Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1986 Star Larry Bird

This month’s Vintage Card of the Month comes from a 1980s set, the 1986 Star set. The Star Company had the exclusive NBA license from 1983 through 1986 and these sets included the true rookie cards of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton (among others). There were 37 total sets released and the cards were so limited in comparison to other sets printed in the 80s and 90s that the highest print run was 15,000, for the 1983 All-Star set, and the lowest was 440, for the 1986 Best of the Old. Sets were sold in hobby shops only and they were packed out in team bags.
Some of the problems associated with these sets include ink bleed through and off-center cutting. In 1986 Star lost the NBA license to Fleer and the company went under. It did not help that in the late 90s former owner, Robert Levin, re-printed some of his earlier sets for one of those television shop at home channels, thus counterfeiting his own cards. The NBA got involved and Levin eventually ceased his new operations and turned over all unsold cards to be destroyed but there were plenty of re-printed cards already sold, the Jordan and Barkley rookies were among the most popular of the re-prints.
I picked up a green Boston Celtics team bag 20 years ago for $40 through an auction house, pre-eBay days when you had to call the auction house and request a catalog, submit your bid through mail or phone and then wait for 7-10 days after the auction closed to find out if you won. Fortunately I picked up the set before the re-prints in the late 90s so I know that this is an original set.
The front is in great condition, there is a small divot in the upper right corner and the card is cut a little off-center but otherwise great color and no bleeding ink. The back is plain white with text covering a bio and stats. The back is also cut off-center but otherwise in great condition.
I know that many people do not consider the Star basketball sets to be official releases but there are plenty of Star fans out there, just do a search for the sets and you will see what some people are willing to pay. Currently there are 8 of this Larry Bird cards for sale, 7 white versions and 1 green version. The green version is graded BGS 9 and has a $239.98 BIN/BO price.  

1 comment: