Collecting the Quarterbacks of Super Bowl XLVIII: Peyton Manning

This year’s NFL Super Bowl presents collectors the opportunity to collect players from the opposite end of the experience spectrum in the accomplished future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning, and one of the great young talents in the league, Russell Wilson. You can’t go wrong with an autographed football.

While any number of players on Championship teams can be collectible depending on the outcome of the game and their individual performances, quarterbacks will always be the most collectible, even from the losing team. This year’s NFL Super Bowl presents collectors the opportunity to collect players from the opposite end of the experience spectrum in the accomplished future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning, and one of the great young talents in the league, Russell Wilson.

Manning has a well-established pedigree, coming from a family of NFL quarterbacks. The longtime face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise signed with the Denver Broncos after his release following a potential career ending neck injury prior to the 2012 season. His epic comeback has been nothing short of heroic and has renewed interest in Manning’s football cards and autographed memorabilia.

Manning’s rookie cards were released in 1998 products. During this period of time in the trading card industry, manufacturers were transitioning from producing just a few products in a season with large print runs to producing several products with smaller print runs. As a result, Manning has no less than a daunting 48 different rookie cards. While this number may be overwhelming for some newer or returning collectors to fathom, it shouldn’t prohibit you from looking to add at least a few of Manning’s rookie cards to your collection. Here is a complete checklist of Peyton Manning rookie cards.

Of the 48—count ’em, 48—Peyton Manning rookie cards, the one most collectors would take would be the 1998 Playoff Contenders card, number 87, as it is far and away his most desirable rookie card. It is erial-numbered to just 200 total copies, the card includes Manning’s signature.

1998 Absolute Retail/Hobby #165
1998 Aurora #71
1998 Black Diamond Rookies #91
1998 Bowman’s Best #112
1998 Bowman #1
1998 Bowman Chrome #1
1998 Collector’s Edge Advantage #189
1998 Collector’s Edge First Place #135
1998 Collector’s Edge Masters #73 #/5000
1998 Collector’s Edge Odyssey #60
1998 Collector’s Edge Supreme Season Review #74
1998 Crown Royale #54
1998 E-X2001 #54
1998 Flair Showcase Row 3 #3
1998 Fleer Brilliants #120
1998 Fleer Tradition #235
1998 Fleer Ultra #201
1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars #233
1998 Metal Universe #189
1998 Pacific #181
1998 Pacific Omega #101
1998 Pacific Revolution #58
1998 Playoff Contenders #87
1998 Playoff Momentum Retail/Hobby #146
1998 Playoff Prestige Retail/Hobby #165
1998 Score #233
1998 SkyBox Premium #231
1998 SkyBox Thunder #239
1998 Stadium Club #195
1998 SP Authentic #14 #/2000
1998 SPx Finite #181 Peyton #/1998
1998 Topps #360
1998 Topps Chrome #165
1998 Topps Finest #121
1998 Topps Gold Label Class 1 #20
1998 Topps Season Opener #1
1998 Topps Stars #67 #/8799
1998 UD3 #181
1998 Upper Deck #1
1998 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice #193
1998 Upper Deck Encore #1

If you are looking to pick up a copy of Manning’s most popular (and valuable) rookie card, you can quickly narrow the list down to just a single card. The Peyton Manning 1998 Playoff Contenders card, number 87, is far and away, his most desirable rookie card. The set it comes from within the product Rookie Tickets. It is one of the most popular of all modern football cards and is known for delivering the game’s top rookie cards, year-in and year-out. Serial-numbered to just 200 total copies, the card includes Manning’s signature. This is his only, autographed rookie card and with such a limited print run, these cards command four figures in higher-grade condition on the rare occasion they become available on the secondary market. A total of 153 of the 200 cards have been graded by the top companies in the market, PSA and BGS (Professional Sports Authenticators and Beckett Grading Services) with just 38 receiving a grade of 9 (out of a 10 point scale) or higher.

A Peyton Manning authentic signed Denver Broncos helmet.

A Peyton Manning authentic signed Indianapolis Colts helmet.

In addition to his trading cards, Manning-autographed memorabilia has always been a hot commodity. Authenticated examples of signed jerseys, helmets and balls can be found through a variety of dealers and retailers, both online and off. Authenticated examples of some these items are provided as a courtesy to compare these signatures against ones you might be considering to purchase.

A Peyton Manning-signed Denver Broncos authentic replica jersey.

A Peyton Manning-signed Indianapolis Colts authentic replica jersey.

Navigating the often murky waters of authenticated sports memorabilia can be a daunting task for, even the most experienced collector. Critics of autograph authentication will make snide comments about such companies as, “It doesn’t have to be real as long as it’s authentic.” However, the truth of the matter is that while even the best companies have made their share of mistakes, more often than not, you can trust the Certificate or Letter of Authenticity from the industries top tier companies. These include the aforementioned company PSA as well as JSA (James Spence Authentication, former head of authenticating at PSA), Tristar, Mounted Memories and Steiner. As long as you purchase Peyton Manning autographed items that are accompanied with a COA or LOA from one of those companies, you can be more than 95-percent sure that you are purchasing a genuine item.


Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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