The Elusive 1986 Fleer Basketball Set Break

How does Vintage Breaks get their hands on these rare sets?
86F With Jordan

One of the most coveted set breaks to buy into is the 1986-87 Fleer basketball set. Set breaks offer you a chance to pull the top card in a set at a fraction of what the card would cost when purchasing individually.  Taking home the iconic Michael Jordan rookie card at such a price is too juicy to pass up for nearly any collector (us included). Given the price of not just the Jordan rookie, but other big names like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, or Patrick Ewing, makes it tough to put together this high-end set. You still find plenty of ’86 Fleer basketball set breaks over at Vintage Breaks, though! CardBreaks.com sat down with the owner, Leighton Sheldon, to ask a burning question: how does Vintage Breaks get their hands on rare sets?


The more expensive way to build a set is to buy a sealed box of the cards. Each box contains:


 • 36 packs

 • Each pack contains 12 cards plus 1 sticker

 • 432 total cards

 • 36 total stickers


There are 132 cards total in the set. On average, one full box yields 3 complete sets of cards. The problem is the cost of the box today is tad more than it was back in 1986.


The original price per box was $10. Packs were sold at a price of 40 cents each! Retailer TG&Y dropped the price to ten cents per pack just to clear shelf space. Today, a single pack authenticated and graded by PSA will set you back around $5,000. Before you think “buy in bulk” – the only known sealed case of 1986 Fleer Basketball, which has 12 sealed boxes, sold for 1.7 million dollars. Could Vintage Breaks buy the boxes, open, and sell the set break? Sure! You may not enjoy the cost of a spot, though.


The more effective way Vintage Breaks offers set breaks is through Sheldon’s other company: Just Collect. For 25 years, Leighton has purchased and sold collections through VB’s sister company. From all over the world, Leighton has brought in complete 1986 Fleer basketball sets, and some have incredible tales.


A father bought his son packs of the cards back in ’86. After ripping the packs, the contents were stashed in Tupperware – yes, mom’s Tupperware. The cards sat untouched for decades until the family was ready to sell the collection. Guess who was hiding inside. MJ IN THE TUPPERWARE! Check out The 1986 Fleer Basketball Tupperware Collection here.


Thousands of Fleer cards, including a handful of Jordan rookie cards were purchased from the son of a card shop owner. The duo ripped enough boxes to make piles and piles of cards! The Fabulous Fleer Find story has pictures of some of the cards Leighton brought back to the Just Collect office.


Sometimes the 86 Fleer sets are even second fiddle in purchases such as The Windy City Collection that included complete Topps football sets from 1969 – 1989, but also had a complete ’86 Fleer basketball set.


Purchasing collections through Just Collect allows Leighton to use the set runs to build those complete set breaks on Vintage Breaks at much cheaper cost for you to buy into!


If you’re looking to buy into the next 1986 Fleer basketball set break, keep an eye out on the Vintage Breaks site. Interested in selling your collection? Or even just your Michael Jordan rookie card? Leighton offers FREE appraisals over at Just Collect!  


Here is a video of the most recent 1986 Fleer Basketball set break at Vintage Breaks: