10 Greatest Star Wars Trading Card Sets Ever Made

10 Greatest Star Wars Trading Card Sets Ever Made

No movie franchise has been more important to the hobby than Star Wars. Topps has been producing Star Wars trading cards since the first film was released in 1977. Since then, dozens of different sets have come and gone.

Because Star Wars cards have been around so long, it's possible to track much of the hobby's evolution through these sets as well. They began as something simple: cards, sticker, gum. Then came inserts, followed by autographs and, finally, sketch cards. The only thing largely missing from Star Wars trading cards are costume and prop cards. And those may never come beyond a single promo card.

Check out our ever-growing database of Star Wars trading card sets.

With such an expansive universe to choose from, Topps has kept the Star Wars line relatively fresh, even after more than three decades. Even still, some sets stand out more than others. Keeping that in mind, here are the ten best sets of Star Wars trading cards released between 1977 and 2012. While there have been many international sets through the years, we have limited this list to sets made by Topps for North American distribution.

Top 10 Star Wars Trading Card Sets

10. 1996 Topps Star Wars 3Di Widevision

1996 Topps Star Wars 3Di takes the Widevision format they introduced the previous year and gives it some added depth -- literally. The set is done entirely in 3D. A high initial cost likely contributed to a low print run. This has led the set to stand up extremely well on the secondary market. Even commons command more than a dollar each. Should you open a box, be sure to take the card off the box. These are blank back variations many collectors still chase today.

1996 Topps Star Wars 3Di Image

9. 1996 Topps Star Wars Finest

After years of being one of the most popular brands in sports cards, Finest found itself in a new relationship in the mid-90s. 1996 Topps Star Wars Finest keeps the hallmark chromium look that collectors expect. The 90-card set is broken down into several themed subsets, each illustrated by a different artist. The checklist goes beyond the films, adding characters from the expanded Star Wars Universe as well. Like in sports, Refractor parallels are the most popular inserts in the set.

1996 Topps Star Wars Finest C3P0 211x300 Image

8. 2002 Topps Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Widevision

So something positive actually did come of Attack of the Clones. Like previous Widevision releases, the base set does a great job of capturing panoramic shots from the movie itself. But that's not the main reason this set stands outs. It's the autographs. With 36 packs per box and autographs combining to fall 1:24 packs, there's a good chance collectors of getting two in a box. All are on-card and have plenty of space for even the biggest signatures. To date, 2002 Topps Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Widevision is the only place to find a certified Frank Oz (Yoda) autograph.

Frank Oz as Yoda Image

7. 2011 Topps Star Wars Galaxy 6

The third set since the Star Wars Galaxy line was relaunched in 2009, there was a fair bit of collector apathy aimed at 2011 Topps Star Wars Galaxy 6 prior to its release. But when it arrived, the set exploded. Although just one sketch card was promised per hobby box, most came with two. The quality of the sketch cards is also notably higher than some of the other sets. Also new to the set are Sketchagraphs, which have an actor's autograph on a sketch card. And being a Star Wars Galaxy set, the base set artwork is phenomenal.

2011 Topps Star Wars Galaxy 6 Sketchagraph Adam Hughes Carrie Fisher 213x300 Image 2011 Topps Star Wars Galaxy 6 Sketch Card Eli Rutten 216x300 Image

6. 2001 Topps Star Wars Evolution

2001 Star Wars Evolution is a character-based set. Every base card is done in foil to give it a unique look alongside the dozens of other sets for the franchise. However, the biggest reason this set is so popular is because it was the first to include actor autographs. Falling one per box, the checklist is one of the biggest for a Star Wars set. Key signatures include Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Ian McDiarmid.

2001 Topps Star Wars Evolution 260x180 Image 2001 Topps Star Wars Evolution Autograph Billy Dee Williams 209x300 Image

5. 2004 Topps Star Wars Heritage

2004 Topps Star Wars Heritage brought back the designs and feel of the trading cards from the original trilogy. The 120-card set focuses mainly on the first five films in the franchise. It also has the first cards of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. More importantly, the released introduced sketch cards to the Star Wars Universe. Compared to today's high standards, much of the art seems very simple and not the most desirable. However, there are lots of detailed pieces out there too. 2004 Topps Star Wars Heritage also has limited autographs of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and James Earl Jones.

2004 Topps Star Wars Heritage Sketch Card 214x300 Image

4. 1995 Topps Star Wars Widevision

For something like Star Wars, the look and feel of the image is extremely important. Early sets for the franchise used low-quality materials. Also, the card dimensions required images to be cropped. 1995 Topps Star Wars Widevision gave the movie the upgrade it deserved. Using a tall boy format, the entire image is able to make the move to a trading card. The result is some of the most attractive Star Wars trading cards to date. Topps quickly turned around similar sets for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

2005 Topps Star Wrs Widevision Image

3. 1993 Topps Star Wars Galaxy Series 1

When 1993 Topps Star Wars Galaxy Series 1 was released, the franchise was just starting to emerge from a long slumber. The art-based set was unlike anything collectors had seen from a Star Wars set before. That said, it was also the first set of Topps Star Wars trading cards since Return of the Jedi was in theaters.

1993 Topps Star Wars Galaxy Box Image

2. 1977 Topps Star Wars

It had to begin somewhere. No Star Wars trading cards are more cherished and remembered than the ones that started it all. Between 1977 and 1978, Topps released five different series of Star Wars cards, each building off the last. Today, the technology is crude. Many of the images are blurry. But there's power in nostalgia. And without Topps getting in early, it's possible the Star Wars trading card landscape could be much different.

1 Image

1. 2007 Topps Star Wars 30th Anniversary

Three decades of Star Wars culminated in one epic set that mixes the classic feel of the original trilogy with the demands of the modern hobby. The 120-card base set covers not only all six films, but many of the off-shoots as well. Even the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special gets some love. Every box delivers either an autograph or a sketch card. The autograph checklist is the best ever, delivering several key cast members including the elusive Harrison Ford. Iconic composer, John Williams, is also part of the autograph checklist. As a bonus, every box has a foil stamped buyback from the original 1977 cards. These proved to be extremely popular as well on the secondary market as a handful of collectors clamored for a complete set.

2007 Topps Star Wars 30th Anniversary 220x300 ImageHarrison Ford as Han Solo 207x300 Image

What's your favorite Star Wars set?

ebaysmalllogo Image
3808833268784040 1 Image
STAR WARS ILLUSTRATED NEW HOPE SKETCHAGRAPH SKETCH AUTOGRAPH CARD VAL HOCKBERG
$174.97
1712987553914040 1 Image
Star Wars Galactic Files Autograph Collection Hamil Fisher James Earl Jones +13
$1,599.99
2212314477684040 1 Image
Jedi Legacy STAR WARS BILLY DEE WILLIAMS AS LANDO CALRISSIAN AUTO AUTOGRAPH
$174.99
3502397630724040 1 Image
STAR WARS 2001 TOPPS EVOLUTION UPDATE MIKE EDMONDS JABBA THE HUTT AUTOGRAPH
$149.99
2514815738374040 1 Image
2010 Star Wars Galaxy Series 5 Chewbacca Peter Mayhew auto autograph card RARE
$85.00
3311577541614040 1 Image
2013 Topps STAR WARS JEDI LEGACY Autograph Card BONNIE PIESSE Beru Whitesun
$27.98
3907512031664040 1 Image
STAR WARS REVENGE OF THE SITH WIDEVISION MATTHEW WOOD AUTOGRAPH
$109.95
3907512031694040 1 Image
STAR WARS REVENGE OF THE SITH WIDEVISION PETER MAYHEW AUTOGRAPH
$79.95
3710437045114040 1 Image
Topps Auto Indiana Jones Harrison Ford Autograph KOTCS Han Solo Star Wars
$2,662.33
1213160245384040 1 Image
Star Wars Jedi Legacy Carrie Fisher Princess Leia Organa Autograph Card
$374.95
2812910603894040 1 Image
Star Wars AOTC Widevision Kenny Baker R2-D2 Autograph Card Clone Wars Auto
$54.95
1612748252724040 1 Image
STAR WARS GALACTIC FILES SERIES 2 (Topps 2013) Autograph Card ALAN HARRIS
$26.00
« Previous12345
 Image

Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

User Comments

  1. The only ones I know of are the Episode I Widevision cards.

  2. Great list, I wouldn’t argue with any of them, and while I know it’s not by Topps, I’d still like to give a shout out for an honorable mention to the 1977/78 Wonder Bread set. A nice selection of 16 cards with excellent character selection, distinctive black borders, and sharp photography. These really whet my appetite for the Topps cards as I remember seeing the bread and cereal premium cards first.

    The Hildebrandt Brothers illustrated “Shadows of the Empire” is also a teriffic set from Topps.

  3. Rudy (ID 64426) » Those are great sets too. My one personal beef with Shadows is that the “inserts” are in the middle of the base set. I like full sets and this one forced me to go after inserts. I really need to focus and pick up the last couple I’m missing.

  4. Hi Ryan!
    I just received the 1977 Star Wars Topps blue card through ebay. I’m overwhelmed becouse I had them when I was little and now have them again. I’ve bought them in Australia. I have a doubt Ryan and that is I see a few cards are not sharp in image, like card number 57 “Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker” and a few others. Is this normal? Do I have an imitation set??? Ha ha …I’m just a little paranoid.
    Many thanks Ryan.
    Carlos

  5. Carlos » It is a great set. You should be fine. Production values weren’t so high back in 1977. Also, because singles don’t usually go for more than a few dollars, counterfeits haven’t been a known issue.

  6. The rarest?:

    1977 Divenpress paper venezuelan color and spanish back cards. Never seem in USA and almost impossible to find. PERIOD.

    Leave a Comment: