10 Most Valuable Joe Montana Cards

Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.

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Ok, let’s get ready to tackle the world of Joe Montana cards (probably more where that came from, sorry). From his early days as a Golden Domer at Notre Dame to leading the San Francisco 49ers to glory and (even his stint with the Kansas City Chiefs; still weird to me), Montana’s career has been nothing short of legendary.

Read More: 7 Iconic Kansas City Chiefs Cards

And guess what? His trading cards capture those iconic moments and skyrocket in value faster than a deep bomb downfield.

So, we’re going way down field, and marching into Montana’s trading card treasure trove. We’re not just talking about any old cardboard – we’re talking about the cream of the crop, the MVPs of Montana memorabilia. These cards are hotter than a Kansas City barbecue and rarer than a four-leaf clover. Ok, maybe too much, but you get the point!

If you’re new to the blog, welcome! But also know my lists like this usually include non-auto cards from years ago. Meaning, not only the most valuable Joe Montana cards, but those that are valuable for reasons other than being signed and autographed.

In no particular order…

1. 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC #216 BGS 9.5

When you think valuable, you probably think rookie, and in the case of Joe Cool, his 1981 rookie card holds historical significance (marking the beginning of his remarkable career) and monetary value…especially when it’s in as good of condition as this one.

The card itself captures a once young quarterback before he captured four Super Bowl championships and three Super Bowl MVP titles. The BGS grade of 9.5 elevates its desirability, as it is uncommon to find cards from this era in such great condition. I mean, physical condition is one thing (corner sharpness) but centering is a wild card no matter the era.

For this one in particular, it actually received 9.5s everywhere except for that pesky surface, which is always a tough subgrade to get right.

2. 1985 Topps Joe Montana/Dan Marino Leaders #192 PSA 10

You won’t see me rushing to gobble up a card shared between my favorite player and a rival Hall of Famer, but for others, this is a chance to own two of the greatest QBs in the history of game on one piece of cardboard.

Not to mention that 1985 Topps graded at PSA 10 is no joke (have you seen that black border?) As you can imagine, this card can be quite the talking piece, as it often sparks lively debates among fans about the ongoing rivalry between the two gunslingers, fueling discussions on who had the more illustrious career.

3. 2003 Ultimate Collection Game Worn Patch /25

Hey, when you look at a player’s most valuable cards, there are bound to be some head-scratchers. (Like the incorrect spelling error on the list of valuable Mark McGwire cards).

Now, I’m not saying this is that card for Joe Montana, but I am saying that it’s interesting to see a patch card go for so much.

Hobbyists are well aware of 2003 Ultimate Collection, but probably more for basketball cards thanks to insane sales figures from Lebron, Wade, Carmelo, and others.

Anyway, this card is stunning, and of course offers collectors a unique opportunity to own a tangible piece of Montana’s football career (which isn’t totally rare but cool nonetheless).

4. 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC #216 PSA 9

We are back to 1981, and for good reason. While I normally wouldn’t spend a lot of time talking about a card we just covered entries ago, this brings up the point of BGS 9.5 vs PSA 9.

To most people, and as reflected here, a BGS 9.5 is going to sell for more than a PSA 9. This example above is just one comparison, so let’s take a look at the last few points:

In addition to the BGS 9.5 above, eBay comps tell me that another sold in August of 2022. Looking at PSA 9 copies, two sold in July for $1,900 and $2,725, and then another in June for $2,199.

5. 2020 Flawless Rub Montana/Brady/Bradshaw Patch /15

If you thought a Joe Montana/Dan Marino base card was cool, imagine holding this one in your hand, with not only Montana but Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady to go along with him. Not to mention that each also has a piece of game worn material (with Montana’s being a sweet multi-color patch).

What could make this card better? If Joe Montana was front and center on the card (and if Tom Brady was in a Patriots jersey).

6. 2019 Donruss Optic Joe Montana Downtown PSA 10

Our first modern and traditional insert on the list, this 2019 Donruss Optic Joe Montana PSA 10 sold for $2,077.77.

But, what if I told you it didn’t?

That’s right, while this is certainly a cool and valuable card – and one that was advertised as “pop 10” at that – (what does pop mean in cards), I included it here as a teaching moment as well.

You see, for whatever reason, when a card sells on eBay via the “best offer” feature, the listed price is shown with a strikethrough in the sold listings. Again, that $2,077.77 is the listing price and not the sold price.

How do you check the real price? Search for the card and then click the eBay price guide button that appears at the top of the results. When you do, you’ll see the card actually sold for $1,000 (and another sold a couple of days earlier for $850.

7. 2022 Optic Joe Montana Downtown Gold /10

What could make a sweet Joe Montana Downtown card any better? Well gold, obviously. This one isn’t graded, but it has a much smaller print run than the base, with it being /10.

Again, don’t be fooled by the $2,000 “sales price.” This one actually sold for $1,000.

8. 2021 Joe Montana Absolute Kaboom! Gold /10 PSA 8

So we just talked about Downtown, Gold Downtown, and now we have another modern beauty with Kaboom gold /10.

It kills me to see this one graded as a PSA 8, but it’s hard to say what such an amazing card would sell for at a better grade or even raw.

And if you didn’t know, Kaboom is a cross-sport insert that is coveted by collectors of all kinds. As a result, it’s not really a standard entry in any Panini product, leaving people to question which packs even have Kaboom cards. Meaning, while it has found a home in Absolute football and Crown Royale basketball, Kabooms are found in other products too.

9. 2020 Donruss Marvels PSA 10

If we are going to talk about Downtowns and Kabooms, we might as well complete the insert trifecta and talk about Marvels! This 2020 Donruss card was graded a PSA 10, and was rewarded with a nice $1,250 price tag.

Interestingly, the 2022 versions as PSA 10s don’t sell nearly as well, with the last two sales being around $200-$300.

10. 1996 Upper Deck Joe Montana Game worn Jersey BGS 7.5

Last but not least, I mentioned the fact that it’s a little odd to see a relic on a list like this, but in this case, it makes total sense. Even at a BGS 7.5, the card sold for $1,400—that should tell you something right there!

So what makes this one so special?

Yep! The very first jersey card ever made! And that goes for baseball as well. In what was an innovative move from a card company that has been innovating ever since introducing valuable cards from its 1989 baseball set, the relic card is now a staple in every product release.

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