Before Sunday, the most expensive collectable sports ticket was a stub from Michael Jordan’s NBA debut that was sold for $264,000.
Now, that stub is the third-most expensive collectible sports ticket, as two others — one from Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut and a different ticket from Jordan’s NBA debut — broke the record at Heritage Auctions on Sunday.
The ticket stub from Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 was sold for $480,000, while an unused ticket from Jordan‘s debut with the Chicago Bulls in 1984 went for $468,000.
Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions, said the sale was a representation of the rise in ‘popularity’ of tickets and stubs from past sporting events.
“Tickets are riding a popularity wave like we’ve seen before with vintage photography, [especially with this] ticket stub from Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier,” Ivy said, per ESPN. “Thousands of people go down to their basement and come across items. We’ve gotta answer all of them before something like this comes along.”
The previous owner of the unused ticket from Jordan’s debut told the story of why he has the unused ticket in an interview with ESPN. Mike Cole, who was a freshman at Northwestern in 1984, was gifted two tickets to the game by his father, but Cole was new to the area and didn’t have anyone to go with him. It is the only known unused ticket from Jordan’s debut.
“It was my first time seeing a Bulls game,“ Cole told ESPN. “Years after his death and he’s still providing for me.“