The group of cards that are most likely to attract the most attention for the 2014 Topps Larry Bird and Magic Johnson rookie cards will not include the highest priced card on the list, the Jackie Robinson set, but instead likely include two common cards in the set: a rookie card for either Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, and a complete set of rookie cards for both players.
The Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rookie card set is one of the most popular and valuable pieces of sports memorabilia out there. Thursday, the sellers from Heritage Auctions offered up three copies of the card as part of their Sports Legends: The Auction, and the cards are going to go on the auction block on Friday.
Rookie cards are usually the most important – and valuable – cards printed for an athlete. In it, the world initially meets the player through a small piece of cardboard. The better the player accomplishes the task, the more valuable the card. A rare beginner card can fetch a lot of money. Few things are as rare as a 40 year old superstar rookie card in perfect condition. One such card is currently being auctioned off online – a flawless card from NBA rookies Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
This card from the 1980-81 Topps set was the first to be issued with Byrd. Since they were rookies that year (1979-80), it was a first for Magic. It was also a three-panel card; between the two rookie stars was a third Hall of Fame member, Julius Erving. A blank card from over 40 years ago with the beginnings of not one, but two Hall of Fame players? With a legend from the third game for good measure? It takes more than a change of sofa cushions – much more.
The auction house SCP Auctions estimates that it fetched more than $500,000. That’s a lot of banks, baby.
Sports cards have been around since the late 19th century. The century. But in the ’80s, collecting became big business. According to an article by Dave Jamieson (Slate, 2010), investment advisors recommended cards as an alternative to stocks. The biggest prize was a beginner’s card. But there was trouble ahead.
It was like a real estate bubble in the early 21st century. The market for the cards quickly ran out of steam. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, an estimated 81 billion cards were printed per year. It’s hard to call something rare when there are millions of them. Older cards, such as those from the early Larry Bird and Magic Johnson era, still retain some of their value. But there was another floor.
However, the industry recovered in 2020 and is now experiencing a historic boom. According to Yahoo News, seven of the top 10 individual ticket sales have taken place since July 2020. When the country was shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19), live sports broadcasts were suspended. Meanwhile, bored fans rediscovered their old postcard collections. The market has gained momentum and responded with 21st century digital versions of the old cardboard standards.
According to CNN, Michael Jordan’s rookie card sold at auction in early February for $738,000. A few weeks earlier, the same card – not similar, but exactly the same – had sold for $215,000. That’s a 243% increase in value in a few weeks.
This rookie card, featuring legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and Hall of Fame member Julius Erving, is expected to fetch at least $500,000 at an online auction. | Image used with permission of SCP Auctions
Larry Bird’s rookie card will have tremendous value. He is one of the best players of all time, with a portfolio full of awards and multiple championship rings. Magic Johnson is no different.
For children of a certain age, however, a card featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson is the equivalent of Christmas, a birthday and summer vacation all in one.
To understand the appeal of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, remember that the sports climate was very different in the late 1970s and 1980s. The NBA was not universally popular. It was not even particularly popular in the domestic market. CBS, which owned the broadcast rights to the NBA, broadcast the NBA Finals games late at night. After the latest local news.
But Magic and Byrd spearheaded the game’s growing popularity. Their 1979 NCAA championship game remains the most watched basketball game in history.
The card is divided into three separate cards by a perforation. However, the auctioned card with the three legends is still intact. Split cards cost a fraction of the original three-coin cards.
Starting at 5pm. In the East, the highest bid for the Vogel-Johnson card reached 8. July almost $354,000.
In the late 1980s, thanks in part to the popularity of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Jordan, not only the NBA Finals but also the Conference Finals were televised live.
The proliferation of cable and then streaming platforms has divided viewers, but the NBA is a valuable part of television programming.
It is unclear how long the current boom in sports cards will last. But someone would pay a lot of money to get a rare piece. Since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson share a common heritage, it’s almost a given that their rookie cards will look similar.
COMPARED TO: Magic Johnson used his $600 million fortune by renting a $1.1 million-a-week superyacht for a summer vacation
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