Franco Harris Football Cards: The Ultimate Collectors Guide

Most Valuable Franco Harris Football Cards

If you hang around this hobby for any short period of time, you'll quickly realize that Franco Harris football cards are some of the most desirable of the 1970s and early 1980s.

And why wouldn't they be?

After all, Harris is a football legend and was an integral part to all of those Pittsburgh Steelers teams that dominated the NFL during the 1970s.

His legacy of one of the game's all-time great backs and association with one of the sport's most storied franchises keep his cards high on collectors want lists.

And in this guide, we'll take a detailed look at some of his most desirable cards.

Let's jump right in!

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1973 Topps #89 Franco Harris Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $850

The 1973 Topps #89 Franco Harris rookie card is one of the key cards of the 70s and one of the most valuable football cards in the hobby.

After rushing for 1,055 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns in the 1972 season, Harris would go on to be named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

And don't forget, 1972 was also the year that Franco completed the "Immaculate Reception" to score the winning touchdown in the AFC divisional playoff game versus the Oakland Raiders.

His rookie card may not be the most exciting as it simply shows him looking off into the distance wearing a sock cap, something he'd wear quite often during those cold Steelers games late in the season each year.

Centering and print bubbles like the one you see along the left-hand black border are common challenges with this card.

1973 Topps #89 Franco Harris Rookie Card

1974 Topps #220

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $75

After a sub-par sophomore campaign in the 1973 season, Harris would bounce back to again top the 1,000 rushing yard mark in 1974 and earn his third trip to the Pro Bowl.

Sporting a sweet 1970s hairstyle, Franco is pictured on this card hunched over like he's about to break through the offensive line.

I've always liked the borders in this set that take the form of a field goal.

It's a subtle design element but adds a nice touch.

1974 Topps #220 Franco Harris Football Card

1975 Topps #300

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $75

Even if he's pictured on the bench, I think this is one of Harris's best-looking cards as the black and gold of his full Steelers gear provide a nice balance with the design elements at the bottom.

It all comes together nicely to make the card pop.

Harris would set a personal best for single-season rushing yards in 1975 as he rumbled for 1,246 yards on the ground.

He'd finish off the 1975 season by helping to lead the Steelers to his first of four career Super Bowl championship rings that year, too.

1975 Topps #300 Franco Harris Football Card

1976 Topps #100

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $60

Another year, another personal best for Harris as he'd rack up 14 rushing touchdown for the 1976 season.

That was good enough to lead the league and earn him a fifth consecutive Pro Bowl selection.

He'd pick up another Super Bowl ring that year as well.

The Walter Payton rookie is the overall key to this set but like any set in which he appeared, Harris is also a top priority for collectors to snag.

Centering and tilting of the pink borders are common condition challenges with this card but it's not too difficult to find in high grade compared to some of his others.

1976 Topps #100 Franco Harris Football Card

1977 Topps #300

Estimated Base PSA 9 Mint Value: $150

Estimated Topps Mexican PSA 9 Mint Value: $150

This is another great-looking card as we get to see Harris in full uniform again.

I love the "1976 AFC All-Pro" and "1,000 Yarder" callouts as well since they give the card even more character.

The 1977 Topps set features a whopping 6 Hall of Fame rookie cards in Steve Largent, Harry Carson, Dave Casper, Lee Roy Selmon, Mike Haynes, and Mike Webster.

That makes it tough for Harris's card to be considered one of the keys to this set but there's no questioning it's up at the top of the list.

Interestingly, there is also a 1977 Topps Mexican set that was distributed in Mexico and those cards can be worth much more as they're far more difficult to find in top grade.

1977 Topps #300 Franco Harris Football Card

1978 Topps #500

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $25

Topps again paid tribute to Harris on their 1978 release by placing the "All-Pro" designation in the large, pink print above his name.

By this time, the company had also greatly improved its quality control so finding these in high grade aren't as difficult as some of his others.

Hence, the lower price tag.

The 1978 Topps set may be headlined by the Tony Dorsett rookie but Harris's card is also a must-have.

1978 Topps #500 Franco Harris Football Card

1979 Topps #300

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $25

Harris would land another Super Bowl ring for the 1979 season as the Steelers defeated the Cowbows 35-31 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

Interestingly, the Steelers had defeated the Cowboys by four points (21-17) in Miami during the 1976 Super Bowl.

Tough luck for Cowboys fans but a couple of great victories for the Steelers.

Harris was a key to Pittsburgh's success that season as he again topped the 1,000 rushing yards mark and scored 12 touchdowns.

This card is not hard to find in top condition so it won't set you back much for a mint copy.

1979 Topps #300 Franco Harris Football Card

1980 Topps #400

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $20

The 1980 season saw Harris saw his 9th and final Pro Bowl selection as well as his fourth and final Super Bowl ring as Pittsburgh took down the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV.

Quite fittingly, Topps again emblazoned the "All-Pro" designation on his 1980 Topps card to give it a bit of extra punch.

I've always also liked the football graphic along the bottom which helps show off his name.

Several Steelers like teammates Terry Bradshaw, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and of course, Franco Harris are among the key cards to own in this set which helped cap a championship season.

1980 Topps #400 Franco Harris Football Card

1981 Topps #220

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $15

While this card is certainly a key to the 1981 Topps set, it and all other cards in the set are overshadowed by the Joe Montana rookie card.

Regardless, it's still a must-have for any Harris or 1981 Topps collector.

While Harris is pictured on the bench staring off into the distance watching the Steelers defense take care of business, the red, yellow and blue design elements help give the card strong eye appeal.

1981 Topps #220 Franco Harris Football Card

1982 Topps #211

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $10

Again, Topps featured an image of Harris on the bench looking off into the distance.

While he wasn't a Pro Bowler anymore at this point in his career, it's almost as if Topps thought he was finished and was trying to portray him as such.

Regardless, I've always thought this card still packed strong eye appeal due to the inclusion of the team helmet in the lower-left corner.

It's a design element I wish Topps had incorporated more often on football cards of that era.

1982 Topps #211 Franco Harris Football Card

1983 Topps #362

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $15

Harris would strap on a Steelers helmet for one last season in 1983 and it was actually quite a productive year for him.

After eclipsing the 1,000 single-season rushing yards mark for the 8th time in his career, he finished the year 362 yards shy of matching Jim Brown's then career rushing record of 12,312 yards.

On his 1983 Topps card, a large image of Harris on the sidelines is surrounded by a thin green border while the Steelers team name is displayed across the top in a nice, retro font.

Like most of his cards at this point in his career, print quality was up so these aren't overly difficult to find in high grade.

1983 Topps #362 Franco Harris Football Card

1984 Topps #165

Estimated PSA 9 Mint Value: $10

Unfortunately for Harris and Pittsburgh fans, he and the Steelers could not reach a contract agreement and the team ended up releasing him during training camp in 1984.

However, the Seattle Seahawks did sign him to a contract and he was primed to break Jim Brown's career rushing mark as the season kicked-off.

It wasn't meant to be, though, as Harris would amass only 170 rushing yards in the 8 games he played in Seattle, falling just 192 yards short of tying Brown's mark.

Although it had to be soul-crushing for Harris to come so close, he still goes down as one of the game's all-time greatest rushers and had a career that most backs could only dream of.

In a 1984 Topps set headlined by the Dan Marino and John Elway rookies, Harris is pictured one last time on a mainstream football card in his Steelers uniform.

1984 Topps #165 Franco Harris Football Card

Franco Harris Football Cards Wrap-up

Franco Harris was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and goes down as one of the greatest backs to ever play the game.

He ran with explosiveness and power that helped him to eight 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 12,120 career rushing yards.

Some of his other career achievements include:

  • 1972 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • 9x Pro Bowler
  • 4x Super Bowl Champion
  • 1x All-Pro

His achievements on the football field and status as one of the Pittsburgh Steeler greats will keep his football cards at the top of collectors want lists for years to come.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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