It’s not often that there are 6-figure sports cards that collectors haven’t heard of, but the 1985 Interlake bulls Michael Jordan card might be one of them. Collectors often mention the card alongside the 1985 Nike Michael Jordan Promo and the 1985 Prism/Jewel Michael Jordan Stickers card as pre-rookies. Most collectors consider the 1986 Fleer set to hold Jordan’s rookie since Fleer was the first major release with a Jordan card. Nevertheless, the Interlake card’s scarcity and regional distribution make it a critical Jordan item collectors should know.
The 1985 Interlake Bulls “set” has just two 5’’x7″ blank-backed cards, the Michael Jordan and one of Orlando Woolridge.
The pair of promos were given out in a joint partnership between the Interlake Youth Incentive Program and the Boy Scouts of America in the fall of 1985. You can see the Boy Scouts and Interlake logos at the bottom of the card. I’ve heard rumors that a Jordan wall poster may have been included with the cards at a Chicago Bulls-sponsored dinner for the Boy Scouts. If you happen to know more about the rumored poster release with these cards, please reach out to me in the comments or over on Twitter.
People don’t consider the card a true rookie because it doesn’t have an NBA license and because the extreme regional distribution prevented it from garnering mainstream awareness. I like the card a lot; it captures a pure Jordan moment with his tongue out while wearing what are now classic Nikes.
Since the card is large, had a regional distribution, and storage cases for cards this size weren’t available in 1985, it’s often found with creases and corner wear. Of the 205 graded Jordans, 81 are mid-grade PSA 5s or 6s. However, the big-dollar sales come from the 8 PSA 10s, 22 PSA 9s, 9 PSA 8.5s, and 45 PSA 8s.
The last 3 PSA 10 sales have been:
- $104k in April 2021 at Goldin Auctions
- $228k in March 2021 at Goldin Auctions
- $11,661 in October 2018 at Goldin Auctions (remember, cards, especially Jordan’s, have skyrocketed in price the last few years)
The last 3 PSA 9 sales have been:
- $27k in August 2021 at Goldin Auctions
- $32k in April 2021 at Goldin Auctions
- $51k in March 2021 at Goldin Auctions
And the last 3 PSA 8 sales have been:
- $7.2K in July 2021 on eBay
- $1.6K in April 2020 on eBay
- $1.4k in January 2019 on eBay
Interlake Jordan’s have been heavily counterfeited, so collectors looking to buy raw examples need to be incredibly careful. The counterfeits are glossy, have thinner stock, and are cut slightly smaller than the actual cards. I’d recommend buying one authenticated by a third-party grader, but I think even they have encapsulated some fakes, so do your homework and try to get a look at the card in person if you’re looking to drop 6-figures on one.
Even though the Interlake Joran is an unlicensed regional card, it’s one of the GOAT’s earliest, whose scarcity makes it an important collectible in the modern hobby.