Tickets From the Careers of Michael Jordan and Jackie Robinson Just Broke Auction Records

Enduring pieces of sporting history

Michael Jordan
Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan fights for a rebound with Portland Trail Blazers guard Isaiah Rider.

For some collectors of sports memorabilia, owning something worn by a particular athlete might well be their grand achievement. For others, an attainable goal could be a valuable autograph or card of some sort. But there’s also a perennial interest in tickets tied to landmark moments in the careers of various athletes. And this weekend, two such tickets ended up making history.

On Sunday, USA Today reports, tickets from the debuts of Jackie Robinson and Michael Jordan sold at record prices. A ticket stub from the 1947 game in which Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers sold for $480,000. That set a new record — and it did so by eclipsing a sale made earlier during the same auction.

The previous record holder was a ticket from Michael Jordan’s 1984 debut with the Chicago Bulls, which sold for $468,000. Note that that says “ticket” there, rather than “ticket stub.” This was, in fact, an unused ticket for the game which, according to the auction listing, the original buyer purchased in the hopes of watching the game with a friend. That didn’t pan out — but they did end up with a highly in-demand sporting artifact.

There are many reasons why virtual tickets have gained in popularity in recent years, but that phenomenon also makes tickets like these feel like a glimpse of a bygone era. Perhaps that’s why demand for them seems to be on the rise.

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