Michael Jordan's 1986 Fleer rookie card (#57) is one of the most recognizable and desirable sports cards of all-time. While it's relatively easy to find (e.g., there are over 24,000 PSA graded copies of this card), it has always been in high demand despite the large amount of supply. Just a few weeks ago, however, on May 8th, a PSA 7.0 of Jordan's 1984-85 Star #101 card sold for $30,099.

Is it time for the King to step aside?

During the past six weeks, two PSA 7.0s of Jordan's Star #101 card sold for over $30,000.

There's been a surge of interest in Jordan's 1984-85 Star #101 card in recent months. Although sales of PSA-graded copies of this card are rare, we've seen several PSA 7.0s and an 8.0 sell during public auctions in 2024. On March 30, 2024, Goldin Auctions sold a PSA 8.0 for $73,200. Then on April 6, 2024, a 7.0 sold for an undisclosed amount on eBay (a "best offer" sale), and then two 7.0s sold for over $30,000 on eBay on April 27th and May 8th. The latter sale received 55 bids.

Consider for a moment that the FMV of a PSA 9.0 of Jordan's much more well known 1986 Fleer rookie card is just under $17,000 (a PSA 10 might sell for close to $200,000). While it's difficult to determine what the FMV of a PSA 9.0 of Jordan's Star #101 card is (there are only three PSA 9.0s in PSA's Population Report) since there are no publicly recorded sales of a 9.0., Cllct reported that a 9.0 sold for an unbelievable $925,000 in a private sale. That sale can't be verified but if true it certainly presents strong evidence that the market now sees the Star #101 card as Jordan's "true" rookie card.

Collectors have historically preferred Jordan's 1986 Fleer #57 card.

This is, of course, a highly debated topic. It can't be denied that Jordan's Star #101 card was: (1) officially licensed by the NBA (we know that's true because of the Chicago Bulls logo on the front of the card); (2) printed two years earlier than the Fleer card; and (3) included in a set that had a much smaller print run than the 1986 Fleer set. Considering that this card is more scarce, officially licensed, and actually came out during Jordan's rookie year, it's surprising to me that there's any debate at all.

For many years, the Star #101 card has suffered from allegations of rampant counterfeiting (and reprinting); however, the same could be said about Jordan's 1986 Fleer card. In addition, with PSA now authenticating Star cards like Jordan's #101 card, counterfeiting should no longer be a concern for collectors.

One likely reason that investors have snubbed Jordan's Star #101 card has been its photograph. It's a terrible photograph of Michael apparently grabbing a rebound with other players in both the foreground and the background. When you compare this photograph against the photograph of Michael on his Fleer card (it's similar to his iconic "Jumpman" pose -- see below), it's clear why collectors would prefer the latter.

It's reasonable to believe if Star cards had gotten a better photograph of Michael, it likely would have upended basketball sports cards history by dramatically changing the value of these two cards.

Do you prefer Jordan's Star #101 card or his Fleer #57 card? Which side of the debate do you fall on? Please let us know what your opinion is in the comments section below!