Michael Jordan rookie cards with autographed stickers polarize collectors

Some call it genius, others say it's wrong to transfer an MJ auto onto a 1986 Fleer rookie

Cover Image for Michael Jordan rookie cards with autographed stickers polarize collectors
Labeled as having an "after-market" sticker, the Michael Jordan rookie cards were graded by Beckett.

Four autographed Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer rookie cards sold Monday night on eBay, and they are causing a stir in the hobby.

That’s because the signatures are on stickers that were taken off other Jordan cards and affixed onto the rookies.

While Beckett noted on its slabs that the autograph is “after market,” it still graded each card as is, even though the sticker is technically a foreign substance.

“Beckett Authentication Services is labeling them exactly what they are — an after-market sticker,” David Poole, director of graders for Beckett, said in a statement. “Beckett Grading Services will then grade the card and the sticker as normal. If the sticker is damaged, creased, bubbled up etc. then we will deduct accordingly on the surface grade.”

The people behind the cards are Mike and Shelley Stasik, a married couple hoping to grow their family. Entering their fourth IVF cycle, with the costs mounting, the Stasiks — who have a huge Jordan collection — wanted to figure out a way to make money without having to sell their best items.

One day, Mike saw a Kendall Brown Panini Prizm card that was graded by Beckett as having an authentic autograph.

“I thought, 'So many people can’t afford to buy an on-rookie card auto of Michael Jordan, why not make them?’” Stasik said.

Stasik won’t give away his secrets, but said he and his wife took Upper Deck North Carolina cards that had Jordan stickers on them and, without using any extra adhesive, transferred them to Jordan rookies.

He then submitted one to Beckett, and it was graded. The Stasiks then made 14 more.

Mike said at the time he was doing this, he did it in secrecy so as not to drive the cost of the Jordan stickers up. He said he paid roughly $2,000 per sticker. Today, it would be difficult to get one for double that.

And that’s why his arbitrage works.

A Beckett graded 6.5 Jordan Fleer rookie card is worth around $4,000. Assuming he bought the sticker for $2,000, a sale of $11,500 means he nearly doubled his money.

What the Stasiks have done has polarized collectors.

“Some people on Facebook say they want me to go to jail,” Stasik said. “Other people told me this is one of the best things they have seen.”

A spokesman for Upper Deck, which holds the exclusive autograph rights to Jordan, said that since the brand has not issued Fleer Jordan rookies with labels, the brand “cannot speak to the authenticity of those autographs."

Stasik said he merely took them off the Upper Deck UNC cards and even supplied the cards with the sticker removed to Beckett when he submitted them for grading. He then consigned them through eBay seller Rick Probstein.

Stasik, ironically, said he bought a signed on-card Jordan rookie in 2016 that had an Upper Deck Authenticated sticker on it, and it came with a pamphlet. When he called Upper Deck to verify, he said they told him they didn’t have good record-keeping back then. Like many people, Stasik was caught up in an Upper Deck sticker scam, and the autograph failed.

For it’s part, card and autograph grading leader PSA confirmed to cllct that it would give the cards an N9 designation, short for "Do Not Grade" since the card and the autograph were not originally meant to be together.

“If the autograph passed our DNA authentication, it might have been encapsulated with a ‘sticker’ designation under our current policy,” PSA president Ryan Hoge said.

In a strange twist, PSA would, and has, authenticated Beckett-graded Jordan cards. PSA is the authentication service used for eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee. The distinction, Hoge said, is PSA is only charged in that case with making sure the holder is real, and that the card matches the eBay listing.

“We are not authenticating the card or autograph,” he said.

Will attention drawn to the Jordan sticker swap draw more people to adopt this method?

It would require more Jordan stickers to hit the market to lower the price on what’s now available.

Stasik said he has been asked by many to performing his magic and take a sticker from one place and put it on another.

“It’s something I don’t think I should risk,” said Stasik, who says he’s proud of what he and his wife came up with.

“All we are are hustlers,” Stasik said. “That’s all.”

Darren Rovell is the founder of cllct.com and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.

Ben Burrows is a reporter and editor for cllct.