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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1994 TED WILLIAMS JOHNNY UNITAS ETCHED IN STONE RARE INSERT ES7
$6.00
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1959 Topps Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts Great Shape BV $120.00
$19.95
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1994 TED WILLIAMS RED ETCHED IN STONE JOHNNY UNITAS COMPLETE SET 1-9
$6.50
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1971 TOPPS FOOTBALL JOHNNY UNITAS CARD # 1
$14.99
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1961 Topps #57 Johnny Unitas Football Card
$14.00
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2000 Johnny Unitas Topps Reprints Refractor #133.
$25.00
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JOHNNY UNITAS 1969 69 TOPPS #25 BCCG 8
$49.99
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2001 Topps Archives Rookie Reprint Autographs #AAJU Johnny Unitas H - NM-MT+
$349.99
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1971 Topps Game insert JOHNNY UNITAS Colts "proof" SGC w reg card
$129.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS-02 Donruss Sig. Signatures (#29 75) AUTO AUTOGRAPH BGS:9 AUTO:10
$324.89
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JOHNNY UNITAS TRUE VALUE BALTIMORE COLTS FOOTBALL HOF CARD SUPER BOWL CHAMPION
$7.99
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2001 TOPPS RESERVE JOHNNY UNITAS AUTO AUTOGRAPH RC ROOKIE REFRACTOR COLTS HOF SP
$699.99
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2001 Upper Deck Johnny Unitas Bart Starr Piece History Pros & Prospects Jersey
$179.96
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1963 TOPPS FOOTBALL CARD #1 JOHNNY UNITAS BALTIMORE COLTS HOF
$9.99
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1969 Topps Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts #25 Football Card HOF LEGEND
$10.00
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1962 Topps #1 Johnny Unitas PSA Graded 6 (Extremely Good Near Mint - 20335770)
$77.00
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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

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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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signed johnny unitas index event card JSA, wheaties box 1959 SI, cards
$89.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS Signed Official NFL Football -PSA DNA Authenticated #A06186
$750.00
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COLTS JOHNNY UNITAS AUTHENTIC SIGNED 18X24 LITHO LTD ED 54 500 PSA DNA #V07779
$599.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED 8"X10" BLACK & WHITE PHOTO COLTS PSA DNA COA T77955
$149.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS + RAYMOND BERRY HAND SIGNED MINI HELMET+COA RARE JSA LETTER
$499.00
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Johnny Unitas Signed Wilson NFL Football - PSA DNA & Autograph Reference
$299.99
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Johnny Unitas Signed (FDC) First Day Cover - JSA Authenticated
$115.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS-COLTS-PSA DNA SIGNED 1971 TOPPS FOOTBALL CARD-DECEASED
$89.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS AUTOGRAPH 5X7 PHOTO SIGNED PSA DNA
$83.00
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Johnny Unitas Signed Index Card Autographed Colts PSA DNA 83700382
$71.95
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Johnny Unitas and Dick Butkus JSA Signed 8x10 Framed Photo Deceased HOF Auto
$299.95
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Johnny Unitas Autographed Signed NCAA Football Best Wishes PSA DNA #KM60607
$295.00
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signed johnny unitas event card JSA, wheaties box 1959 SI, cards
$129.99
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signed johnny unitas football PSA DNA, jersey, wheaties box 1959 SI, card
$679.99
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RARE JOHNNY UNITAS SIGNED FRAMED PHOTO UD UDA UPPER DECK AUTHENTICATED
$429.99
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JOHNNY UNITAS HAND SIGNED LOUISVILLE CARDINALS MINI HELMET RARE JSA LETTER
$499.00
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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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