Walter Payton Football Cards, Rookie Card and Autograph Memorabilia Guide

Walter Payton

Date of Birth: 7/25/1954
Rookie Card Year: 1976
Investment Rating: 9.0


Overview

Walter Payton's autobiography is titled "Never Die Easy." The title serves as a metaphor for the way he played the game, punishing defenders before being tackled. While his life was cut tragically short due to a severe liver disease but his memory lives on through Walter Payton cards, memorabilia, videos and charitable organizations.

As a result of his early death, relatively soon after his retirement, Payton missed the post-career autograph circuit. As such, his autographed items command a premium. A willing signer while alive, his autographed memorabilia is somewhat readily available on the secondary market. Unfortunately, forged items are also plentiful.

A product of Jackson State University in Mississippi, Payton received All-American honors and was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the 4th overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft. A nine-time Pro-Bowl selection and two-time NFL MVP, he retired as the league's career rushing leader. He was part of the remarkable Chicago Bears team of 1985-86 that won Super Bowl XX and introduced the world to the "Super Bowl Shuffle."

Walter Payton's rookie card comes from 1976 Topps Football. He did have some food issue releases from the same year, most notably the Crane Potato Chip Disc, which was a short print. Payton does have several autograph and memorabilia cards and will always be a popular draw in new football card sets.

Walter Payton Rookie Card

Population Reports current as of 11/13.

1976 Topps Football Walter Payton RC #148

1976 Topps Walter Payton

This iconic mid-1970s football card features a head and shoulders posed photograph of Walter Payton. It's fitting that he is not wearing a helmet, allowing his rookie card to display that signature smile. The white-bordered card has a yellow and green rounded frame that houses the picture. A football, in the bottom left-hand corner displays the team name with his position and name to the right. The card back uses a blue and orange color scheme.

1975 Topp Walter Payton RC BGS Population Report:
# Submitted: 2,909
Pristine 10: 2
Gem Mint 9.5: 19
Mint 9: 84

1976 Topp Walter Payton RC PSA Population Report:
# Submitted: 5,190
Gem Mint 10: 39
Mint 9: 412

Top eBay Listings

1986 Topps #3 1000 Yard Club Walter Payton HOF Bears PSA 9 MINT
$26.89

Emmitt Smith 1990 Fleer Update BGS 8.5 insert walter payton smith
$5.79

1980 Topps NFL Giant Football Photos COMPLETE SET - WALTER PAYTON CHICAGO BEARS
$21.99

2001 Topps Chrome WPR 1 - Walter Payton Reprint Relic
$35.00

1984 TOPPS BEARS WALTER PAYTON #221 PSA MINT 9
$31.34

2008 UPPER DECK WALTER PAYTON MASTERPIECES CARD MPP7
$5.00

Walter Payton 1986 Topps PSA 10 Gem Mint!
$365.00

1988 TOPPS #5 WALTER PAYTON RB BEARS PSA 10 GEM MINT TIGERS
$24.99

1982 Topps #303 Walter Payton In Action *Hall of Fame - Chicago Bears*
$5.99

1992 Upper Deck WALTER PAYTON Football Heroes Autographed Card.
$304.29

1978 Topps #200 Walter Payton Chicago Bears HOFer NM MINT+ Centered AA+ Corners
$55.00

1979 Topps #480 Walter Payton
$9.00

1977 Topps #3 1976 NFL Rushing Leaders WALTER PAYTON BEARS O.J. SIMPSON BILLS
$6.99

1986 Topps Walter Payton Chicago Bears #7 Football Card
$99.99

WALTER PAYTON & THOMAS JONES Jersey Card 2005 Donruss Elite # 28 100 # BEAR"S
$34.95

WALTER PAYTON Game Worn Jersey Card 2006 Playoff National Treasures 13 99 BEAR"S
$34.95
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Key Cards

1976 Crane Walter Payton

1976 Crane Walter Payton

This regional food issue by the Crane Potato Chip Company is widely regarded as a classic Walter Payton card. Issued in his rookie year of 1976, it's distribution and limited availability make it ineligible for rookie card status. The circular discs measure about four inches in diameter. The card stock used resembles that of a beverage coaster, combined with their shape, they were often used as such. This card, #23 in the 30-card set, is a short print.

1977 Topps Rushing Leaders Payton-Simpson #3

1977 Topps Rushing Leaders Payton-Simpson

If fans and collectors didn't know who Walter Payton was upon seeing his rookie card the previous year, they soon would. Walter Payton led the NFC in rushing as a rookie in 1976 and was paired with O.J. Simpson on the 1977 Topps Rushing Leaders card.

1991 ProLine Portraits Walter Payton #215 Autograph

1991 ProLine Portraits Walter Payton Front   1991 ProLine Portraits Walter Payton Autograph

The 1991 Proline Portraits Walter Payton autograph is first signed card. It is also one of the most commonly used cards for forgery. The cards from this set were signed on the back and have an embossed seal of certification in the lower right corner. Counterfeiters take advantage of unsuspecting customers by signing on the front and often times, brazenly submitting them for authentication. Even if certified, your safest bet is to purchase a legitimate one signed and sealed on the card's back.

1992 Upper Deck Walter Payton Heroes Autograph

1992 Upper Deck Walter Payton

Another early Payton autograph card, this one is hand-numbered to 2,800. While that may seem like a lot today, it was a pretty revolutionary concept at the time. Because of the higher print run, this is one of the more affordable Walter Payton autographs. The artistic card design and on-card autograph make it a perfect addition to any Payton or Chicago bears collection.

1997 Upper Deck Legends Autographs Walter Payton #AL4

1997 UD Legends Walter Payton AU

This classic card features a beautiful full-bleed photograph of Walter Payton in action. The 1997 Upper Deck Legends Football set features some of the greatest players to ever play the game. That, and the use of on-card signatures, has made it one of the most popular in the hobby today.

 1999 SP Authentic Autographed Jersey Walter Payton #WPSP #/34

1999 SPA Walter Payton

The 1999 SP Authentic Walter Payton card was made by Upper Deck and is one of his first game-used memorabilia cards. It features a one-inch square swatch of jersey material and an on-card autograph. It  is hand-numbered to just 34 copies.

2000 Donruss Elite Throwback Threads Walter Payton #TT3 Jersey #/100

2000 Donruss Elite Walter Payton

Many of these cards incorporated multi-color jersey swatches and patch pieces, adding a new dynamic for Payton collectors to chase. Serial numbered to 100 copies, the Throwback Threads insert set would become a staple of Donruss products for years to come.

Top eBay Listings

WALTER PAYTON & THOMAS JONES Jersey Card 2005 Donruss Elite # 28 100 # BEAR"S
$34.95

WALTER PAYTON Game Worn Jersey Card 2006 Playoff National Treasures 13 99 BEAR"S
$34.95

WALTER PAYTON Game Worn Jersey 2004 Fleer Greats 249 300 BEAR"S
$29.95

WALTER PAYTON AUTO AUTOGRAPH PHONE CARD PSA DNA CHICAGO BEARS
$100.00

WALTER PAYTON 2008 UPPER DECK ICONS GAME USED JERSEY #d 2 50 CHICAGO BEARS HOF
$35.00

WALTER PAYTON LEWIS DILLON 2006 TOPPS TRIPLE THREADS 3 Pc JERSEY PATCH 5 18 Made
$29.99

2013 National Treasures Walter Payton SICK 3 Color Game Used Patch 3 5 Bears
$52.00

Walter Payton 1995 Bears SB Champs 10th Anniversary Phone Card AUTO PSA DNA COA
$50.00

2003 Donruss Elite Throwback Threads WALTER PAYTON RED GRANGE JERSEY 75 BEARS
$249.95

2008 Donruss Threads WALTER PAYTON MIKE SINGLETARY JIM MCMAHON PATCH 50 BEARS
$104.95

WALTER PAYTON GALE SAYERS (AUTO) 2001 DONRUSS CLASSICS COMBOS DUAL JERSEY #4 25
$89.99

WALTER PAYTON-1995 Phone Card With Certified Hologram 1st Edition AUTO AUTOGRAPH
$74.89

1987 TOPPS WALTER PAYTON SIGNED CARD PSA DNA CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPH
$100.00

1991 PRO SET #PSS1 WALTER PAYTON TEAM 34 PSA DNA AUTHENTIC AUTO FREE S
$94.99

WALTER PAYTON 2002 SP AUTHENTIC LEGENDARY CUTS BEARS AUTOGRAPH 8.5
$200.00

2013 National Treasures Walter Payton Century Materials Tag Patch # 1 1
$1,299.00
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Autographed Memorabilia

Walter Payton Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide

Below you will find examples of what an authentic Walter Payton 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.

Walter Payton Cut Signature Exemplar

Walter Payton Cut Signature

Walter Payton Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Walter Payton 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 unique signature written at a steep upward angle of about 60 degrees
  2. Few, if any of the letters are clearly discernible
  3. The beginning of the signature is very flamboyant and over-sized
  4. The first letter has a combination of three very distinct and different closed loops
  5. The last name has a bizarre looking "P", the pen lifts and a straight line is drawn
  6. The last letter has a significant tail following the upward angle
  7. He often would include his jersey number "34" but not always
  8. Upon request he would sign his nickname "Sweetness"

Walter Payton Signed Football Pricing:

Active Listings for Walter Payton Signed Footballs

Walter Payton signed Ball   Walter Payton official Ball   WP Steiner WP CA Sticker

Walter Payton Signed Jersey Pricing:

Active Listings for Walter Payton Signed Jerseys

Walter Payton Signed Jersey   Walter Payton Signed Jersey Close   Walter Payton Signed Jersey COA   Walter Payton Signed Jersey LOA

Walter Payton Signed Helmet Pricing (Full-size and Mini):

Active Listings for Walter Payton Signed Helmets

Walter Payton Signed helmet   Walter Payton Signed helmet close   Walter Payton Signed helmet sticker   Walter Payton Signed helmet coa

Walter Payton Signed 8x10 Photo Pricing:

Active Listings for Walter Payton Signed Photographs

Walter Payton Signed Photo   Walter Payton Signed Photo2

Top eBay Listings

WALTER PAYTON SIGNED PSA DNA 1981 TOPPS CERTED AUTOGRAPH
$159.00

1985 BEARS Team (w WALTER PAYTON) Signed vs. GB 16x20 Photo (31 Sigs) - PSA DNA
$1,639.18

1985 BEARS Team (w WALTER PAYTON) Signed vs Seahawks 16x20 Photo (31 Sigs) - PSA
$1,639.18

1985 BEARS Team w WALTER PAYTON Signed Bears Riddell Auth Helmet (31 Sigs) - PSA
$6,231.46

WALTER PAYTON Signed Bears White STAT Jersey w 5 Inscriptions - PSA DNA Letter
$1,919.08

WALTER PAYTON Signed 'Legend Among Us' 8x10 Photo w Sweetness & 16,726 - PSA DNA
$163.18

WALTER PAYTON (Chicago Bears) signed 75th Anniversary Game Football w PSA LOA
$1,495.00

Walter Payton & Others Autographed Signed 1979 Topps Card PSA DNA #65088143
$179.00

Walter Payton & Others Autographed Signed 1979 Topps Card PSA DNA #65088144
$179.00

Walter Payton Autographed Signed Sports Illustrated Magazine PSA DNA #J12117
$229.00

Walter Payton & Others Autographed Signed 1980 Topps Card PSA DNA #65088147
$249.00

Walter Payton Autographed Signed Chicago Bears Helmet Vintage PSA DNA #M00773
$1,495.00

Walter Payton signed framed 8x10 photo Step Kick Steiner WPF Chicago Bears
$269.99

WALTER PAYTON CHICAGO BEARS STEINER Step Kick Kick-step AUTOGRAPH SIGNED FRAMED
$299.99

1987 TOPPS WALTER PAYTON SIGNED CARD PSA DNA CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPH
$100.00

1983 Topps Walter Payton Signed Autograph Card Psa Dna Certified
$100.00
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Resources

For general information and player statistics on Walter Payton,visit:


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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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