For those trying to find the competitive edge in sports card collecting and investing, the edge always goes back understanding supply and demand. Supply is measured in the number of copies of a particular card in a particular grade (it’s easier to understand for flagship rookie cards).
It gets a little trickier with modern players, parallels, dual autos, sets, etc., but there are a lot of resources to understand supply.
Demand is much harder to understand and people who are in-tune with it can see when new waves are forming.
In the case of the Michael Jordan Fleer 1986 PSA 10 - it has a lot going for it. Relatively low population. The recognized single rookie card for Michael Jordan. One of the greatest and most popular basketball players of all time. That’s why even in a decline, it still commands a nearly $400,000 price tag.
That price tag is one of the most overlooked influencers of supply and demand.
From December 2019 - February 2020, there was only 1 sale in each month of the 1986 Fleer Jordan rookie. There were 2 sales in March, and 0 in April.
In May 2020 there were a total of 7 copies of this card on public record. That represents 2% of the population of the card.
Remember when I said that paying $75 for an ungraded Patrick Mahomes Prizm rookie felt expensive? Well, at that time, you could have purchased a Fleer Jordan rookie PSA 10 for $27,000.
As prices increase to certain levels, it’s hard for people to hold onto a card, no matter how much they love it.
The card sold 20 times from March of 2019 to March of 2020 publicly. That means that there are at least 20 people who could now make life-changing money by selling their copy (and many others who bought privately or before March 2019).
The dozen or so copies of this card that have sold in 2021 are likely not going to be for sale for a very, very long time.
As more copies sell in 2021, the lower the available supply becomes. Most collectors have a price, but as more and more of them sell for significant gains, it's going into the hands of people who can be patient and won’t sell, even on a decline.
It would take a new record for them to send their cards into the auction houses.
We can see the same trend with the 2018 Kylian Mbappe Prizm Silver PSA 10: