CSG Card of the Month: 1986-87 Fleer #31 Julius Erving

Posted on 5/9/2023

As the Philadelphia 76ers hope to earn their first NBA title in four decades, we're looking back to their 1983 championship with star Julius Erving.

1986-87 Fleer #31 Julius Erving
Click images to enlarge.

Sport: Basketball

Set: 1986-87 Fleer

Card: #31 Julius Erving

What makes it special? As an ABA and NBA star, Julius "Dr. J" Erving helped redefine the way the game of basketball was played in the 1970s and 1980s. The athletic 6'7" small forward was one of the first to play above the rim, as he became well-known for his graceful lay-ups and stylish slam dunks. While his earliest basketball cards date back to his ABA days with the Virginia Squires and New York Nets, this late-career Erving issue is among the highlights of the 1986-87 Fleer set. (The set also includes the highly sought-after Michael Jordan rookie card, one of the most popular and expensive sports cards in the hobby.) The Fleer #31 features Dr. J doing what he does best: dunking the ball over a defender. Produced a few years after he led the Philadelphia 76ers to their last NBA championship in 1983, the Sixers are currently making another run for the Larry O'Brien trophy during the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Did you know? Julius Erving is one of the most recognizable names in the history of basketball, and one of the game's greatest to ever step foot on a hardwood floor. Further, when fans think of the ABA, Dr. J is often who comes to mind, as he helped popularize the league before it merged with the NBA in 1976. During his 16 professional seasons in both leagues, his teams never once missed the playoffs, and he made the All-Star team in every season he played. He won three championships, earned four MVPs, took home three scoring titles and is well-known for his dunks from the free-throw line in the Slam Dunk Contest. Dr. J was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and was honored in 2021 as one of the NBA's greatest of all time when he was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

Total graded by CSG: There are 85 graded examples of this card in the CSG Population Report, as of early May 2023.

CSG median grade: CSG 8

CSG highest graded: Out of 85 examples of the card, only two are graded CSG 9.5, with none receiving Gem Mint 10 or Perfect 10 grades.

Sales highlights: An example graded CSG 9 realized $120 through PWCC in December 2022. Additional PWCC sales of the card include a CSG 8.5 that sold for $65 and a CSG 8 that sold for $50, each in the same December 2022 sale.

CSG Registry: The card is part of this company set: 1986-87 Fleer, which has 54 competitors. It is also part of the Julius Erving Players Set. Due to Erving's popularity with collectors, his Player Set has 20 competitors. JohnRogers1974 has assembled a Player Set called Julius Erving that has amassed 781 points and has 12 of the 25 Erving cards available, which earned him "Best in Set Type." The set includes several of Erving's early 1970s cards, and also includes a CSG 8.5 of the 1986-87 Fleer #31.

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