Food, Cars, and Underwear – In 1998 $26,000 Could’ve Gotten You One Of These MJ Cards

Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s have seen an increase in foot traffic recently.  Underwear can be thanked for that.  Michael Jordan has been a key spokesman for Hanes for 30 years.  To celebrate, Hanes teamed-up with Upper Deck who created a special set of cards.  These exclusive cards can only be found in specially marked Hanes products.  Upper Deck went with the 1988-89 Fleer Basketball design.  (10) Michael Jordan autographs have been thrown in.  They fall 1:108,625 packs.  A complete base set consists of (50) cards with Red and Blue Foil parallels.  All-Star inserts which have Gold Foil parallels are also possible to pull.

Over the years we’ve seen some incredible sales of Michael Jordan cards.  His 1986-87 Fleer rookie is a hobby icon.  Recently a 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green #’ed/10 parallel of his sold for $350,100.  Collectors go crazy for his stuff.  I can’t wait to see what one of those Hanes autographs sells for.  My guess is $500-$1,000.

In 1998, one of the more interesting Michael Jordan cards was created.  A Chevy dealership in Chicago worked with Upper Deck and produced a small 2-card set.  How were you suppose to obtain one of these cards?  That’s simple.  All you needed to do was purchase a new 1998 Chevy Blazer for $26,000.  Along with the keys to your new purchase, you’ed be handed one of the two cards.  It doesn’t end there folks.  Those cards came with a nice little perk.  You could exchange them for a dinner in a glassed-in room at Michael Jordan’s Restaurant.

Either not many people purchased Chevy Blazers from that dealership, or they did and decided to cash-in on the dinner offer.  Very few of these cards exist today.  Restaurant staff most likely threw them away.

Condition can be a big issue.  They were handled a lot.  Gem mint examples can sell for $600 per card.

Reprints also are a problem.  Based on the reprints I’ve seen, ones of Michael Jordan in the “looking down” pose have a black border around the edge on both the front and back.  Reprints of the “smiling” pose seem to just have this border on the reverse.

Michael Jordan’s Restaurant is still open.  According to the cards, you’re suppose to call 312-644-DUNK (3865) ext. 227 to make reservations.  I called the number, but its been disconnected.  Their new number is (630) 828-2932.

I’d love to see someone pull up to his restaurant today in their 1998 Chevy Blazer, whip out one of these cards, and ask for their meal.

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Card of the Day: Michael Myers 1998 Pinnacle Auto

Card of the Day: Alex Cora 1998 Team Best Auto

Card of the Day: Jay Bell 1998 Topps #140

Card of the Day: Roger Clemens 1998 Fleer Ultra Pizzazz #492

Product Highlight: 1998 Riddell Game Greats

Why?  Its a simple question that is asked quite a bit in this hobby.  Sometimes you just have to wonder what people were thinking when it came to giving the “ok” to a new product.  Maybe they deliberately wanted these products to flop just to create good blogging material twenty years later.  If that’s the case, then I’d call it a success.

Traditionally, Riddell is known for making sports equipment.  Over the years though they’ve dabbled in the collectibles market.  One of their collectible ventures came in 1998 with Game Greats.  These miniature busts feature 360° wrap-surround digital imaging.  That’s just fancy talk meaning they printed a digital picture and folded it into a loop.  I guess using an actual image was the main selling point verses having a molded plastic face.

Riddell made a series for both baseball and football.  The baseball set consists of six players – Ken Griffey, Jr., Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Sammy Sosa.  Football has seven – Troy Aikman, John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Kordell Stewart, Steve Young, and Barry Sanders.

In order to obtain the Barry Sanders bust, you needed to mail-in three proofs of purchase along with the original register receipt.  Barry Sanders wasn’t sold in stores like the others.  If you didn’t want Barry Sanders, you could still request one of the other busts for free.

Riddell offered a mail-in program for baseball too, but I’m unclear as to what you’d get in return.  On the proof of purchase for the football busts, it states the exact name of the bust it came from.  For example, the proof of purchase for the John Elway bust says “’98 Elway – Blue Jersey”.  The proof of purchase for the baseball busts is a little different.  For example, Mark McGwire’s just says “’99 McGwire”.  Just like the football, the baseball busts were released in 1998.  The checklist on the backside of the baseball packaging identifies them from 1998 too.  So why do the proof of purchase for the baseball players state they’re from 1999?  Unlike football, nothing is stated on the back of the baseball busts as to what you’d receive.  I’m thinking the baseball proof of purchase were going to be used for a future product that never arrived given how poorly Release 1 sold.

You can easily find these for sale.  Sellers can’t give them away.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone at Riddell is sitting on a few rare prototypes.

Card of the Day: Ryan Leaf 1998 Score Showcase Artist Proof #141