Perhaps his finest hour came on a frigid day at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve 1967 in the Ice Bowl game against Dallas, but the famous sneak was really one of many great moments.
To many, he was Mr. Quarterback. Bart Starr cards are among the most popular of those trading cards issued during the explosive growth of the National Football League in the late 1950s through the early 1970s. One of the best of all time, Starr passed his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after throwing for nearly 25,000 yards in his career.
At the end of Vince Lombardi’s introductory speech to Green Bay Packers players upon his arrival in 1959, Starr called his wife, Cherry, and told her simply, “I think we’re going to begin to win.” It was the confidence and determination Lombardi exuded that helped Starr reach his full potential during the next ten years.
Starr became the consummate professional, rarely making a mistake and winning the first two Super Bowl MVP awards. Cordial to fans and charity-minded, Starr was a Green Bay legend, even after a largely unsuccessful tenure as the team’s head coach after his playing days ended.
Starr is now struggling with health issues that have affected his cognitive skills. It is difficult for him to communicate. He suffered two strokes, multiple life-threatening seizures and a mild heart attack but leans on the support of his wife Cherry and a network of health professionals and friends.
A 17th round pick in the 1956 NFL draft, Starr started to see substantial playing time with the Green Bay Packers in 1957 but did not emerge as a star until 1961 when he started 14 games and led his team to a 37-0 victory over the New York Giants in the NFL Championship. In his NFL career, Starr led the Packers to five NFL Championship victories including the famous 1967 Ice Bowl as well as the first two Super Bowl games.
After Starr played in nine games his rookie year, Topps released his 1957 rookie card (#119) which is among the top 1950s football rookie cards. Often plagued by centering issues or wax stains, a Starr rookie card, even in EX condition typically commands anywhere in the $300-$400 range. Compare this to his second Topps card one year later that goes for around $50 in the same condition.
In his playing days, the variety of Bart Starr football cards was limited. He appears on Topps issues from 1957-71. His 1957, 1962 and 1963 appearances are among the most condition-sensitive of all Starr cards.
In 1961 Starr was card #88 in the 1961 Fleer football set. A year later, he was featured on a Post cereal card (#12), one of 200 in the set from the year in which the Packers captured their second straight NFL title.
One difficult Starr card to locate is his 1961 Packers Lake to Lake issue. Released by Lake to Lake Dairy as part of a product promotion, the set includes 36 cards. They were available only in Wisconsin.
During a four year span in the 1960’s (1964-1967), Starr was featured in the Philadelphia Gum sets. Philly Gum had secured the exclusive rights to produce NFL cards leaving Topps to the AFL. Starr’s 1967 card, with its bright gold borders, may be his best-looking issue, picturing the future Hall of Famer wearing his familiar green and gold jersey, right arm cocked. The colors are bold and bright, the angle is perfect and the image captures a heroic-looking Starr at the very peak of his professional life. You can still own an ungraded EX/NM copy for under $20 but a PSA 8 will run more than $200.
Finally Topps came back into the picture in 1968 and produced a Starr card in each of his final four seasons. After leading his team to a pair of Super Bowl victories, Starr was placed at a very fitting card number based off of his accomplishments: #1.
By his final season in the NFL, Starr had established himself as one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history although the prices of his cards do not show that. An ungraded 1971 Topps card of Starr (#200) can be had for less than $5 in EX/NM condition and includes virtually his entire career record on the back.
Since he was featured in the 1988 Swell Football Greats Hall of Fame set (#108), Starr has been in almost every legends set imaginable. In fact, on COMC.com, cards from his playing days take up roughly 4 ½ pages while modern era issues amount for about 12 ½ pages worth of cards.
With this in mind, he has plenty of autographed cards in circulation. A typical certified signed card of Starr tends to fetch around $50 while rarer cards can sell for much more than that. Collectors may want to keep in mind that considering his current health problems, Starr may not be signing as much—or as legibly—as he has long been known to do. It’s unfortunate, because Starr is known to be among the favorite signers of fans and collectors who experience his polite nature.
Check out the current most watched Bart Starr cards on eBay below.
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