Anfernee Hardaway is a two-time All-NBA First Team selection (1995 and 1996) and a third-team selection in 1997. He made four All-Star game appearances while playing with the Magic from 1995-98.
A player who made his debut in the midst of Michael Jordan’s first retirement, he was seen as a potential successor at the time. If not for many surgeries that derailed the prime of his career, he would have had a strong chance of becoming a top 15 player in NBA history.
Here’s a rundown with five of the best Anfernee Hardaway cards to collect.
The Best Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway Cards
Hardaway was the third overall pick in 1993, and has been included in multiple sets ever since.
(The third overall pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 1993 Draft, he was immediately traded to the Orlando Magic.)
5. 1993-94 Topps Finest Refractor Anfernee Hardaway RC #189 (eBay)
We’ll start off with an Anfernee Hardaway rookie card which is reasonably popular in mint condition. Found in 1993-94 Topps Finest Basketball, this colorful release sees lots of different shapes in the background. The true value lies with the Refractor parallels, which feature a rainbow shine in the background when held up to the light. However, they’re not marked as Refractors, as you’d expect to find with a modern release.
4. 1997-98 Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Anfernee Hardaway #7 (eBay)
The 1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe Platinum Portraits Basketball subset is one of the most popular from the decade, featuring some of the biggest NBA stars from the era. Platinum Portrait inserts use a series of holes to form an image of the player on a silver card.
Produced as part of 1997-98 Fleer Metal Universe, there were only 15 Platinum Portraits to be found in packs. Hardaway was one of the players selected, as seen in the image above.
3. 1998-99 Fleer Playmakers Theatre Anfernee Hardaway #6 (eBay)
Next up is a premium release found in 1998-99 Fleer. Limited to 100 copies, that’s an exceptionally rare print run given the era. Another card that is instantly recognizable, it features an image of Hardaway with a basketball in hand, set against an ornate backdrop.
Expect to pay high prices, especially for graded copies.
2. 1997-98 Skybox Premium Anfernee Hardaway Star Rubies #231 /50 (eBay)
A famous card, limited to just 50 copies, the 1997-98 SkyBox Premium Star Rubies parallel release is another which comes with a premium price tag. This time, Penny Hardaway is featured in a close up shot, with a unique blue background. Given the tiny print run, it can be tough to locate.
1. 1996-97 SPx Autographs Anfernee Hardaway #NNO (eBay)
What about a die-cut auto released before the turn of the millennium? The 1996-97 SPx Autographs subset was found in the first release for the ultra premium SPx Basketball brand.
Containing hardly any inserts, there was a Record Breaker card commemorating Michael Jordan’s eighth consecutive scoring title found in this product. The card was a short print found one in every 75 packs. There was also a second insert card commemorating Anfernee Hardaway’s accomplishments to that point in the league that was found in every 24 packs.
Then there’s the Penny Hardaway autograph. Released at a rate of one in just over 1,300 packs, it takes the top spot on our list.
Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway Cards: Buyers Guide
What do we think of the current market for the best Anfernee Hardaway cards?
In terms of cheaper Anfernee Hardaway cards, there are lots of parallels, autos, and unique 1990’s options to choose from. We’d look at the Topps Finest Refractor, especially if it’s in pristine condition.
The best Anfernee Hardaway card is a matter of personal preference, with a number of hyper-rare options making the list. Anything with a small print run is likely to be one of the better investment pieces overall.
The Best Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway Cards: Final Thoughts
Whether it’s rare parallels, or die-cut autos, there are hundreds of quality Anfernee Hardaway cards on the market. Why are prices so low in comparison to his peers?
Hardaway didn’t win any championships in his career. He was also overshadowed by Michael Jordan in many of the earlier sets, while his career was marred by injuries.
The 1997-98 season would be the worst for Hardaway. He injured his left knee, which required arthroscopic surgery. He would go on to have knee surgery a further six times throughout his career.