King’s Ransom: Historic Michael Jackson Trading Cards Commanding Big Bucks

July 11, 2011

Perhaps lost amid the heated hullabaloo and grandiose grandstanding from passionate detractors of Panini America’s pioneering Michael Jackson memorabilia cards is one unmistakable point: The cards, like so many of Jackson’s career-defining singles, are chart-topping sensations.

In the weeks since they released in late June, copies of the history-making first Jackson memorabilia cards have generated eye-popping numbers on the secondary market. None, however, have punctured more pupils than the two $1,100 sales of a card that includes five pieces of memorabilia Jackson wore on stage in the 1970s.

That staggering closing price came as quite a surprise to many observers, foremost among them Carl Braun, the Panini America Brand Manager who was instrumental in developing the Official Michael Jackson Trading Card Set over the course of almost two years.

“Honestly, I can’t believe someone would part with that card,” Braun said on Monday. “But the potential monetary value of these cards never crossed my mind while putting this set together. My goal was to build a set that honored the legacy of one of the most influential men to ever grace the planet. The content of the set, down to the individual cards, was my only focus – not aftermarket values.”

The aftermarket values are taking care of themselves.

Additional copies of that five-piece spectacle have sold recently for $900 and $750, respectively, while single-piece cards have routinely sold for more than $200.

“I believe that Michael’s appeal as a truly transcendent superstar and the uniqueness of this trading card set are in play here,” Braun noted. “Michael was, and still is, a global icon and these are his first memorabilia cards. Given that, I can understand true fans and collectors paying whatever it takes to own something so unique.”

The memorabilia cards are randomly inserted into packs of the Official Michael Jackson Trading Card Set and fall roughly two per case. The set features 190 regular cards, including special cards devoted to Jackson’s top career achievements, hits and albums. The set also includes 12 different versions of the headline-making memorabilia cards.