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Auction Action: Heritage June Sports Auction

Auction Action: Heritage June Sports Auction
June 22, 2023
Bradley Calleja
In this edition of Auction Action, preview the top lots set to sell in the June Sports Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions.

Lots to Watch

Lot #59679: 1985 Star Co. Basketball High Grade Complete Set

Last July, PSA announced that it would resume grading 1984-85 Star basketball cards. The leading grading and authentication agency had previously stopped grading the prized Star cards in the early 1990s due to issues surrounding the legitimacy of several cards that surfaced after the card manufacturer lost its NBA license and started liquidating assets. After merging with Collectors Universe and completing a thorough review of the infamous 'Star situation', PSA is now confident that it can properly examine and grade the cards while ensuring authenticity - and prices for PSA graded examples are already seeing increased values at auction.
Putting aside the controversy, the 1985 Star Co. Basketball Complete Set holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and fans of basketball cards. Released during the height of the basketball card boom of the 1980s, this set is known for its iconic players and unique, eye-catching design which showcases some of basketball's greatest legends.
Star Co. was a trading card company that emerged in the mid-1980s and became one of the primary competitors to industry giant, Topps. They acquired the license from the National Basketball Association (NBA) to produce officially licensed basketball cards, allowing them to feature players from various teams. The 1985 Star Co. Basketball Complete Set was one of their early releases and gained significant popularity among collectors with players like Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, and Akeem Olajuwon.
The set consisted of 288 cards, including star players, rookies, and season-specific variations. Two of those variants can be found with cards that feature Michael Jordan. The cards numbered #195 and #288 showcase Jordan as an Olympic gold medalist and Rookie of the Year respectively and are included in addition to Jordan's highly coveted base card, numbered #101. Through early bidding this complete set of 288 PSA graded cards has surpassed $21,000 and should go even higher before the auction closes.

Lots #59871: 1985 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Wax Box with 48 Unopened Packs

Another iconic set from the 1980s, this 1985 O-Pee-Chee Hockey box is arguably the most important sealed hockey wax from the decade ever produced. O-Pee-Chee, a Canadian company, was renowned for producing high-quality hockey cards that captured the excitement and talent of the NHL players and was initially made famous with the 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie but would later also produce the rookie card of Pittsburgh Penguin great, Mario Lemieux.
O-Pee-Chee, originally a chewing gum company, ventured into the hockey card market in the 1930s and became a major player in a growing industry. The set showcased players from all 21 NHL teams at the time, including rising stars, seasoned veterans, and future Hall of Famers.
In addition to the rookie card of Mr. Lemieux, the 1985 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set included cards featuring other notable stars like Paul Coffey, Mike Bossy, Denis Savard, and Mark Messier, and of course, Wayne Gretzky. In the past, gem mint copies of the Lemieux rookie have sold for more than $80,000 although prices have since dropped closer to $30,000. The sealed wax has reached $12,600 heading into the final days of the Heritage event.

Lot #59816: 1997 Skybox Metal Universe Football Precious Metal Gems (Green) Uncut Sheet

We're not sure what the buyer of this incredible display will do with each of the rare and unique 1990s football cards, but there's little question they will be owners of a true display of sports card art. The Green Precious Metal Gems (PMG) cards in the 1997 Skybox Metal Universe Football set are not only eye-catching and significant, they are also regarded as some of the most valuable football cards ever produced. The Green PMG cards, limited to just 150 copies each, hold a special place in the hearts of collectors due to their scarcity and striking appearance.
True to their name, the Green PMG cards feature a vibrant green background that shimmers and only adds to their visual appeal. The metal construction of the cards, coupled with the bold color scheme, creates a truly unique piece of collectible cardboard that still remains a favorite among collectors to this day.
Among the notable players featured in the Green PMG subset are, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Deion Sanders. Rookie cards include Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez, Walter Jones, and Orlando Pace. This uncut, 100 card sheet has already garnered some attention with the price pushing above $6,000 while previous sheets have sold for more than $20,000.

All Images via Heritage Auctions

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