Jeff Walters

Collect Auctions: Top Lots from August 2020

In a summer without card shows or the National, multiple auctions have stepped up to provide high end collectibles to both the serious and casual collectors. When it comes to unopened items, perhaps Collect Auctions has outdone them all this summer with some of the ultra high end items that were auctioned!


1986 Fleer Basketball Unopened Case

1986 Fleer basketball case

Sold for $1,789,717

Over the last 40 years, this is easily one of the most highly sought after cases with Michael Jordan rookie. This was the first “mainstream” basketball card set after Topps stopped producing them in 1981 and serendipity struck. It’s hard to realize this today, but basketball in the early to mid 80’s was far from where it is today.   However, that was changing with “Showtime” and Magic out in LA and Bird in Boston. In the Center-city, a young Michael Jordan was just starting to make a name for himself on the dreadful Chicago Bull teams of the era. Enter Fleer to try and tap into this growing popularity and although the set was small, they nailed all the key rookies and stars of the day but none more so than card #57 Michael Jordan’s rookie.

Following the 10 part mini-series called the Last Dance, and partially due to the COVID lockdowns, the PSA 10 Jordan rookie cards have more than doubled from what they were selling for just a few months ago.

So, here’s the big question… do you keep the case intact? If so, it is almost certain to appreciate significantly or… do you break it to sell it by the box? There are 12 boxes in this case. These could be wrapped as Fresh from a Sealed Case (FASC). Or, do you open this case? Typically, there are roughly 3-4 Jordan rookies per box (as well as each other card). That should yield somewhere around 40ish rookies. How many PSA 10’s would be in these?


1987 Fleer Basketball Unopened Case

1987 fleer basketball case

Sold for $156,839

This is the 2nd year of Fleer basketball. Basically, just say “ditto” to everything above but in the context of a 2nd year set.

Same question – do you save this, open it or break it up?


1973 Topps Baseball Unopened Cello Box

1973 topps baseball cello box

Sold for $31,861

Early 1970’s product has dried up. In the early 1990’s you could still find an odd case (for instance, Mr. Mint auctioned off a 1973 rack case with high number cards in the early 1990s), and boxes were somewhat available. Fast forward to today and a cello box like this might come up for sale every year or two. There simply are many left. Considering graded cellos from this issue sell around $1000+, if you can’t own this one, perhaps one of those would be a good alternative.

1973 was the last year for “series” until the mid 1990’s and it’s unclear which series this cello contains. However, the 1973 set overall contains some key rookies like Mike Schmidt, Dwight Evans, and Hall of Famers including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Nolan Ryan, and Roberto Clemente’s last card.


1971 Topps Winners Complete BVG-Graded Set

1971 topps winners complete bvg graded set

Sold for $35,579

This was one of the forgotten items from a Topps promo back in 1971. According to the auction listing,

“The legendary and elusive 1971 Topps Winner baseball cards were part of a unique Topps Baseball Card Contest run in test markets during the 1971 season. To enter the contest one had to fill out and send in an entry blank found on special boxes of 1971 Topps cards provided by a participating store (this contest was extremely limited in its scope, with only a handful of test markets known, namely Pittsburgh and Baltimore). After filling out the entry form, one had to send it to Topps in Duryea, Pennsylvania, where 25 Grand Prize Winners were randomly chosen to “Get their picture on real baseball cards.” 1000 Runner Up Winners received a 1971 Uncut sheet of baseball cards (which accounts for some of the volume of those sheets in the marketplace). The 25 Winners were informed by a letter from Sy Berger himself, who gave them the choice of: A. 1000 copies of their own baseball card, along with a box of 1972 Topps with each pack containing one of their cards; or B. a complete set of 1972 Topps cards, containing all the series.” 

What’s fascinating about this set is that a collector, in the dark ages of information, was able to find, gather and build this set as part of their “master set.”


1976 Topps Football Wax Box


1976 topps football wax box

Sold for $14,222

Another key issue included in this auction is this wax box which could include the Walter Payton rookie which sells for $14,222 in PSA 10 conditions. I am very familiar with this box as I had a “find” when I was a kid in the 1970’s. The candy store on the corner wanted to clean out his store of football cards and knew that I purchase all cards from him. He offered my and my friend to buy all of his boxes of 1975 and 1976 football at 5 cents per pack ($1.80 per box). We each chipped in $10 from our paper route money (which was a lot of money for a kid back then) and purchased the 10 boxes he had for $18. We opened a couple, got bored and put the rest away. More than 40 years later, I still own a couple of these boxes.


There were many more items in this auction that are worthy of comments. Feel free to add your own in the comments below!

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