The recent $81k sale of the Michael Jordan Blow-Up Auto has reignited interest into the truly iconic and ground breaking set that is 94-95 Collector’s Choice. I’m very happy seeing the set get some love as it has been a favourite of mine since release.
What makes 94-95 Collector’s Choice so iconic? The blow-up auto is Jordan’s first auto in a basketball product, Jordan’s #23 card in series one shows him playing baseball (an intriguing pull in a basketball set back in the day), inserts let you ‘Crash the Game’, that parallels for the set feature a facsimile autograph of almost every player in the 420 card set.
And it doesn’t even stop there. The parallels come in two flavours - silver and gold. The silver signature parallels are seeded at one per regular pack and feature a silver foil facsimile signature and grey bordering.
The gold parallel cards are seeded at one in every 36 regular packs (usually one per regular box) and feature a gold foil facsimile signature and stunning full gold foil overlay (usually, more on that below). This full gold foil overlay is unique to the US basketball release of 94-95 Collector’s Choice. I will do my best to show it off here but it really is something that needs to be seen in person to be appreciated.
While Topps had included gold parallels in the past, we did not see full gold foil overlay parallels until these Gold Signatures and Topps Embossed’s Golden Idols sets in 1994.
TL;DR - just show me the Jordan Gold Signatures!
Complete list of 94-95 Michael Jordan Gold Signatures from Collector's Choice.
Series one: basketball product, baseball and golf cards
Usually, sets only included active players back then so Upper Deck took the opportunity to include Jordan in their basketball set… as an active baseball player for the Birmingham Barrons. I recall pulling #23 back in 1994 and being perplexed at the baseball card which came out of my pack of basketball cards. MJ isn’t even featured on the back playing basketball - there he’s playing golf.
The back of #23 leads us nicely into #204 which depicts Jordan playing golf and feature a profile of his sporting careers on the reverse.
Series two: basketball Jordans are back
I’ve mentioned I was an avid collector of 94-95 Collector’s Choice - in fact I put together the complete base card set - but I don’t recall when series two became available. Pre-production surely would have been well underway by the time MJ announced his return to the NBA on March 19, 1995 and we do have the ‘He’s Back’ reprints of the #240 and #402 of this set.
It does seem likely that Upper Deck had just decided to add MJ back in basketball for series two regardless of his playing status.
There’s three Jordans in series two:
- #240 base card commemorating the retirement of #23 on November 1, 1994 at ‘A Salute to Michael Jordan’
- #402 subset trivia card featuring MJ facts
- #420 checklist card featuring an MJ illustration
Its interesting to look at the numbering of all five Jordans released as part of the set: #23, #204, #240, #402, #420.
The Gold Signature parallels
So far the Gold Signature cards we’ve looked at are full gold foil parallels of their base card counterparts. These are those released as part of the US product.
There were sets released for international markets also such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan. The base and subset cards for these international releases are the same only there are some numbering changes and local languages are used.
Additional to this however is a differing parallel distribution. Firstly, there were no Silver Signature parallels.
Secondly, the only Gold Signature parallels were those of subsets (Pro Files, Dr Basketball Trivia, Blueprints etc). On top of that, these international Gold Signatures did not include the full gold foil as per the US releases - only the signature itself was gold foil.
So bear this in mind when you are looking to buy online if you are after one or the other.
I have read that some collectors have found the gold foil to be sensitive to light. The rich gold is said to be susceptible to fading under long term bright light.
I don’t display any in bright environments so can’t say for sure myself, however I have seen Gold Signatures which looked more silver than gold. So perhaps it’s wise to ensure you keep your Gold Signatures primarily in a dark environment.
I’m keen to chat with anyone who has experience either way.
94-95 Collector’s Choice Jordan rainbows
Like Upper Deck’s Electric Courts, the Collector’s Choice set gives us great opportunities to complete early trading card rainbows. Putting together a set of each of the five base, silver and gold Jordans is a rewarding goal.
It’s particularly rewarding when you consider how great this set really is! Oh and we finish off where we started - Jordan’s Blow-Up auto as the greatest of the parallels.
Here, I’ll sign off with images of all 17 Jordan cards in the set - click on any of the images if you’re looking to buy and happy collecting!
MJ as a member of the Birmingham Barrons in the Collector’s Choice basketball set.
#204 Pro Files Golf
Jordan depicted playing golf on the Pro Files subset card.
Michael Jordan is back in basketball with a massive dunk.
#402 Dr Basketball Trivia
The Dr Basketball Trivia subset card.
The beautifully designed checklist card really lets the gold foil shine.