Michael Jordan Missives, Diploma and Other Treasures Go to Auction

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 10, 2014

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Chances are most storage lockers contain items only valuable to those who decided to rent out a giant space of nothing. However, one man found a storage unit he won at an auction containing a treasure trove of Michael Jordan memorabilia. 

ESPN's Darren Rovell reports on the latest lot to hit Goldin Auctions, featuring, among other things, a recruitment letter from former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith, as well as Jordan's actual diploma. 

You can see images and a description of the items at the official Goldin Auctions page

According to Rovell, the items surfaced after they were discovered by a North Carolina man who decided to purchase a storage unit made available for bidding when the renter's fee went unpaid. 

Here is an image of one of the items, a letter from Smith to a college-hunting Jordan, per Rovell's Twitter

The ESPN report also features an interview between Prim Siripipat and Ken Goldin, the founder of Goldin Auctions. He explains exactly how this fortunate soul managed to get his hands on what could be thousands of dollars worth of memorabilia:

There are four items from Michael's days, actually prior to the University of North Carolina and at University of North Carolina that were discovered in a storage unit that were sold at public auction. The unit had the contents of his former restaurant, Michael Jordan's 23, which was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and shut down, I believe, in 2003. 

The first thought you might have is Jordan would want the memorandum that began his collegiate career. If not, surely he wants that diploma he earned with hard work. 

Thankfully, Siripipat asks that exact question. Goldin replies:

I've spoken to a representative of Michael Jordan about the items. That conversation will remain confidential, but we did want to give him a heads up. And it would not surprise me if—at least the letters, the personal letters written to him by the school—you know, perhaps one day find their way into his hands.

The founder does note that it would take a generous act from a friendly bidder for that to happen. So if Jordan wants that diploma, he will have to either earn another degree or pay thousands at auction. 

Or he could always ask the school for a copy. 

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 14:  Michael Jordan, with Dean Smith by his side, is inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on December 14, 2010 as his Charlotte Bobcats take on the Toronto Raptors at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Car
Kent Smith/Getty Images

The opening bid for the Smith letter is set at $5,000. However, that could skyrocket if the market does indeed love its Jordan history. 

According to Goldin, his auction company has an international mailing list that reaches over 100,000 people, so he thinks "you could be looking at a price of $25,000; you could be looking at a price of $250,000, each. The market will really tell."

That market isn't in danger of being called frugal, I might add. 

As Rovell notes, the Smith letter was dated Aug. 12, 1980. Jordan would wait until April of the following year to actually sign his letter of intent to UNC. 

From there, he went on to become the greatest player the game ever saw, so it's not without reason that a touching letter from UNC coaches (the lot also includes a letter from assistant Bill Guthridge) might fetch a handsome sum from collectors. 

Evidently, one man's forgotten letters are another man's treasure. 


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