Lou Costabile has been a great friend of jordancards.com
for many years providing his exceptional expertise
on many topics and sharing scans of some of the hobby’s best trading cards
(including some many collectors would never have seen
Lou set out to piece together a collection of every Michael Jordan card released during his playing days. Lou’s collection spanned the rookie year though to 1997-98 and at it’s height was missing just three cards!
While Lou is no longer seriously into the cards hobby these days – he dropped the ‘d’ now focussing on classic cars – he still maintains his website where he features scans of his entire collection at its peak. I highly recommend the site to anyone interested in looking through the best Michael Jordan cards ever made.
As Lou is certainly one of the world’s most knowledgable on Michael Jordan cards, I was keen to hear what he would rank as his top ten Michael Jordan cards of all time.
You’ll see here that all cards in Lou’s top ten list come from Jordan’s playing era and includes a lot of Michael Jordan ‘firsts’.
As is often the case with lists like this, Lou has many favourite cards which couldn’t fit onto the list due to space. He thinks the creativity and set selection of Jordan cards of this era was tremendous which made selection very difficult. Lou and I clearly appreciate the same type of cards as I was happy to see his list has many overlaps with my top 10 Michael Jordan cards list.
To make this list extra special I will include scans of Lou’s past owned cards – each card you see here was once part of his personal collection and is featured on his website.
#10 – 1995 SP Top Prospects Michael Jordan Auto
The Jordan Top Prospects auto was Michael Jordan’s first pack pulled autograph card. While not a basketball cards – it was part of SP’s baseball set – this card is highly sought after and very rare.
#9 – 1996-97 Flair Showcase Michael Jordan Hot Shots #1
A seriously die-cut card with fantastic eye appeal, the Michael Jordan Hot Shots stands out in any collection. It is especially nice when highly graded due to the no less than 14 points on the die cut making it particularly difficult to grade highly.
#8 – 1997-98 Topps Finest #291 Michael Jordan Refractor Gold Foundations
The Michael Jordan Gold Foundation Refractor was the first of Jordan’s now iconic atomic refractor cards. These cards took the stunning refractor cards to the next level adding a sparkle that has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.
#7 – 1993-94 Topps Finest Michael Jordan Refractor #1
The first Michael Jordan refractor produced right among Jordan and the Bulls’ hey day. The refractor was ground breaking for it’s time and is truly an amazing card.
#6 – 1997-98 Topps Finest Michael Jordan Masters Embossed Die-Cut Refractor /74
With the Michael Jordan Embossed Die-Cut Refractor Topps kicked off the ‘chase’ refractor. One that was limited to a short print run and serial numbered. This very rare card features a refractor surface, embossing, a very nice die-cut and is limited to only 74 copies.
#5 – 1997-98 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Game Jersey #GJ13
In 1997 we started to see for the first time game used memorabilia as part of trading cards which could be pulled from packs. The 1997-98 Game Jersey is the first time a Michael Jordan card contained a piece of his game work jersey. This card features a part of the All-Star jersey.
#4 – 1997-98 Upper Deck Michael Jordan Game Jersey #GJ13 Auto /23
If you like #5 in Lou’s list of the top 10 Michael Jordan cards you’ll love #4! The same card but autographed by Jordan in a limited run of only 23 cards. This extremely rare card is the first time we saw the combo or game used jersey, autographed and serial numbered short print run.
#3 – 1996-97 Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 /150
The first Michael Jordan ‘chase’ card limited to a short print run. The Flair Showcase Legacy Row 0 cards are stunning in person. As the card is tilted through the light the surface comes alive is a way that is hard to explain.
There are also the Row 1 and Row 2 Legacy Michael Jordan cards as well as the non-legacy collection Jordan cards (which are not serial numbered or as nice as the Legacy Collection but considerably more affordable).
#2 – 1986-87 Fleer #57
The word’s most recognisable and sought after basketball card ever produced. The 86-87 Fleer Michael Jordan card will always be a part of most Jordan card collectors want lists and personal collections.
#1 – 1984-85 Star Co #101
I like how Lou summarised his thoughts on the 84-85 Jordan #101: “First MJ card, end of discussion”. It is true that the Star Co #101 was Jordan’s first and was released during his rookie year making what many have come to call this card his True Rookie Card.
Have a look at my discussion with three collectors, including Lou, on the topic of the Michael Jordan 84-85 Star Co vs 86-87 Fleer.
Thanks to Lou for sharing his top 10 Jordans. As always, I’m keen to hear your thoughts in the comments too.