Winter Auction 2021 Ending March 6-7
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 3/6/2021

Imagine being Corrine Zartler, a PR assistant with the Chicago Bulls in only a year into her employment with the team, when a sealed plastic bag that contains the Chicago Bulls most recent draft pick’s home white game jersey, has a black marker in it with a loose cap. The jersey belonged to Michael Jordan and it was before one of the greatest careers in NBA history began. It was Zartler who had brought this jersey back to her boss unbeknownst that the marker in the bag had the loose cap in what is now one of the greatest collectibles ever put up for sale.

Jordan was wearing this jersey as part of a planned commercial and photo shoot in October of 1984, before he suited up for his official debut on October 26th. What made this so potentially catastrophic was that the Bulls back in 1984 only issued one set of home and road uniforms to each player and did not keep multiple sets of jerseys or shorts on hand, unlike the multiple jerseys available today’s players. The Bulls at that time, used a local uniform shop that also outfitted local high schools and other organizations, so having this jersey with black marker all over it essentially took away briefly a jersey for Jordan to wear for Bulls’ games.

While Zarlter is not sure of the exact date she had this jersey, she’s sure it was sometime in October, during the Bulls preseason and Jordan’s infancy in the NBA. This is all detailed in Zartler’s letter of provenance that accompanies this jersey as Jordan’s photo shoot had him posing for the cover of the January 1985 edition of Hoop Magazine. This magazine cover shows Jordan wearing this very jersey leaning up against a rim with a disheveled net and the caption on the upper left that reads “BULLS’ FOES BEWARE: HERE COMES JORDAN!         

The photo shoot was also part of a broader commercial shoot taken at the Bulls practice facility known as “Angel Guardian”, which was a facility also rented out to other local high schools and leagues. Zarlter was given the jersey by her boss Tim Hallam, who had received it from the Bulls’ equipment manager to have Michael wear it for the commercial shoot. Jordan took it with him after he was done and showered at the facility and then he gave it back to her. When Zartler returned to the Bulls’ office, she handed the bag to Hallam. They opened the bag and noticed the bottom of the jersey with black marker over it and realized the jersey was ruined for use. According to Zartler, Hallam gave the jersey back to her and said he would call the uniform shop to order a replacement one for Jordan.

Now the jersey was in Zartler’s hands and she brought it home. Her mother offered to wash the jersey to see if the marker stains could be removed. As it turns out, Zartler’s mother was able to get most of the stains out, save for some shadow marks from the marker stains on the bottom. Now Zartler had what is considered one of the most valuable jerseys – one of, if not the first jersey ever worn by Jordan.

To back up Zartler’s story, Resolution Photomatching have photo matched this historic jersey to the January 1985 Hoop Magazine cover. Having been photo matched to this cover from the October photo shoot, this easily places this jersey before Jordan’s official regular season game debut on October 26, 1984. Between October 5th and October 19th, the Bulls played in seven preseason games, but photos from those games are limited and impede further matching of this jersey. The Bulls 1984-85 Chicago Bulls yearbook shows Jordan and teammate Orlando Woolridge in their home uniforms, so it’s possible that this was also from the same shoot as it would have had to be taken in early October to have the yearbooks ready in time for the start of the regular season.

The jersey itself is a size 44 Rawlings all mesh white home jersey has “Chicago” silk-screened across the chest in red and black cursive script and Jordan’s famous number “23” is heat-pressed in red and black on the left front center. The open shoulders and collar are lined with a ribbed material featuring white, black and red color patterns. The back of the jersey has “JORDAN” in red with his number “23” in red and black all heat-pressed on the mesh material. The Rawlings size 44 tag is sewn on the stain from the marker can be seen just below the number on the back. The historical significance of this jersey cannot be overstated. The detailed letter of provenance from Corrine Zartler that accompanies this jersey lays out a legitimate outline for the preservation of this jersey, along with a LOA from Resolution Photomatching (426751), who photo matched this jersey to the January 1985 cover of Hoop Magazine from the October 1984 photo shoot in Chicago.

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $100,000.00
Price Realized:
Number Bids: 10
Auction closed on Monday, March 8, 2021.
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