Rookie Card Year: 1968
Investment Rating: 7.0
Pitchers are largely overlooked in the hobby. Nolan Ryan cards and memorabilia are a big exception. His longevity in the game, record-breaking stats and hard-nosed style of play have earned him near universal respect from collectors.
Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr., AKA "The Ryan Express," was one of the most intimidating pitchers to ever play the game. With a 100mph fastball and movement to match, Ryan retired in 1993 as the game's all-time strikeout king and dished up a record setting seven no-hitters. Elected into the Hall of Fame in 1999, Ryan is the only player to have his number retired by three different teams for which he played.
Drafted in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets, no one could have conceived that the scrawny kid from Alvin, Texas would end up being one of the most accomplished pitchers of all-time. The eight-time All-Star selection achieved a record of 324-292, with an ERA of 3.12 on route to 5,714 K's. A member of the Miracle Mets of 1969, the eventual World Series Champions, Ryan would spend the rest of his career pursuing another title, which never came. Interesting to note is that despite his seven no-hitters, he never pitched a perfect game and was never named the league's Cy Young winner.
Nolan Ryan Rookie Cards
Visually, the 1968 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan rookie card looks almost identical to the more common Topps version. However, this one is a lot tougher to find. The easiest way to identify the OPC card is the copyright on the back of the card. It reads, "PTD. IN CANADA."
Unfortunately for collectors, Noaln Ryan shares his iconic rookie card with Jerry Koosman. The patterned design makes any centering issues, which occur frequently, visibly noticeable. For this reason, a strong centering sub grade is the key to look for when purchasing this card either raw or in graded condition. It is a must-have for any rookie card collector.
1975 Topps Nolan Ryan #500
1975 TOPPS #5 NOLAN RYAN 74' HIGHLIGHTS PSA 8 ** NM MT **
1986 TOPPS #100 NOLAN RYAN PSA 10 ASTROS 25036543
RARE 1986 ASTROS NOLAN RYAN QUAKER CHEWY GRANOLA BARS CARD
1992 Donruss - Nolan Ryan, Rich Gossage - Texas Rangers - #555 - Highlights
1988 Topps - Nolan Ryan - Houston Astros - #250
1992 Donruss - Nolan Ryan - Texas Rangers - #707
1993 Studio Silhouettes #10 Nolan Ryan - NM-MT
Nolan Ryan Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Nolan Ryan'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, and Tristar. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Nolan Ryan Cut Signature Exemplar
Nolan Ryan Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Nolan Ryan signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- Signature is written on a relatively even plane, with a slight incline on the "Ryan."
- The autograph is written in cursive.
- The letter "N" is defined by an - up, down, up pen stroke, that resembles a letter "L."
- The letter "o" is open and flows into a wide looped letter "l."
- The letters "a" and "n" are legible with the "a" being open.
- The letter "R" is written in a manner where the bottom right down stroke forms a near circle as part of the "y."
- The letters "a" and "n" are discernible with the letter "a", again being open at the top.
- He often includes one of many inscriptions including his career strikeout total, number of wins, or his Hall of Fame induction year as pictured here.
Nolan Ryan Signed Baseball
Nolan Ryan Signed Jersey
Nolan Ryan Signed Photograph
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