Nolan Ryan Rookie Card – Best Cards, Value, and Investment Advice


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Buy Graded Nolan Ryan Rookie Card on eBay

Nolan Ryan Rookie Card

Nolan Ryan (1/31/47) was drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th Round of the 1965 MLB June Amateur Draft. Talk about a value pick.

Besides racking up an astronomical amount of strikeouts in the big leagues he is also known for laying a licking to Robin Ventura on 8/4/1993 (more about this later).

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During his stellar 27-year MLB career he struck out 5,714 batters which still ranks 1st for most career strikeouts all time.

Best Nolan Ryan Rookie Card

There is one Nolan Ryan rookie card worth investing and it features another player on the card which isn’t a plus in our opinion.


1968 Nolan Ryan Topps RC #177

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1968 Nolan Ryan Rookie Card

We are not a huge fan of “rookie cards” that have another player on the card (i.e. Larry Bird Rookie Card).

Some collectors don’t mind the fact that another lesser player is shown on the card but here at GoldCardAuctions, we don’t even bother purchasing one that has another player. This is just our opinion as we respect the other side of the argument.

The card is numbered #177 and shows a close-up of both Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman.


Best Nolan Ryan Baseball Cards

Since we don’t recommend investing in his rookie card here is a list of his best baseball cards that are not considered rookie cards.


1969 Nolan Ryan Topps New York Mets #533

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1969 Topps Nolan Ryan #533

A baby-face Nolan Ryan practicing some pre-game fielding in this 1969 Ryan Topps card. For some reason the ball is already in his glove which only adds to the mystique/weirdness of the card. This is also his first mainstream baseball card to picture him on his own.

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The card is numbered #533 and reads “Blessed with blazing speed, Nolan un-leased his fastball at Greeneville in ’66 with 17 wins and 272 strikeouts. He was named the circuit’s top pitcher“.


1970 Topps Nolan Ryan #712

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nolan ryan baseball card

Another baby-face Nolan Topps baseball card that shows him in the beginning of his pitching windup. Nolan doesn’t look exactly happy in the picture which seems to be a theme in almost all of his cards.

Numbered #712, the reverse reads “With an amazing ratio of K’s per innings pitched, Nolan has an incredible total of 313 strikeouts in 205 innings, 1966. Led West Carolinas Loop in Wins & K’s and was voted MVP. Recorded key Saves in NL Championship Series and in the World Series, 1969.


1975 Nolan Ryan Topps #500

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list of nolan ryan cards

The 1975 Topps Nolan Ryan baseball card has an odd border-color consisting of blue and pink. Ryan has a slight bit more of an age to him but still looks rather youthful.

Numbered #500 the reverse reads “Nolan set the mark by topping 300 K’s 3rd straight year, 1974. Hurled 3rd no-hitter of career vs Twins, 9-28-74“.


1972 Topps Nolan Ryan #712

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complete list of nolan ryan baseball cards

The 1972 Topps Ryan card displays another not-so-happy Nolan Ryan, one might even say pissed off. It seems as every Nolan Ryan baseball card printed in the 70s’ had him looking put off even though it was a great decade for him.

Maybe that is just how he liked to pose for photos back then with a tough-guy facade (after all he did beat the snout out of Robin Ventura later in his career… see video below).


1986 Nolan Ryan Topps Tiffany Houston Astros #100

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1986 Nolan Ryan Topps Card

This is our favorite Nolan Ryan baseball card by far and again features his classic stern-ass stare. Imagine looking at that while trying to hit one of his 99 mph fastballs… good luck.

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Numbered #100 the reverse simply shows “Complete Major League Pitching Record” which was not uncommon for Topps to do at the time.

If you are going to buy a Nolan Ryan baseball card this is a great pick in our opinion.


1991 Nolan Ryan Topps Desert Shield #1

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1991 Topps Desert Shield Nolan Ryan

Created by Topps to give honor to the troops who served in Operation Desert Shield in the Middle East. The Desert Shield baseball cards are the exact same as the base 1991 Topps cards besides the foil logo in the top right-hand corner of the card.

The card is numbered #1 and shows Ryan firing a fastball down right down the pipe for what we assume was a major swing and miss. The back of the card simply states “Complete Major League Pitching Record”.


Nolan Ryan Rookie Card Value

Nolan Ryan Baseball Card Value

The most expensive Nolan Ryan baseball cards are the 1968 Topps Rookie Card #177 and 1976 Topps Nolan Ryan #330.

1968 Nolan Ryan rookie card value? The 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie card can be worth a few hundred or tens of thousands depending on the grade. For example a PSA Grade 1 Nolan Ryan rookie card sold for $510 via eBay auctions on 3/4/2021.

Be on the look-out for Nolan Ryan rookie card reprints as there are a number of them for sale on eBay at any given time.

Estimated Nolan Ryan baseball card value? If you would like us to provide an estimated value of your Nolan Ryan card please email us at Include a minimum of 2 photos and allow up to 72 hours for a response.
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Nolan Ryan Rookie Card Checklist

The legendary Nolan Ryan Topps rookie card can be found in packs of 1968 Topps baseball cards, which believe it or not can still be found for purchase on eBay.

Buy 1968 Topps Baseball Packs on eBay

Nolan Ryan Rookie Card Checklist

  • 1968 Topps Rookie Card #177


Key Nolan Ryan Baseball Cards

nolan ryan rookie card reprint vs original

  • 1969 Nolan Ryan Topps New York Mets #533
  • 1972 Nolan Ryan Topps #712
  • 1975 Topps Nolan Ryan #500
  • 1979 Nolan Ryan Topps Angels #115
  • 1986 Nolan Ryan Topps Tiffany Houston Astros #100
  • 1991 Topps Desert Shield Texas Rangers Nolan Ryan #1
  • 1999 Upper Deck Retro Inkredible Gold Nolan Ryan #NR
  • 2017 Nolan Ryan Panini Flawless California Angels #LS-NR3


Nolan Ryan Baseball Card: Buyers Guide and Investment Outlook

Even though we are not a huge fan of the 1968 Nolan Ryan rookie card does not mean it’s not a good investment as it does seem to have a good ROI over time.

Investment Rating: Buy (4.4 out of 5)
Ownership Disclosure: None
Best Nolan Ryan Rookie Card: 1968 Nolan Ryan Topps RC #177


If we were going to buy a few Nolan Ryan baseball cards we would spend our investment stash on the 1986 Topps Tiffany but the 1968 card is a good option for long-term investors as well.



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