Jordan Upper Deck 16-auto card hit

Matt McClure of Seattle, Washington just landed one of the most valuable Michael Jordan cards - ever.

A few months ago, I brought you the story of Panini Flawless basketball cards. The high-end trading cards now sell for up to $2,100 for a 10-card pack.

Shortly after Panini Flawless debuted, a veteran in the industry released its highly successful, high-end basketball product. Upper Deck’s 2012-13 Exquisite Basketball series (click on the previous link to see price and product details) has an upper-hand in that it possesses exclusive rights to Michael Jordan’s and LeBron James’ autographs on its trading cards. In fact, two of the signature pieces of this year’s Exquisite set were James and Jordan booklets that featured 16 variations of their autographs.

The LeBron Upper Deck Exquisite 16-signature booklet just sold on eBay for $7,500.

The Jordan had not been pulled … until last night.


Seattle, WA - Matt McClure, a 40-year-old husband and father working in the digital advertising industry, decided to put in some overtime at his Seattle, Washington office on the night of December 4, 2013.

To keep him company during the extra hours, Matt flipped on his new favorite channel. Now, for some that would be, ahem, FOX, FX, FXX, FOX Deportes or perhaps FS1, but over the last three months, has been appointment television.

The online community draws trading card collectors from around the world together for daily and nightly pack, box and case breaks. In short, consumers have a variety of “storefronts” to choose from on Collectors can make their purchase on the dealer's website before the dealer breaks the product live on-camera for the collector(s). Three months ago, when Matt first got back into the hobby, he questioned the business model.

“At first, I thought it was the dumbest idea I had ever seen; that he was going to open it for me,” Matt said. “I couldn’t figure out why you wouldn’t want to open it for yourself. But I just found myself, after work, driving my wife nuts, just watching him open boxes of cards.”

Here he was again, at his office, working O-T and shooting the breeze with other collectors in Dan’s Cardz break room chat.  As was the case on other nights, Matt felt the urge to gamble and buy into a group break.

Now, there are a variety of ways to break a box or case of cards. To keep it simple, here’s the, err, breakdown:

Matt's Group Break in Dan’s Cardz room:

• One box of 2012-13 Upper Deck Exquisite (~$500+ / box)
• One box of 2012-13 Panini Immaculate (~$450 / box)
• Each spot in the break costs $110 and that guaranteed Matt the "rights" to three NBA teams
• After 10 spots were purchased (10 spots x 3 NBA teams = 30 NBA teams), the people buying into the break had their names entered into a randomizer
• The 30 names and 30 NBA teams were paired up

For the second time Wednesday night, Matt won the rights to any Chicago Bulls pulled out of the two boxes in the break.

“I’ve been really lucky the past few days. {Earlier in the week} I got an Iman Shumpert NBA logoman out of Panini National Treasures.”  See what National Treasures NBA Logoman cards are going for here.

In a fun twist, the owner of Dan's Sports Cardz actually tried to buy the rights to the Chicago Bulls off Matt before the break started.  It was that run of good luck that kept Matt from pulling the trigger on the deal.

However, the break of Upper Deck Exquisite didn't get off to a great start.

“I think I got a Shawn Bradley, nothing all too exciting. Then A.J. (the seller/dealer) pulls out the book and he kind of loses it. Then he opened it and just walked away, which is really unlike him.”

"I was probably shaking for an hour," A.J. Andruszkiewicz said.  "This was the most valuable card I've ever held."

When A.J. walked away from the table, Matt had no idea what was in the book. A.J. came back to the table shaking.

“He picks it up and holds it up to the camera," Matt said.  "Thankfully nobody was here in the office because they probably thought I was having a heart attack. I was screaming. I, for some reason, put my head out the window. I did not know what to do.”

Matt, a 40-year-old husband and father, had just hit a one-of-one Michael Jordan quad-booklet with 16-signatures of his "Airness" . Matt called his wife to show her his their new prized possession

“I tend to over-exaggerate value of {cards}. So, I had to have a professional in the business explain to her how valuable {this Michael Jordan card} was.”

"I'm so happy he got it and that Dan's Cardz pulled it," A.J. said. "It's a feather in our cap."

Early estimates value the card somewhere in the ballpark of $15,000-$20,000.  Somebody in the room suggested a MSRP of $23,230.23, too.

"I have to sell it because I can't have this thing in my house," Matt said.  "I have this fear that I'm going to walk in my sleep and drop it in the toilet or my kids are going to get it."

Before he left the break room for the evening, Matt tipped out his other Michael Jordan autograph card (yeah, he won two that night) to A.J. and doled out the rest of his cards, including a Kevin Durant autographed relic valued at several hundred dollars, to fellow collectors in the room.

“I honestly felt that if I didn’t share the wealth after getting that card, I was headed straight for hell.”

Turns out Matt, like Mr. Jordan, also comes up clutch in overtime.

Ryan Fowler is's fantasy editor and host of the FOX Sports Team Report Podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud.

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