It was his last rodeo after all.
Peyton Manning‘s 18-year NFL career that includes five MVP awards, two Super Bowl rings and more touchdowns and passing yards than any other quarterback in history comes to an end on Monday in Denver when he’s expected to announce his retirement.
Manning is among the most-available and most-collectable quarterbacks in the history of the game — he’s also one of the most-valuable ones, too. Rather than rehash his Rookie Cards or priciest gems (there are plenty of both), here are seven basic ways to collect the legendary quarterback beloved in Indianapolis, admired in Denver and made “Omaha” a bit more famous.
A Piece of his Last Rodeo
There are likely quite a few of these to come as we’re just getting a look at what’s to come for 2016 football sets, but Topps already has a Super Bowl 50 Champions set that collectors can land right now. It’s a 14-card set of 5-by-7 highlight cards from the big game with Manning an obvious centerpiece as seen above. It’s still available via Topps.com and the cheapest version of the set is $49.99. It’s limited to just 199 copies, though there are rarer versions, too.
Something from Tennessee
Before Manning was known for Indianapolis, Denver or Omaha, he ruled Knoxville as the quarterback of the Tennessee Vols where he dominated with 101 total touchdowns in four seasons. With Panini America now focusing on NCAA cards for past greats heavily, there’s plenty of high-end potential but Buzz picks an old favorite. His 1998 Fleer Ultra Rookie Card (No. 201) is an NFL card but carries a striking Tennessee photo. It’s not the cheapest or the most-expensive option but it’s a nice one.
A Rookie Card
It may sound too simple, but a Rookie Card is a key place to start and Manning has plenty. He appears on 48 cards that carry official Rookie Card status — and quite a few more from the 1998 cardboard season that are insert cards or parallels. Many of these brands and companies have come and gone and there are cheap or expensive options here — especially if shopping graded — but the simplest option is his standard 1998 Topps RC (No. 360). It’s been reprinted in the past so watch auction listings closely.
Peyton Manning’s dad, Archie, was an NFL quarterback before him and his little brother, Eli, will be one after him. They’re arguably the most-successful family in league history. Oddly, there are fewer than 25 different football cards showing all three on them despite thousands of cards with the name Manning on them from the past. For autographs, there are roughly a dozen cards showing all three of them — and only two have a print run of more than 15 copies. They won’t come cheap, but they shouldn’t.
A Piece of Peytonbilia
Manning appears on more than 13,000 different football cards and nearly 4,000 of those are memorabilia cards. While an autograph will cost you a decent amount to add to your collection, the next-best-thing, a memorabilia card, won’t necessarily break the bank. In fact, you can probably find one of these for less than some of his Rookie Cards.
Some Colts Ink
Manning was a heavy presence in NFL sets when he arrived as the No. 1 overall pick back in 1998 and he’s signed more than 2,400 different cards in all those years since. More than half of those cards show him in a Colts uniform so there are more cards to potentially pick through to find a bargain.
Some Broncos Ink
This one is do-able but a bit harder than a Colts auto simply because the volume of autographs has dropped off some as demands for Manning’s time (and inevitably his autograph fee) have increased through the years. He’s still way more available than a guy like Tom Brady, but smaller volume of cards signed do result in higher prices than his earlier cards.
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