Spring Premier Auction 2020


Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/2/2020

Most of the great 1986-87 Fleer Basketball rookie cards, including Michael Jordan, were preceded by true rookie debuts in the 1984-85 Star Company set. Distributed in 12-card team sets sealed in transparent plastic baggies (called "polybags”), the limited product was sold only through “master distributors” to a select number of hobby shops. Production numbers for the 2nd year issue are believed to be around 3,000 according to Star’s original order form.

His Airness is featured on three cards in the 1984-85 Star Co. Basketball set. The most coveted is his true rookie #101 (offered in lot 9). The other two are his 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist #195 and 1985 Rookie of the Year #288 cards, the latter of which is offered here in rare signed form. Fresh to the market from perhaps the world’s deepest basketball autograph collection, it has been dual-graded by Beckett: NM-MT 8 for the card and Mint 7 for the autograph. The card condition breakdown listed on the back of the holder is: Centering 7.5; Corners 8.5; Edges 8.5; Surface 9. We agree with the card evaluation; it is clearly off-center horizontally on the front. The auto grade, on the other hand, is quite harsh. In our opinion, Jordan’s early-career signature in bold blue Sharpie should at least be an 8.

Finding any of MJ’s three ’84-85 Star Co. cards is difficult enough in their pure format, let alone autographed. We scoured the internet to find comps, recent or past, of this signed #288 ROY card with very little success. The few examples you will find are either not dual-graded or encapsulated by an unknown, outdated or now defunct card grader. What further separates this signed version is the timestamp of the autograph, which matches MJ’s rookie-era form.

In the late 1960’s as a young boy, our consignor Tim Gallagher – who grew up in the same neighborhood as the Paxson brothers, Jim and John – began accumulating what has become the most comprehensive collection of basketball autographs ever documented. He tracked down thousands of players either in person or through the mail and recalls getting Jordan to sign this card in person during his rookie season! Luckily for us and the rest of the hobby, he has decided to part with it and other treasured pieces from his incredible collection.

Provenance: It was in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, in the late 1960s that an 8-year-old boy named Tim Gallagher began what would turn into a lifelong pursuit to acquire as many autographs of famous athletes as possible. Half a century later, his collection across multiple sports (mostly basketball, baseball and football) had become one of the most comprehensive and diverse ever documented. The Dayton Journal Herald (2/5/1974) first reported on the then 15-year-old’s passionate hobby. Tim grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same high school as the Paxson brothers, Jim and John, whose success in college and the NBA would give him access to many stars and Hall of Famers. When he was 46, the Dayton Daily News (7/3/2005) did a feature story about Tim’s collection, which by then had grown to 20,000 plus signatures. Early on most of these came through the mail as he would write athletes (i.e. Bill Walton at UCLA) with self-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes. When possible, he would track down players in person at their team hotels, for example, bringing their photo or trading card to sign. As he settled into his own business career, Tim eventually had the financial means, combined with his connections, to attend major sporting events like the Final Four or charity golf tournaments and get directly in front of dozens of big names. In 2015, Gallagher sold several thousand baseball autographs through a different auction house. But basketball was always his favorite sport, encompassing a vast majority of the collection with a list of legends (Mikan, Wilt, Russell, Pistol, Jordan, Kobe, etc.) and near impossible gets (i.e. Hank Gathers, Len Bias) that cannot be topped. This auction marks the first time he has ever sold any of his beloved hardwood signatures.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $10,780
Number Bids: 24
Auction closed on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items