Top John Elway Cards for All Collecting Budgets

Top John Elway Cards for All Collecting Budgets

He did not always put up the huge numbers that other elite quarterbacks produced, but John Elway was a winner and he always gave the Denver Broncos a chance for victory. Since retiring from the NFL in 1998, John Elway has stayed connected to the game and his cards and memorabilia remain a collector favorite.

Although he spent his entire career with the Denver Broncos, John Elway was drafted first overall in 1983 by the Baltimore Colts. In a story that was featured in an ESPN 30 for 30 film, Elway to Marino, Baltimore selected Elway despite his objections. Using his potential professional baseball career as leverage, John Elway forced a trade that sent him to Denver.

After the rocky start, John Elway put forth an impressive career, but the top prize continued to elude him. Finally, at the end of his career, Elway won two consecutive Super Bowls before retiring. When he finally hung up his cleats, John Elway was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, and was named the Super Bowl XXXIII MVP and 1987 AP MVP. Elway was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

In 2011, Elway joined the Denver Broncos in an executive role and has since been named the GM. He was also instrumental in recruiting Peyton Manning to the Broncos once he was released by the Indianapolis Colts.

The following list documents ten of the top John Elway cards available to collectors. The list is intended to provide a good mix of cards and offer options for all collecting budgets. Click the images or listings below to shop for singles on eBay.

Top John Elway Cards

1982 TCMA Oneonta Yankees John Elway #13

While he ended up picking football, John Elway was an excellent baseball player and was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1981 MLB Draft. He spent the summer of 1982 with the Class-A Oneonta Yankees and his first card was produced as part of a 17-card team set by TCMA. The simple card utilizes a red border and text box that surrounds a black-and-white photo of Elway.

Gem Mint copies have sold for over $10,000 in past years and it has been reported that only 1,100 sets were produced. Counterfeits are a problem for this card, so be careful with ungraded purchases. This is the only official minor league card issued for John Elway. Since then, multiple John Elway baseball cards have ben released, including several Topps baseball cards.

1984 Topps John Elway RC #358

By 1984, it was clear that John Elway was sticking with football, but it was up in the air for some time after his stint with the Oneonta Yankees. By the time 1984 Topps was released, Elway was the face of the Denver Broncos' franchise. As his only rookie card, this John Elway card remains very popular.

1984 Topps John Elway RC

1984 Topps Stickers John Elway #179

Not generally recognized as an official rookie card, 1984 Topps Stickers offers budget collectors an intriguing first-year card for John Elway. The undersized sticker shows an action image of Elway, with his jersey covered in mud.

1985 Topps John Elway #238

The 1985 Topps John Elway card applies the now-familiar design, complete with a black border and oversized last name. Elway is also featured on card #235 with the team's running back, Sammy Winder.

1986 Topps John Elway #112

Perhaps nauseous from the famous/infamous 1986 Topps design, John Elway looks noticeably pale in this early football card. Collectors can track down this low-priced card with relative ease and the price should not do much damage.

1991 Pro Line Portraits Autographs John Elway #68

The card has not aged well and this is furthered by the non-action shot of John Elway in his workout gear. The real draw is found on the back, as the signed insert set marked the very first autograph card for John Elway. They are not too common, but values are kept in check by the bizarre image, condition sensitive edges, and the fact that most were signed on the back. The autographed card is basically a parallel of the base set, with the main difference being that authentic versions have an embossed logo in the bottom right corner.

Interesting to note, Janet Elway, the former wife of John Elway, was included in the product as part of a Wives insert set. The set also included Joe Montana's wife, Jennifer Montana, and Ahmad Rashad's former wife, Phylicia Rashad. Additionally, rare signed versions are available for each of the wives.

1996 Pinnacle LaserView Inscriptions John Elway #/3,100

With a reasonable pull rate of 1:24 packs, these innovative acetate-like autographs were part of the technology-heavy, Pinnacle LaserView product. The signed John Elway card is hand-numbered on the back to 3,100 copies and is signed on-card. The 25-card lineup was quite impressive and included Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Brett Favre, and Barry Sanders, among others. The main detraction is that the autographs have not held up over the years and many are badly faded.

2007 Topps Triple Threads Triple Relic Autograph #TTRCA-3 John Elway, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning #/36

Few combinations in football can match the respect and success enjoyed by these three quarterbacks. John Elway is joined by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with a sticker autograph and jersey pieces. Some of the most valuable John Elway autographs pair him with other players, and there are many different pairings available.

2011 Upper Deck College Legends Autographs John Elway #18 SP

Playing off the popular 1997 Upper Deck Legends design, 2011 Upper Deck College Legends applies a collegiate theme to the autograph insert line. While the on-card autograph gives it more appeal, the real interest stems from the short printed nature of the card. Although the complete print run was not disclosed, Upper Deck did reveal that this Elway autograph was part of a 10-card subset that combined to fall 1:1,087 packs. Because of this rarity, the Elway cards do not appear often.

2013 Panini Spectra 50th Anniversary Pro Football Hall of Fame Signatures John Elway #JE #/50

The main portion of 2013 Panini Spectra understandably covers veteran and rookie players. However, the 50th Anniversary Pro Football Hall of Fame Signatures set has emerged as one of the most popular inserts based on the on-card signature, HOF lineup and appealing design. John Elway is featured in this impressive set, and each card is numbered to 50 in honor of the 50th anniversary. The look of the card does not translate as well in a scan, so an additional image is shown below to better showcase the card.

Top eBay Listings

John Elway Relic Gallery Collection Game worn Jersey Piece 8x10 matted photo
$49.75

1997 Finest - JOHN ELWAY - Silver Uncommon Refractor #300 - BRONCOS
$29.99

2001 Fleer Showcase - JOHN ELWAY - Game Used Jersey - BRONCOS
$29.99

1995 Fleer Ultra JOHN ELWAY Rare GOLD MEDALLION PARALLEL #91 Denver Broncos SP
$5.99

JOHN ELWAY 1994 Collector's Edge Excalibur FX #FX6 Insert Broncos Stanford HOF
$6.50

1996 SCORE DREAM TEAM JOHN ELWAY CARD #4 - PSA GRADED GEM MINT 10 (POP 2)
$19.99

1996 COLLECTORS CHOICE UPDATE JOHN ELWAY #Y25 - GEM MINT 10 (POP 7)
$5.99

1996 COLLECTORS CHOICE UPDATE JOHN ELWAY #Y70 - GEM MINT 10 (POP 7)
$5.99

2014 Elite Throwback Threads Denver Broncos Game Jersey John Elway 199
$9.99

2005 Topps Chrome Refractors #157 John Elway GM - NM-MT
$7.00

1998 Bowman Chrome Preview JOHN ELWAY Broncos # BCP 7
$5.00

JOHN ELWAY 1999 DONRUSS PREFERRED X-PONENTIAL POWER #10A 2500
$6.74

1991 UPPER DECK #75 JOHN ELWAY CHECKLIST PSA 10 F1552895
$5.99

1995 PLAYOFF PRIME #1 JOHN ELWAY PSA 10 F1552898
$5.99

John Elway 1985 Topps Card #238; NM-Mint; Denver Broncos
$14.00

1995 Action Packed Armed Forces #AF9 John Elway Denver Broncos
$7.99
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Trey Treutel

E-Mail Author | 
Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

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