10 of the Best Nolan Ryan Cards of All-Time

10 of the Best Nolan Ryan Cards of All-Time

Nolan Ryan cards are some of the most popular in the hobby. It doesn't matter the year or set, the pitcher's cards always draw the attention of collectors. Few pitchers have achieved Ryan's level of success, both on the field and in the hobby. Often, pitchers are overlooked for the game's sluggers and daily difference makers. Ryan is an exception.

Click here to read our full guide to Nolan Ryan cards.

Baseball's all-time strikeout king, Ryan was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1999, appearing on 98.79% of the ballots in his first year of eligibility. He had the ability to dominate games, racking up an astounding seven no-hitters over the course of his career.

Even in retirement, veteran and rookie collectors continue to chase Nolan Ryan cards. His most recognized rookie card comes from 1968 Topps Baseball. In modern sets, Ryan is a regular signer who continues to command a premium on the secondary market.

With more than 10,000 different cards to his name, few will even come close to having a complete Nolan Ryan collection. With that in mind, here are ten of the best. Some may not be the most valuable and some may even debate their greatness. It's subjective. However, if you take the hobby as a whole, all ten are iconic for various reasons.

10 of the Best Nolan Ryan Cards Ever Made

1968 Topps Nolan Ryan RC #177 with Jerry Koosman

For anyone starting a collection of baseball's all-time strikeouts king, a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie card is a must. During his final seasons with the Rangers, which happened to coincide with the early 90s hobby boom, raw copies were an easy sell at $1,000 and up. Prices have softened a little in recent years. Those who can afford it should aim for a graded copy if for nothing else, to help ensure their card is authentic.

Like most rookie cards from the era, Ryan is pictured alongside someone else. In this case, the honor went to Jerry Koosman.  Despite this, the 1968 Topps Baseball Nolan Ryan rookie card remains one of the most iconic of the 1960s.

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1968 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan RC #177 with Jerry Koosman

Although O-Pee-Chee may not have the brand recognition that Topps does among vintage card collectors, few will deny their rarity. For those who already have the 1968 Topps version or those looking for a challenge, the 1968 O-Pee-Chee Nolan Ryan rookie is a good choice. It has virtually the same design. A pair of differences can be found on the back, though. The card stock is lighter on the O-Pee-Chee card. Also, the fine print on the bottom reads, "Ptd. in Canada."

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1968 Venezuelan Topps Nolan Ryan #177 with Jerry Koosman

Price is no object, you say? Then the 1968 Venezuelan Topps Nolan Ryan may be the card for you. Extremely rare, especially in top condition, this set was produced for the South American market. Printed on lower-quality stock, the cards are extremely fragile. A high-end vintage rarity, those looking for the 1968 Venezuelan Topps Nolan Ryan will likely have to look beyond eBay and reach out to major dealers and memorabilia brokers.

The card itself has virtually the same design as the 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan. A line of white text on the back reads, "Hecho en Venezuela - C.A. Litoven." Also, the card stock on the back looks much more gray than its American counterpart.

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1969 Topps Baseball Nolan Ryan #533

The 1969 Topps Baseball Nolan Ryan is the pitcher's first mainstream baseball card to picture him on his own. It's also important as it's from the year he helped the Mets win the World Series. The card features a posed photo of a very youthful Ryan in an odd pitching pose. It would have made more sense if the ball weren't sitting in plain view inside his glove. But maybe that's part of the charm for this classic card. Near-mint copies that have been professionally graded are moving anywhere from $300 to $400.

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1970 Topps Baseball Nolan Ryan #712

Nolan Ryan is one of the few players in the hobby that commands attention no matter the card. Collectors clamor for more than just his rookies and high-end hits. Vintage is held in particular regard. Professionally graded Mint copies of the 1970 Topps Baseball Nolan Ryan can fetch more than $700. Near mint copies graded by PSA or BVG  can sell for about $250 to $300.

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1991 Topps Desert Shield Nolan Ryan #1

In 1991, Topps produced special cards for the troops participating in Operation Desert Shield in the Middle East. The cards were the same as the regular 1991 Topps Baseball cards except for a foil logo on the front of the card. Today, player and team collectors clamor for top-condition examples of these oddball cards. The 1991 Topps Desert Shield Nolan Ryan has a horizontal photo of the hurler in the follow through of a pitch, presumably one of his trademark fastballs.

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1991 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan Heroes Autograph #AU2 #/2500

Classic had a certified Nolan Ryan in 1991 but it didn't have nearly the impact as Upper Deck's. The seemingly endless supply of 1991 Upper Deck Low Series Baseball challenged collectors to "Find the Nolan." And while many tried, just 2,500 existed. Laughable by today's standards of rarity, the 1991 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan Heroes Autograph was -- and still is -- hard to find. A follow-up to the 1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson Heroes insert set, it represented one of the hobby's earliest high-end hits. Featuring the artwork used for the set's checklist. It is hand-numbered to 2,500 copies.

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1993 Topps Finest Refractors Nolan Ryan #107

One of the hobby's first high-end parallels, 1993 Topps Finest Refractors are a hobby classic. Despite coming at the end of his playing career, the 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Nolan Ryan is one of the set's most valuable cards. A suspected short print, the card commands a lot of attention when it shows up. Expect to pay around $500 today.

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1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures Nolan Ryan #NR

The 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Epic Signatures Nolan Ryan may no longer be one of the Hall of Famer's most valuable autograph cards, but it's one of the most attractive. The clean design allows lots of space for Ryan's instantly recognizable signature. The podium photograph is a touching tribute as well. The supply of these cards has long since dried up. Although they turn up for sale somewhat regularly, it will likely take a little time and patience.

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2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Framed Mini Autographs Nolan Ryan #AGA-NR SP

2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball is one of the best sets of the new millennium. It launched the brand to a modern audience and produced some high-priced hits. Although autographs aren't particularly rare across the set's production run, they still garner huge amounts. The 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Mini Autograph Nolan Ryan is limited to 50 copies. Because the set is so widely collected, few pop up. Should you find one, expect to pay a premium over similar autographs, even ones with lower serial numbers and enhanced by memorabilia swatches.

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What is your favorite Nolan Ryan card? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Ryan Cracknell

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Comments

  1. Mike (ID 55100) If it was a list of the 10 Coolest Looking Nolan Ryan Cards, it’d be right up there. I actually had the 1991 Stadium Club tuxedo on my original list as well.

  2. i HAVE ONE OF THESE – 1991 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan Heroes Autograph #AU2 #/2500 – MINT IN A THICK SEALED CASING. ANY IDEA OF WHAT IT IS WORTH?

  3. I have Nolan Ryan Little League Hockey Card when he was 12 years old. Any idea of what it is worth?

  4. I have a Nolan Ryan baseball card of him as a pitcher and on back side is his baby picture and been wondering what is worth.

  5. Wounder about the price of a Nolan Ryan 1968 metal replica card of #117 from the Hamilton collection in mint cond with certificate copyright shows 1993 it’s a collectors edition

  6. have a Nolan Ryan rookie baseball card at age of 17 but don’t remember the make of card or year. would it be of any value today?

  7. sam His rookie is pictured above. It is still very popular, though value can vary greatly depending on condition.

  8. looking to find out about a baseball card of ryan nolan its a upper deck baseball hero card #18 of 18not signed thank you

  9. dAWN It’s from 1991 Upper Deck. They’re all quite common and aren’t worth much money today because of it, unfortunately.

  10. I had a huge collection of nolan ryan including rookie card but i let my cousin move in to help him out and he stoled them all. Watch anythingof value its a must nowdays!””””


  12. I have a 1991 Pacific # 112 little league All-Star of Nolan Ryan. Any ideals of what it’s worth?

  13. Hi:
    I have two Nolan Ryan autographed cards, one is as an Alvin All Star, age 12, 50th anniversary of LL, 1939-1989, sponsored by Am. Exp and Best Western, and the other is the 5,000 strike out card, Topps; excellent condition. I am wondering what the value is. Thanks,

  14. I have a topps 40 years of baseball nolan ryan card the 6 rarest card on this site how much will I get for it

  15. I have a 1990 Farewell Set card. #7 of 10. He is 34 years old. What is this worth?

  16. 1966 Nolan Ryan signed card in plastic case can’t find any info on it help

  17. I have several Nolan pieces looking to move….if intrested…ur gonna need a truck….father passed left it to me….these cards haven’t seen daylight since 97 …he had taste…I know what I have…helped him all my life but I also understand the current economic value of them…27 Montana rookies hundreds of various rookies…..if it had MJ on it he bought em…in bulk lol…….contact 1joefontana@gmail.com. …

  18. I have a special set of NolanRyan cards and would like suggestion onhow to get in contact with a buyer(collector).

  19. Why does Nolan Ryan’s signature appear to change so drastically over the years? I have a large collection because my husband is ryan and our son ryan jr so any time I find a throwback Jersey with ryan on it we try to get it. We live in Houston and at the local grocery chain he has a “Nolan ryan select ” prime meats that have his signature on the label. Compared to the signed Jersey and several cards and replica team signed game balls and now his signature meats, well they all look to be signed by different people look at his signed card in the 80s then the squiggle line that passes as his signature today. Did he suffer an injury or nerve damage in his arm that would cause this? I am just curious , I know back in the day guys like babe Ruth and Mickey mantle would have someone assist them with signing the thousands of balls they would use in promotions but I doubt that’s the senerio here. Interested to hear y’alls thoughts on it.

  20. Wondering where to sell my Nolan Ryan cards. I have 1970 &71 topps not graded but perfect condition. Is it better to have graded then sell. I mean these are flawless I’d guess a grade of 9 or better!

  21. I’ve got some Nolan Ryan cards and am curious if they are anything..Silver Star Nolan Ryan the pride of texas hologram with authen ticket #150508 mint cond. ; topps 40 years of bb 1990 record breaker card #6; Topps 1990 Rangers card #1; Score 1991 Rangers card #4; 1990 Topps 5000 Astros card #4; Topps 40 years of bb Rangers verticle card #1; front of card says 1991 Donruss nolan ryan Rangers,but the back says 1990 leaf lynn nolan ryan jr card #89…and a few more with rangers. Anything good here?? Ty

  22. Ryan, just curious. Why do you collect John Jaha? I found that interesting. He had some good seasons, but seems like an odd player to collect. With all due respect, to Mr, Jaha and yourself, of course.

  23. Sir< I have a 2015 Nolan Ryan Elite Team signature 1 of 1 card. autograph sing by Ryan, would you know the cost of that card because it is a 1 of 1. can not find. thanks for the help Bill

  24. I have a 1991 Donruss Nolan Ryan card. What would it be worth?

  25. I jave a 1992 nolan ryan card when he played for mets in 1971 donruss and 1981 sports star nolan ryan when he played for the rangers. How much value do these hold?

  26. I have some Nolan Ryan baseball cards from his time with the Astros, Angels, and Rangers. Also I have his 5,000 strikeout card. Can anyone tell me the value or give me a website to verify the value? They are in excellent condition.

  27. i just found a cooper card of Nolan Ryan and i like to know if had any value, because i don’t know i will appreciate if you can let me know

    thank you

  28. I have a Nolan Ryan where he is dressed like a cowboy, wearing a duster an cowboy hat with his uniform underneath an a baseball belt an holster. It has a antique photo color to it, I have never seen another of it an can’t find any info on it so please contact me at coreydhartman@yahoo.com if anyone has any info about it please

  29. Have you ever seen nolan ryan’s baseball card set. this is a trading card set of just Nolan Ryan with images of him on his ranch and facts about his hobbies. i was curious about what years the sets where made and how much they are worth and where do you find pricing?

  30. I have 14 Nolan Ryan baseball cards with the brand name Pacific on them. they are numbered 112, 113, 122, 123, 126, 131, 140, 152, 165, 170, 171, 191, 204, and 217. they are in excellent condition. Are they worth anything? I know nothing of baseball cards. thank you for your help. if they have any value they will help my grandchildren go to college.

  31. 1992 Donruss Nolan Ryan . Picture on back with career stats etc.. # 707 .. What it worth??

  32. I have a 1993 topps 107 card looking to sell my Nolan Ryan cards

  33. I have a 2005Donruss Diamond Kings card…..HH-62. It has a die-cut border and is a ONE OF ONE. Anyone interested?

  34. Does anyone have a link to the list of Nolan Ryan’s wins? I’m looking for a table showing the dates of each win, score, and the team he defeated.


  35. I have a Ryan Nolan 24K gold- 1-1 Edition from 1989 highlight “Rangers” any collectors know the value of this card

  36. Just looking to purchase rookie, ’69, ’70, and’71 Ryans to complete having every Ryan card. I am fine if they are graded low, creases, torn, etc. because I cannot pay a big price. Just want every Ryan card. Any ideas?

  37. Hello. Curious about my Nolan Ryan #513. It is in “good” shape, no major issues, in plastic since about 1983. I’m curious what your opinion/advice would be?
    I also have some early Peat Rose, Reggie Jackson, etc. Thank you for your time. Ed

  38. I have a 1991 pacific card #19 can you give me an Ideal of its value? May have more came across huge box of baseball cards, desert storm cards etc… thank you

  39. There is definitely something nostalgic about his rookie card. I remember dreaming of having it when I was 12 years old. One card that I think is cool (although not worth anything) is the ’89 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan where he is throwing the football. That set was full of gems.


  41. I have a 1 of 1 Nolan Ryan proof card…I will have to dig a little for it, but it is encased, and a really nice looking card. anyone have any idea what it might be worth?

  42. If I have an ungraded topps Nolan Ryan rookie in an estimated 6-7 grade, should I have it autographed?

  43. I pulled a 2019 Topps Big League Black & White Nolan Ryan Autograph Serial # 1/25 but can’t find Any listings for it. Anybody know what it’s worth?

  44. I have a 1977topps nolanryan autograph card#650. Is it worth any money. Please let me know.

  45. I have 4 cards I would like you to see, would they. Have any value.would this be asking to much . Thanks.

  46. If you email me, I would be happy to look at them. I have not gotten a single email from you so far. I also messaged you at the email you provided with no response. Please send the images to trey@cardboardconnection.com

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