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What are the top 5 Refractors of all time?

I was thinking the other day that Topps brand refractors have paved the way for many high-end cards over the years. My question is, which are the 5 top Topps brand refractors? By Topps brand, I mean Topps Chrome, Finest and Bowman. no Panini prizms here. I am also thinking about simple base refractors. No Gold/Super/atomic or any other parallels here. I have narrowed down 9 that I think are the best across 3 sports. 3 for each. Perhaps I may have missed one, or there is a better option out there. Here is what I came up with...
Baseball: 01 Bowman Pujols, 01 Chrome Ichiro/Pujols, 09 Bowman Trout

Basketball: 96 Topps Chrome Kobe, 03 Chrome Lebron, 09 Chrome Steph

Football: 98 Topps Chrome Peyton, 00 Bowman chrome Brady, 05 Topps Chrome Rodgers

My initial thoughts. I reserve the right to change my mind!

96 Chrome Kobe Refractor
00 Bowman Chrome Brady Refractor
01 Bowman Chrome Pujols Refractor
03 Topps Chrome Lebron Refractor
09 Topps Chrome Steph Refractor

what do you think?

George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.


  • NGS428NGS428 Posts: 2,191 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think one needs to be included from the set that started it all 1993 finest refractors for baseball.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 9,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NGS428 said:
    I think one needs to be included from the set that started it all 1993 finest refractors for baseball.

    I considered the 93 set, but I dont think the value of any of those cards can match others from the little "list" I put out. I fully understand the sentiment, I am thinking more along the lines of most valuable.

    Maybe we can add a 93 refractor in as a 6th card as "refractor emeritus"

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • The only Emeritus that counts forever in this world is Papa Emeritus who sings for Ghost.

  • PatriotTradingPatriotTrading Posts: 85 ✭✭
    edited November 2, 2023 5:29PM

    Probably best to separate it by sport and have the baseball prospects separate. If it was by value, there are many 2023 Bowman Chrome 1/1's that Topps is paying $30k+ for. The arbitrary five doesn't do anything to help the list

  • SoxPatsFanSoxPatsFan Posts: 166 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2, 2023 6:43PM

    I'd submit that the 1993 Finest Noaln Ryan & Ken Griffey Jr. refractors are certainly very important. These were the first $1000+ refractors from a set with an estimated print run of just 241 - though some cards were thought to be SP's.

    I don't think there were any important refractors in 1994 or 1995. When Topps Chrome was introduced in 1996 the Kobe Bryant was an important, though if I remember correctly ( and I may not be), Topps Chrome wasn't a hot product at first. It took a while for people to realize it was a limited retail-only release.

  • miwlvrnmiwlvrn Posts: 4,199 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @SoxPatsFan said:

    I don't think there were any important refractors in 1994 or 1995. .

    Here are a couple examples from 1994 that are relatively notable ones. They probably don't qualify as specifically important to the hobby as far as coming up with a sort of Mt. Rushmore-type memorial for the best refractors, but they are still some good cards with significant demand.


    The Kipper RC from that hockey set was a big card to chase for several years too. Not like the multi-thousands value of some of the later refractors you're mentioning, but still good stuff for 1994.

    Here are some others that are listed for some high prices:


  • mrmoparmrmopar Posts: 1,011 ✭✭✭✭

    Not a huge one, but a card I had and regret trading was the Grant Hill rookie finest refractor. I have never been a very active trader, so the handful of good cards I may have traded away tend to stick in my mind.

    I recall it was "worth" $300 at the time I traded it away. I don't remember what the trade netted me unfortunately.

    I collect Steve Garvey, Dodgers and signed cards. Collector since 1978.
  • These are not top in terms of value but the Faulk RC on the same card with Barry Sanders is one of my favorite refractor cards.

    Then each by themselves is kind of cool.

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