The 1984 Topps Football set is THE landmark football card set of the 1980s.
Sure, the 1981 Topps set has the Montana rookie card, and the 1982 Topps set has Lawrence Taylor’s rookie card.
But, the 1984 Topps set features one of the best collections of big-name rookies across any sports card set from the 1980s.
In this piece, we take a closer look at the 1984 Topps set, providing PSA population data, card values, and thoughts on overall investment potential.
1984 Topps Football Card Facts
When I was collecting cards as a kid, I can recall buying packs of 1984 Topps football.
I loved the cards, the bright colors and soon became quite aware of some of the big-time rookies in the 396 card set.
Quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino were top prospects drafted the year prior.
And they were soon establishing themselves as major forces in the NFL.
I remember going back to buy some more packs and they were all gone.
It's no surprise that the set was so popular. The set featured a fresh, new design. And aside from rookie cards of Marino and Elway, it features rookie cards for another ten hall of famers.
While I was buying wax packs, the set was also issued in cello packs, rack packs, 500 card vending boxes and also (elusive) factory sets.
Rack packs included one of 11 blue, glossy 'NFL Stars' insert cards in every pack - one of which is Marino, as shown in the rack pack below.
1984 Topps cards are notorious for centering issues, along with other print defects.
1984 Topps Football Most Valuable Cards
Here are the 16 most valuable cards in the 1984 Topps Football set, with values from the PSA SMR Price guide, using PSA 10 (Gem Mint) prices as a guide.
I've listed the cards in order of value, starting with the most valuable card in the set.
Be aware that many of the commons in PSA 10 grade are worth a ton, only because very few have been submitted for grading.
Thus,if you have plans of trying to build a PSA 10 84 Topps set, know that it will run you a small fortune.
1984 Topps John Elway (RC) #63
This is the rookie card for Bronco's QB great John Elway. It is also (by a slight margin) the most valuable card in the 1984 Topps Football set.
Indianapolis had the first pick in the 1983 Draft, but Elway did not want to play for the struggling Colts. He even threatened to go play baseball if they drafted him.
Indy did pick Elway at #1, and then traded him to the Broncos for offensive lineman Chris Hinton (along with two players and a 1984 first round pick).
Elway wasn't the same sort of statistical machine as Marino, but he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Elway's 1984 Topps rookie card was produced in generous quantities. There are 23,000 PSA graded copies of the card.
Along with the rest of the vintage high end market, Elway's rookie in top grades has experienced a significant correction.
1984 Topps Dan Marino (RC) #123
Dan Marino was a highly touted quarterback prospect out of Pittsburgh.
John Elway out of Stanford went #1 in the 83 Draft, but Marino wasn't selected until pick #27 by the Dolphins.
He soon proved all doubters wrong.
His 1984 Topps rookie card showcases the young rookie in what would soon become a season for the record books.
In 1984, Marino won the MVP and led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl. Although they fell short, losing 38-16 to the Joe Montana-led 49ers.
Marino's rookie card is the second most valuable in the set, behind the Elway RC.
There are 25,000 PSA graded copies, with only 400 (or 1.6%) that have earned a PSA 10 (Gem Mint) grade.
Marino's PSA 10 rookie does sell at a slight discount to Elway, likely because there are roughly double the amount of Marino PSA 10's.
It also has been subject to a sizeable correction of late, although current values are still at around $5K.
Thankfully, ungraded Marino rookies are plentiful and affordable.
Note that Marino has several other cards in the set, including #124 (Instant Replay), #202 (Passing Leaders), while also featured on card #355 of Instant Replay card Fred Dean.
1984 Topps Walter Payton #228
When this card was released, Walter Payton was 30 years old, and in the twilight of his career.
Still, he was putting up big time rushing totals, and even finished in the Top 6 of MVP Voting from 1984 through 1986.
Payton's 1984 Topps card is the third most valuable card in the set.
A lot of the value is based on the fact that high grade copies of Payton's card are hard to come by.
Of the 1400 PSA graded copies, only 15 have earned a PSA 10.
There's been only one sale in the past year and that number eclipsed $6000 at auction.
Crazy enough, if you want to own an ungraded Payton, you can find one for a couple of bucks on eBay.
1984 Topps Eric Dickerson (RC) #280
Eric Dickerson's rookie card is the fourth most valuable card in the 1984 Topps Football set.
I loved watching Dickerson run and feel that he might be a bit underrated.
Dickerson had some massive seasons. Over 2100 rushing yards in 1985. Four years of over 2000 yards from scrimmage.
NFL Expert Gil Brandt has Dickerson as the sixth best running back of all time, behind guys like Jim Brown and Walter Payton.
I agree, which is why I chose Dickerson's rookie card as the most underrated card in the set.
PSA has graded 7200 copies, with 120 PSA 10's. PSA 10 Dickerson rookie cards sell for around $2000, which represents solid value.
1984 Topps Chris Hinton (RC) #15
Chris Hinton will forever be known as the guy that was traded for John Elway.
However, Hinton was an excellent player, playing 13 seasons in the NFL at offensive tackle.
Over his career Hinton was a 7x Pro Bowl selection and a two time first team All-Pro.
Hinton's 1984 Topps rookie card on its own wouldn't be terribly valuable, however PSA 10 copies of the card have proved elusive.
Only 4 of the 200+ Hinton cards graded by PSA have earned a Gem Mint rating.
There have been no sales on record, so if you are looking to build a PSA 10 set, you might be out of luck.
If you would like, go grab a Hinton rookie card on eBay for a dollar.
1984 Topps Joe Montana #358
This is the fourth year card for the amazing Joe Montana.
In 1984, Montana and the 49ers were on a mission, destroying everyone in their way and pumelling the Dolphins in the Super Bowl. Montana won Super Bowl MVP that year.
Only 3500 copies of the #358 Montana have been graded by PSA, with only 100 or so PSA 10 copies.
Considering the lack of supply for Gem Mint copies, I think his card offers collectors an attractive value at less than $700.
1984 Topps Dan Marino (Instant Replay) RC #124
Instant Replay cards were one of several subsets in the 1984 Topps set. The cards were issued after a players base card in the set. Thus, for example, the Instant Replay Marino card is #124, after his #123 rookie card.
The Instant Replay Marino has 2500 PSA Graded copies (1/10th the graded population of his rookie card). Only 160 PSA 10's exist.
Thus, if you want a cheap Marino rookie card, this is the way to do it. You can grab a PSA 10 copy for under $300.
1984 Dwight Stephenson (RC) #129
Dwight Stephenson anchored the offensive line of the Dolphins for his entire eight year career.
Stephenson was drafted in 1980 NFL Draft, but for unknown reasons, Topps left him out of the previous year's sets.
Thus, his 1984 Topps #129 card is his true rookie card. Stephenson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1998.
Stephenson's rookie card is hard to find in high grades. Of the near 700 PSA graded copies, only 27 PSA 10 copies exist. Still, somewhat affordable at around $500.
You could also buy an ungraded copy for a $1 or $2 on eBay.
Truth be told, offensive lineman don't get much cardboard love.
1984 Topps Curt Warner (RC) #198
Curt Warner was a big time prospect when he was playing for Penn State, where he was a two time All-American.
Selected with the third pick in the 83 NFL Draft, behind other phenoms John Elway and Eric Dickerson, most figured Warner was a can't miss prospect.
His first season showed that the scouts were right. Warner finished the 1983 season with over 1400 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
But, a devastating knee injury only a year later derailed what might have been a HOF career.
Warner was still a solid player, but he was never the same after tearing an ACL in the 1984 season opener.
His 1984 Topps rookie card carries most of its value due to the scarcity of his card in high grade. Only 4 PSA 10 copies exist, making it a relative unicorn in the set. The last copy sold for over $2000 in 2019.
You could also snag an ungraded Warner rookie card on eBay for a $1 or $2.
1984 Topps Howie Long (RC) #111
Most youngins might be only familiar with Howie Long as an NFL broadcaster.
But, before his time as a studio analyst, Howie Long was a feared defender with the Oakland Raiders.
Long spent his entire 13 year career with the Oakland (later LA) Raiders.
Long's 1984 Topps card #111 is his rookie card, even despite the fact that he was drafted in 1981.
Only 100 PSA 10 copies of Long's rookie exist, which helps make it one of the more valuable rookie cards in the set. Values on the card have ranged from $500 to $700 over the past year.
1984 Topps Joe DeLamielleure #51
Values of PSA 10 1984 Topps cards are quite dependent on the graded population. Several commons in the set are actually quite valuable in high grade, only because many haven't been graded.
The #51 card of Browns HOF lineman Joe DeLamielleure is one example.
DeLamielleure was one hell of a player, the main cog in the 'Electric Company' line for the Bills that paved the way for OJ Simpson to run wild in Buffalo.
Only ten PSA 10 copies of Joe DeLamielleure's 84 Topps card exist, making it a very high priced common card. PSA 10 copies sell for between $400 to $500.
1984 Topps Joe Washington #393
Another high priced common due to a low PSA population. Only ten PSA 10 copies of Joe Washington's 1984 Topps card exist. Sales have ranged from between $200 to $300 for Gem Mint copies.
1984 Topps Darrell Green (RC) #380
HOFer Darrell Green's 1984 Topps rookie card is considered one of the top rookie cards in the set.
Of over 2000 PSA graded copies, only 125 have earned a prestigious PSA 10 grade.
Sales of the PSA 10 Green have averaged from between $500 to $600.
1984 Topps Rickey Jackson (RC) #303
Rickey Jackson was a warrior and one of the most feared defenders during his playing days with the Saints.
I'll never forget the 1989 season, when Jackson got in a car accident and finished the season with his jaw wired shut. That's the kind of player he was.
Of the 800 PSA graded Jackson rookie cards, 44 have earned a PSA 10 grade.
Expect to pay near $500 for a PSA 10 Jackson or like most cards in the set,only a few bucks for an ungraded copy on eBay.
1984 Topps Roger Craig (RC) #353
I was a 49ers fan as a kid, and loved Roger Craig. To this day, I still feel he's a bit underrated as a running back.
He was a four time pro bowler, and named to the 1980s all decade team but could never crack the Hall of Fame.
His 1984 Topps Rookie card is one of the more underrated cards in the set. PSA 10 copies sell on average for between $300 to $400, or grab a mid to high grade copy for under $50.
1984 Topps Andre Tippett (RC) #143
As a New Englander, the struggling Patriots of the early 80s were hard to watch at times. But there was always one highlight and that defensive stalwart Andre Tippett.
His 84 Topps Rookie card is definitely another underrated card in the set. Tippett is a HOF player and one of the most well recognized Patriots of all time. Only 77 PSA 10 copies of Tippett's rookie card exist and they sell for $200. I like that as a value play in the set.
Investment Potential Of The 1984 Topps Football Set
Overall Investment Rating: 7.5 out of 10
For vintage football cards, the 1984 Topps issue is one the most well-recognized sets of the 1980s.
Chock full of star rookie cards from Marino, Elway, and Dickerson, the set holds a soft spot for adults that ripped packs as a kid.
The cards were well distributed, meaning all cards are easy to find.
For investment potential, I recommend finding PSA 9 or PSA 10 copies of the big players in the set.
Sealed, unopened wax boxes, now selling for under $3000 also offer good longer term investment potential.
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How Much Is An Unopened 1984 Topps Football Wax Box Worth?
BBCE Wrapped 1984 Topps Football wax boxes have averaged bewteen $2500 and $3000 at auction. If you can find a clean, BBCE wrapped box for under $3000, go for it. I like the longer term investment potential for wrapped wax boxes on this set.
1984 Topps Football Checklist
|9||Super Bowl XVIII|
|10||Colts Team Leaders|
|21||Bills Team Leaders|
|32||Bengals Team Ldrs.|
|47||Browns Team Leaders|
|61||Broncos Team Ldrs.|
|73||Oilers Team Leaders|
|84||Chiefs Team Leaders|
|97||Raiders Team Ldrs.|
|116||Dolphins Team Ldrs.|
|130||Uwe Von Schamann|
|131||Patriots Team Ldrs.|
|144||Jets Team Leaders|
|149||Johnny Lam Jones|
|159||Steelers Team Ldrs.|
|174||Chargers Team Ldrs.|
|184||Billy Ray Smith|
|188||Seahawks Team Ldrs.|
|208||Falcons Team Ldrs.|
|220||Jeff Van Note|
|221||Bears Team Leaders|
|235||Cowboys Team Ldrs.|
|242||Ed "Too Tall" Jones|
|250||Lions Team Leaders|
|263||Packers Team Ldrs.|
|276||Rams Team Leaders|
|288||Vikings Team Ldrs.|
|299||Saints Team Leaders|
|310||Giants Team Leaders|
|323||Brad Van Pelt|
|325||Eagles Team Leaders|
|337||Cardinals Team Ldrs|
|349||49ers Team Leaders|
|364||Bucs Team Leaders|
|371||Lee Roy Selmon|
|375||Redskins Team Ldrs.|