Rookie Card Year: 2014
Investment Rating: 7.5
Few players in the NFL or collecting world have received the hype and media-focus bestowed on Johnny Manziel. The most polarizing NFL figure since Tim Tebow, Manziel headlines a strong rookie class and has collectors clamoring for 2014 products after a lackluster 2013 rookie class.
Johnny Manziel emerged from relative anonymity as a mid-level quarterback recruit to take college football by storm. During his first college season, Manziel put up huge numbers, helped Texas A&M upset the defending NCAA National Champions, the University of Alabama, and became the first Freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Expectations are huge for the young quarterback from Texas A&M, and the collectible market for Johnny Manziel cards and autographs is equally large as he enters the NFL.
"Johnny Football" followed up his Heisman season with another great year, but was dogged by allegations that he broke NCAA rules by accepting money for signing autographs. Although there were fears that he might lose his eligibility, Manziel was only suspended for one half. While the team's title aspirations were eventually dashed, the Aggies and Manziel finished on a high note, winning a shoot-out against Duke in the 2013 Chick-fil-a Bowl.
Soon after, Johnny Manziel announced that he would forego his junior year and declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. The gunslinger continued to make headlines leading up the draft, with most expecting him to be taken in the first round. While he was not the first quarterback taken, Manziel was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick in the first round. Although he did not begin the season as the starter, many believe that Manziel will eventually overtake Brian Hoyer for the top spot in Cleveland at some point.
In an interesting development, the NFL was not the only league to draft Johnny Manziel. In addition to Cleveland, he also heard his name called by the San Diego Padres in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft and the Harlem Globetrotters also selected him in their annual draft. Leaf even announced plans for Johnny Manziel baseball cards.
Although the majority of his current autographed memorabilia options are Texas A&M items, it is fair to expect a rapid increase in signed NFL merchandise for Johnny Manziel. Collectors should be aware that Manziel signed an exclusive with Panini Authentics, so that is the best place to start the search for any of his Cleveland Browns autographed memorabilia.
Johnny Manziel cards from college-themed and prospect products can be seen on the next tab. Leaf was the first major producer to get on the Johnny Football bandwagon, producing cut signature cards while he was still in college.
The following list includes all the official Johnny Manziel base rookie cards from Panini and Topps that are currently available. The many inserts available for Manziel are not included in this guide. The list will be updated as more products are released throughout the year.
Johnny Manziel Rookie Cards
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Another early option for collectors, 2014 Bowman goes with the air-brushed look, but the action shot gives the card a better overall appearance. Like previous Bowman products, the various parallels are among the the most appealing options for collectors. Both the base rookie and Rainbow Foil Refractor version for Johnny Manziel are shown below.
There is a lot happening on this 2014 Certified rookie card for Johnny Manziel. Part of the Freshman Fabric subset, the horizontal card features a variety of text along with a sticker autograph and plain jersey piece. Although it is a largely unremarkable card, the somewhat limited print run will keep interest higher
One of the better autograph designs in the hobby, Silhouettes combine an on-card autographed for Manziel with a medium jersey piece. The print run of 299 keeps prices in check.
Heavy foil and a mid-level print run make this Johnny Manziel rookie card in 2014 Elite Football an intriguing options for collectors that don't want or need an autograph. Multiple parallels, including die-cuts, add an additional chase.
The rarest rookie card option for Manziel, Flawless is an extremely high-end product that features base cards with real diamonds. This Johnny Manziel rookie card is limited to only 20 copies and is among one of his most valuable unsigned cards.
Virtually identical to Johnny Manziel's Score rookie card, the only real difference for this 2014 Panini Hot Rookies card is the brand logo.
The darker design give Manziel's Limited rookie card a bold look but the limited print run and large jersey piece are not enough to overcome the sticker autograph.
One of several short printed rookies in Playbook, Johnny Manziel's signed booklet card features dual jersey pieces and a print run of 99. The booklet aspect makes it an appealing alternative for collectors who are looking for something a little different.
With a re-used image and generic feel, this base 2014 Prestige rookie card for Manziel is not likely to wow anyone. Collectors have shown more interest in the base rookie variation, which shows Manizel in his NFL gear.
The 2014 Prizm design is nothing new for those familiar with product, but Panini ups the ante with multiple base variations. Not content with just one or two different cards, Johnny Manziel actually has four different cards in addition to the base version. All variations can be seen in our detailed guide.
Another low-end base card, 2014 Panini Rookies & Stars presents a solid and largely unremarkable rookie card for Johnny Manziel. One appealing aspect is that is it is one of the first products to include a common Manziel rookie card in his NFL gear. There is also a short print that includes a subtle image variation.
A popular low-end release, 2014 Score is a great way for budget collectors to obtain a simple rookie card for Johnny Manziel. Purists may be turned off by the unlicensed look and the fact that it is the third base rookie from Panini to showcase the exact same image, but it gives anxious collectors an early chance to collect their favorite players. There is also a Preview version that was exclusively found in 2014 Panini Draft packs.
A budget rookie card with a lot of etched foil, Totally Certified offers collectors another option in base rookies. The colorful parallels command significant interest and value.
A yearly favorite for budget and set collectors, the flagship football product from Topps offers a simple Johnny Manziel rookie card. 2014 Topps Football features a common base version, shown on the left, as well as a rare variation, shown on the right.
The chromium version of flagship Topps, the same design and images for Manziel are refined with the familiar Chrome look. The various Refractors offer a more rare chase for collectors.
Featuring a more tame design that what is traditionally associated with Finest, the subtle orange striping really pops on the Johnny Manziel rookie card. Like most Finest product, Refractors are the big draw.
With a distinct look and on-card signature, 2014 Topps Inception brings collectors a popular autographed rookie card. Although the majority of the cards have a non-numbered base version, as well as various numbered parallels, it appears that several players, including Manziel, are short prints. The most common card for Johnny Manziel is his Magenta parallel, numbered to 50.
While there is not much fundamental difference between this and the Johnny Manziel rookie in 2014 Topps Flagship, collectors who enjoy full-bleed over bordered cards should check 2014 Topps Prime out. Continuing a common theme in the hobby today, the base variation is shown on the right.
Easily one of the most distinct designs of the year, the Johnny Manziel rookie card in Valor is a great option for collectors that want a unique look for budget prices. Parallels utilize written themes, which can distract from the design some.
Johnny Manziel College Cards
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Calling upon the nostalgia of 1990s collecting, the Flair Showcase reboot includes multiple Rows of Johnny Manziel cards. Presenting Manziel in his Aggie gear, 2014 Flair Showcase contains three different designs and images for the young quarterback, with a premium feel.
A solid jersey piece and colorful layout make this an appealing card for Johnny Manziel. As one of the short prints in 2014 SPx, this early Manziel card is numbered to 125. An on-card autograph would have taken this card to the next level, but the sticker is subtle and nicely incorporated into the card design.
While it is unlikely to appeal to all collectors, this offbeat Johnny Manziel card from 2014 Goodwin Champions presents an interesting alternative for those searching for something different. The art-like look and plain clothing make it a little tougher to immediately identify Manziel.
The very first Johnny Manziel card from the major brands, this 2014 Upper Deck card allows collectors to obtain an NCAA licensed card before Manziel is even drafted. Also, the various Johnny Manziel autographs in the product are receiving considerable interest.
Dropping only two per case, these rare short prints from 2014 Upper Deck offer a chase element for Johnny Manziel collectors. Technically part of the base set, they are easy to distinguish from the base card because of the uniform. Although it is not an exact match, it is possible to see something similar to a Heisman pose in this Johnny Football card.
Technically a 2013 card despite dropping in 2014, the late-releasing Exquisite Collection Football product from Upper Deck included preview cards for some of the biggest names found in the 2014 rookie class. Originally inserted as redemptions, live cards for Johnny Manziel have emerged and are numbered to 49. Although the the college theme may turn away some collectors, the Exquisite name, on-card autograph and limited run will make this a a very valuable card for the foreseeable future.
Johnny Manziel Pre-Rookie Cards
Basically Leaf Metal Draft, minus the Metal, these 2014 Leaf Draft Johnny Manziel cards are found in retail blasters. The boxes also promise random Manziel autographs.
2014 Leaf Metal Draft is an on-card autograph-only product with a Chrome look. The Johnny Manziel base autograph is not numbered, but Leaf revealed that it is a SSSP, or super duper short print, with a print run of 25% or less than the rest of the regular print run. Manziel has multiple base colored parallels and two additional signed cards in the product.
Although predictor cards are not a new concept, Leaf takes things to another level with this direct standalone offering. Issued in one-card packs, fans of each NFL team can get in on the Manziel excitement with specific cards for every team. The 2014 Leaf Draft Predictor cards are randomly packed and only 41 cards are available for each team, with a total run of 1,312 cards when accounting for all 32 teams. Adding to the intrigue, collectors holding the version featuring the Cleveland Browns can redeem it for an autograph.
Another Leaf product with only autographs, 2014 Leaf Originals goes the more classic route with simple designs and only a few different cards. Paying homage to vintage Leaf products, the Johnny Manziel cards are slightly undersized and feature on-card sigantures.
Likely not the first place collectors will expect to find a Johnny Manziel signature, 2014 Pop Century is an autograph-only product from Leaf that covers a wide variety of stars from various fields. The sticker autograph and plain design give it the appearance of a base Leaf autograph.
Offering only autographs, 2014 Leaf Valiant has proven to be a very popular release for football collectors. The on-card signature and limited print run makes it an intriguing option for collectors. The Orange parallel is shown below.
With only three different possible card designs and all on-card autographs, it can be hard to decide which is the "base" card for Johnny Manziel in 2014 Leaf Trinity. The glass-like Pure Autographs might be the most popular, but the Inscriptions and Autographed Patches are equally impressive early cards for Manziel.
Also getting in on the pre-draft fun, 2014 Press Pass opted for a close-up shot of Johnny Manziel on their base card. There are also several Johnny Manziel cards that include on-card autographs.
Another autograph-only release from Press Pass, 2014 Press Pass Gameday Gallery Signatures applies an art-like design and horizontal layout to this on-card autograph for Johnny Manziel. The base Bronze versions is not numbered, and multiple parallels apply a subtle foil change and increased rarity.
Unlike most products, 2014 Press Pass Showbound Signatures features the gold design for the base autographs, and a variety of other colorful parallels add to the totals. Playing on the popular Chrome-look, the autograph-only product is headlined by on-card autographs for Manziel.
Sports Illustrated for Kids has a long-standing tradition of including a nine-player card sheet with perforated edges in each magazine issue. Johnny Manziel received the SI for Kids card treatment in the March, 2013 edition. While they are generally thought of as a novelty, don't forget about the Tiger Woods rookie card that can command thousands of dollars. Normally sold as individual cards, Johnny Manziel is joined on the uncut sheet by several other star players, including David Price, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, Buster Posey, Alfred Morris and Rory McIlroy.
Leaf made waves in 2013 when it was announced that their "Mystery" redemptions would be for cut signature art cards from Johnny Manziel. They were able to get around the licensing and likeness issues because each card is an original art piece and the autograph was obtained by adding cut signatures from authenticated photos. The redemptions can be found in 2013 Leaf Metal Draft and 2013 Leaf Valiant Football.
Johnny Manziel Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Johnny Manziel's authentic 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, Steiner, Tristar and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Johnny Manziel Cut Signature Exemplar
Johnny Manziel Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Johnny Manziel signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features. However, it will be interesting to see how and if his signing habits change as his career progresses.
- Manziel's signature is relatively consistent and incredibly unique.
- The letter "J" is over-sized in nature with and angular, triangle-like shape forming the top loop and an oval forming the bottom.
- The letter "o" is large and oval shaped.
- What looks like a "7" runs through the bottom portion of the "J".
- An odd character resembling a number "8" with a dot and a circle attached with a line.
- Usually inscribed is his jersey number "#2".
Be sure to check out our other collecting guides and articles on Johnny Manziel:
- Johnny Manziel Autographs Kickstarting 2014 Football Card Season
- Johnny Manziel Signs Exclusive Autographed Memorabilia Deal with Panini Authentic
- 2014 Leaf Johnny Manziel Draft Predictor Football Cards
- Johnny Manziel Autographs Confirmed as Leaf Mystery Redemption
- Johnny Baseball: Johnny Manziel Baseball Cards Coming from Leaf
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