Nolan Ryan is a legendary pitcher who threw 7 no-hitters and stuck out 5,714 batters across his 27-year career. The strikeout king is one of the most collectible baseball players out there. Many collectors want a card of his in their collection.
1968 Nolan Ryan Rookie Card
Nolan Ryan has 4 different Rookie Cards. The most expensive in high grade is the standard Topps. But the most difficult to find for the average collector is the Venezuelan. A Low-grade example is going to cost at a minimum $3,000
1968 Topps #177
The 68 Topps is one of the most iconic sports cards in the hobby. Often one of the cards is shown on promo flyers promoting card shows or other card businesses.
It’s not a rare card by any means with over 10,000 graded alone at PSA. However, high-graded examples are much scarce and go for a lot of money. Poor centering issues often limit the opportunities for high grades.
The PSA 10 example of this card sold for $600,000 at Goldin Auctions. Even a 9 now is a six-figure card.
Lower graded examples are still affordable for most collectors. You can find sub-PSA 3s for under $1000.
1968 Milton Bradley #177
The 1968 Milton Bradley was distributed in the “Win a Card” board games. The game featured Baseball, Football, and Automobile cards.
The total PSA pop is around 500 but the price of the card in lower grades is around that of the normal Topps.
The way you can tell the card is a Milton Bradley is a white line on the edge and a brighter yellow back.
1968 O-Pee-Chee #177
O-Pee-Chee (OPC) is a brand out of Canada that is known for producing Hockey Cards. Topps licensed the baseball cards to them in 1965. Finding an OPC Ryan rookie is much tougher than a Milton Bradley or Topps. There is a total POP of 147 graded.
Pricing-wise, they are very similar to Milton Bradley. The highest graded OPC sold for $21,000.
1968 Venezuela #177
The Venezuelan Ryan rookie is the toughest to find. With a total PSA pop of 30, they very rarely get to the market. These cards are extremely tough to find in high grade because the card stock quality isn’t that great and you had to ship the cards from South America all the way to America. Don’t expect to find a 8, 9, or a 10.
Even low-graded 1 and 2s can fetch a few thousand dollars. The highest graded example sold for $16,000 which I think is a bargain compared to the prices of the other Ryan rookies.
1969 Topps #533
The 1969 Topps is a 2nd year release for Nolan Ryan. It’s his first card by himself since the 68 has a split image with Koosman.
The PSA 10 last sold in 2012 for $20,000 but prices have appreciated a ton since then. in fact, a PSA 9 sold for $12,000 in 2021. If the 10 got to auction today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it selling well over $100,000
1970 Topps #712
This is Ryan’s third year on cardboard. The card’s expensive because of it being a high number. If you don’t know what a high number is these cards were printed later in the year. Often in September or October.
During this time of the year, there wouldn’t be as much demand for them so the pop reports are a little bit lower. A good example of how a high number gets a premium is by looking at the 1952 Topps set. Compare the prices of Yogi Berra to Roy Campanella.
1971 Topps #513
What makes the 71 Topps cards special is the black borders on them. They often chip very easily so finding a high grade on these cards is extremely tough. Many collectors will also pay a premium for them.
With this example the highest grade out there is a 9, there are no 10s.
1971 O-Pee-Chee #513
The 71 OPC is a much more difficult card to locate. There have only been 250 graded. However, there are two 10s.
1972 Topps Candy Lids
These were a test issue before being released in 1973. They weren’t meant to be leaked to the public.
With that being said, PSA has graded 5 of them. Only one has ever made it to auction and it fetched close to $5,000.
1973 Topps Pin Ups
This was another Test Issue that leaked. Currently, 18 are graded. A PSA 8 also sold for close to $5,000.
Unlike the Candy Lids, these were never released to the public. Topps did honor them in their 2022 Topps Heritage release.
1993 Finest Refractor #107
Today in the hobby everyone chases refractors and other parallels, but in 1993 Finest was the first time Topps or any other card company introduced this technology.
The total pop on this card is 140 and a PSA 9 recently sold for $3600 however there’s been no sales of a 10. If a 10 was sold in an auction I could easily see it crossing the $5,000-$7,500 threshold.