Jerry Rice Rookie Cards: Values and Collectability in 2023
Jerry Rice was a wide receiver for 20 seasons in the NFL and has won three Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers before two shorter stints with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He is known for having a superb catching ability, Rice is regarded as one of the best wide receivers in NFL history and one of the greatest players of all time.
With that being said, it’s of course custom that such a great player has several valuable cards in his stead. So, what are some of the most valuable and impressive Jerry Rice rookie cards that collectors and investors can find, and what all should you know about them before purchasing them?
Everything You Need to Know About Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice is part of the official Pro Football Hall of Fame with a description that states, “the most prolific wide receiver in NFL history with staggering career totals”.
In 1999, The Sporting News listed Rice behind Jim Brown on their list of Football’s 100 Greatest Players, and in 2010, he was chosen by the NFL Network as the greatest playing in NFL history.
He started his 20-season career with the San Francisco 49ers (1985-2000), where he spent most of his career, and had two smaller runs with both the Oakland Raiders (2001-2004) and the Seattle Seahawks (2004).
In 2005, he spent his offseason with the Denver Broncos and then retired. During his career, he won three Super Bowls, was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times and named All-Pro twelve times.
Are Jerry Rice Rookie Cards Valuable?
While Jerry Rice is one of the most well-known and prolific players in NFL history, his rookie cards are not as valuable as some might hope. While there are a few that could make a worthwhile investment, there are more that aren’t as high in value.
For instance, the most valuable Jerry Rice rookie card that you can come across is the 1986 Topps Rookie Card #161, which can reach a staggering value depending on the grading.
There are other valuable rookie cards, but with so many that you can find on the market, the value decreases with each grading.
Jerry Rice Rookie Cards Investment Potential
While there are several cards that you can find on the market, with such an intense fanbase, you can still find some potential when trying to invest in Jerry Rice rookie cards. His cards do have high demand, even if there are several to grab.
If you’re trying to invest, try to pick up cards with a higher grading to ensure that you can make a decent profit. There are several ungraded cards that can be purchased from eBay or other secondary markets for a decent price, and you might get lucky to find a rare condition amongst them all.
How to Spot a Fake Jerry Rice Rookie Card
Unfortunately, reprints do exist, but thankfully they can be pretty easy to spot if you know how to look for it. From the printing quality to the coloration, to even the position of the lettering, there are several ways to check for a true rookie card.
Even checking the copyright date will help indicate if the card is a reprint. But the best advice that you should have is to always compare an authentic card to a prospective card to pick out any details that might seem faulty.
Should You Buy Jerry Rice Rookie Card Autographs?
Jerry Rice, while known for being one of the best players, is also known for being a generous signer during his career, meaning that there are several autograph copies of his rookie cards.
While having a signed copy is always wonderful for collectors as it’s a great addition to any collection, it truly depends on the person.
Of course, signed copies are usually worth more, so for investors, it could be a good investment if you’re interested, but since there may be more around thanks to Rice often signing cards, it might not be worth it for some investors.
Jerry Rice Rookie Cards Market Values
If you’re wanting to find a perfect addition to your collection or are interested in picking up an investment that could be worthwhile in the future, look to these best NFL Jerry Rice rookie cards, with the highlight being 1986 Jerry Rice Topps rookie card.
6. 1986 Jerry Rice RC Black McDonald’s, $418
At the bottom of the most valuable Jerry Rice rookie cards is the Black variation of the McDonald’s 1986 Topps Jerry Rice card which values at $418 for a PSA 9 grading, and only $44 for a PSA 8 grading.
Surprisingly, however, is that while PSA deems this card one of the more least valuable Jerry Rice RC, eBay has quite the selection for them with a decent price compared to the rest.
5. 1987 Topps Jerry Rice #115, $425
The last rookie card before the McDonald’s line-up is the 1987 Topps Jerry Rice #115 Rookie Card, which is as a value of only $425 for PSA, or $224.94 from Sportscards Pro. Compared to the other rookie card, #161, this is the complete opposite.
As one of the more inexpensive items on the list, you can find this card pretty easy on the secondary marketplaces, such as eBay. They also come in a pretty decently priced find. While PSA valued them at over $400, with Sportscards valuing them at half that price, you can find some auctions selling them for as little as $8, with a signed copy being around $400.
4. 1986 Jerry Rice RC Blue McDonald’s Rookie, $1,226
The Blue McDonald’s Rookie Card is one of the many variations that McDonald’s put out and is currently valued at $1,100 on Sportscards Pro and $1,226 on PSA for only a Mint 9 Grading, with no data on a GEM MT 10. Surely, once one is graded, it will receive a higher number.
Graded at an 8.5 Mint, this eBay lot has the 1986 Rookie card on sale for around $899, which is one of the higher auctions that you can for Jerry Rice RC. But for those looking for a more affordable option while still adding to their collection, there are several more in store for you.
You can find unscratched versions on sale for only $150, making it a worthwhile purchase for collectors.
3. 1986 Jerry Rice RC Green McDonald’s, $2,500
The green variation of the McDonald’s Jerry Rice cards is work a grand amount of $2,500 for only a PSA 9 grade, but without any data for the GEM Mint 10, there isn’t a say on how valuable this card could be worth. But with an already high number for the Mint 9, it will surely rise up to a pricey investment.
Thankfully, you can find decently priced cards around second marketplaces like eBay. While the Orange variant is more prominent due to it’s high value and demand, you can find cheaper Green variants for around $200 depending on condition and grading. This unscratched PSA 7 is only $175, or maybe the PSA 6 for $80 is best for your interests.
2. 1986 Jerry Rice RC Orange McDonald’s, $3,999
One of the more valuable McDonald’s rookie cards is the orange variation, which is recently priced at around $3,999 for a GEM Mint 10 edition, or only a couple hundred for PSA 9 gradings and lower. While PSA doesn’t have a set value for one, one of the more recent lots on eBay shows the purchase from August 2021 with the almost $4,000 value for a PSA 10 rating.
McDonald’s released these cards in the San Francisco area, with the first ones being gold/orange, and then releasing black, blue and green. The bottom is a scratcher that the did for a “chance to win” promotion. Of course, the cards that don’t have the bottom scratched off are worth a bit more.
There are some that are ungraded, unscratched on eBay, like this example for only $169, but there are also some great PSA 9 graded cards that are worth their value.
1. 1986 Topps Jerry Rice #161, $82,100
Known for being one of the most valuable Jerry Rice rookie cards around, the 1986 Topps Jerry Rice #161 card is priced at a staggering $82,000 value PSA, and a close $70,000 from Sportscards Pro. This price is only for the GEM MT 10 grading, as Mint 9’s start at around $3,000, only declining based on the grading.
This is also one of the most popular cards that you can find, however, the higher gradings are incredibly rare. There have been over 25,000 6 PSA graded, with over 30,000 graded from each lower grading. However, only 61 PSA graded Mint 9.
Ebay is a great site to look for cards, and they have several #161 RC that you can bid for. Some are at a high value of around $16,000, some even going up to $24,900, for a 9.5 GEM Mint, while others a bit more reasonable.
Where to Find Jerry Rice Rookie Cards Online?
There are several amazon secondary markets for those looking for Jerry Rice rookie cards. A great starting place to check out is eBay, as that is where you will often see the most worthwhile purchases. You can also find ungraded Jerry Rice cards for a great value in hopes of finding an amazing, rare condition.
Some other sites that you might want to check out include Goldin Auctions, SCP Auctions, Heritage Auctions, Everything but the House, and Invaluable. There are also several groups on Facebook if you enjoy the site that allows you to chat, trade, and bid on collectible cards.
Can you trust eBay for rookie cards?
Yes, eBay is a great source for finding rookie cards, or all cards for the matter.
In January of 2022, eBay even launched an Authentication for Trading cards, a service that originally only dealt with sneakers, watches and handbags, that allows you to feel more assured about your purchases.
Under this program, eBay offers a guarantee on any ungraded card sold on its platform for $250 or higher. The grading system is provided by CSG (Certified Sports Guarantee), a newer grading competitor in the sports card industry.
When purchasing a card, the card will be sent to CSG where it will be examined to check for authenticity. If they determine that the card is authentic, they will ship it to the buyer with a sleeve with a bar code confirming the authenticity.
However, if it’s denied as authentic, the card will be shipped back to the seller, and the funds are then transferred back to the buyer to ensure you aren’t wasting your money. This is a great way to keep the market true and clean of fakes.
Is It Worth Grading Jerry Rice Rookie Cards?
If you’re wondering if you should grade your Jerry Rice rookie card, you should really examine the potential grade before doing anything, as oftentimes it’s not really worth grading unless you have a super rare condition.
If you feel as though the card will receive a PSA 9 at the minimum, then maybe it’s worth getting it graded. The population of Jerry Rice rookie cards is pretty enormous, as PSA has graded over 25,000 Jerry Rice 86 Topps Rookie Cards.
Jerry Rice is one of the most prominent names when it comes to the NFL, as he made a huge impact during his 20-season career. With that being said, collecting his rookie cards is a great hobby for some, however, it might not be worthwhile for those that are trying to find a long-term investment.
There are several names and cards that are worth more than his. While it’s always worth it to try and get your hands on such a popular name, for some people, it truly might not be worth it. Make sure you’re checking the value of the cards and be wary that with demand, the values could fall at any time.