The only unused ticket known to exist from Michael Jordan’s NBA debut in 1984 was expected to fetch an eye-popping price after a stub from the same game sold for $264,000 in December. Mike Cole was told not to be surprised if his ticket went for twice that amount. It didn’t quite reach that figure, but the experts weren’t far off and during an auction this past weekend, Cole’s ticket to the October 26, 1984, Chicago Bulls game sold for $468,000 (HK$3.65 million), according to Heritage Auctions. The price for the Jordan ticket was believed to be a record for such a collectible, but was quickly eclipsed in the same auction when a ticket stub from Jackie Robinson’s debut game on April 15, 1947, when he broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier, sold for $480,000. “We were a record holder for a brief period, but I couldn’t be happier because to me Jackie Robinson was not only an incredibly accomplished athlete, as was Michael Jordan, but also an incredible pioneer,” Cole said. “I think it’s fitting that Jackie Robinson, whose contribution goes way beyond sports, has the highest valued ticket.” Cole, who hosted a viewing party Saturday night to watch the auction live online with some friends, said he was “excited by the outcome” and now is “somewhat relieved that it’s over.” Boost for NBA-China relations as Qin Gang attends Nets game While many people have told Cole how unbelievable it is that he got so much money, he finds himself reminding folks that “the US government is very interested in this amount as well.” “We’re not ungrateful,” Cole said. “We’re very fortunate, but you also have to remind people it’s not all coming to us.” He said he still hopes to use the money he gets to “enrich” the lives of his family and friends, helping to support his two college-aged children and doing some travelling. Cole, who is not a collector and does not see the mementos he’s kept from sporting events over the decades as collectibles, said watching the auction was “a combination of excitement as we watched the number go up as well as absurdity as to why this tiny piece of paper is worth so much money.” “I’ve never held on to these items thinking one day they’re going to be worth a lot of money,” he said. “I hold on to them because they are memories of good experiences and times spent with family and friends, and as we get older, as is in my case, it’s often enjoyable to think of those times from the past.” Chris Ivy, director of the sports category for Heritage Auctions, said the winning bidder of the Jordan ticket chose to remain anonymous but said the person was a collector and “obviously a passionate Michael Jordan fan.” Ivy said tickets have become increasingly popular in the last few years, reflected in the soaring prices. A ticket stub to Jordan’s debut game sold for $33,000 in 2018, he said. Ivy said if another full ticket were to surface, its desirability would be based on the condition and type of ticket, so it’s hard to say whether it would sell for more or less than Cole’s ticket.