The 94-95 Collector’s Choice Michael Jordan Blow-up Auto card is a key piece of Michael Jordan collecting memorabilia as it is the first Michael Jordan autographed card to be distributed in a basketball set.
The Michael Jordan Blow-up auto is a 5×7 box topper. It is an enlarged version of the #23 card from Series One of 1994-95 Collector’s Choice Basketball (featuring Jordan playing baseball) which was then signed by Jordan and distributed in Series Two Hobby Boxes. Every box had a box topper (one of five players) and a handful of each were signed. The signed cards featured a diamond Upper Deck hologram on the back and the non-signed cards featured the round hologram.
Being 5×7, the Jordan Blow-up auto features a large, bold autograph much larger than you see on regular sized cards. The card itself – being released as Jordan took to Baseball – features a key piece of Jordan history. I recall pulling the standard #23 card from a pack back in 1994 and being at first confused, then amused and appreciative that Upper Deck had chosen to include a card of Jordan playing baseball in their 1994 basketball release.
The 94-95 Collector’s Choice Michael Jordan Blow-up Auto card is not only the first ever Michael Jordan autograph card distributed in a basketball set but also one of the rarest Jordan cards around. To this day I find collectors who aren’t aware of the existence of the set. It’s truly an iconic, rare and mysterious set.
It’s so rare that, back in September 2020, I sought help from the collecting community to try and locate copies of the card. Myself and some of the world’s most knowledgeable and connected collectors could only manage a current location for the one copy – the only one I had also seen for sale many years earlier. That search sparked an article which I published hoping to connect with owners of this ever-elusive Jordan auto. I recommend reading it for a rundown on each of the players featured in the Collector’s Choice 5×7 autos.
The article gained plenty of interest from website visitors but no one wrote in to share a story on pulling or owning a card. That was until April 2021 when not one but two separate collectors wrote to share their story along with photos of their own Michael Jordan Blow-up autos! Both collectors are the original owners who pulled the card themselves way back in the mid 90’s!
Kyle* from Toronto’s Jordan Blow-up auto
Kyle wrote in and shared his story of pulling the card at his family’s hobby store in the 90’s.
My family owned a hobby collectables card store in Toronto at the time. We would break boxes all the time to sell individual cards. My brother opened the box and initially thought it was a replica signature (like the base card set had). But after closer inspection, we noticed that it was a Jordan auto. The blow-up card market wasn’t too hot at the time and we could never find a comfortable estimate at the time so we just kept it, knowing it was quite rare. We actually forgot about the card until last year’s hobby boom, which made us dig up some older stuff. After hitting the internet for some research, your blog was the only one that had mentioned it!
I love that Kyle, at first, wasn’t sure what he had then forgot about the card for 25 years. I can only imagine the thrill of first realising it was a true Michael Jordan autograph back in the 90’s then again in 2020 when it reemerged from storage to once again see the light of day!
Here is Kyle’s card. The bold and crisp auto here is beautiful – it did unfortunately suffer from what looks like to be a slight smudge. Perhaps that’s a partial Michael Jordan fingerprint on the left-hand side?
David from West Virginia’s Jordan 5×7 auto
David wrote in to share his story of pulling the Michael Jordan Blow-up auto as a 12 year old in Ravenswood WV in the 90’s.
My grandmother owned a card shop in Ravenswood WV most of her life – S&S Baseball Cards. Anyway, she offered me a box of cards for a gift when I was 12 and I chose the 94 Collectors Choice. She called me the day the case was delivered so I went down to the shop and was given free reign to select the box I wanted. Cracked the cellophane, opened the flap and bam there was a Jordan autograph! We all about died.
He goes on to say he wrote to Beckett and had the question published seeking a value. He was also featured on the front page in a local news article.
I ended up writing Beckett I think about 6 months after receiving it because the price guides hadn’t shown anything yet. They published my question with an answer but they said there were only a handful signed. The first value to hit the books back then was $1500. It stayed locked away for many years and I ended up selling to my Grandma and Grandpa when I was 18. They kept it for quite a while until my mother bought it from them about 6 years ago or so.
David’s story of pulling the card as part of a gift then being able to hold onto the card for many years is great – everyone loves a story of a young collector pulling a monster card! Then being able to keep the card in his family of collectors really tops it off.
Here is the card David pulled from a box himself as a 12 year old. Like Kyle’s copy, the auto is large and bold – a striking presence on a stand out card in any collection. The card has since been graded a 5.5 with an 8 auto by BGS.
Here is a photo of the news article featuring David, the card and a copy of Beckett Magazine with his question published.
So David’s card has stayed in his family now belonging to his mother and Kyle is still the original owner of his copy. David’s mother actually attempted to piece together the entire set of the Blow-up Autos however – like myself – never turned up a Shawn Bradley.
The autos on both cards are not 100% unfortunately (Kyle’s has a slight smudge and David’s received an 8 from BGS). All copies I’ve seen have some slight problems with the autograph. This could be due to the pen used, the age of the auto or due to the distribution method being a box topper with plenty of room to move during transport.
Both Kyle and David are interested in selling their cards eventually. I will update this article with links if they do list them with Goldin or Heritage auctions. You may also be interested (as I am) in busting boxes in search of one – look for 94-95 Collector’s Choice Series Two Hobby boxes (the 5×7 box topper cards were not distributed in retail boxes).
You can likely tell I’m a huge fan of this card. It captures sporting history featuring Jordan playing baseball, captures trading card history being Jordan’s first basketball set distributed auto, has a playing era huge and bold autograph, sports the Collector’s Choice restrained design and is one of the rarest Michael Jordan cards around.
David and Kyle’s cards take the known copies I have been able to find to three all displayed together here. I’m always keen to hear from anyone who owns a copy or once pulled one (or a Shawn Bradley Blow-up auto) – please get in touch.
If you’re looking to add some of these pieces to your collection, have a look at the links below: