Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame career is testament to the popular quarterback’s status as one of the NFL’s all-time greats.
His long list of records and achievements in football includes 2 Super Bowls and 5 NFL MVP awards.
His popularity both on and off the field means he’s a popular name in the football card collecting hobby.
In my opinion, the best Peyton Manning rookie cards are his 1998 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph card, which is also the most valuable, and his 1998 SP Authentic card.
Collectors have no shortage of Peyton Manning rookie cards to pick from, with over 40 base rookies, and considering his status, most of them are affordable for all collectors. Although, there are a few very valuable Manning rookie cards.
The Best Peyton Manning Rookie Cards
1998 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph Peyton Manning RC #87
Starting with a big-hitter from 1998 Playoff Contenders, this Peyton Manning Ticket Autograph card.
The card doesn’t actually have the RC tag, and by traditional definitions, maybe can’t be considered a rookie card. However, the Playoff Contenders set from 1998 didn’t have a clear base set – Instead, it was made up of several insert subsets, which included this gem of a first-year Manning card.
Despite the lack of on-card serial numbering, there’s a confirmed print-run of just 200 copies, which, for its era, was a tiny production amount.
The hard-signed autograph and popular Contenders brand, give extra appeal to make a valuable and very desirable card.
Manning has a few different cards from 1998 Playoff Contenders, but this one is the standout.
1998 SP Authentic Peyton Manning RC #14
Another one of Peyton Manning’s most valuable and desirable rookie cards is this 1998 SP Authentic card.
The popular brand adds to the appeal of this one, which is also helped by the nice-looking design, which features both a colored and black/white image of Manning, with the words ‘Future Watch’.
The card is also serial numbered, and limited to 2000 copies, which might not seem scarce by today’s standards, but that made it a rare rookie card in the 1990s.
1998 SPx Finite Peyton Manning RC #181
The 1998 SPx Finite Peyton Manning rookie card is another that has a limited print run, with 1,998 copies which, again, for its era, is very low.
Despite it having 2 fewer copies than the SP Authentic rookie card, it’s worth significantly less – But, it’s still the rarest serial-numbered Peyton Manning rookie card.
1998 Finest Peyton Manning RC #121
In the 1990s, Finest was one of the hobby’s powerhouse brands, with sought-after premium cards that had a foil look and popular Refractor parallels.
With other chromium focussed brands now established in the hobby, Finest has lost a bit of that hype, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this Finest Peyton Manning card is one of his top rookie options.
1998 Topps Chrome Peyton Manning RC #165
A slight upgrade on the regular Topps Peyton Manning Rookie Card, the added chrome of this Topps Chrome rookie card gives it a more premium look and feel.
At the time of release, Topps was the longest standing card line in football, and the brand still carries weight in the hobby today, so it gives this Manning rookie a bit of added significance.
The Refractor version holds more weight and appeal than the base version, but either way it’s one of the more valuable Manning rookies.
1998 Bowman Chrome Peyton Manning RC #1
Although the Bowman Chrome brand doesn’t hold as much weight with football card collectors as it does with baseball, this 1998 Bowman Chrome Peyton Manning rookie card is still a top option.
The card is the same as the regular Bowman counterpart, but with the added chrome, and holds more value. The Refractor parallel is even more sought-after and valuable, as expected.
1998 Upper Deck Peyton Manning RC #1
The 1998 Upper Deck Peyton Manning rookie card isn’t the flashiest card you’ll see, but it’s no doubt a popular option.
The popularity of the flagship Upper Deck release helps its appeal, as well as the fact it’s a short print.
1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars Peyton Manning RC #233
The 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Peyton Manning rookie card is a solid option, which holds a slight premium over many of his other base rookies, because it’s a short print, although it’s not hugely rare.
It’s a clean looking card, featuring the full-body image of Manning in action.
1998 E-X2001 Peyton Manning RC #54
Certainly one of the more busy and bold looking Peyton Manning rookie cards, the 1998 E-X2001 card appeals with its use of mixed materials – The clear acetate mixes with the patterned foil.
It’s a tough one to keep in good condition, with the foiled letters and partial background, so not as easy to find in top condition as some of the other first-year cards.
Collectors, who want a harder chase, have the option of the two parallels – Essentials Credentials Now (/54) and Essential Credentials Future (/7).
1998 Pacific Revolution Peyton Manning RC #58
The E-X2001 card might have a lot going on, but it has nothing on this 1998 Revolution Manning rookie card.
It offers collectors something a bit different, and it’s impossible to miss, with the waves and patterns of colored foil, to create a loud and distinguishable looking card.
The Shadows parallel offers scarcity and more value.
When Was Peyton Manning’s Rookie Season?
Peyton Manning’s rookie season was the 1998 NFL season – He was selected as the 1st pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft.
What Is The Rarest Peyton Manning Rookie Card?
The rarest Peyton Manning rookie card is the 1998 Playoff Contenders Ticket Autograph Card (#87), which is limited to just 200 copies, although it doesn’t include serial-numbering on the card.
It’s worth noting that some collectors do not consider the card as technically a rookie card, by traditional definition, but some do, because there’s no regular base set in the 1998 Playoff Contenders release.