The Herschel Walker Rookie and Other Vintage Cards
Herschel Walker Rookie Card Info
Herschel Walker rookie cards make for an interesting topic. When Walker left the University of Georgia he was regarded as one of the greatest college football players of all time. Instead of going to the NFL as many expected, he joined the upstart USFL and played two years before moving to the NFL. This created several cards that can be considered rookies depending on how individual collectors view the USFL. In this article, I’ll walk through all the relevant early Herschel Walker cards.
1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker #74
The 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker Rookie card #74 is Herschel Walker’s most valuable rookie card and one of the most sought-after football cards of the 1980s. Although this is a USFL card, it is considered a major release even though it wasn’t made in the same numbers as the 1984 Topps NFL football set. Aside from the USFL/NFL issues, Herschel Walker is an interesting case because he was a very good, but not great, NFL player. During his pro career, he had a few 1,000 yard rushing seasons, a few Pro Bowl appearances, and even led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 1987, but his pro accomplishments fall well short of Hall of Fame worthy.
However, his college career and accomplishments are so legendary that his pro cards are much more valuable than other running backs with comparable pro accomplishments. No matter what level a player became famous, rookie cards for any player as well known as Herschel Walker would have value. There are some other reasons the 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker rookie is sought after by collectors.
- Premier USFL Set: The 1984 Topps USFL set is the first USFL set, and it was a very good one. The cards look great and the production value of them is higher than that of the 1984 Topps NFL set. This set was also produced in much smaller numbers than the Topps NFL set, which is another factor that drives the value of any significant Topps USFL rookies.
- Legendary College Player: To say Herschel Walker was a great college player would be an understatement. He led the Georgia Bulldogs to an NCAA National Championship as a freshman and rushed for 5,259 yards and 49 touchdowns in only three years. It’s hard to find a list of the greatest college football players that don’t have Walker in the top 5 and not uncommon to find him first in the rankings.
- Olympics, Reality TV, MMA, Politics: Herschel Walker didn’t leave the public eye after his legendary college and very good NFL career. He’s been a constant fixture in the media due to many different post-football endeavors. He competed as a member of the 1992 USA bobsleigh team, starred on the Celebrity Apprentice reality TV show, became an MMA fighter, and announced a 2022 run for a US Senate seat in Georgia. Constantly remaining in the public eye has kept Walker in the minds of collectors.
1984 Topps USFL Set Details
The 1984 Topps USFL Football set was released as a box-set and was never available to collectors in packs. The set consisted of 132 cards and is packed with first cards for several Hall of Fame players. In addition to Herschel Walker, this set contains rookie cards for Steve Young (#52), Reggie White (#58), and Jim Kelly (#36). Some collectors prefer to consider this an extended set, but either way the first cards from this set for the Hall of Fame players are much more valuable than their first Topps NFL cards.
- Year: 1984
- Manufacturer: Topps
- Cards: 132
1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker (#74) Card Details
- Card no: #74 of 132
- Name on Card: Herschel Walker
- Position: Running Back
- Team: New Jersey
- Height: 6′ 1″
- Weight: 222
- College: Georgia
- Born: 03/03/62, Wrightsville, Georgia
- Home: Wrightsville, Georgia
Front of the card
Design: The front of the 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker card #74 is a vertical layout and has a very patriotic feel to it. The card is printed on white and has a red and blue border around the photo of Herschel Walker running the football. The top of the card says “Premier USFL Edition” with the USFL in a stars and stripes font. The bottom of the card has a graphic of the New Jersey Generals helmet that partially cuts into the photo. The team name, player name, and position are beside it on a yellow background.
Buy the 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker #74 on eBay (affiliate link)
Back of the card
The back of the 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker card #74 has a vertical layout and is very brightly colored compared to most Topps cards of this era. Most of the card is pink, but it has several blue and white elements as well. The card number is in the upper left on a blue football graphic. The player name, position, and team’s city are next to it at the top of the card. Just below that is the bio information which includes height, weight, college, and hometown. Walker’s rushing totals from college and the 1984 season are below along with a short highlight. The bottom of the card has a “USeFuL Fact” about a punt that, quite frankly, isn’t very useful.
Rushed for 159 yards in 14-10 win at Pittsburgh, 4-22-84.1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker rookie (#74)
Herschel Walker Rookie Card Value
The Herschel Walker 1984 Topps USFL card #74 is one of the most unique and valuable football cards of the 1980s. The chart below is from the popular card grading site, PSA. It shows auction prices for the Herschel Walker rookie card in various conditions.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker rookie card #74.
Other Relevant Herschel Walker Cards
The 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker rookie card (#74) is Walker’s USFL rookie, but after two years in the USFL he moved on to the NFL. This creates a tricky situation where you have to classify his second USFL card that was made in 1985 as a non-rookie — and then his first NFL cards that came later as rookies. Here’s a look at the other Hershel Walker cards that are relevant to this discussion.
1985 Topps USFL Herschel Walker #86
The 1985 Topps USFL Herschel Walker #86 is Walker’s second and last major-issue USFL card. The USFL folded after this season and Walker moved on to the NFL. Since there is a Walker card in the previous USFL set this card isn’t considered a rookie card.
Buy the 1985 Topps USFL Herschel Walker on eBay (affiliate link)
1985 Topps USFL New Jersey Generals Herschel Walker #8
The 1985 Topps USFL New Jersey Generals Herschel Walker #8 card is from a 9-card team set that had to be torn apart along perforations. This isn’t from the major-issue Topps set, but it is rarer than either of the other USFL Herschel Walker cards. It’s a card that could rise in value based on the scarcity and the great photo of a young Herschel Walker.
Shop for the 1986 Topps New Jersey Generals Herschel Walker (rare) (affiliate link)
1987 Topps Herschel Walker #264
Here’s where things get tricky. The 1987 Topps Herschel Walker card #264 is his first major-issue card as an NFL player. Many collectors consider this as his rookie card and view the 1984 Topps USFL card as an extended rookie or pre-rookie card. It’s reasonable to view this as a rookie card, but it’s not the Herschel Walker card that draws the most interest from collectors. All of the USFL cards are more valuable.
Shop for the 1987 Topps Herschel Walker #264 on eBay (affiliate link)
1986 Sports Illustrated Poster Stickers Test Herschel Walker #4286
In 1986 Sports Illustrated created some test cards to pilot the idea of making a card set based on their posters. Despite the popularity of the posters, the card set was never mass-produced. However, the small number of test cards that were released are pretty valuable. The Herschel Walker card is one of the first of him in his Dallas Cowboys jersey, which leads some collectors to consider it a rookie card.
Shop for the 1986 Sports Illustrated Poster Stickers Test Herschel Walker on eBay (affiliate link)
1986 McDonald’s Dallas Cowboys Green Tab Herschel Walker
The 1986 McDonald’s Herschel Walker card was issued in 1986 and could be found at McDonald’s locations in and around Dallas. It was part of a 25-card set that was released over several weeks. Because this card was released in 1986, some people consider it a Herschel Walker rookie card. The card has a tab that can be scratched off as part of a game. It’s common to find these cards without the tab, however, the absence of a tab lowers the value.
Shop for the 1986 McDonald’s Dallas Cowboys Green Tab Herschel Walker on eBay (affiliate link)
Herschel Walker’s Legacy
Herschel Walker is regarded as one of the top college football players in history. He led the Georgia Bulldogs to a National Championship in 1980 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1982. In 1985 he led the USFL in rushing with 2,411 yards and also rushed for 29 touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys, expecting the USFL might fold, drafted Herschel Walker in the 5th round of the 1985 NFL draft to secure the rights to him. He eventually joined the team and joined Tony Dorsett in the backfield for a rare “Heisman Trophy tandem.” Walker was later part of a huge trade between the Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings that gave Dallas several of the picks they used to build their early ’90s dynasty.
Walker went on to have a solid NFL career. He finished his career with 8,228 rushing yards and 61 rushing touchdowns. He was also an accomplished receiver and added 4,859 receiving yards along with 21 more touchdowns. Despite these impressive numbers, Walker’s NFL career never quite lived up to the expectations his production in college and the USFL set. Still, his legacy is secure because of his legendary reputation as an unstoppable force who powered his team to an NCAA National Championship in college.
- Won NCAA Heisman Trophy in 1982
- Won NCAA Maxwell Award in 1982
- Finished in top 3 of Heisman voting three times (1980, 1981, 1982)
- Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999
- 2 time NFL Pro Bowl (1987, 1988)
- 2 time NFL Longest Rush (1986, 1994)
- 1 time NFL Yards from Scrimmage leader (1987)
- 2 time All-Purpose Yards leader (1987, 1990)
- 1 Kick Return TD leader (tie) (1989)
Get a Herschel Walker Rookie for Your Collection
Do you want to own a 1984 Topps USFL Herschel Walker Rookie (#74)? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay — the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one just yet, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
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