Rookie Card Year: 1979
Investment Rating: 5.0 (Average)
Earl Campbell was selected out of the University of Texas at Austin as the number one overall pick by the Houston Oilers in the 1978 NFL Draft. He was powerful and compact runner who was happy to punish would-be tacklers when given the chance. Earl Campbell cards and memorabilia have a strong following with a large number of collectors.
Campbell's NFL career was limited to just eight years after suffering from multiple injuries. He has the unique distinction of being one of only three players to win a Heisman Trophy, be the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft and be elected to both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. O.J. Simpson and Paul Hornung are the other two.
Despite the abbreviated career, the 1978 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year amassed an impressive resume of statistics and accolades: 1979 AP NFL MVP, five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All Pro player. Campbell accumulated 9,407 rushing yards on 2,187 attempts and 74 touchdowns.
Earl Campbell football card collectors have just one rookie card to track down: 1979 Topps Football #390. His signature is available on the secondary market but, because of health issues, not to the degree of other living Hall of Famers. Numerous surgeries and ailments have sidelined his post-retirement career and limited his appearance at autograph signings and memorabilia shows.
Earl Campbell Rookie Cards
His only rookie card, Campbell is pictured in a close-up shot that shows his massive upper body. The clay card stock and white borders are prone to edge wear and print dots. As a result, high grades of this card can command four figures. A variation of the card with a cream-colored back also exists, most likely the result of an error in the printing process.
Earl Campbell Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what an authentic Earl Campbell signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Tristar, Upper Deck Authentic and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Earl Campbell Cut Signature Exemplar
Earl Campbell Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Earl Campbell signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item signed or when in his career, look for these signature characteristics:
Earl Campbell Signature Characteristics
- The signature is written at an upward angle of about 35 degrees.
- The pen flows quickly with no stops and starts.
- The letter "E" is over-sized and pronounced with a small vertical tail at the top.
- Though small, the letters "e-a-r" are visible.
- The letter "l" is clearly defined in standard cursive.
- The letter "C" is also over-sized and has an angular, versus rounded style, the bottom portion of the letter is used to underline the remaining letters of the last name.
- The pen lifts and the letters "a-m-b" are discernible.
- The remaining letters are indistinguishable and resemble a letter "w."