Jerry Rice was drafted 16th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 1985 and would quickly begin a historic NFL career. During nearly 20 years as an active player, he would set a huge number of NFL records and win three Super Bowl rings. Acknowledged as the greatest receiver of all time, Rice is an extremely popular player, and his cards are equally desired. His 1986 Topps rookie card is the most popular, and it continues to demand fairly high prices despite the fact that it was produced in an era when millions of cards were distributed and few thrown away. The price stability that accompanies the popularity and success makes the 1986 Topps Jerry Rice rookie card a very stable and potentially rewarding investment.
There have been over 14,000 of these cards graded by PSA alone. Of these 14,000, however, less than 650 have received a grade of PSA 9. In 2012, a PSA 10 1986 Topps Rice sold at auction for upwards of $2,500. Examples graded at PSA 9 usually sell for between $200 and $250. Those graded at PSA 8 routinely sell for less than $50, meaning that cards graded below PSA 8 are more for collectors than investors. Because there are so many high grade examples of this card exist, they are worth far less than many other vintage cards and low grade examples are worth very little.
High grade examples of this card, however, can be a very stable investment. The greatest asset to an owner of this card is time. The Jerry Rice rookie card is one of the top ten rookie cards of the 1980s. Condition sensitive because of the green borders, not every card pulled from a pack today will be ‘mint’. It’s best to monitor prices from completed sales and find a price level that provides the best opportunity to own one.