The Dugout│Eight Most Valuable Randy Johnson Rookie Cards

Step up to the plate with Randy Johnson rookie cards. Here are the top eight Randy Johnson cards you could score big on.

Updated Aug 11, 2023

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Few names in professional baseball evoke as much awe as Randy Johnson. As one of the greatest starting pitchers in history, his dominance on the mound is unmatched.

Whether you're a devoted collector or investor, finding the most valuable Randy Johnson rookie card presents an intriguing opportunity for potential gains.

The 1986 ProCards West Palm Beach Expos team set marks the birth of Johnson's professional cards, boasting a satisfyingly low PSA population and could fetch up to $1,000 in gem-mint condition.

From rare and elusive variations to affordable additions, here's a deep dive into the eight most valuable Randy Johnson rookie cards, offering insight into their potential worth and why they should be on your radar.

Who is Randy Johnson?

Randy Johnson, famously known as "The Big Unit," commanded the baseball field for an outstanding 22 seasons, playing for prestigious teams like the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants.

Standing at a towering 6'10", he possessed a combination of intimidating size and remains one of the most dominant pitchers ever. Armed with a blistering fastball and a devastating slider, Johnson struck fear into the hearts of opposing hitters.

Johnson won five Cy Young Awards. His career also boasts 303 victories and the second-highest number of strikeouts in MLB history at 4,875. His dominance came from his ability to pitch well into his 40s, including a remarkable perfect game at 40.

Most valuable Randy Johnson rookie card picks

If you're a baseball card enthusiast seeking to invest in the remarkable career of "The Big Unit" Randy Johnson, explore a curated selection of his most valuable rookie cards to guide your investment decisions.

From the sought-after 1989 Topps Tiffany #647, commanding up to $8,100, to the budget-friendly yet promising 1989 Donruss Rookies #43, priced between $5 to $40, there's a card to suit every collector.

1. 1989 Topps Tiffany Randy Johnson #647

  • Price Range: $18 to $1,800
  • Highest Sale Price: $8,100
  • PSA 10 Supply: 110
  • Brand: Topps Tiffany

In March 2021, a PSA gem mint 1989 Topps Tiffany Randy Johnson #647 sold for a high of $8,100. 

The 1989 Topps Tiffany Randy Johnson #647 card offers a compelling option for collectors seeking a lower population and higher value. With a total PSA population of less than 1,500 copies and slightly over 100 PSA 10 copies, its rarity contributes to its appeal—gem mint cards often command prices above $2,000.

The limited supply and strong market performance make the 1989 Topps Tiffany Randy Johnson #647 a captivating choice for investors seeking a noteworthy addition to their portfolio. Recent auctions in January 2023 saw sale prices of $1,099 and $1,525, showcasing the considerable interest and demand for this card.

2. 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson #25 (Star Rookie)

  • Price Range: $1 to $360
  • Highest Sale Price: $2,555
  • PSA 10 Supply: 5,081
  • Brand: Upper Deck

Over 2,000 copies of the 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson #25 changed hands in 2022.

The 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson #25 (Star Rookie)—released among the iconic 1989 Upper Deck Baseball set, which came with holograms, great photography, and crisp white stock—holds its value well.

Based on recent auctions, an autographed PSA 9 card sold for $360 in April 2023, and a gem mint copy sold for $350 in June 2023. Another gem mint copy sold for $200 in December 2022.

While the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card in the set seems to garner more attention, the Randy Johnson rookie card #25 is still one of the most desirable in the set, trading over 2,000 times in 2022.

3. 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Randy Johnson #57T

  • Price Range: $14 to $1,600
  • Highest Sale Price: $2,337
  • PSA 10 Supply: 67
  • Brand: Topps Tiffany

The 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Randy Johnson #57T rookie card is a rare collectible with only 67 PSA gem mint copies in circulation as of July 2023.

The 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Randy Johnson #57T card combines historical value and rarity as it showcases Johnson's transition from the Montreal Expos to the Seattle Mariners, a momentous change in his career.

Produced at the Topps Ireland printing facility, this limited-edition set features glossy fronts and easily readable backs. With only 67 gem mint copies in circulation, according to PSA, the scarcity drives up its marketplace value.

4. 1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard #381

  • Price Range: $15 to $1,300
  • Highest Sale Price: $1,377
  • PSA 10 Supply: 108
  • Brand: Fleer

Though PSA acknowledges multiple variations of this card, the Randy Johnson Ad on Scoreboard #381 "error" version is arguably the most valuable.

The 1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard #381 came with a prominent Marlboro cigarette advertisement visible in the background, but subsequent print runs attempted to conceal the promotion.

Though PSA recognized several variations, including the Ad Completely Blacked Out, Ad Partially Obscured, and Red Tinted Marlboro Ad on Scoreboard versions, this Ad on Scoreboard version of the card, considered the "error" variation, is arguably the most valuable.

Recent trading prices for this Randy Johnson baseball card include $124 in July 2023 for a PSA 9 and $614 in April 2023 for a gem mint copy. If you're seeking a unique variation, this card offers an exciting investment opportunity to add a piece of baseball card history to your collection.

5. 1989 Fleer Update Randy Johnson #U-59

  • Price Range: $5 to $30
  • Highest Sale Price: $850
  • PSA 10 Supply: 853
  • Brand: Fleer

A PSA gem mint 1989 Fleer Update Randy Johnson #U-59 hit its highest sale price of  $850 in April 2021.

The 1989 Fleer Update Randy Johnson #U-59 card is part of a 132-card Traded Set. The captivating design mirrors the regular 1989 Fleer cards, the only difference being the special U-prefixed numbering on the back. Noteworthy additions include cards commemorating Nolan Ryan's 5,000th strikeout and Mike Schmidt's retirement.

With a PSA 10 supply of 853 copies, this card's scarcity further adds to its appeal. The price range for this card typically falls between $5 to $30, but don't be surprised by the occasional eye-popping sale, like the highest recorded at $850 in April 2021.

6. 1989 Topps Randy Johnson RC #647

  • Price Range: $8 to $65
  • Highest Sale Price: $470
  • PSA 10 Supply: 1,595
  • Brand: Topps

There are fewer than 1,600 gem mint copies of the 1998 Topps Randy Johnson RC #647 on PSA’s records.

The 1989 Topps Randy Johnson RC #647 is one that's sought-after by collectors and investors, with a price range of $8 to $65 and a PSA gem mint supply of 1,595 copies as of June 2023.

The attractive design and scarcity of the 1989 Topps Randy Johnson rookie card #647 makes it a distinctive and coveted choice. Note that Johnson's also featured in the 1989 Topps Traded Tiffany set, which is the more valuable version based on its price history.

7.  1989 Donruss Rookies Randy Johnson #43

  • Price Range: $5 to $40
  • Highest Sale Price: $172
  • PSA 10 Supply: 971
  • Brand: Donruss

A PSA gem mint 1989 Donruss Rookies Randy Johnson #43 fetched $172 in September 2020.

Set your sights on the budget-friendly 1989 Donruss Rookies Randy Johnson #43 card priced between $5 to $40. With under 1,000 gem mint copies available based on PSA numbers, it boasts a limited supply. So, if you're a fan of the "Big Unit," these rookie-year Johnson cards offer a unique opportunity to bolster your collection without breaking the bank.

Also, Randy Johnson's appearance in the end-of-the-year boxed sets for all four major brands in 1989 adds a special touch to this collectible. But here's where things get exciting—the highest recorded sale of this card was $172 in September 2020, leaving lots of room for much higher prices in the future.

Recent sales on eBay include a March 2023 auction of $35 for a PSA gem mint card and other successful gem-mint auctions in October 2022, which saw investors pay up to $40 per copy.

8. 1986 Procards Randy Johnson West Palm Beach Expos

  • Price Range: $40 to $650
  • Highest Sale Price: $1,550
  • PSA 10 Supply: 43
  • Brand: Procards

Johnson's 1986 ProCards West Palm Beach Expos card is a prized rarity that could fetch over $1,000 in flawless condition.

Before his famous 1989 rookie cards, Johnson graced the minor league scenes with some truly captivating cards. The 1986 ProCards West Palm Beach Expos team set marks the birth of Johnson's professional cards, boasting a satisfyingly low PSA population and could fetch up to $1,000 in gem-mint condition.

Johnson's journey continued with appearances in other minor league sets in 1987 and 1988. While some of these cards command modest prices, others are downright rare. With its unique charm and potential financial gains, snagging one of Johnson's pre-rookie cards, like the 1986 Procards copy, feels like a no-brainer.

Are Randy Johnson cards a good investment?

The legacy and dominance of 'The Big Unit' Randy Johnson on the mound make Randy Johnson rookie cards a compelling investment. Known for striking fear in opposing hitters as a star pitcher, Randy Johnson cards hold significant value for ardent collectors and devoted baseball fans alike.

Throughout his career, Johnson played for leading league teams like the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, further boosting the worth of his rookie cards. His achievements, such as leading the league in strikeouts nine times and famously earning the Triple Crown, have contributed to his cards' increased value and popularity.

During the Junk Wax Era, many Randy Johnson cards were produced. Nowadays, some cards can fetch high prices, especially those in top condition graded ‘10’ by PSA or other certified authorities. Trading platforms like the eBay partner network and other online merchants often have these sought-after Randy Johnson cards up for purchase.

A peculiarity of Randy Johnson's career was his slow start with the Montreal Expos. However, changing teams, specifically the transfer to the Seattle Mariners, was a turning point in his career, leading to increased demand for his rookie cards.

In a hobby dominated by high-valued cards like O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky, Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Tiffany, and the green T206 Honus Wagner card, Randy Johnson rookie cards hold their own. As an investment, these baseball cards could yield significant returns over time, especially as Randy Johnson's iconic career is continuously revered by baseball card collectors.

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