Top Dallas Cowboys Rookie Cards of All-Time
Top Vintage RCs
While "America's Team" is still searching for their first Super Bowl win since 1995, fans and collectors remain loyal to the Dallas Cowboys. Boasting a large amount of Hall of Fame players, all-time greats and current stars, the team is loaded with elite talent and their rookie cards tend to be the preferred option for many collectors. The following guide looks at the top modern and vintage Dallas Cowboys rookie cards of all-time.
As most collectors are aware, condition is very important for determining value and this is especially true for vintage cards. Therefore, cards in high grade can carry a significant premium over their ungraded or low grade counterparts.
The list below features the top overall vintage rookie cards for the Dallas Cowboys. Most of the Hall of Famers and other top players in team history can be found on the list and their rank is largely based on the actual card values. However, when prices were close, the overall relevance of the player was taken into account. For the purposes of this guide, all cards from before 1980 are considered vintage.
The top modern rookie cards for the Dallas Cowboys can be seen on the next tab.
For additional team information, check out our comprehensive Dallas Cowboys Collecting Guide.
Top Dallas Cowboys Vintage Rookie Cards
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21. 1982 Topps Everson Walls RC #327
One of the all-time leaders in career interceptions for the Cowboys, Everson Walls was a four-time Pro Bowl player and one of the best defensive backs in team history. His rookie in 1982 Topps is a cheap add to any collection.
20. 1970 Topps Ralph Neely RC #4
Logging 13 seasons with the Cowboys, Ralph Neely spent his entire career with the team. He was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team and his 1970 Topps rookie is very inexpensive.
19. 1977 Topps Danny White RC #284
The man who replaced Roger Staubach at quarterback, Danny White led the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship games in the early-80s. White was also the team's punter for several seasons. Collectors can find his budget rookie card in 1977 Topps.
18. 1975 Topps Cliff Harris RC #490
A six-time Pro Bowl player and four-time First Team All-Pro, Cliff Harris was an elite safety for the Cowboys in the 1970s. Harris won two Super Bowls with the team and also was named to the 1970s All-Decade Team and the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. His rookie card can be found in 1975 Topps for very little.
17. 1976 Topps Harvey Martin RC #44
Harvey Martin spent over a decade in Dallas as a defensive end for the Cowboys and racked up four Pro Bowl selections. He was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and won the 1977 Defensive Player of the Year Award. Martin also was the Co-MVP of Super Bowl XII. His 1976 Topps rookie can be regularly found for a few dollars.
16. 1964 Philadelphia Cornell Green RC #47
A four-time All-Pro, Cornell Green also made five visits to the Pro Bowl during the 1960s and 1970s with the Cowboys. Green was named to the 25th Anniversary Team for Dallas and collectors can find his rookie card in 1964 Philadelphia.
15. 1976 Topps Ed Jones RC #427
The first overall pick by the Cowboys in the 1974 NFL Draft, Ed "Too Tall" Jones was a 6'9" defensive end who was a three-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection. While Jones is a fan favorite, his rookie from 1976 Topps is not going to set you back much.
14. 1972 Topps John Niland RC #329
John Niland was selected to six Pro Bowl teams with the Dallas Cowboys and remains one of the most decorated offensive lineman in team history. His 1972 Topps rookie is not as easy to find as other player on the list but values are reasonable and several other key rookies for the Cowboys are found in the same product. Niland also has a card in the All-Pro subset of 1972 Topps.
13. 1975 Topps Drew Pearson RC #65
Drew Person signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent and went on to have a terrific career. Pearson was a three-time Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection and won Super Bowl XII with Dallas. His rookie in 1975 Topps runs on the cheap side of things.
12. 1976 Topps Randy White RC #158
One of the greatest defensive players in the history of the Cowboys, Randy White was a nine-time Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection. He was salso the Co-MVP in the 1978 Super Bowl win and inducted into the Hall of Fame. Despite this, his 1976 Topps rookie is an appealing budget option.
11. 1978 Tony Dorsett RC #315
After winning the Heisman Trophy in college, Tony Dorsett put forth a Hall of Fame NFL career for the Dallas Cowboys. In addition to four Pro Bowl selections, Dorsett totaled 1,000+ yards in eight of his 11 seasons in Dallas. His rookie 1978 Topps is another example of on-field success not necessarily translating to cardboard value.
10. 1967 Philadelphia Lee Roy Jordan RC #54
The man with three first names, Lee Roy Jordan was a dominant linebacker for the Cowboys, earning the nickname "Killer." He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and won Super Bowl VI with Dallas. Collectors can find his rookie card in 1967 Philadelphia.
9. 1966 Philadelphia Chuck Howley RC #59
Another top linebacker for the Cowboys, Chuck Howley started his career in Chicago before spending the majority of it in Dallas. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time First-Team All-Pro. The 1966 Philadelphia rookie card for Howley is the part of the list where the price points start to move up quickly.
8. 1965 Philadelphia Mel Renfro RC #53
A phenomenal overall athlete, Mel Renfro roamed the Cowboys' secondary for many years, making 10 Pro Bowl appearances and winning two Super Bowls. His 1965 Philadelphia rookie card is part of the first set to show the official NFL logo on the front of the card.
7. 1972 Topps Rayfield Wright RC #316
A decorated offensive lineman for the Cowboys in the 1970s, Rayfield Wright was a six-time Pro Bowl selection. In addition to his rookie card, the 1972 Topps set also includes an All-Pro subset card.
6. 1961 Fleer Don Meredith RC #41
A longtime fan favorite for the Cowboys, "Dandy Don" Meredith was one of the first great quarterbacks for the team. Despite leading Dallas to three consecutive playoff appearances near the of the 1960s, Meredith unexpectedly retired before the 1969 season. His 1961 Fleer rookie is oldest card on the list for any Cowboys' player.
5. 1966 Philadelphia Bob Hayes RC #58
A track athlete with a nose for the football, Bob Hayes was a Hall of Fame receiver for the Cowboys in addition to a Olympic gold medalist for the United States. Collectors can find his rookie card in 1966 Philadelphia and it is among the top options from the set.
4. 1962 Topps Don Perkins RC #41
A six-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1961, Don Perkins was a fantastic blocker and runner. His mid-level and high-grade rookies in 1962 Topps are made more valuable given the chipping and centering issues in the set.
3. 1963 Topps Bob Lilly RC #82
Known as "Mr. Cowboy," Bob Lilly was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection and named to the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team as well as the NFL All-Decade Team for both the 1960s and 1970s. His rookie in 1963 Topps is part of a large group of short prints.
2. 1951 Bowman Tom Landry RC #20
Although he played primarily for the New York Giants during his pro career, Tom Landry is mostly remembered for his time as the head coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Landry took the Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl victories during his time as coach and is considered to be one of the greatest coaches in history thanks to 20 straight years with a winning record in nearly three decades. His rookie card is easily among the most valuable and popular cards for any collector of the Cowboys.
1. 1972 Topps Roger Staubach RC #200
Occupying the number one spot, Roger Staubach is the most celebrated player in the team's history. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and the MVP in Super Bowl VI, Staubach also won the Heisman Trophy in college. His 1972 Topps rookie card is the top choice for those that collect the Cowboys and one of the top football rookie cards of all-time.
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Top Modern RCs
Given that the Cowboys enjoyed their greatest NFL success in the 1990s, the modern rookie card subjects match up fairly well with the their vintage counterparts. The is not the case for the card value of most players from the 1980s and 1990s, but the new millennium saw a change to the high-end. The ranking below is based more on overall relevance than card values because of the shift to low-numbered rookie cards and autographs.
Top Dallas Cowboys Modern Rookie Cards
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15. 2011 National Treasures DeMarco Murray RC #331 Autographed Patch #/99
With just a few seasons under his belt, DeMarco Murray has proven to be one of the top running backs in the game. Injuries slowed his start, but he has been a driving force for Cowboys for several years. Collectors have plenty of rookie options, but his best rookie is found in 2011 National Treasures and includes an on-card autograph and large jersey patch.
14. 2010 National Treasures Dez Bryant RC #311 Autographed Jersey #/99
Another star with plenty of years ahead of him, Dez Bryant has cemented his name among the truly elite receiving threats and is a favorite for Tony Romo. His top rookie also comes from National Treasures, but his card is found in the 2010 edition.
13. 2005 Exquisite DeMarcus Ware RC Autograph #/150
While he no longer is a member of the Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team while with Dallas. He also led the entire league in sacks for two seasons. His top rookie can be found in 2005 Exquisite and features an on-card autograph and limited print run.
12. 2003 Playoff Contenders Tony Romo RC #156 Autograph #/999
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Tony Romo has been the starting quarterback for several seasons. This spot might seem low for Romo, but playoff and Super Bowl success is a major criteria for Cowboys' all-time greats and he has still not delivered in that regard. A few deep playoff runs can easily change his perception as someone who can't win in January. His top rookie card is found in 2003 Contenders and features a sticker autograph and print run of 999.
11. 1987 Topps Charles Haley RC #125
A fantastic defensive player for the 49ers and Cowboys, many believe that Charles Haley belongs in the Hall of Fame. He went to two Pro Bowls during his time in Dallas and was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor. His 1987 Topps rookie card is very inexpensive.
10. 1989 Score Deion Sanders RC #246
A popular multi-sport star, Deion Sanders had four Pro Bowl selections and won one Super Bowl during his five seasons in Dallas. His short stint keeps his from being higher on the list, but overall in the hobby, Deion Sanders is very relevant. Collectors can find his top rookie card in 1989 Score.
9. 1992 Stadium Club Darren Woodson RC #654
A prominent figure in the secondary during the 1990s, Darren Woodson won three Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys and was named to five Pro Bowl teams. Woodson is also the all-time leader in tackles for the franchise. His top rookie is a budget card in 1992 Stadium Club.
8. 1990 Topps Daryl Johnston RC #489
A fan favorite and important part of the Super Bowl wins in the 1990s, Daryl "Moose" Johnston played his entire career for the Cowboys. His best rookie is found in 1990 Topps and can be obtained for just a few dollars.
7. 1989 Topps Jay Novacek RC #282
Another great player from the 1990s dynasty, Jay Novacek was a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Cowboys after coming over from the Phoenix Cardinals as a free agent. His rookie in 1989 Topps is a great add for a Dallas fan despite showcasing him during his time with the Cardinals.
6. 1989 Topps Nate Newton RC #392
Part of one of the best offensive lines in history while with the Cowboys in the 1990s, Nate Newton was a six-time Pro Bowl selection. He 1989 Topps rookie wins by default because the other option is Pro Set.
5. 2003 Playoff Contenders Jason Witten RC #117 Autograph #/599
Tight ends don't generally get the same respect as some of the other offensive positions, but Jason Witten has been the most consistently good player for the Cowboys during the last decade and has been named to nine Pro Bowl squads. Easily one of the most popular players on the team, Witten's top rookie is an autographed card found in 2003 Contenders.
4. 1994 Playoff Larry Allen RC #300
Larry Allen's 11 Pro Bowl appearance makes him the most decorated offensive player in the history of the Cowboys and one of the top offensive lineman in NFL history. The top rookie card for the Hall of Fame player is found in 1994 Playoff.
3. 1989 Score Michael Irvin RC #18
Part of the trio of superstars for the Cowboys in the 1990s, Michael Irvin was one of the top receivers of the era and remains very popular with collectors. His 1989 Score rookie card is the clear favorite and missed his actual rookie season by one year.
2. 1989 Score Troy Aikman RC #270
The only other quarterback for the Cowboys who could rival Roger Staubach based on team legacy, Troy Aikman was the team's QB for the entire 1990s. He won the Super Bowl XXVII MVP and is the career leader in most major categories for the Cowboys. Like Michael Irvin, collectors can find his top rookie in 1989 Score.
1. 1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith RC #101T
The top modern rookie card for the Cowboys and one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, Emmitt Smith was the driving force behind much of the team's success and that was most evident in 1993, when Smith was the NFL MVP, rushing champion and Super Bowl MVP. His top rookie is found in the factory update set to 1990 Score and is fairly inexpensive.
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What cards and how do I start an 11 yr old out with football cards? What would I purchase to get him started collecting. His favorite team is the Dallas cowboys
The best thing to do is to find some inexpensive NFL boxes or packs at Target / Walmart and see what he likes as far as designs.