Dan Marino Rookie Cards: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide

1984 Topps #123 Dan Marino Rookie CardI’ve been a Miami Dolphins fan since I was a kid and the 1984 Topps Dan Marino rookie card has always been high on my want list.

Marino was an unbelievable quarterback and is always mentioned among the all-time greats. 

He was the first to accomplish multiple milestones including throwing for 5,000+ yards in a season (1984), first 40+ touchdown season (1984), and first to put up more than 60,000 yards in his career.

His performances skyrocketed his popularity and so his rookie card remains one of the most popular football cards in the hobby.

Marino’s rookie is not only one of the most valuable football cards but it is a key to the 1984 Topps set and one of the most popular football cards in the hobby.

That said, here is a comprehensive guide that covers the key things you should know before you buy.

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Dan Marino Rookie Card Value

The first thing most collectors ask is: how much is a Dan Marino rookie card worth?

You might be surprised.

Most know that sports cards from the 1980’s aren’t worth as much as older vintage cards.

Heavy distribution meant that many were printed and their values plummeted as a result.

But even though it’s relatively easy to find, some can still go for top dollar if they’re in mint or pristine condition.

Professional grading is the easiest way to help judge a card’s value and Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) are usually thought to be the benchmark in that industry.

According to the PSA SMR current market values are:

PSA 10 GEM MINT: $1,350

PSA 9 MINT: $135

PSA 8 NM-MT: $40

Key Facts

Distinction: This is his only recognized mainstream rookie card. There are also a 1984 Topps sticker and a rare Dolphins Police issue shown below. But his regular 1984 Topps issue is the Dan Marino rookie card most everyone is searching for. It’s one of three keys to the set. The John Elway and Eric Dickerson rookie cards are the others.

1984 Topps NFL Stickers #3 Dan Marino Card

1984 Dolphins Police Dan Marino Rookie

Number: This is card #123.

Design: Topps went with a vertical layout but gave the cards in its 1984 football set a tilt to the left within their thick white borders. so it can look awkward when you see one.

Reverse Side: The reverse side of the card is printed with a horizontal layout and features Marino’s personal information and passing/rushing stats from the 1983 season. The lime green coloration scheme makes it a bit tough to read the #123 in the upper left that noted Marino’s position in the set. Topps also mentions his accomplishments as a standout All-Pro in 1983 relying heavily on his “rifle arm” and quick release.

1984 Topps Marino Rookie Card Reverse Side

Condition Issues: The card can sometimes be off-centered and the corners can be a bit prone to showing wear easily.

Dan Marino’s Legacy

Dan Marino was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

Even though Marino played in an era that was not as pass-heavy as today, he was still capable of producing incredible numbers that even today’s quarterbacks would love to have.

In total he spent 17 seasons in the league and put up 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns. He also earned 9 Pro Bowl trips and but frustratingly was never able to win a Super Bowl.

He was most famous for his ability to control a game and read defenses (as well as pick them apart with his uncanny passing ability).

He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2005.

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