Anfernee Deon Hardaway, more commonly referred to as Penny Hardaway, began his basketball career at Treadwell High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Penny was a high school standout, especially in his senior year, recording 36.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.9 steals, and 2.8 blocks each time he took the floor.
Hardaway enrolled at Memphis State University, competing in the Great Midwest Conference. Nowadays, the school is named the University of Memphis and competes in the American Athletic Conference. Penny guided the Tigers to the Elite Eight in the 1991-92 season and attained a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament the following year before declaring for the 1993 NBA Draft.
The Orlando Magic, who had the number 1 overall pick in the 1993 NBA draft, selected Chris Webber, while the Golden State Warriors selected Penny Hardaway as the 3rd overall pick. However, the two franchises swapped players on draft night, sending Hardaway to the Magic.
The Orlando Magic, led by Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal, was a dominant force in the Eastern Conference, securing the franchise's two most successful seasons in team history. Though Penny and Shaq could not guide the Magic to the promised land, and O'Neal was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. After Shaq left the Magic, Penny Hardaway continued to play at a high level until he suffered a left knee injury in the 1997-98 season, limiting his ability to dominate from the point guard position.
Penny Hardaway was then traded to the Phoenix Suns after the 1998-99 season, where he played for five seasons but was never the same player. Hardaway then had a three-year stint with the New York Knicks, though he received minimal playing time in a reserve role. After the 2005-06 season, Penny Hardaway announced his retirement. Penny felt he had more to prove, making a comeback in the 2007-08 season, reuniting with Shaquille O'Neal. After just 16 games, Penny Hardaway officially hung up his sneakers. Through 14 NBA seasons, Penny was a four-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Third Team, and All-NBA Rookie First Team.
Penny Hardaway's basketball career was a success, particularly early in his career ushering the Orlando Magic to become one of the most prevalent teams in the Eastern Conference. As a result of his basketball prowess, collectors remain keen to collect his basketball cards released from his rookie season and even those printed after he retired. With that said, the following are the top 10 most valuable Anfernee Hardaway cards.
1993 Hoops Anfernee Hardaway Magic's All-Rookies #3
Recent sale: $500
We begin the list of the top 10 most valuable Anfernee Hardaway cards with 1993-94 Hoops Magic's All-Rookies set. The Magic's All-Rookies checklist corresponds with the draft order from the 1993 NBA Draft, showcasing Penny Hardaway's rookie card as the third card in the checklist, as Penny was drafted 3rd overall by the Golden State Warriors. Penny's rookie card from 1993-94 Hoops has a PSA population of 74, eight of which earned a PSA 10. Conversely, the highest Penny Hardaway rookie card graded by Beckett obtained a BGS 9.5.
Penny Hardaway attended Treadwell High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Penny had one of the most remarkable senior years in high school basketball history, totaling 36.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.9 steals, and 2.8 blocks, becoming Parade Magazine’s high school player of the year. Hardaway produced one of Treadwell High School's most memorable careers, prompting Treadwell High School to retire his number 25 jersey.
Hardaway recorded 3,039 points in his high school basketball career, becoming one of the most legendary Memphis high school basketball players of all time. Penny's Magic's All-Rookies card from 1993-94 Hoops strongly represents his roots. Seeing how the last PSA 10 sold at auction in July 2019 fetched just over $100 and seeing the price in August 2021 bringing more than $500, Anfernee Hardaway's Magic's All-Rookies card is climbing and remains one of his most valuable rookie cards.
2020 Panini Contenders Optic Anfernee Hardaway Veteran Ticket #VT-ANF
Recent sale: $709
Although Panini America released 2020-21 Panini Contenders Optic more than a decade after Penny played his final NBA game, the set features Veteran Season Ticket insert cards that are highly sought-after. The Veteran Season Ticket checklist showcases 10 NBA players, from current NBA phenoms like Ja Morant and Anthony Davis to Hall of Famers like Allen Iverson and Karl Malone. Graded a PSA 10, Penny Hardaway's Veteran Season Ticket autographed card has a total population of one.
Penny Hardaway enrolled at the University of Memphis to compete for the Tigers in the 1990-91 college basketball season. However, Penny was academically ineligible, forcing him to sit out what would have been his rookie season. In the 1991-92 season, Penny led the Tigers to a 23-11 record, averaging a team-high in points (17.4), assists (5.5.), and steals (2.5). The Memphis Tigers earned an at-large bid to compete in the 1992 NCAA Tournament as a 6 seed. Penny led the Tigers past the 11th seeded Pepperdine, 3rd seeded Arkansas, and 7th seeded Georgie Tech before bowing out to the 4th seeded Cincinnati in the Elite Eight.
Hardaway tallied 21 points, 14 points, 24 points, and 12 points to guide the Memphis Tigers to a remarkable run in the 1991 NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, Penny was nominated as the Great Midwest Player of the Year, Great Midwest Conference MVP, All-Great Midwest Conference First-Team, Great Midwest Conference All-Tournament Team, and a 1992 NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Regional Team. While Penny's Veteran Season Ticket autographed card from 2020-21 Panini Contenders Optic was released 12 years after hanging up his sneakers, hobbyists are keeping an eye out for another copy to surface, as the lone copy is one the best Anfernee Hardaway cards.
1993 Topps Gold Anfernee Hardaway Draft Picks RC #334
Recent sale: $750
One of the most valuable Anfernee Hardaway rookie cards appears in the 1993-94 Topps Gold basketball set. Penny Hardaway's Draft Picks rookie card from 1993-94 Topps Gold showcases his defensive prowess, where he averaged 1.6 steals per game in his NBA career, ranked 127th in league history. Penny's Draft Picks rookie card from 1993-94 Topps Gold features his most populated card on the list, with 333 cards graded. Graded a PSA 10, this is one of 27% of Hardaway's Draft Picks rookie cards that received a PSA or BGS 10.
Heading into the 1992-93 season, Penny picked up where he left off after leading the Memphis Tigers in the 1991-92 season. Through 32 games, Penny led the Great Midwest Conference in points (22.8), rebounds (8.5), and steals (2.4) to win his second-consecutive Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year. Penny was also honored as the great Midwest Conference MVP, All-Great Midwest Conference First-Team, and Great Midwest Conference All-Tournament Team.
Penny Hardaway's 1992-93 season proved to be his last in a Memphis Tigers uniform, as he declared himself eligible for the 1993 NBA Draft. Hardaway finished his Memphis Tigers career after just two seasons, recording 17 career double-doubles, and becoming the only player in Memphis Tigers history to record multiple triple-doubles. As one of the greatest players in school history, the Memphis Tigers retired Penny's number 25 jersey on January 23, 1994. When an athlete has their jersey retired, it means they made a strong impact, and Hardaway did just that for the Tigers. As a result of his strong collegiate basketball career, Anfernee Hardaway's Draft Picks rookie card from 1993-94 Topps Gold became one of the most expensive cards of the set.
1996 Fleer Ultra Anfernee Hardaway Court Masters #1
Recent sale: $999
The value of Anfernee Hardaway's Court Masters card from 1996-97 Fleer Ultra is aided by its condition sensitivity. While Hardaway's Court Masters card isn't a rookie card, as it was released three years after he made his NBA debut, his card is the number one card in the Court Masters checklist. Basketball card enthusiasts can locate a card from the Court Masters checklist in one of every 180 retail packs, one of the most challenging inserts to collect from 1996-07 Fleer Ultra.
Penny Hardaway was drafted as the third overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, though he was involved in a trade with the Orlando Magic, sending Penny to the Magic and Chris Webber to the Warriors. Penny made his NBA debut on November 5, 1993, as the Orlando Magic's starting point guard. In his 1993-94 rookie season, Penny started every game, averaging 16.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.3 steals. Hardaway led the Magic to a 50-32 record, totaling 12 double-doubles and one triple-double.
Receiving 47% of the first-place votes, Hardaway narrowly missed out on the 1993-94 Rookie of the Year award, which went to Chris Webber of the Golden State Warriors, who were traded for one another at the 1993 NBA Draft. Hobbyists have deserved a PSA 10 on only two occasions for Penny's Court Masters card from 1996-97 Fleer Ultra, proving its condition sensitivity and cementing its long-lasting value as one of the most valuable Anfernee Hardaway cards.
1996 Flair Showcase Anfernee Hardaway Legacy Collection Row 0 #1 #'d/150
Recent sale: $1,676
Fleer's 1996-07 Flair Showcase release was unparalleled for its time, offering a 270-card base set across three checklists, featuring Row 0, Row 1, and Row 2. 1996-97 Flair Showcase is also synonymous with being one of the most coveted sets of the '90s for introducing parallels in low serial numbers. Penny Hardaway's card from 1996-97 appears in the Legacy Collection of Row 0, serial-numbered to only 150 copies. Since its release, only 18 cards have surfaced, with the highest grade obtaining a BGS 9. This particular Penny Hardaway Legacy Collection Row 0 card succumbed to centering issues, meriting a BGS 7 for centering, hindering its overall grade of a BGS 7.5.
Penny Hardaway posted a remarkable sophomore campaign with the Orlando Magic, guiding the franchise to a then franchise-best 57-25 record, clinching the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Hardaway recorded a 51.2 field-goal percentage, registering 20.9 points per game while grabbing 4.4 rebounds and tallying a career-best 7.2 assists. Since the inauguration of the Orlando Magic in the 1989-90 season, the 1994-95 season is tied for their deepest playoff run in franchise history.
Although the Magic ultimately lost in the 1995 NBA finals, Hardaway was honored to the All-NBA First Team and made his first All-Star Game appearance. Anfernee Hardaway’s Legacy Collection Row 0 fetched four figures and is currently ranked as his 6th most valuable basketball card. Should a copy retaining a higher grade appear at auction, collectors can anticipate laying out five figures.
1998 SkyBox E-X Century Anfernee Hardaway Dunk'N Go-Nuts #17DG
Recent sale: $1,775
1998-99 Skybox E-X Century features a 90-card base set printed in 18 packs of three cards. Penny Hardaway's card appears in the highly sought-after Dunk 'N Go-Nuts checklist, paying homage to the Dunkin' Donuts franchise. Insert cards from Dunk 'N Go-Nuts can be discovered in one of every 36 packs. Although hobbyists have fared well receiving a high grade from PSA, with 16 of 24 cards meriting a PSA 10, only two cards graded of Beckett's population of 33 cards obtained a BGS 10.
Penny Hardaway led the Orlando Magic to a franchise-best 60-22 record, a winning percentage of .732 in the 1995-96 NBA season. Hardaway recorded a career-high 21.7 points, in addition to 4.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists. Hardaway and the Magic finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference, only behind Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The two teams would later meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Bulls sweeping the Magic en route to winning the 1995-96 NBA title.
While the Magic couldn't reach the pinnacle in the 1995-96 season, Penny recorded his both second-consecutive All-NBA First Team honors and an appearance at the 1996 NBA All-Star Game. Penny's PSA 10 graded Dunk 'N Go-Nuts insert card from 1998-99 Skybox E-X Century is a unique treasure of the point guard phenom and continues to be one of the top Anfernee Hardaway basketball cards ever produced.
2018 Panini Prizm Anfernee Hardaway Signatures Prizms Gold #S-AHW #'d/10
Recent sale: $2,534
Next up, we have Penny Hardaway's Signatures Prizms Gold card from 2018-19 Panini Prizm. On November 21, 2018, Panini issued the set in 12 packs of 12 cards, enclosing two autographed cards and 22 Prizms in each hobby box. Hardaway's Signatures Prizms Gold parallel card is featured in a 60-card checklist, representing past and present NBA players. Anfernee Hardaway's Signatures Prizms Gold parallel card is tied for his most limited card on the list, serial-numbered to merely 10 copies.
Penny Hardaway represented Team USA at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Across eight games, Hardaway tallied 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest, leading Team USA to the Olympic gold medal. Penny led Team USA in field-goal percentage, shooting 56.8% from the floor, ranked 2nd in points, 2nd in rebounds, 3rd in assists, and 2nd in steals.
Penny was a significant factor in Team USA capturing their 11th gold medal in the Olympic games. As Penny continued to excel on the national stage, his Signatures Prizms Gold parallel card from 2018-19 Panini Prizm is one of the most valuable Anfernee Hardaway cards on the list to collect because it's the only one to feature his autograph.
1996 Flair Showcase Anfernee Hardaway Hot Shots #4
Recent sale: $4,027
Penny's third most valuable card tosses us back to Fleer's 1996 Flair Showcase, configured in 24 packs of five cards. Hardaway's card appears in the Hot Shots checklist, issued to collectors as a die-cut card illustrating a blazing basketball. Penny's Hot Shots card draws attention from collectors and is challenging to locate, as the Hot Shots inserts are found in one of every 90 packs. As one of two cards to merit a PSA 10, this insert card is one of Penny's most coveted cards from the list.
After Hardaway helped Team USA capture the Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Summer Games, he played the 1996-97 season without his star center in Shaquille O'Neal, traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason. With the departure of Shaq, Hardaway's stats slowly diminished, averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.6 steals, down in every category except for rebounds. Hardaway and the Magic went 45-37 before losing in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs.
Despite losing Shaq, Penny recorded a playoff career-high 31.0 points in the 1997 NBA Playoffs, though it wasn't enough to send the Magic past the Miami Heat. Penny's season was still successful, achieving his third-consecutive All-Star Game appearance. As the 3rd most valuable Penny Hardaway card and the most coveted from Fleer's 1996-97 Flair Showcase, Hardaway's die-cut Hot Shots card is more sought-after than ever.
1998 SkyBox Premium Anfernee Hardaway Star Rubies #17 #'d/50
Recent sale: $7,877
1998-99 Skybox Premium was issued to collectors in two series, both allocating 24 packs of eight cards in each hobby box. Penny Hardaway's card from the set emerged from the Star Rubies checklist, each serial-numbered to 50 copies. Penny's Star Rubies card from 1998-99 Skybox Premium is even more desirable due to being the number one card in the checklist. Since its release, only nine of Penny's Star Rubies cards have surfaced, the highest grade meriting a BGS 9.
Hardaway suffered a gruesome left knee injury early in the 1997-98 season that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. One of the league's best point guards, Penny, was never the same player after his injury, as it affected his explosiveness. The 1997-98 season would be the final time Hardaway earned an All-Star Game appearance. After six seasons with the Orlando Magic, Penny became a journeyman, competing with the Phoenix Suns for five seasons the New York Knicks for three seasons before briefly retiring after the 2005-06 season. Hardaway came out of retirement for the 2007-08 season to reunite with Shaquille O'Neal on the Miami Heat before playing his final NBA game on December 3, 2007.
Penny Hardaway finished his 14-year NBA career averaging 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. When Penny hung up his sneakers, he recorded 10,684 points, 3,146 rebounds, 3,525 assists, and 1,125 career steals. Penny's Star Rubies card from 1998-99 Skybox Premium continues to make waves in the basketball card landscape. Graded a PSA 7, Penny's Star Rubies card fetched almost five figures, forecasting the unparalleled value of a higher graded copy.
2012 Panini Prizm Anfernee Hardaway Prizms Gold #160 #'d/10
Recent sale: $11,700
To date, Penny Hardaway's most valuable basketball card arises from the iconic 2012-13 Panini Prizm basketball set, released to hobbyists on November 28, 2012. Configured in 20 packs of six cards, basketball card hobbyists are on the lookout for two autographed cards, two Prizms, and two inserts, including Penny Hardaway's Prizms Gold card. Panini highlights Hardaway's card in the 160-card base checklist, featuring Penny's Gold Prizms serial-numbered to only 10 copies. Graded a BGS 9.5, this precise Penny Hardaway card from 2012-13 Panini Prizm is his loftiest graded card in existence.
After Penny's professional basketball career, he dabbled in coaching, guiding the Lester Middle School Lions, his former middle school team, to a state championship in Memphis, Tennessee. Penny later became the assistant head coach, then the head coach of the East High Mustangs in Memphis, Tennessee, leading the team to state titles in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Due to his triumphs at the middle and high school levels, the Memphis Tigers, Penny's alma mater, became intrigued with his success. As a result, the Memphis Tigers hired Penny Hardaway as the team's head coach on March 19, 2018.
Penny Hardaway led the Memphis Tigers to the 2021 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship. As such, the Memphis native accepted a five-year $12.25 million contract to remain the team's head coach through the 2025-26 season. Hardaway's basketball career came a full circle, as he remains at the helm of the team that enabled him to become an NBA phenom. Although Penny Hardaway's 2012-13 Panini Prizm card doesn't emphasize his rookie card, it's persisted as his most valuable rookie card, which recently fetched five figures.
From NBA Phenom to Mentor: Penny Hardaway's Legacy Lives On
While Penny stepped away from playing professional basketball, he remained close to the game. Penny became a middle school basketball coach at his alma mater before evolving into a high school basketball coach, where he won a state title. Then, Penny received an offer of a lifetime, becoming the head coach of the Memphis Tigers basketball program.
Penny Hardaway was once considered the most effective point guard during his playing career; now, he is a mentor to his alma mater, steering the Memphis Tigers basketball program towards prominence. Due to his success on the basketball court and now as a mentor to the game, Penny Hardaway cards are a memorable commodity for collectors, increasing in value year after year.