain 100-point game ticket at a $115,000 valuation.
In December, the all-time record was broken again when a Jordan debut ticket sold for $264,000. Even modern tickets had their day — with Tom Brady-signed debut tickets selling for $175,000 and $153,000 in the last few months.
The ticket from Robinson’s debut, April 15, 1947, is one of the two highest graded by PSA, which has graded a total of seven tickets from that day. A Robinson debut in a lesser condition sold exactly a year ago for $40,800.
The Jordan ticket was recently found by Michael Cole, who saved the full ticket because he couldn’t find a friend to go to Jordan’s debut with him that October night in 1984. Cole wasn’t even there to see Jordan, he showed up to see his beloved Bullets.
Four other interesting tickets sold for big money. The highest-graded ticket from Tiger Woods’ pro debut, the 1996 Milwaukee Open, sold for $99,000. Another Gehrig speech ticket — this one unsigned — sold for $108,000, a ticket from Elvis Presley’s last live performance sold for $34,800 and a Vince Lombardi-signed Ice Bowl ticket sold for $25,200.
The high price paid at the auction for any item was $1.68 million for a questionnaire filled out by Jackie Robinson in 1946, the year before he broke the color barrier.