Johnny Unitas Cards, Rookie Card and Autographed Memorabilia Guide

Johnny Unitas

Date of Birth: 5/7/1933
Rookie Card Year: 1957
Investment Rating: 9.0


Overview

As the face of the early NFL, Johnny Unitas football cards and autographed memorabilia have always been in strong demand. His vintage cards from the Topps sets of the late 1950s and early 1960s are some of the most coveted and valuable cards of the era. His resume defines what it means to be a Hall of Fame player. Unitas was a ten-time Pro Bowl participant, four-time league MVP, and three-time NFL Champion.

Long considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of the NFL, Unitas' success on the field and accessible demeanor off the field helped usher in a new era in sports media. As a result, his fame and popularity has translated to the creation of numerous fans and collectors through the years.

The Johnny Unitas rookie card can be found in 1957 Topps Football. The card was double printed but due to smaller overall print runs of the era, the increased availability in no way has hurt the card's value. The demand is strong demand to offset any supply issues. High grade examples can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

Johnny Unitas' first certified autograph card was part of a food issue set from 1995 Tombstone Pizza and can be difficult to find today. His first mainstream autograph was distributed by Upper Deck as part of the incredibly popular 1997 Upper Deck Legends set.  Unitas' first memorabilia cards were released in 2000 by Donruss, Fleer and Upper Deck. He had a total of seven different memorabilia cards made with each of them ranging in serial numbering from 21 to 400.

Unitas enjoyed a relatively healthy life after his retirement from football and was able to participate in numerous autograph signing appearances. Strong demand and moderate supply have helped ensure solid values for his autographed items with footballs being the most popular.

Johnny Unitas Rookie Card

1957 Topps Football Johnny Unitas RC #138

1957 Topps Johnny Unitas RC Image

The 1957 Topps Football card set is one of the most cherished of all-time. The colorful backgrounds and dual photographs combine to form an aesthetically pleasing card.

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2001 (FB) Topps Archives Relic Seats #ASJU Johnny Unitas
$15.30
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JOHNNY UNITAS 2 VINTAGE CARD LOT 1969 TOPPS & 1965 PHILADELPHIA BALTIMORE COLTS
$24.95
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Johnny Unitas Memorial Celebration Pamplet
$100.00
2615635082534040 1 Image
2000 Topps Chrome Refractors #R5 Johnny Unitas reprint 1961 Graded 9-MINT
$8.00
1613467859564040 1 Image
2000 (FB) Topps Unitas Reprints Chrome #R14 Johnny Unitas
$5.46
3609703081434040 1 Image
2000 (FB) Topps Chrome Unitas Reprints Refractors #R1 Johnny Unitas 1957
$5.10
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1960 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas ! G VG B619727
$12.96
1912591791134040 1 Image
1957 Topps #138 Johnny Unitas DP RC VG B619736
$122.40
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1962 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas ! VGEX B619742
$45.48
1312499574834040 1 Image
1959 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas ! G VG B619726
$24.01
3809579721684040 1 Image
1963 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas ! EXMT+ B619720
$115.60
3312120360694040 1 Image
1959 Topps Football #1 Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts PSA 8+++ NM-MT Centered
$1,500.00
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2001 Upper Deck Pros and Prospects Jersey Autograph #JUAJ Johnny Unitas card
$849.99
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Johnny Unitas #19 Baltimore Colts `Bottle Cap
$5.00
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1994 TED WILLIAMS RED ETCHED IN STONE JOHNNY UNITAS COMPLETE SET 1-9
$7.50
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1960 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas BVG 4.5
$35.00
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Autograph Guide

Johnny Unitas Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide

Below you will find examples of what an authentic Johnny Unitas autograph 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 Unitas Cut Signature Exemplar

Johnny Unitas Signature Example 260x103 Image

Johnny Unitas Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Johnny Unitas signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of  the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:

  1. A very legible and even-handed signature with clear, crisp handwriting and distinguishable letters.
  2. The letter "J" is unique in that while not standard cursive like the rest of the signature it is discernible as a "J" with a short down stroke with a line that extends to the left before forming a small loop that  circles back with a flair to cap the letter.
  3. The pen lifts to star the "o" which is closed, the "h" is small but legible, the "n"'s are similarly written but implied as compared to being pronounced.
  4. The letter "y" is very shallow on the top with a long tail and horizontal finish.
  5. The "U" is wide and deep, with the "n" again being more implied, the "i" is not dotted.
  6. The "t" forms a crossed "l" shape and the "a" and "s" are written but again very small.

Johnny Unitas Signed Football Pricing:

Active Listings for Johnny Unitas Signed Footballs

Johnny Unitas Signed Football 260x156 Image

Johnny Unitas Signed Jersey Pricing:

Active Listings for Johnny Unitas Signed Jerseys

Johnny Unitas Signed Jersey 260x281 Image

Johnny Unitas Signed Helmet Pricing (Full-size and Mini):

Active Listings for Johnny Unitas Signed Helmets

 

Johnny Unitas Signed Helmet 260x211 Image

Johnny Unitas Signed Photograph Pricing:

Active Listings for Johnny Unitas Signed Photographs

Johnny Unitas Signed Photo 260x204 Image

 

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JOHNNY UNITAS & RAYMOND BERRY NFL COLTS PSA DNA DUAL SIGNED A.L BASEBALL RARE
$279.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS COLTS SIGNED PHOTO 8X10 BLUE JERSEY JSA COA ID:21344
$119.00
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED LARGE PHOTO DISPLAY CUSTOM FRAMED TO 16X19 JSA COA DECEASED
$98.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED AUTOGRAPHED PSA DNA AUTO #81984416
$99.99
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Johnny Unitas Signed Colts Authentic Mini-Helmet (JSA ALOA Holo) Absolute GEM !
$349.00
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GORGEOUS JOHNNY UNITAS AUTO SIGNED 8X10 PHOTO PLAQUE PSA DNA BALTIMORE COLTS
$195.00
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1957 Topps Johnny John Unitas Rookie card RC Autograph Auto Signed PSA DNA SHARP
$899.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED "THE PROS" BOOK BY ROBERT RIGER VINTAGE HOF AUTO PSA DNA
$99.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS AUTOGRAPHED SIGNED COLTS 8X10 PHOTO #1 PSA DNA
$149.00
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED FOOTBALL AUTO NFL FOOTBALL PSA DNA COLTS
$359.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS NFL COLTS LEGEND JSA COA SIGNED AUTO PHOTO DOUBLE MATTED
$520.00
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Johnny Unitas JSA Signed Colts Mini Football Helmet Deceased Hall of Fame Auto
$549.95
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED JSA CERTED NFL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL
$299.00
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Johnny Unitas AUTO SIGNED 1950's B W Photo AUTOGRAPHED PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED JSA
$349.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS AUTOGRAPHED SIGNED COLTS MINI HELMET MOUNTED MEMORIES HOLOGRAM PSA
$799.99
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Johnny Unitas Signed Goal Line Art Autographed PSA DNA Cert #W03105
$449.99
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More Info

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Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

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