An avid card collector from New York has launched a website devoted to sharing knowledge about Star Company basketball cards.
Jarret Kahn says his goal is to expand the information base for collectors interested in the sets issued by the one-time NBA trading card licensee. In 1983, Star Company picked up production after Topps and the league parted ways following the 1981-82 season. They produced various sets of cards until Fleer acquired its license in time for the 1986-87 campaign. Star Company’s sets weren’t issued in traditional pack form but rather through hobby shops, mail order, arena promotions and other methods.
Believing that Star Company cards were underappreciated and misunderstood, Kahn began noticing that information was limited. Eventually, he decided to document his own research along with information he had gathered from interviews with long-time basketball card expert Steve Taft and others into one source at www.basketballgold.com.
Kahn says the website name comes from the color of the BGS 9.5 label and the “golden age” of NBA basketball represented by the era in which Star Company sets was produced.
“The web site was originally created by an individual who collected one of each card and, if possible, BGS 9.5s but he listed mostly photographs of the cards on the web site,” Kahn told us via email. “Over time, as I met some nice individuals to discuss the cards they suggested I put the information I would discuss with them into one source and that is what the web site became. I turned it into an educational site and updated comments near the cards themselves.”
The Westchester County resident says his interest in Star Cards increased when Beckett began authenticating and grading the cards, which offer “true” rookie cards of some of the greatest players of all-time.
“Star Company entered the basketball card market in an era generally unmatched in terms of the quality of the players that entered the NBA,” Kahn stated. It’s a group that includes Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, James Worthy, Isiah Thomas, Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Patrick Ewing.
Star’s first sets were produced during the 1983-84 season beginning with a set depicting players in the All-Star Game that season. Eventually a comprehensive league-wide set was made. Other themes for sets created by owner Robert Levin included Slam Dunk contests, championship teams, All-Rookie teams and other specialty sets for individual super stars.
For those who appreciate basketball history, Star Company’s sets fill an important void.
“People often forget that there was a one year gap after Topps withdrew from the basketball card market and the Star Company entered it,” Kahn recalled. “Wilkins and Worthy are among the players that would have had a basketball card issued in 1982-83, but that year was left vacant as no company had a license with the NBA to manufacture basketball cards. While they dedicated two years’ worth of cards to John Stockton, his Fleer card lapsed until 1988-89.”
Largely because of their non-traditional distribution, Star Company sets don’t appeal to all collectors but the overall perception is changing. Kahn says there’s still a significant amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about Star cards in the hobby. The web site is an attempt, in part, to deal with the inaccuracies that surround the cards by providing collectors with correct information (see the website’s list of common misconceptions).
“There are still people who will not buy Star cards because PSA does not grade them which is a shame because it is usually due to a lack of education and the incorrect reason as to why PSA stopped,” Kahn explained. “Key PSA personnel cannot and do not deny the importance of the cards.”
Jordan’s first Star cards have soared in value over the past couple of years but others have seen an escalation as well, something Kahn says comes with more information being available.
“More people have been coming in the last couple of years due to proper education spreading about the cards combined with BGS having graded them. While there are people who collect only Jordan and that will not change, some people start with Jordan and branch off to other key rookie cards and to other sets as well.”
Basketball Gold provides commentary on the company’s most collected sets along with photos. Kahn also provides answers to the most frequently asked questions and has created a section dealing with false information and frequent misconceptions. Kahn also notes several questions which he believes have not yet been answered satisfactorily. There is also a section with links to other articles about Star Company sets. He also included a glossary of terms to help collectors understand key terminology.
“I hope to provide one resource where anticipated questions and concerns are answered. I also hope collectors are able to use the web site to gather information and form their own educated opinions on the cards.”