The Future is Fleer
Tomorrow at 12 PM EST, Otis will hold an IPO on a ‘1986 Fleer Basketball Set’ (PSA 10), a complete set of 1986-87 Fleer Basketball cards in Gem Mint condition. The financials:
• Market Cap: $230,000
• Price Per Share: $10.00
• Total Shares: 23,000
How did 1986 Fleer Basketball become one of the most important sets of all time?
After 1981-82, Topps stopped producing basketball cards for a decade, missing out on printing the rookie cards of 1980’s stars. The only company producing licensed NBA basketball cards in the mid-80’s was the Star Company. Star sold their cards in team packs. This non-traditional packing and distribution of Star cards is the main reason Star rookie cards are referred to as “extended rookie cards.” While some hardcore collectors consider Star the true rookie card for a player who made their debut between 1982-1986, team packs are controversial in the hobby because of their non-traditional nature.
Since there were no official rookie cards in production from 1982-1896, the '86 Fleer set boasts the traditional rookie cards of 9 future Hall of Famers: Michael Jordan (1984), Charles Barkley (1984), Karl Malone (1985), Clyde Drexler (1983), Dominique Wilkins (1982), Isiah Thomas (1981), Hakeem ("Akeem") Olajuwon (1984), Joe Dumars (1985) and Chris Mullin (1985). Also note that Isiah Thomas was a rookie in 1981 but was not included in 1981 Topps, hence why the 1986 Fleer set is his Rookie Card.
Anchored by “Air”
Michael Jordan’s Fleer Rookie Card is the most iconic card in the basketball card collecting hobby. Not a bad anchor, eh? This is the third 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan PSA 10 offered by a fractional marketplace, but the first time we’ve seen it anchor a complete set. We wrote about the MJ card in “Jump at the Chance to Dance” in May and spoke with passionate card collector Nat Turner (who just led an investor group to acquire card grading leader PSA) about his outlook on the card as an investment opportunity in September.
The PSA 10 graded version continues to break its own auction sale records this year, selling for $111,000 in late August, and most recently for $124,230 at Goldin Auctions on October 31. At $124,230, the card makes up 54% of the Market Cap of this offering. Yes, The Last Dance served as a catalyst in April-May, but the Jordan card and memorabilia market remains red-hot six months later.
For the complete set as a whole, 6.64% of the population of cards submitted to PSA have registered a PSA 10. There were 19,965 Michael Jordan cards that have been submitted for grading, and there are currently only 317 MJ PSA 10’s. That's just 1.59% of the total population of his card submitted to PSA. Of course, the percentage is impacted by the volume of cards submitted for MJ - the player with the next most submissions is Hakeem Olajuwan at 6,809, with 4.75% of his cards achieving a PSA 10 grade.
Johnny, Jeff and Alvan
That's Johnny Moore, Jeff Malone, and Alvan Adams. These three each rank in the top 10 in standalone value in this 132-card set. We know what you’re thinking: "Who?" And then, "How?"
It all comes down to scarcity. It’s notoriously difficult to find these cards in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, which requires perfect centering combined with zero printing defects. That is why so few exist, and their value is a product of their scarcity as high-end collectors attempt to complete this holy grail of a set.
Of the 2,435 Johnny Moore cards submitted to PSA, only 65, or 2.67%, of them have registered a PSA 10. This card is considered the rarest in the set. Of the 1,692 Jeff Malone cards submitted to PSA, only 63, that’s 3.72%, of them have registered a PSA 10. While Jeff Malone has the fewest PSA 10’s in the set, his cards register a PSA 10 at a higher percentage than Moore’s. Alvan Adams has the third fewest PSA 10’s, just 67 of his 1,536 cards submitted scored a 10, 4.36% of his card's population.
Here is a look at the top 10 most valuable cards in the set based on their most recent sale as well as PSA 10 grades as a percentage of their PSA submitted population:
1. Michael Jordan (1.59%): $124,230 (10/31/20)
2. Johnny Moore (2.67%): $16,000 (10/23/20)
3. Hakeem Olujuwon (4.75%): $7,621 (11/16/20)
4. Dominique Wilkins (2.16%): $7,388 (11/16/20), $6,298 (11/16/20)
5. Charles Barkley (3.4%): $6,101 (11/16/20)
6. Checklist 1-132 (3.26%): $4,327 (11/16/20)
7. Patrick Ewing (4.74%): $4,050 (11/16/20)
8. Jeff Malone (3.72%): $3,909 (11/16/20)
9. Alvan Adams (4.36%): $3,250 (11/16/20)
10. Karl Malone (3.19%): $3,050 (11/16/20)
Fleer Facts and Fractional Opportunity
• In addition to the 132 card-set, there is also a set of 11 stickers inserted one per pack. The stickers, which are not included in this offering, feature Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Adrian Dantley, Alex English, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Akeem Olajuwon, Isiah Thomas and Dominique Wilkins. The most recent Michael Jordan PSA 10 graded sticker sold for $37,300, and the most recent PSA 10 sales for the set of 11 combined comes out to $67,389. Centering is a consistent issue with the stickers, and quantity is similar to the cards, so PSA 10's are hard to come by. Fair to say this 11-sticker set could serve as a future offering of its own.
• Rally has teased a 1986 Fleer Basketball sealed wax box with a Market Cap of $165,000 at $10/share. There are 36 packs per box with 12 cards and one sticker per pack. In 1986, a pack cost just $0.50. At $165,000, a pack from this box costs $4,583. Collectable has also teased a sealed wax box, details forthcoming.
• This is the second sports card IPO from Otis. Otis launched its secondary market on October 26th, but the other offering, a 2003 Topps Chrome Refractor Lebron James Rookie Card (PSA 10), is not yet trading as it IPO'd just 48 days ago, and there is a 90-day lock up period post funded IPO. Of the 8 assets trading across art, comic books, and sneakers, 7 are trading higher, by an average of 22%.
• Otis purchased this complete set from Heritage Auctions for $216,000. There are very few comps as there are only public auction records of four sales between 2004-2020. However, the most recent price data for individual PSA 10 cards in the set indicates the complete set can be assembled for $221,892. Good luck assembling that.
The 1986 Fleer Basketball Complete Set IPO's tomorrow at 12 PM EST on Otis.
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