Top Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie Cards of All-Time

Top Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie Cards of All-Time

Top Vintage RCs

Part of the NFL elite, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most successful and popular franchises in the league. With six Super Bowl wins and many top players in their history, collectors have a lot of appealing choices when it comes to Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cards. The guide below offers a look at the top modern and vintage Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cards of all-time.

Given the importance of condition in relation to card values, many of the cards shown can have considerable differences in value based on grade. This can be especially apparent for high-grade vintage cards.

The following list counts down the top overall vintage rookie cards for the Pittsburg Steelers. Fans and collectors will find some of the top names from the team's history, including many Hall of Fame players and all-time greats. While the actual rank is largely based on card values, when values were close, historical relevance was taken into account. The vintage list is limited to cards before 1980.

Collectors looking for more current rookie options should check out the tab for the top modern Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cards.

Top Pittsburgh Steelers Vintage Rookie Cards

Click on the listing or image to shop for singles on eBay. 

17. 1979 Topps Donnie Shell RC #411

An undrafted safety that spent his entire career with Pittsburgh, Donnie Shell went to five Pro Bowls and won four Super Bowl title with the Steelers. His rookie card in 1979 Topps is a great budget option for collectors.

1979 Topps Donnie Shell RC #411

16. 1978 Topps John Stallworth RC #320

One of the best wide receivers in the team's history and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, John Stallworth was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and part of four Super Bowl wins in Pittsburgh. Despite this, John Stallworth's rookie card in 1978 Topps can be found for just a few dollars.

1978 Topps John Stallworth

15. 1977 Topps Mike Webster RC #99

Mike Webster is widely considered to be one of the best centers in NFL history and is an all-time great for the Steelers. Webster was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time Super Bowl champion in Pittsburgh. Collectors can find the rookie card for the Hall of Fame player in 1977 Topps.

1977 Topps Mike Webster RC #99

14. 1975 Topps Rocky Bleier RC #39

A Vietnam veteran that was wounded by enemy fire before his pro career began, Rocky Bleier remains a favorite of those in Steeler Nation. The scrappy running back was a nice compliment to Franco Harris during Pittsburgh's dominance in the 1970s and his 1975 Topps rookie is a popular option.

1975 Topps Rocky Bleier RC #39

13. 1972 Topps L. C. Greenwood RC #101

L. C. Greenwood was part of the famed "Steel Curtain" defensive line on the 1970s Steelers. He went to six Pro Bowls during his career and collectors can find his rookie in 1972 Topps. Greenwood also has a "Pro Action" subset card in the same product.

1972 Topps L.C. Greenwood RC #101

12. 1968 Topps Andy Russell RC #163

One of many great linebackers in the history of the franchise, Andy Russell was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection for the Steelers. His rookie card in 1968 Topps won't set you back too much.

1968 Topps Andy Russell RC #163

11.  1975 Topps Mel Blount RC #12

Touted by many as one of the best cornerbacks in league history, Mel Blount was a physical force for the Steelers in the 1970s. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Blount's 1975 Topps rookie card marked the start of his best seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1975 Topps Mel Blount RC

10. 1973 Topps Jack Ham RC #115

An elite outside linebacker for the Steelers, Jack Ham terrorized opposing offenses for many years and totaled eight trips to the Pro Bowl. His 1973 Topps rookie card is another reasonable HOF option.

1973 Topps Jack Ham RC

9. 1975 Topps Lynn Swann RC #282

One of the most popular Steelers of all-time, Lynn Swann was a Hall of Fame receiver for Pittsburgh during their glory years. Swann was the Super Bowl X MVP and also selected to three Pro Bowls during his career. In addition to his official rookie card, collectors can also find a "1974 Highlights" subset card in 1975 Topps. The primary rookie card features an error as "receiver" is spelled incorrectly on the front. Swann's rookie card marks the points where values start to pick up.

1975 Topps Lynn Swann RC

8. 1973 Topps Franco Harris RC #89

The main running threat for the Steelers during their Super Bowl run in the 1970s, Franco Harris was named to nine consecutive Pro Bowls and was the Super Bowl IX MVP. Harris' most memorable moment is known to many as "The Immaculate Reception" and involved a last-second touchdown catch to win a 1972 playoff game. His 1973 Topps rookie holds the distinction of being one of the few Hall of Fame rookie cards to showcase a beanie hat.

1973 Topps Franco Harris RC

7. 1976 Topps Jack Lambert RC #220

The other half of the dynamic Jack linebacking corp in the 1970s, Jack Lambert was one of the most intimating figures on the celebrated Steelers defense. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine straight times and inducted into the Hall of Fame. Lambert's rookie in 1976 Topps is the top overall option in the set outside of Walter Payton's rookie card.

1976 Topps Jack Lambert RC

6. 1957 Topps Jack Butler RC #15

A key part of the Steelers secondary in the 1950s, Jack Butler was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and inducted into the Hall of Fame. Collectors can find his rookie in 1957 Topps, one of the most loaded sets for rookie HOF collectors and popular for its dual-image design.

1957 Topps Jack Butler

5. 1955 Bowman John Henry Johnson RC #42

Although he really only played five seasons in Pittsburgh, John Henry Johnson was a top rusher in the early-1960s and named to three Pro Bowls with the Steelers. One of the earliest rookie cards on the list, Johnson's first card is found in 1955 Bowman.

1955 Bowman John Henry Johnson RC #42

4. 1971 Topps Joe Greene RC #245

Synonymous with the suffocating Pittsburgh defense, "Mean Joe" Greene is one of the greatest defensive lineman in NFL history. He was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Card value puts his 1971 Topps rookie in the fourth spot, but based on relevance, Greene could easily be first and his jersey number is one of only two to ever be officially retired by Pittsburgh.

1971 Topps Joe Greene RC

3. 1949/1950 Topps Felt Backs Ernie Stautner RC #79

The first player to have his number retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ernie Stautner was nine-time Pro Bowl selection during his Hall of Fame career. While there is still uncertainty about the actual year his rookie card was released, collectors can find the undersized card in the Topps Felt Backs set, which remains in limited supply. Stautner's 1951 Bowman card is also a popular early option.

1949 1950 Topps Felt Backs Ernie Stautner RC #79

2. 1948 Leaf Bobby Layne RC #6

More remembered for his time in Detroit, Bobby Layne spent the end of his Hall of Fame career with Pittsburgh. Layne was one of the top quarterbacks of the 1950s and his rookie is part of the vivid 1948 Leaf set. Collectors will notice that his first name is misspelled on the card.

1948 Leaf Bobby Layne RC #6

1. 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw RC #156

One of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history, Terry Bradshaw went to three Pro Bowls and was named the Super Bowl MVP twice. His 1971 Topps rookie is one of the most popular and valuable rookie cards in football collecting.

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw

Top eBay Listings

1975 Topps #39 Rocky Bleier RC NM X1249699
$18.25

1975 Topps #282 Pittsburgh Steelers' Hall of Famer Lynn Swann RC rookie card
$15.75

1976 Topps #220 Jack Lambert Pittsburgh Steelers RC Rookie Football Card
$16.24

1976 Topps #220 Jack Lambert Pittsburgh Steelers RC Rookie Football Card
$16.24

1957 TOPPS #15 JACK BUTLER HOF RC EXMT WAX FRONT *181008
$25.00

1957 TOPPS #15 JACK BUTLER HOF RC VG 3 CREASES *160073
$25.00

1957 TOPPS #15 JACK BUTLER HOF RC EXMT NICELY CENTERED *51710
$75.00

1977 TOPPS #99 MIKE WEBSTER RC VG+ VGEX LITE CREASES NICELY CENTERED *C14593
$6.30

1978 TOPPS FB #320 JOHN STALLWORTH STEELERS (RC) EX MT
$11.00

1976 Topps Football Jack Lambert Rookie RC #220 Pittsburgh Steelers
$17.50

JOHN STALLWORTH 1978 Topps Football RC # 320 Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie HOF
$15.00

1971 TOPPS FOOTBALL STEELERS JOE GREENE RC ROOKIE CARD HOF #245 CENTERED
$34.00

1948 Leaf 6 Bobby Layne RC POOR #D169639
$31.05

1975 Topps #282 Lynn Swann UER RC (EX)(BV=$60)
$19.00

1973 Topps #89 Franco Harris RC Rookie (EX)(BV=$50)
$9.99

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw Pittsburgh Steelers #156 Football Card Rookie RC (552)
$85.00
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Top Modern RCs

Although the elite modern options aren't as revered as the vintage Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cards, collectors can still find many good options in the group and several Hall of Fame players. Given the vast changes that took place in the collecting world from the 1980s to the 2000s, the rank is more based on overall relevance versus card value.

Top Pittsburgh Steelers Modern Rookie Cards

Click on the listing or image to shop for singles on eBay. 

13. 1983 Topps Gary Anderson RC #356

Yes, even kickers matter to some collectors. Gary Anderson had a long career with many teams, but he was a Steeler for most of the 1980s and one of the best in the league. His 1983 Topps rookie is cheap and not hard to find.

1983 Topps Gary Anderson RC #356

12. 2008 Exquisite James Harrison RC #78 #/75

A dominant modern linebacker for the Steelers, James Harrison went to five Pro Bowls before leaving Pittsburgh for Cincinnati and then retiring. He has since resumed his career with the Steelers. Harrison has several base rookies in 2008 products, but his top option is found in Exquisite and is limited to just 75 copies.

2008 Exquisite James Harrison RC #78

11. 1989 Topps Traded Carnell Lake RC #80T

Carnell Lake was an elite cornerback for the Steelers in the 1990s and and a five-time Pro Bowl player. His 1989 Topps Traded rookie is very inexpensive and he also has a rookie card in 1989 Pro Set.

1989 Topps Traded Carnell Lake RC #80T

10. 2001 Bowman Chrome Casey Hampton RC #209

Nicknamed "Big Snack," Casey Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Steelers. Hampton has multiple rookie cards available, but his Bowman Chrome card is arguably the best.

2001 Bowman Chrome Casey Hampton RC #209

9. 2003 Playoff Contenders Troy Polamalu RC #190 Autograph #/989

A game-changing player on defense for many years, Troy Polamalu is a fan favorite for the Steelers. Polamalu has been named to eight Pro Bowl teams and Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. With nearly 20 rookie cards to pick from, collectors have shown a preference for his signed Contenders card.

2003 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Troy Polamalu

8. 2005 Exquisite Heath Miller RC #99 Autographed Jersey #/199

A consistent producer and safety valve for Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller is the unsung hero of the Steelers offense. While it is easy to get overwhelmed by the 40+ rookie cards for Heath Miller, the top card is found in 2005 Exquisite.

2005 Exquisite Heath Miller RC #99 Autographed Jersey

7. 2002 Upper Deck XL Alan Faneca RC #362

Offensive lineman don't get normally a ton of recognition but Alan Faneca was a seven-time Pro Bowl guard for the Steelers and one of the best in their team history. His rookie release is a modern rarity because there is only one option available and it is found in 2002 Upper Deck XL.

2002 Upper Deck XL Alan Faneca RC #362

6. 1998 Playoff Contenders Hines Ward RC #94 Autograph

The all-time leader for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with the Steelers, Hines Ward was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the Super Bowl XL MVP. He also has a large quantity of rookie cards to pick from, but most collectors prefer his Rookie Ticket in Contenders. Although it is not numbered, the print run was revealed to be 500.

1998 Playoff Contenders Hines Ward

5. 1989 Score Supplemental Dermontti Dawson RC #408S

The successor to Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson continued the tradition of dominance at the center position for the Steelers and was selected to seven Pro Bowls. His most popular rookie is found in the factory update to 1989 Score, but the Hall of Fame player also has a rookie card in 1989 Pro Set.

1989 Score Supplemental Dermontti Dawson

4. 1989 Topps Traded Greg Lloyd RC #115T

Greg Lloyd was one of the best defensive players in the in NFL during his time in Pittsburgh, appearing in five Pro Bowls. He only has one rookie card option and it comes in the update set for 1989 Topps.

1989 Topps Traded Greg Lloyd RC #115T

3. 2004 SP Authentic Ben Roethlisberger RC #213 Autographed Jersey #/299

As the face of the franchise for the last decade, the success of the Pittsburgh Steelers has gone hand-in-hand with the health and productivity of Ben Roethlisberger. "Big Ben" has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles and is one of the top options for fans and collectors. There are plenty of rookie cards for Roethlisberger, including several signed cards, but his SP Authentic card is arguably the best.

2004 SP Authentic Ben Roethlisberger RC #213 Autographed Jersey

2. 1993 SP Jerome Bettis RC #6

Jerome Bettis spent several seasons with the Rams before making the move to Pittsburgh, but his legacy with the Steelers is firmly in place. A bruising running back, "The Bus" went to four Pro Bowls as a Steeler and helped them win their first Super Bowl in 25 years. With over 20 options, collectors should look to 1993 SP for the best Jerome Bettis rookie card.

1993 SP Jerome Bettis RC

1. 1989 Score Rod Woodson RC #78

Although he put forth several elite seasons with other teams, Rod Woodson will always be remembered as a Steeler. The Hall of Fame defensive back went to seven Pro Bowls with Pittsburgh and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1993. One of three options, his top rookie card can be found in 1989 Score and is a top card for any Steelers fans.

1989 Score Rod Woodson RC #78

Top eBay Listings

2004 Flair Ben Roethlisberger rookie rc autograph auto 250 Pittsburg Steelers
$149.99

LaMarr Woodley 2007 SPX Rookie Endorsements Auto Autograph Steelers Michigan RC
$12.99

2008 FELIX JONES ABSOLUTE MEMORABILIA TRIPLE RELIC AUTO RC 299 Cowboys Steelers
$6.40

STEELERS Santonio Holmes 2006 Leaf DRESS FOR SUCCESS Worn RC JERSEY SP #d 100
$7.45

TROY EDWARDS 1999 Collectors Edge AUTOGRAPH RC On Card Rookie AUTO SP Steelers
$6.50

1972 TOPPS FOOTBALL #101 L.C. GREENWOOD ROOKIE RC, PITTSBURGH STEELERS, 021114
$5.56

2007 Lawrence Timmons Bowman ROOKIE AUTO - LT Pittsburgh Steelers RC
$6.99

2017 Panini Phoenix James Connor Rookie Patch Auto 149 RC Steelers
$11.00

2017 Panini Phoenix James Connor Rookie 2 Color Patch 25 RC Steelers
$5.02

2007 LaMarr Woodley SPx ROOKIE AUTO - LW Michigan Wolverines Steelers RC
$11.99

RYAN SHAZIER 2014 CHROME BLUE REFRACTOR AUTO RC #91 199 STEELERS OHIO STATE OSU!
$14.99

RYAN SHAZIER 2014 PRESTIGE XP AUTOGRAPH AUTO ROOKIE RC STEELERS OHIO STATE! ::
$8.99

DAVID DeCASTRO Pittsburgh Steelers Stanford 2012 Leaf Young Stars AUTOGRAPH RC
$6.99

2017 Panini XR Luminous Endorsements RC Auto 99 JAMES CONNER Steelers
$12.50

2013 Topps Football #403 Le'Veon Bell RC Steelers Leveon Rookie Card PGI 10
$29.99

BUD DUPREE 2015 Bowman Chrome RC Rookie Auto Autograph #RCRA-AD STEELERS 75
$16.99
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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. In more recent years, 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 or Google+.

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