What is a refractor Card?
A refractor card is a chrome card which has a rainbow effect when put into the light.
It’s like that of a silver prizm card for those who come from basketball or football.
Topps first introduced the refractor in 1993 when it released Finest.
Back then a refractor was the hit of the box.
This was way before the overproduction of refractor and short print cards.
Brands Refractors are in
Besides Finest, collectors find refractors in a ton of products.
Here are some of the brands in which a refractor is commonplace
- Topps Chrome
- Bowman Chrome
- Bowman’s Best
- Bowman Sterling
- Topps Finest
- Topps Stadium Club
- Topps Heritage
Types of refractors
Besides a standard refractor there are a ton of variations.
Variations of refractors change year to year and brand to brand.
Here are some of the most common ones from the past years.
Collecting the Rainbow
Some collectors will go and collect the different refractors to build the rainbow of the set.
For example, Phil Hughes collected the entire topps chrome sapphire rainbow of Tatis.
Back in 2019 he got the variations of his auto rookie card.
That investment definitely turned out for the better.
How to Tell a card is a refractor
There are a few different ways in which you can tell a card is a refractor.
Look at the back of the card
Most cards will say they are a refractor.
Flip the card over on the back.
Towards the top of the card it’ll say iit is a refractor.
Look at the surface
The surface of the card is shiny.
When tilted in the light the card will give off a rainbow glare.
If you are still unsure, compare two different cards from the same year.
It’ll be obvious what the refractor is.
How Much is a refractor worth
For the average player a refractor is worth 25-50 cents.
Some collectors want an entire set of a certain refractor or collect a team.
That’s why the common card is still worth something.
The refractor rookie is always going to command a premium over the non refractor cards.
If the player is a star or superstar, prices tend to rise fast.
Superstar refractor rookies go for thousands.
So be on the lookout for them.
Today vs 90s
In the 90s refractors were a hit for a box.
So the prices reflect that.
Refractors of stars are super expensive.
And rookies even fetch a couple hundred for non hall of famers.
Refractors in Basketball & Football
While not produced anymore.
Refractors of basketball and football players can fetch a ton of money.
Especially in the early years of finest or topps chrome.
The quarterbacks and star basketball players are the ones to look for.
If you have any questions on refractors, join the breakout sports discord.
One of our active members will help you.