Best Barry Sanders Rookie Card Picks For Investors

Seeking Barry Sanders rookie cards to invest in? Here’s our list of the top seven Barry Sanders cards to collect for maximum ROI.

Updated Jul 20, 2023

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Dashing through defenses like a runaway freight train, Barry Sanders cemented his legendary status as one of the all-time great running backs. From rookies to seasoned collectors, his gridiron-inspired cards are a must-have. Step into a time machine and relive the '90s with an exciting array of football memories.

As part of the Oscar Mayer sponsorship, the 1989 Lions Police Barry Sanders Rookie Card #11 was made available with little distribution, with prices ranging from $10 to $274.

The 1997 MVP's undeniable talent continues to wow the NFL world and card-collecting aficionados. Ready for an adrenaline-pumping journey into Barry Sanders card collecting? Lace up those cleats, throw on your helmet, and let's sprint through the field of rare treasures that await.

Who is Barry Sanders?

Born on July 16, 1968, Barry Sanders defied all odds with his lightning-fast speed and nimble moves, despite his compact build. This formidable athlete seized the Heisman Trophy and became a unanimous All-American during college. In 1989, he stormed onto the pro scene, clinching both Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year accolades.

Sanders retired in 1999 after rushing for 15,269 yards and winning four league rushing leader titles. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and National Football League 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Best Barry Sanders cards to invest in

The gridiron legend holds a special place in the hearts of football aficionados and valuable card collectors. It comes as no surprise that Barry Sanders football cards are a hot commodity, giving collectors an opportunity to own a slice of sports history. 

Now's the perfect time to explore the various rookie sports cards featuring the phenomenal Barry Sanders.

1. 1989 Pro Set Barry Sanders Rookie Card #494 

  • Price Range: $6 to $130
  • Highest Sale Price: $1,300
  • PSA 10 Supply: 2,695
  • Brand: Pro Set

The 1989 Pro Set RC #494 has a significantly higher gem-mint print run of more than 2,000 copies.

Despite not having the most stunning appearance, the 1989 Pro Set Barry Sanders rookie card #494 is worth your attention. Even though the lined border, orange design, and college-themed image don't stand out, the fact that it's a Barry Sanders rookie card makes it immensely more desirable.

Additionally, the price range is not to be sniffed at, it starts at just $6 and goes all the way up to $1,300 as the highest sale price. The PSA 10 supply of this Barry Sanders rookie card is scarce, at just 2,695 as of May 2023.

2. 1989 Score Barry Sanders Rookie Card #257 

  • Price Range: $21 to $1,325
  • Highest Sale Price: $8,117
  • PSA 10 Supply: 2,178
  • Brand: Score

On April 25, 2023, a gem mint 1989 Score Barry Sanders rookie card #257 hit more than $2,000 at auction.

Even after all these years, the 1989 Score Barry Sanders rookie card distinguishes itself thanks to the portrait-style image and green borderline.

Back in the day, Score had one of the best reputations among football card brands. All of that, combined with the fact the card sold for as much as $8,117, makes this Sanders rookie a coveted card that could boost the value of your sports card collection.

3. 1989 Topps Traded Barry Sanders Rookie Card #83T 

  • Price Range: $3 to $150
  • Highest Sale Price: $1,700
  • PSA 10 Supply: 6,124
  • Brand: Topps Traded

Gem mint 1989 Topps Traded Barry Sanders #83T cards range from $100 to $150. 

The 1989 Topps Traded Barry Sanders RC #83T football card features the future Hall of Famer sitting on a bench. While seeing an action shot would have been nice, the card still offers value. The back of the card features a yellow and black layout with a detailed write-up on Sanders, including a year-by-year breakdown of his college career.

In 2023, two different eBay auctions sold for $26 and $20 graded PSA 9 and 8, respectively. The estimated PSA 10 value of the card is $35—the card's highest sale price reached $1,700 and there is a PSA 10 supply of 6,115 at the time of writing.

4. 1990 Pro Set Barry Sanders #1 (Hawaii Trade Show)

  • Price Range: $30 to $227
  • Highest Sale Price: $600
  • PSA 10 Supply: 55
  • Brand: Pro Set

With a value of up to $165 and a PSA 10 supply of just 55, the 1990 Pro Set Barry Sanders rookie card #1 is a rare and limited find for collectors.

The 1990 Pro Set Barry Sanders #1 rookie card is unique for its rarity and value. Picture a one-of-a-kind promo card unveiled at the Hawaii Trade Show Conference, featuring the iconic Barry Sanders gracefully dodging opponents and sprinting down the field. This nostalgic treasure captures a pivotal moment in his illustrious career as he clinched the coveted Rookie of the Year award.

A gem mint card sold for over $200 in April 2023. With a price range of $30 to $227, it makes for a promising long-term investment option when you consider that its highest sale price to date sits at $600.

5. 1994 Finest Barry Sanders #44 

  • Price Range: $6 to $74
  • Highest Sale Price: $91
  • PSA 10 Supply: 71
  • Brand: Topps

 A gem-mint 1994 Finest Barry Sanders card hit its highest sale price of $91 on eBay in February 2018. 

The 1994 Finest Barry Sanders #44 rookie card is another collectible to consider adding to your collection if you're seeking something colorful. Thanks to its flashy, refractor appearance and the always-popular Barry Sanders on the card, it's sure to catch your attention.

The card’s price ranges from $6 to $74, so you won’t have to spend a fortune. And with just 71 cards in PSA 10 condition as of April 2023, you can hope for a potentially juicy ROI a few years down the line.

6.  1990 Fleer Barry Sanders #284

  • Price Range: $3 to $37
  • Highest Sale Price: $63
  • PSA 10 Supply: 143
  • Brand: Fleer 

There are only 143 gem-mint 1990 Fleer Barry Sanders #284 rookie cards.

The Barry Sanders Fleer rookie card was released in 1990, causing disappointment to collectors who were expecting it earlier. Debate swirls around whether it qualifies as a genuine rookie card, given the existence of several versions released prior to this one.

The price for the 1990 Fleer Barry Sanders rookie card can be low, ranging from $3 to $37 and reaching a highest sale price of $63. However, there are only 143 PSA 10-graded cards in circulation, so you may have better luck finding a loose card and submitting it for grading yourself.

7. 1989 Lions Police Barry Sanders Rookie Card #11 

  • Price Range: $10 to $274
  • Highest Sale Price: $566
  • PSA 10 Supply: 331
  • Brand: Lions Police

In February 2021, the 1989 Lions Police Barry Sanders #46 hit its highest sale price of $566.

The 1989 Lions Police Barry Sanders Rookie Card #11 card has an intriguing backstory—it was originally released under the banner of the Detroit Police Department.

As it doesn't have the same reputation as other brands, this card is not as valuable as those mentioned earlier—yet, it catches the eye. We've seen its price reach $566, but you can grab one right now for around $10 to $274.

Are Barry Sanders football cards a good investment?

Barry Sanders' rookie cards hold promising investment potential, offering a must-have addition to any card collector's portfolio. With options from the 1989 Pro Set to 1994 Finest, there's a diverse selection available on platforms like the eBay Partner Network, catering to collectors of all experience levels.

Prices range from budget-friendly options to more exclusive treasures, ensuring there's something for everyone. So, why not own a piece of NFL history and boost your collection with a highly sought-after Sanders rookie card?

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