Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1. Nike Poster Cards

May 2020

 Nike was founded in 1964 by track coach and runner duo Bill Bowerman and Phillip Knight as Blue Ribbons Sports, later becoming Nike, Inc. in 1978. The name Nike was chosen in reference to the Greek Goddess of victory.  Nike's advertising agency, began developing so-called "personality posters," depicting  athletes in unusual settings and poses. The first posters were issued ~ 1978. The posters were initially issued to be advertising pieces for in store use which we will discuss more about later.. 

As my oldest son reached HS and got a job in a local sporting goods store he came home with these 5 x 7 inch  prints of NIKE posters that were being issued at the time. The Nike posters were reportedly too big to display in the typical sporting goods store so NIKE provided each store a counter top display so customers could see what all the available posters looked like. My son got the NIKE salesmen to give him a few for our collection.  Below we see pictures of the box these mini posters came in and the description of the initial counter top display device.

None of the standard BB Card catalogs have check listed this massive multi sport set. As of June 2020, grading houses like PSA and Beckett have had a continually changing policy on which ones they grade based mostly on the lack of any checklist description in sources like the Std Catalogs. Since giant catalogs like that are no longer being printed, there is currently no where for me to deposit the information we have collected and have it archived, like old friend Bob Lemke used to do for the Std. Catalog of BB cards. 

My numerous attempts to contact Nike for an official checklist of all the posters have been to no avail.

6/25/2020: Recent communication with a senior Nike employee resulted in this response "Our records from yesteryear weren’t the best and to that end, we have little definitive information about the actual number of poster cards made, which posters were included and when they were released." SO, anyone awaiting Nike to swosh in and verify or correct all this information is probably in for a long wait. 

2/10/2021- In blog 62 we describe our newest link to NIKE "Nike Mike" who worked in their poster business starting in1988. He is helping immeasurably in verifying and adding to our checklist

It  appears that 6 digit "Nike numbers" exist for all the posters that were offered for sale.  We have determined these catalog numbers by their presence  on the front or back of the Nike poster cards, from catalogs and sales order forms, from labeling on the posters and/or from the labeling on the outside of the unopened plastic bags containing the rolled up posters as shown below.  

Gathering all this information is not something that I have done alone. Many other  collectors including Ron “Daytrader1122” Sevane, Bruce “ImaPacRat“ Fisher, Jeff Barrett, Ortreasures_4 and Ken Goetsch have contributed to the checklist that has been developed  over the past 20+ years.

2/10/2021 - and Nike Mike 

What I will be doing in the following blogs is documenting all of these poster cards  with pictorial evidence and references in support of the checklist we have developed for poster cards issued over the 10 years span of 1982 - 1992. 

To date we have identified more than 200 different poster cards numbered in two sequences 290201 - 290249 and 290811 - 291015. Several of the numbers in the sequence are unaccounted for but we are updating this list weekly to insure it is accurate. 

5/10/2022 - and last but certainly not least KC, who has helped us fill in nearly all of the missing numbers in our sequence. 

In March of 2002 we were lucky enough to make contact with ex Nike employee KC who worked in the commercial poser business during the time period we are concerned with. He has immense knowledge of how the Nike product numbers were assigned and why some of them are out of order. 

A complete accurate numerical assignment of all of the poster card numbers is shown in blog 86.  

 As you will learn there were 4 different types of poster cards issued during this time period and they were not all issued chronologically.

This early work is partially summarized in the Sports Collectors Digest June 5th 2020 issue and their website at: 

There are also articles in Sports Collector Daily here: 

Please note that this is a work in progress. As we have said, a few of the NIKE numbers and issue have not yet been identified. It is hoped that this blog will generate further information from readers that can be add to the known information about these issues. 

I will be updating these blogs with new  information  so check back often !

If you have info that would add to this blog, or corrections to information in this blog you can reach me at


  1. First, thank you for the information. I found a box of these minis and I didn’t know what they were. It seems to contain a mix of all different types. I am curious though if it’s Michael Jordan pictured on #290891 titled playground?

    1. See blog 23...YES that is MJ.
      If you want to discuss which ones you found in the box contact me at my direct email listed above.