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Walter Peyton (1954-1999) was widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, as well as one of the nicest guys in the sport. Known as “Sweetness”, it’s easy to see why the NFL Man of the Year Trophy was named in his honor.
He held records for career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, and all-purpose yards following his retirement, and made it into the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019.
Here’s a roundup containing three of the best Walter Peyton football cards, including investment advice for the next few years.
Best Walter Payton Football Cards
The ‘best’ Peyton card is obviously subjective unless you’re basing it purely on values or interests. Collectors, fans, and investors tend to prefer his earlier options from the 1970s, so that’s where we’ll begin.
1976 Walter Payton Topps Football RC #148 (Shop eBay)
The undisputed king of Payton collectibles is his 1976 Topps RC. At first glance, it’s a somewhat basic card, with a simple profile shot of the player with a wry smile. It uses a green and yellow color scheme, fitting in well with the Bears logo in the bottom corner.
A PSA 5 version can be grabbed for roughly $250, while a gem mint edition recently sold for $76,099. This means that you’ll be able to add the card to your collection, but there’s a massive premium to be paid for the very best versions.
1978 Walter Payton Topps Holsum Football #2
A bit of a strange one, this originated when Topps produced a 33-card set for Holsum Bread in 1978, featuring players across the NFL. Luckily, there are no loaves to be seen, and it’s far rarer than you might expect.
The image of Payton sees him crouched over, with a semi-serious expression on his face. There are no logos on the front, aside from a small football helmet that notes his position as an RB.
1978 Topps Football Rushing Leaders w/ Walter Payton #333
We always prefer a solo card as opposed to the multi-player options that were available in the 1970s and ‘80s. However, we’ll make an exception for the 1978 Topps Rushing Leaders release, which also featured two-time Super Bowl champion Mark van Eeghen.
He and Peyton are pictured side by side in separate profile shots. There are only five PSA 10 copies according to their registry, and it has a current SMR price of $550. That was smashed in a recent sale, as the gem mint copy went for just over $2,100.
The most expensive Walter Payton football card is the 1976 Topps Walter Payton RC #148 which sold via eBay auctions on 1/24/2021 for a mind-blowing $76,099 (buy the best football card packs now).
Not looking to spend a ton of money? Check out the 1978 Topps Football Walter Payton ALL-PRO football card #200 as you can obtain this card at high grades without breaking the bank.
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Buyers Rating & Investment Outlook
Peyton is a legend in every sense of the term, and he’s still an icon today. His tragic death has only helped to enhance his legacy, and he’s one of the best football players from his era to invest in, whatever your budget may be.
- Investment Rating: Buy (4.1 out of 5)
- Ownership Disclosure: None
- Best Walter Payton Rookie Card: 1976 Topps Football RC #148
The truth is, you’ll struggle to match the values seen with his earliest cards. Even signed versions from later years such as the 1992 Upper Deck Heroes Autograph, which has a print run of 2,800, is worth a fraction of the amount when compared to the best copies of his original RC from 1978.
We’d stick to the best possible grades (read: Beckett Grading or PSA Grading or SGC Grading), while options like the Holsum card allow for a more manageable outlay. You can’t go wrong with any of his late 1970’s releases, and prices have risen over the last few years. If the market remains steady, so will the climb in prices.