From time to time, I receive emails from collectors looking to verify the authenticity of a Star Co Jordan card. More often than not - unfortunately - the photos sent in show either a backdated Shop at Home card, unlicensed 90’s Star card or a complete fabrication/custom card.
Unfortunately, if the card is a legitimate looking Star Co Jordan, closer inspection usually shows up red flags as to authenticity.
In fact, on one occasion, I did save a collector who was moments from buying a fake #101 being purported as a ‘rare proof white background #101’ along with a fake authenticity letter. Only red background #101 are legitimate and all else is fraudulent.
TL;DR - just show me Jordan Star Co checklist
The complete checklist of licensed Jordan Star Co cards.
I thought it would be useful to have a single easily accessible blog post list out the complete checklist of Jordan Star cards. This way collectors could see in one place whether the card they were looking at was likely to be a licensed Star Co release before considering authenticity.
If a card is not on this list, then it is not a licensed Star Co release - of course even if it is on this list, it could still be counterfeit.
In future I will also cover off the other authenticity topics with individual articles. This will look at the Shop at Home scandal, unlicensed Star Jordans, the custom Star cards, the reprints and a look at some of the signs of various fake Star Co Jordan cards.
Star Co experts
Steve Taft is well known for his expertise in Star Co cards and has been a great source of information over the years. You can consign cards to be sold by him and buy authentic Star cards through his eBay store and Beckett store. He also runs a Facebook page where he’ll post useful information and new cards for sale.
I’ve collaborated with both Steve and Jarret - along with other experts - on a number of articles over the years. You might be interested in these as you deep dive into the fascinating world of Star Co basketball cards:
- The Real Star Co Cards Story - Interview with renowned Star cards expert Steve Taft
- 84-85 Star #101 - XRC or true Michael Jordan Rookie card?
- Michael Jordan’s Brightest Star
- Original Images Used To Produce 1984-85 Star Company Cards Surface
- 90-91 Star Co Equal Glossy
1984 Star Co Jordan Checklist
These cards - released in Jordan’s rookie season as he embarked on his stellar career - capture his rookie season in full colour photography on the only basketball cards available at the time.
While we are on the topic of firsts, it’s worth noting that some early collectors and dealers recall (but cannot 100% confirm) that the 5x7 Court Kings was released before the #101. So that may place the Court Kings as Jordan’s first NBA card - though being a subset card we would not consider it a rookie card.
So, let’s dive in and take an illustrated look at the only licensed cards released in Jordan’s rookie season of the NBA.
1985 Star Co Jordan Checklist
In 1985 Star followed up the excellent 1984-85 releases with four cards. Like the only licensed rookie season cards in 84, these are the only licensed second year Jordan cards.
Included pre-season is 2 5x7 cards which use of one of the most iconic photos ever taken of Jordan as he flies to the rim in the 1985 Slam Dunk Contest.
You may also like to look at the Slam Dunk Supers 5x7 card #1 which features all participants from the 1985 Slam Dunk contest including Jordan.
1986 Star Co Jordan Checklist
1985-86 was Star Co’s final season to hold a full NBPA license to produce basketball cards.
1986 gave us a complete 10 card subset dedicated solely to Michael Jordan. We also saw a further Court Kings - though this time regular sized - and the Best of the New set.
Finally, Best of the Best was not released until the summer of 1990. While it is not known exactly when these cards were originally printed, BGS graded copies from the Bill Schonsheck collection.
1990 Star Co Jordan Checklist
Not everyone would include these next cards on a list of authentically licensed Star Co Jordan cards - the Star Co Equal set.
It is true that the Star Co Equal cards were not licensed through the NBPA. They were, however, legitimately licensed and produced on behalf of the Bulls to be handed out at games in the 1990-91 season.
There are a range of other non-NBPA licensed cards which I’ve previously discussed which fall into the same category yet retain full acceptance and respect of the collecting community. Some examples include the 85 Jordan Boy Scout Interlake, the previous year’s 89-90 Jordan Equal card and the Jordan Entenmann’s cards from 87-88 and 88-89.
The regular 90-91 Star Co Equal sets were released/given away in the well-known polybags while the glossy set was distributed in hard plastic cases. Each case was labelled on the back with a pink sticker bearing its /250 serial number. However there was no way to marry the serial to the individual cards unless still sealed.
I hope this checklist helps out any collectors looking to get into the world of Star Co Jordan cards and happy collecting.