The recent sale of gem mint 1980 Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Topps rookie card sets the record in terms of price. The gem mint rookie card sold for $125,000 on eBay, destroying the previous record of $96,000 in 2016.
“This is the key rookie card of the two most popular players of the 1980s,” says PSA, the top grading company states. “Bird would lead the Boston Celtics to three titles while Magic would lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five.” Both won the MVP three times.
“Basketball is hot for many reasons,” Brent Huigens, the CEO of PWCC and the card’s seller, stated to Forbes. “The international presence is a factor. There is also an argument that basketball could become the most watched and revered professional sport. It caters to individuality and professional personalities better than baseball or football.” Huigens continues, “Our sales internationally are about 10-12%, of which China makes up about half.”
Jeromy Murray, Vice President, also wrote to Forbes saying: “There is a huge basketball market in China!” He continued, “A lot of it is the modern basketball market but is slowly starting to expand to the Hall of Fame player cards from the 80’s and 90’s. This includes rookie cards and insert cards. Michael Jordan is an obvious one and it’s good to see that Bird and Magic Johnson are getting some love now. The market is strong and money to buy these bigger cards is available to many across the world.”
Huigens insisted that this rookie card wasn’t just any gem mint specimen either, but one in the top five percent tier in this grade. “The print is the best we’ve ever seen on this card (in any grade), completely void of even the slightest fleck of print snow,” he states. “The surfaces are spotless and the card is centered exceptionally well.” When it comes to world class commodities, the improbable Bird/Magic rookie cards holds a very special place; odds are incredible that such a card was made.’’
Huigens noted that cards with “superior eye appeal,” typically generate superior auction prices, nearly 65 percent higher than market value of an average appearance of the same card within the same grade. Forbes reports that the card was listed in PSA’s price Sports Market Report at $95,000, $20,000 below its final selling price.