Joe Montana Football Card Rookie Card 1981 Topps Most Expensive PSA Graded
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Joe montana is a proven winner

Quarterbacks are measured in a lot of ways. The record books tell us how many passes they threw, how many were caught, how many went for touchdowns, and how many were intercepted. Statistics give us the yards gained in each game, in each season, and, at the end of the player’s career, his lifetime totals.

Not many will argue that Joe Montana measures up to the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Most notably was his special ability that is very much his own. No field leader has ever brought his team from behind to victory more often than Joe. He just won’t give up, and he won’t let his team quit if there is 1 second remaining on the clock.

College Career at Notre Dame

Football fans first discovered Joe Montana’s game winning drive heroics while he was in college at Notre Dame. If it had happened once or twice, those games might be remembered as special occasions. But it soon became almost mystical the way Notre dame would pull out tough games that seemed lost as Montana’s passes and scrambling runs turned the tide at the finish.

Freshmen Don’t Play

Freshmen did not play on the varsity team when Joe Montana arrived at South Bend, Indiana. He had to wait until his sophomore year before he played his way into the lineup. As a matter of fact, Notre Dame had 5 quarterbacks at the time and the head coach Dan Devine could not make his mind up about any of them. It was against Northwestern University when Joe got his first chance at leading his team to a victory. He brought his team from 0—7 to a 31—7 victory that day. Despite his success against Northwestern, Montana had yet to land the starting position role.

Joe Montana Gets His Shot

It was his final two seasons at Notre Dame that Joe Montana developed into a national figure. In 1977, after a season away from the field due to a broken collar bone, he was the third string quarterback. His chance arrived during the third season of the game against the Purdue Boilermakers. They were trailing 24—14 when a field goal had brought the Irish within a touchdown away from victory. 

“Montana Magic” went to work.

Joe hit his tight end Ken MacAfee with a 13-yard scoring pass, and the game was tied. With time running out, Joe hit on two long passes to set up the winning touchdown. David Mitchell ran the ball down the middle for a touchdown leaving only 1:30 left to play. Montana had complete 9 of 14 passes for a 31—24 victory. It was after this game when Devine made Montana the starting quarterback and they won their remaining 9 games of the season.

Leading His Team to a National Championship Games

Now that Joe was the starting quarterback, he was able to lead his team to a national championship game. However, it took a post-season win, 38—10 over the nationally Number-One-Ranked University of Texas in the Cotton Bowl, to prove Notre Dame was really the top team in the country.

The “Chicken Soup Game”

On January 1, 1979 Notre Dame returned to the Cotton Bowl to face Houston. Montana’s performance in what came to be known as the “Chicken Soup Game,” is one of the most celebrated of his entire football career. In the wintery, freezing weather in the second quarter, Montana had to battle with hypothermia as his body temperature plummeted to 96 degree Fahrenheit. 

When the second half began with Houston up 20—12, Montana stayed in the locker room, where Notre Dame’s medical staff most famously, fed him chicken soup. Montana later returned to the field in the third quarter with Houston leading 34—12. Amazingly, Joe led the Irish to three touchdowns in the last eight minutes of the game with the final one coming as time expired. Notre Dame had come out victorious winning 35—34.

Graduation and the NFL Draft

When he graduated from Notre Dame, Joe Montana headed west. After almost freezing to death in the Cotton Bowl, he wanted to warmth of southern California. Like other great quarterbacks who had come from the gritty towns, he would find an NFL city and make it his. Broadway Joe Namath had claimed New York, and Johnny Unitas was Mr. Baltimore Football for over a decade. George Blanda had passed and kicked field goals in Chicago, and Montana’s contemporary rival, Dan Marino, would stake out Florida with Miami.

Joe did not know his future would be with the San Francisco 49er’s. He just made a beeline for the West Coast and waited until he was picked in the NFL draft.

Does Joe Have what it Take To play in the NFL?

Actually, despite his national acclaim for comeback victories at Notre Dame, Joe was not rated as a great prospect for the pros. Even though he is listed at 6 feet, 2-inches and 195 pounds, he is a spindly legged, narrow-shouldered man. He also had a reputation for getting hurt. Players are much bigger the in the NFL than the players he faced in college. Big men, like Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers, have set the standard in the late 1970’s.
It did not seem likely that Joe Montana, the nimble-footed newcomer would develop into the passer of the eighties. Yet, even though the 49ers waited until the third round to select him, it was his quickness that had caught the eye of the new San Francisco head coach, Bill Walsh.

Bill Walsh and Joe Montana Work Great Together

Walsh was the right coach for Montana, and the rookie was ideal for Bill’s style of play. After ten seasons as an assistant head coach in the NFL, Bill Walsh had been named general manager and head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The team needed to be rebuilt, and Joe Montana had just the right abilities to make it a winner—maybe even a champion.

Getting Started in the NFL

In the 1979 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Montana at the end of the third round with the 82nd overall pick. Montana was the fourth quarterback to be selected, behind Thompson, Phil Simms, and Steve Fuller which were all taken in the first round.

Raising a Quarterback (1979)

Joe Montana’s rookie year with the 49ers was a learning experience. The team repeated a predictable losing season as years prior with a 2—14 record. Joes made brief appearances in 16 games, completing 13 of the 23 passes he threw, one for a touchdown.

The 49ers brought Joe Montana along very carefully. In order to build his confidence he was never thrown into a losing game. Instead, he would take over when the ball was in good field position. If the 49ers were setup to score, they would have Montana lead the drive.

Getting His Start (1980)

Joe’s sophomore year started the same year as his rookie year with Steve DeBerg at the helm. But, Coach Walsh was getting ready to put Joe Montana in charge. After DeBerg had thrown seven interceptions in the sixth game of the season against Dallas, Walsh began to utilize Joe a lot more. Dwight Clark was Joe’s go to guy and the team immediately showed improvement.

Even though he was playing cautiously, still learning the defenses against which he had to pass; Joe led the NFL in passing percentage. He completed 176 of 273 passes for a 64.5 percent completion rating. More importantly, to show what the future held for his team, Joe pulled off his first come-from-behind victory.

Confirming His Comeback Kid Abilities

After a poor excuse of a performance in the first half against the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco was trailing by 28 points. In the second half, Joe led the 49ers in four touchdown drives, two on his passes and two on runs. The game went into overtime, and Joe guided his team on a 55-yard drive that set up a field goal to win the game.

It showed the San Francisco fans that Joe Montana was the same “Comeback Kid” he had been at Notre Dame. The Team’s record improved to 6—10. The 1980’s had just started and the 49ers was in the making of becoming the dominant team of the decade. Montana was prepared to claim the title as the best gunslinger of the 1980’s.

Professional Career

1981 -1983

Montana began the 1981 season at the starting quarterback position. The season ended as one of the franchise’s most successful seasons. With most credit being given to Montana’s strong performance, the team finished the regular season with a 12-3 record. Montana assisted San Francisco in winning two of those games with a fourth-quarter comeback win.
One of Montana’s most memorable career moments was birthed in 1982. On January 10, 1982, San Francisco faced the Dallas Cowboys as three-point home underdogs at Candlestick Park in the National Football Conference Championship Game. The final quarter was marked by one of the most notable plays in NFL history. Larry Schwartz of ESPN.com later defined the 1981 NFC Championship as Montana’s signature game.

Super Bowl XVI vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The 49ers competed against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. A determined Montana completed 14 of his 22 passes with passing touchdown and one rushing. San Francisco came out victorious beating the Bengal by 5 points with a 26—21 score. In recognition of his performance, Montana won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award, which he accomplished two more times before retiring. The Super Bowl win made Montana one of only two quarterbacks (along with Joe Namath) to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl.

1982

In 1982, with the National Football League Players Association on strike, the entire National Football League was at a standstill. By the time the fifty-seven-day-long strike was settled, almost half the season had been wasted. Even worse, the 49ers, the reigning Super Bowl champs, were torn apart by disagreements among players.

They lost six of the nine games that were left on the schedule. Despite all the controversary Joe had pretty impressive stats. He completed 213 of 436 passes for 61.5 percent. He had 17 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, which for the time was excellent. Despite his own stats, the 1982 season was one Joe Montana would rather forget.

1983

Joe had a good season in 1983 as the 49ers won 10 and lost 6 to win the Division title before losing to Washington in the championship playoffs by a field goal kicked with 40 seconds left to play. It was a bitter defeat because a number of calls by the officials seemed unfair. Joe Montana rarely complains about the officiating in the NFL. Over a season, the bad calls tend to balance out. However, when a title is on the line in a single game, then every call has to be a right one.

1984

When the 49ers reported for training camp in 1984, they were still disgruntled about the way they had lost to Washington. They were more determined than ever to go to the Super Bowl. It was to be Joe’s best season, with the team winning 16 games and losing only once. Joe led the league in most statistics while compiling his highest NFL quarterback rating, 102.9.

Super Bowl XIX vs. the Miami Dolphins

Following the 1984 regular season, Super Bowl XIX matched the two top quarterbacks in the league. Dan Marino, leader of the Miami Dolphins, had thrown 55 touchdown passes in 18 games. This incredible number looked even more impressive against Joe Montana’s below-par performance in the playoffs. Both teams had exceptions season records. San Francisco has lost only 1 game during the season. Miami came into the Super Bowl with a 16—2 record.

Starting off Slowing but ending Strong

Super Bowl XIX started out a bit iffy. Joe wasn’t playing his traditional style. He was attempting log passes. It wasn’t until their second possession that he gained control by playing his short passes up the field routine. San Francisco went 78 yards in 8 plays and scored a touchdown. Miami answered with a touchdown on during the next drive. Finally, the 49ers put the game out of reach in the third quarter by scoring twice. The final score was 38—16.

It had been a perfect game for the 49ers. They had scored on five possessions in a row in the second and third quarters. Montana threw for 331 yards and ran for another 59. He was voted the MVP of the game but was happy for more than that. It was a total team victory.

1988

In 1988 Joe had a difficult time in preseason training. He was slowed by nagging injuries. There were old ones, like his gimpy knee, and a new one to his elbow. His ribs were tender as usual, and his back a time bomb ready to explode. Steve Young opened the 1998 season, and Joe did not start until the fourth game. Even then, Coach Walsh was quick to pull Joe out of a game and substitute Young at Quarterback.

Despite the constant switching of quarterbacks, San Francisco won another Western Division title with a 10—6 record. Coach Walsh finally let his veteran quarterback take charge.

Super Bowl XXIII vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Montana’s first visit to the Super Bowl, when the 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26—21 in 1982, had been made possible when he beat the Dallas Cowboys with the Pass to Dwight Clark that was known as “The Catch.” Seven years later, Joe would pull out of thin air another Super Bowl victory over the Bengals with what is remembered as “The Drive”.

“The Drive”

There was 3:10 left in the game when Joe remembered the Dallas game in 1982. His mother said how she was reminded of the 1979 Cotton Bowl when Joe had brought the Fighting Irish from behind to beat Texas. The finish he was about to pull off would be yet another miracle orchestrated by the legendary quarterback. It lives in football history as “The Drive.”

The 49ers found themselves trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 16–13 with only 3:20 left in the game and the ball on their own 8-yard line. But Montana calmly drove them down the field, completing 8 of 9 passes for 92 yards and throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with only 34 seconds left.

1989

The San Francisco 49er’s won another Western Division title in 1989 with a 14—2—0 record. It was their fourth in a row. They had won eight of their divisions last nine championships. There was a new coach on board. George Seifert, the defensive coach, took over when Walsh retired. With their new coach on deck, the 49ers were performing better than they ever have. Fans were beginning to wonder how great they actually were.

The Denver Broncos, led by their great quarterback John Elway were back to make another attempt at Super Bowl victory. This was the third try in the last four years. The Broncos practiced stopping Joe Montana’s typical short passes. Their own QB Elway had one of the strongest arms in the history of the game.

Super Bowl XXIV vs. the Denver Broncos

Super Bowl XXIV was played on January 28, 1990 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The 49ers were 12-point favorites and lost no time in proving the experts were right. The Denver defense had not given up more than 28 points in a game all season. The 49ers scored 27 by halftime. They scored constantly and evenly. The final score was 55—10, the most devastating loss in the history of the Super Bowl.

Joe Montana had a record performance. He threw for four touchdowns which were 20, 38, 28, and 35 yards. Which are all longer than Montana typically passed. He was named the Most Valuable Player, becoming the first to win this honor three times. It was his fourth Super Bowl and Joe had improved on many of his records.

Kansas City Chiefs

After being out of play for two seasons sue to injuries and a new starting quarterback, Montana made a phenomenal comeback as a Kansas City Chief. In 1993, he passed for 2,144 yards, as the Chiefs ended the regular season at 11-5. Montana led the Chiefs all the way to the AFC championship game. In the title game Montana suffered a concussion, and the Buffalo Bills denied the Chiefs their first trip to the Super Bowl in over twenty years.

Montana had another successful season in 1994. The Chiefs were eliminated from playoff contention by veteran quarterback Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. After a grueling wild-card game, the Dolphins defeated the Chiefs 27-17.

conclusion

On April 18, 1995, Montana announced his retirement before a large crowd at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. The event was broadcast live on local television, and included speeches from John Madden and others. Bill Walsh served as the MC for the event.

achievements

  • 4X Super Bowl Champion
  • 3X Super Bowl MVP
  • 8X Pro Bowl Selection
  • 3X All-pro
  • 1X National Championship
  • Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000

Top 20 Joe Montana Football Card List

1994 Stadium Club Bowman’s Best refractors are one of the earliest refractors produced in football cards. In 1994, Topps produced two sets with refractors randomly inserted in packs. 1994 Finest is the most notable set but Stadium Club has some as well. They can only be found in the High Series, or third tier boxes. 

The high series boxes had Bowman’s Best refractors in both blue and black colors. The colors had the same odds and were seeded 1:12 packs. Rookies were printed as blue refractors while the Stars like Montana, Favre, Elway and Rice were printed as black refractors. 

PSA Population Report:

These early Stadium Club refractors are great cards for the time. In my opinion, they are a little dark but other than that they’re great. Surprisingly, PSA has graded more than I had expected. 39 black Joe Montana refractors were submitted with 22 landing a PSA 10. Expect to pay roughly $25+ for a PSA 10 which is a great deal. 

There is a very fine line between the value of a mint 9 and gem mint 10 when it comes to the junk wax era cards. The biggest factors when determining value is the player. Secondly, is the condition. Thirdly is how many 10’s are in the population report. 

For instance, PSA 10 copies of a 1987 Topps Jerry Rice or Walter Payton sell for over $60 easily. Joe Montana cards sell for a little less at about $40 on average. They all have huge player collect-ability and a low PSA 10 population. 

 

PSA Population Report:

Surprisingly, of the 806 Joe Montana cards submitted, only 132 were in gem mint conditions. That’s only a 16% success rate if submitting a copy yourself. Adding one to your collection could prove to be more affordable if you just purchase a card that PSA has already graded. 

1984 Topps offered collectors a prize for sending in yards from the game cards found in packs. There is no shortage of ungraded copies on eBay, however, gem mint 10 copies are fairly rare.  

Understanding the process that these cards went through in the early 80’s will undoubtedly explain why they’re a tough grade. Chances are, if you purchase one of the glossy send-ins on eBay, it will grade a mint 9 or below.

PSA Population Report:

With 114 total Montana cards graded and only 31 being in gem mint 10 conditions, I would expect the value to go up in the coming years. Simply because I think the nm-mt 8 and mint 9 populations will continue to rise while the 10’s stay about the same. Only time will tell though. Consider purchasing a PSA 10, at a bargain, for roughly $55. 

Topps printed some pretty stellar rookie reprints in 2012. It’s a 21 card set highlighted by players like Montana, Namath, Marino and Manning. With their limited print run of only 99 each, collectors have been battling it out for these cards in top condition since their debut. 

Don’t expect to add the Montana to your collection without dishing out some dough. A PSA 10 recently sold for $99 on eBay which isn’t bad considering there are only two in existence. 

PSA Population Report:

PSA has seen only four of the Montana rookie reprint refractors. Two of the four submitted landed a gem mint 10 grade. So, your odds are 50/50 if submitting one yourself. 

1983 Topps has 396 cards in its set. Joe Montana has a total of two cards including the fourth card in the Record Breakers subset. His other card, #169 is part of the base set and is more valuable. 

The Record Breaker card is a must-have for any Montana fan. Because it’s not part of the base set, it is much more affordable than his #169 base card. 

PSA Population Report:

To say a gem mint 10 of the Montana Record Breaker is common would be false. PSA has graded 394 examples of the card so far and declared only 26 to be in gem mint 10 conditions. 

Amazingly, that’s only a 7% success rate. $90 for one doesn’t seem so expensive after all, does it? 

Unlike modern-day player-worn jerseys, this “game used jersey” is an actual game used jersey. Which, if you think about it is pretty awesome. Owning a piece of a jersey Montana wore while playing in a NFL game? Pretty awesome. You can only wonder which game he wore it in.

Legendary Jersey’s were seeded 1:23 packs in hobby boxes, which averaged about 1 per box. Jerry Rice and Steve Young also have Jersey’s in this set for you die-hard 49ers fans. 

PSA Population Report:

Due to the size, any sort of thicker card is more susceptible to damage. Production processes, shipping damage, and even card storage can all be causes for a dinged corner or scraped edge. This makes it tough to find in gem mint condition. Of the 27 Montana cards submitted to PSA, only 7 were in gem mint condition.
1994 Finest refractor cards are the genesis to refracting football cards. Similar to basketball and baseball products, the new technology and Refractor parallels made 1994 Topps Finest an instant standout in the collecting world.

Refractors average about two per box and remain the primary focus of the product. Super stars and Hall of Famer’s are the big ticket items when found in gem mint condition. Competition is stiff and the populations are low. 

PSA Population Report:

1994 Finest refractors are tough to grade. Centering and surface issues are the main culprits in demoting these refractors a grade or two. PSA has graded 77 of the Montana refractors and only 6 were declared to be gem mint. 

1999 SP Signature had 10 Joe Montana autographed cards randomly inserted in the packs. They were numbered J1A-J10A and featured the quarterback in both his 49ers and Chiefs uniform. The total number of cards produced is unknown but the population reports are super low. 

Not much information can be found about this small 10 card set. A Gold J8A parallel did pop up in the pop reports. It is currently listed for sale on eBay for $999. So we know there are parallels. If you have any information about these auto’s please comment below. 

PSA Population Report:

Of the 10 on-card autos, the J9A appears to be the most populated with 19 total submissions. Currently, there are only 7 of these in PSA gem mint 10 cases. Looking to buy one? Interestingly, they don’t sell for as much as one would think. Prepare to dish out about $150+ for any of the 10 autos in a PSA 10 case. 

The 1998 U.D. Encore set is most notable for the Peyton Manning and Randy Moss rookies but they had some great inserts as well. Seeded 1:288 packs is one of Montana’s most affordable on-card autographed cards. Other quarterback greats such as Troy Aikman and Dan Marino can also be found in the set.

The blue ink centered on the enormous white background is an extraordinary example of how Montana had a prominent J and M in his signature. Prices have only been climbing on these. 

PSA Population Report:

If you’re in the market for a Montana auto, the 98′ Encore UD Authentics is your best bet. Especially if you want a PSA graded example. Currently, there are 87 of them slabbed in a PSA case but only 37 are gem mint 10’s.

The 1982 Topps All-Pro design is most recognized by Lawrence Taylors rookie card. In Joe Montana’s case, it’s known as one of his second-year rookie cards. This card has everything you would want in an 80’s card. It’s full-blown retro. A vintage Topps logo embedded into a red border that’s framing Joe talking on the phone. Need I say more?

How about how his jersey number is prominently displayed dead center of the card. To top it off check out that antique 49ers helmet located in the bottom left corner. Who wouldn’t want this in their collection?

PSA Population Report:

A breathtaking 3,030 of the #488 Montana All-Pro’s have been submitted for grading. How many of them are in gem mint condition? Only 7%. Which is why the prices continue to rise on examples in such great condition. 

2002 Donruss Classics offers a rather robust Montana signature. Utilizing the holographic sticker really allows the autograph to pop out. On this small occasion, I would actually prefer the auto on the holograph sticker as opposed to being on-card. The background is dark and the ink used is black so it wouldn’t show up very well at all if Joe signed the card. 

These beauties are not numbered but they are very limited. Drew Brees has the highest card in the population with 7. Montana isn’t far behind with only 5 graded so far. 

PSA Population Report:

Remarkably, only 1 of the 5 cards submitted has been encased in a gem mint 10 case. With such a low population I would assume the values will be  rising on these historical signatures. 

1982 Topps actually has two highly collectible Montana cards in the set. Oddly enough, in gem mint condition, his #489  card reaches higher selling prices than #488. A basic photo of Joe scrambling in the pocket and a bold “In Action” text on the bottom are about the only thing going on in the design. Not much really. So why are they selling for $200+? 

Low PSA 10 population reports are why. 

PSA Population Report:

Astonishingly, #489 has a lower success rate than his #488 card. With 1,047 cards submitted, PSA declared that only 33 were in gem mint 10 conditions. That’s only 3% of the entire population. So, if you’re trying to have the best Montana set in the registry, prepare to battle it out for 1 of the 33 rare gems in existence. 

1984 Topps football cards are surely recognizable by every football card collector. With juggernaut rookies like Dan Marino and John Elway it’s a set that will stand the test of time. It was mass-produced yet still has a high collectability factor. So high that commons, in gem mint condition, are fetching high prices at auctions. 

PSA Population Report:

Collectors have submitted 1,854 Montana cards so far. Incredibly, only a mere 93 were found to be gem mint 10 worthy. Like all early Topps cards, the 1984 set is tough for high grades.

Softer cardstock, strong white borders, printing defects, packaging damage and so forth are all common issues these cards face. PSA 10 copies of common players sell for upwards of $50 and those prices will continue to climb. This is an exciting set to watch at auction because you never know what the ending bid will be! 

One of Joe Montana’s few cards from 1990 that actually holds some value is found in the Topps Tiffany set. It’s a set unlike any other set that Topps printed and really stands out from the rest. 

It consists of vibrant colors surrounding a portrait of the player in various poses and positions. A more notable aspect of the design is the green football fields with what appears to be first down lines displayed on the top and bottom of the card. 

PSA Population Report:

The fuel behind the value of this card is again, the noticeably low PSA 10 population. A struggling 13 cards managed to make it in a gem mint case. Driving both the scarcity and value up of a example in such condition up.

1985 Topps cards can be distinguished by their bold black borders, horizontal player portrait and large white perpendicular player name. 

This set really stands out from the traditional Topps designs we find in earlier products. Its unclear why they went so bold in 1985 but one thing is known for sure, they’re tough to grade. 

PSA Population Report:

There have been 46,311 1985 Topps football cards submitted to PSA for grading so far. Of those cards, only 4,680 were found to be in gem mint condition. That’s a considerably low success rate when compared to other sets.

Only 54 Joe Montana cards can be found in PSA 10 cases which is surely the reason as to why they sell for so much. 

2000 Finest seeded Moments refractors just 1:48 packs or 1 in 2 boxes. With NFL legends such as Bart Starr, Dan Marino, John Elway and Joe Montana in the set you had some big hit potential.

Topps did a stellar job with the designs of these refractors. They offer vibrant photos of defining moments in the player’s career. Montana is shown celebrating at the end of his fourth Super Bowl victory. All cards were hard signed on-card autographs, which plays a major role in their collectability. 

PSA Population Report:

Joe Montana holds the record for most refractor autos submitted in this set with 20. Currently, only 6 of his cards can be found in PSA gem mint 10 conditions. 

1983 Topps cards have a well-balanced classic design that’s easy on the eyes. A thin green border with a squared off top and rounded off bottom encompasses the player photo. Most of the cards have photos of the player from waist up showing only their upper half. Furthermore, the backgrounds have been blurred out to highlight the player better. 

Team names can be found atop the player photo boldly outlined in white. Player names are found below the photo encased inside a bold color such as yellow, purple, red or green. 

PSA Population Report:

PSA has graded 2,345 of the #169 Montana cards so far. With only 54 grading out to a gem mint 10, this set has proven to be another extremely difficult set for high grades. 

2002 Topps Ring of Honor autographs were seeded 1 in 598 packs. They were dedicated to the elite Super Bowl MVP winners like Tom Brady, Roger Staubach, Bart Starr, and Joe Montana. 

These on-card autographs were signed in blue ink over a white background which allows them to pop out. A Topps certified autograph stamp can also be found on the card confirming the authenticity of the signature. Like most Topps on-card autos, they are pretty tough to find in gem mint condition. 

PSA Population Report:

Of the three Ring of Honor autos that Joe has in the set, the RHJM has seen the most activity among collectors. It has a total of 13 cards graded by PSA with only 5 making it into a gem mint 10 case. Increasing the value of one significantly. 

1986 Topps football may go down as one of the greatest football sets of all time. Can you guess why? Because it is home to the only rookie card of greatest wide-receiver to play the game, Mr. Jerry Rice. 

Its because of his card alone that collectors are driving the PSA populations of this set up. Joe Montana is one of the many stars and Hall of Famers that, when found in PSA 10 cases, can reap huge selling prices. PSA 10 examples of common cards are fetching prices upwards of $200+.

PSA Population Report:

Incredibly, out of the 281 Montana cards submitted, only 21 were declared gem mint 10. Centering and edge wear are all major factors when it comes to grading this set. 

Here it is, the Joe Montana Holy Grail rookie card. Topps produced an incredibly simple yet stylish set in 1981. These uniquely designed cards feature a pennant-like design at the bottom border carrying the athlete’s name and team name, with his position posted outside the banner.

True Joe Montana collectors will find value in his rookie card regardless of the condition. If your on a budget consider getting a PSA NM 7 copy for just around $75. 

PSA Population Report:

PSA has declared that out of the 17,585 1981 Topps Joe Montana rookie cards they’ve graded, only 102 were in gem mint condition. Which is astonishing considering they have white borders, a matte surface, and just the sheer volume. 

Statistically speaking, you have less than a 1% chance of landing a gem mint 10 if submitting a card yourself. Its no wonder as to why they sell for more than most high school students pay for their first car. 

What are your thoughts?

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