The Most Expensive Nolan Ryan Cards of All-Time

Nolan Ryan most expensive cards mobile
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Wondering what the most expensive Nolan Ryan cards of all-time are? We have you covered!

Nolan Ryan is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished pitchers to ever grace the mound. He’s the MLB strikeout king, tossing over 5,700 K’s during a 27-year career. Whether it’s the Miracle Mets team or brawling with Robin Ventura, “The Ryan Express” was integral in many different eras of America’s pastime.

Related: The Most Expensive Ken Griffey Jr. Cards of All-Time

When it comes to the trading card hobby, Ryan’s name is right up there with Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Pete Rose and many other greats that are highly collected. His rookie, which comes from 1968 Topps, is a grail on many collector’s lists. In a PSA 10 grade, it’s one of the most expensive baseball cards ever.

Today, we are going to highlight the 10 most expensive Nolan Ryan cards of all time. To keep the list fresh, we are only allowing an individual card to appear once.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in and showcase the best of the Nolan Express!

1. Nolan Ryan 1968 Topps Rookie #177 PSA 10 – $600,000

1968 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10
Goldin Auctions

In our eyes, this is one of the 10 most iconic baseball cards ever. To put Ryan’s career in perspective, this card was produced before Ken Griffey Jr. was born. By the time he retired in 1993, he had faced “The Kid” multiple times as a Texas Ranger. This is the same pitcher who faced off against Hank Aaron 37 times, which speaks to the longevity of Ryan’s career.

The lone PSA 10 copy sold for $600,000 in 2020, but CardLadder estimates it to be worth twice as much if it sold at auction today. This is one of the greatest baseball cards you will ever see and one we could see break the million-dollar threshold one day soon.

2. Nolan Ryan 1970 Topps #712 PSA 10 – $132,000

1970 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10
Heritage Auctions

Our next card is from Ryan’s third playing year, and it offers a glimpse at the historic Shea Stadium in the background. The young Ryan would still post some struggles with his first team, as he went 7-11 as a starter. However, this card is still Ryan’s second-most valuable; it last sold during a Heritage auction for $132,000 in 2021.

3. Nolan Ryan 1973 Topps #220 PSA 10 – $70,961

1973 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10
Memory Lane Inc.

The 1973 Topps Nolan Ryan offers a full glimpse of the ace in the iconic retro Angels uniform. Ryan had a phenomenal year with the west coast ballclub, finishing second in the A.L. Cy Young voting. This card, which is limited to just six PSA 10 copies, sold for as high as $70,691 during a January 2023 auction.

4. Nolan Ryan 1972 Topps #595 PSA 10 – $45,600

1972 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10
Heritage Auctions

By 1972, Ryan had been dealt to the California Angels. The west coast weather seemed to have no effect on the ace, as he would go on to his first All-Star appearance. ‘72 is also noteworthy for its innovative and unique Topps design. The psychedelic font and vibrant colors are certainly emblematic of the era they were produced in. Ryan is one of the better veteran players in the set, which makes sense why this one would sell for as high as $45,600 in July 2022.

5. Nolan Ryan 1975 Topps #500 PSA 10 – $38,240

1975 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10
Heritage Auctions

The pink/purple combo of this ‘75 set pop out immediately, so it’s no wonder why this is one of the more sought-after Nolan Ryan cards. With the colorful borders, these cards become increasingly hard to grade; in fact, there are only three PSA 10s in existence. This copy sold for just shy of $40,000 during a 2015 Heritage auction.

6. Nolan Ryan 1971 Topps #513 PSA 9 – $26,316

1971 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA9
Memory Lane Inc.

Of all the cards in the hobby’s storied history, none are notoriously harder to grade than the 1971 Topps set. Seeing this card of a young Ryan in a PSA 9 holder is remarkable, and the $26,000 price tag next to it makes sense. This Pop 31 (none higher) copy was last sold with Memory Lane auctions in January 2023.

7. Nolan Ryan 1974 Topps #20 SGC 10 – $20,048

1974 Topps Nolan Ryan SGC 98
Memory Lane Inc.

At #7, we have our one and only SGC-graded copy on the list. These older SGC slabs are rumored to have comparatively strict grading standards, so you know this ‘74 Topps copy is the real deal. During his 1974 campaign, Ryan posted a 2.89 ERA and won 22 games for the Angels. 

This copy last sold for $20,048 during a January 2023 Memory Lane auction.

8. Nolan Ryan 1976 Topps #330 PSA 10 – $17,517

1976 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA10

1976 was another year that produced very few star rookies, but it was chock-full of some of the most iconic baseball players of the era. However, ‘76 saw the Ryan Express veer off the rails a little. He led the majors in losses (18) and posted a comparatively high ERA of 3.36. Nevertheless, things turned out just fine for him, which is partly why this Pop 10 copy is worth over $17,000.

9. Nolan Ryan 1969 Topps #533 PSA 10 – $16,019

1969 topps Nolan Ryan PSA10

Surprisingly enough, Ryan’s second-year card doesn’t appear until the #9 spot. Why is that? It’s his first solo appearance on a trading card, and it’s the year of the ‘Miracle Mets’ team. Surely it would be worth more than $16,000. The truth is that this card hasn’t sold since 2013, and there are only two PSA 10s in existence. CardLadder estimates this iconic piece to be worth around $130,000 today, which is similar to the 1970 Topps sale. 

Do you own any of these from our list of most expensive Nolan Ryan cards? Shoot us a message on Twitter @cardtalkpod and let us know!

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