1970 Topps O.J. Simpson Rookie Card: The Ultimate Collector’s Guide
The 1970 Topps O.J. Simpson rookie card is one of the most recognizable vintage football cards in the hobby.
Probably best known for being charged with murder in 1994 and convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008, Simpson was famous long before that for his football skills.
"In fact, "The Juice", was undeniably one of the greatest running backs to ever set foot on the gridiron...
And because of his fame, his rookie card still holds considerable value and importance in the football card hobby.
And in this guide, I go over the key things you should know before you buy or sell one.
Let's jump right in!
O.J. Simpson Rookie Card Value
If you own one of these cards then you're probably wonder: how much is an O.J. Simpson rookie card worth?
In mint condition, they can sell for over $1,000.
But, finding one in mint condition is incredibly rare as most copies of this card have been worn and torn over the years.
Usually I see these cards in anywhere from very good to near mint condition and in that range you're talking anywhere from thirty to a hundred bucks or so.
To truly assess the value of your Simpson rookie you would need to evaluate it by professional grading standards.
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 price guide, current market values are:
PSA 9 MINT: $1,100
PSA 8 NM-MT: $250
PSA 7 NM: $125
PSA 6 EX-MT: $75
So, as you can see, the value quickly starts to drop quickly the further down the condition ladder you go.
Issues with centering, corner wear, or damage to the surfaces and edges can quickly drag the price down.
But, in any condition, this card is still a key vintage football card to have.
Distinction: While there were other O.J. Simpson cards produced in 1970, this is considered to be his true mainstream rookie card.
We'll go over those other cards later but this is clearly the one that collectors seek out the most.
Number: This is card #90 in a set of 263 cards.
Design: The vertical design of the card and its features are fairly straightforward.
We have a nice portrait of a young and promising Simpson inside an oval window surrounded by dull, tan/brown borders.
Simpson's name, team affiliation and position are all listed below in a banner and football graphic.
This design has 1970's written all over it and many collectors are divided on this set in terms of its aesthetic quality.
Reverse Side: The back of Simpson's rookie is printed with a horizontal layout in with an orange background--fitting for a guy named "O.J."
His personal information and statistics from his previous 1969 rookie season are highlighted at the top while a nice write-up of his college and pro successes is outlined at the bottom.
Also on the bottom is a nice cartoon pointing to Simpson's appearances on television, something of a glimpse into his future as an entertainer after his football career.
Condition Issues: The card is frequently found off-centered and that is typically the thing that prevents most from achieving the higher grades.
Other Simpson Cards From 1970
As mentioned earlier, there were a few other cards that featured Simpson that were also distributed in 1970. Let's take a look at each one of these "oddball cards":
1970 Kellog's #48
Kellog's produced numerous sports card sets throughout the 1970's and 1980's as a way to attract kids to consuming their food products.
This card features a reflective design to it in the background along with an image of Simpson hunched over at the bottom.
There are quite a few collectors out there who love collecting old Kellog's cards of any year and sport but these just don't get the same mainstream recognition that Topps cards enjoy.
Estimated PSA 9 Value: $75
1970 Topps Super #24
Measuring in at 3-1/8" by 5-1/4", these oversized cards were fairly straightforward in design.
Here we see the same image of Simpson that was used on his regular 1970 Topps card but with rounded corners and a nice facsimile signature across his chest.
There were 35 cards in this small set that was loaded with big names like Joe Namath, Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers.
Estimated PSA 9 Value: $75
1970 Topps Super Glossy #22
Topps also issued a "Super Glossy" that were smaller than the Supers, as they measured 2-1/4" by 3-1/4".
With a unique glossy finish to them, the front design also used the same image as his regular 1970 Topps card with his name, position and team affiliation printed across the top.
This set was even smaller in terms of its checklist, too, as there were only 33 cards included.
Estimated PSA 9 Value: $200
O.J. Simpson's Legacy
Simpson will always be known for his troubles off the field and but when it came to football, Simpson was one of the greatest running backs who ever played.
He was a prolific runner and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985 for his accolades as a running back.
He was probably most famous as a football player for becoming the first NFL running back in 1973 to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season.
And he did that in only 14 games...
That's a real testament to his ability to run with the football.
Along the way, he would record a list of amazing achievements that included but are not limited to:
- Heisman Trophy Winner (1968)
- 6-time Pro Bolwer
- 5-time All-ProSuper Bowl Champion (1985 season)
- NFL MVP (1973)
- AP Athlete of the Year (1973)
Again, those are just some of a huge list of accomplishments throughout his storied career.
O.J. Simpson rookie cards will continue to remain high on the list of many vintage football card collectors' want lists for quite some time.