For a lot of years, 1983 Topps football cards made their hay on the strength of one big-name rookie card and a clean, classic design.

Especially positioned as it was between 1982 and 1984 sets that were loaded with RCs that made collectors froth, the ’83 set seemed destined to be a pretty cardboard face without a lot of substance forever.

1983 Topps football cards unopened wax pack

But as the years flew by and players passed in and out of prominence, several of those 1983 cards took on a new prominence.

Today, the ’83s line up well with the rest of the decade — maybe not quite as laden with gaudy rookies as 1984 or 1986 or 1987, but still worthy of collector love.

What follows is a list of the most value 1983 Topps football cards, as culled from the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide listings for PSA 9 copies.

1983 Topps Kenny Easley Rookie Card (#384)

1983 Topps Kenny Easley

The Seattle Seahawks took Easley with the fourth overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, and Easley stepped right into a starting strong safety role.

He showed a knack for getting to the ball, picking off three passes in 1981 and four in just eight games in the strike-shortened 1982 season.

Easley would ramp that up all the way to a league-leading ten picks in 1984 before knee and ankle inuries wrecked his 1986.

Then, in 1987, Easley played a key role in the players’ strike and the ensuing backlash against the “scrubs” the league hired to keep the schedule intact.

The next year, the Seahawks worked out a deal to send him to the Cardinals, but a physical revealed a serious kidney condition that voided the deal.

Easley eventually had to get a kidney transplant, and he also eventually made it to the Hall of Fame.

His is a fascinating story that contributes to the $40 price tag for PSA 9 copies of his 1983 Topps rookie card.

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1983 Topps Mike Singletary Rookie Card (#38)

1983 Topps Mike Singletary

Singletary didn’t come off the board until deep into the second round of that same ’81 draft, and his first two seasons were relatively quiet.

By 1983, though, his heady and physical brand of play at middle linebacker was turning heads, and he made his first Pro Bowl team.

An All-Pro selection followed in 1984, and then, in 1985, Singletary was the central figure in one of the greatest defenses ever as the Bears rolled to victory in Super Bowl XX.

Today, this Hall of Fame RC sells for about $30 in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Marcus Allen Rookie Card (#294)

1983 Topps Marcus Allen

Allen was a superstar before he ever stepped foot on NFL turf, thanks to a Heisman Trophy and an overall stellar college career at USC.

A Super Bowl victory in his second season, a rushing title in 1985, and more than 17,000 yards from scrimmage in a 16-year career made Allen an easy Canton selection.

For years, Allen’s 1983 Topps rookie card was the key to the set, and it remains a $30 buy in graded MINT condition today.

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1983 Topps Walter Payton (#36)

1983 Topps Walter Payton

Payton was coming off a sort of rough 1982 when this card was issued.

In that strike-torn campaign, Sweetness averaged less than 70 yards per game, his worst showing aside from his first and last seasons.

But there was plenty of glory to come for Payton, and he remains a fan and collector idol to this day.

His 1983 Topps card sells for around $20 in PSA 9 condition.

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1983 Topps Jim McMahon Rookie Card (#33)

1983 Topps Jim McMahon

“Brigham Young University quarterback Jim McMahon” remains one of the great oxymorons from the 1980s sports world.

Of course, most fans didn’t really find out about McMahon’s free-spirit nature until he started having clashes with Bears head coach Mike Ditka in the middle of the decade.

But no matter how many headbands McMahon flicked in his boss’s face, dude was just about the perfect QB for the 1985 Chicago squad.

And, a bit of trivia — did you know that McMahon made it into two playoff games during the Green Bay Packers’ 1997 Super Bowl run?

Well … he did.

Today, McMahon’s rookie card sells for around $15 in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Joe Montana (#169)

1983 Topps Joe Montana

By 1983, Montana had already won a Super Bowl with the 49ers and engineered umpteen comeback victories.

He probably could have retired then and still received plenty of Hall of Fame votes.

Joe kept going, though, all the way through 1994, and he grabbed three more rings along the road to Canton.

His 1983 Topps card is a $15 buy in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Dexter Manley Rookie Card (#191)

1983 Topps Dexter Manley

In 1982, Manley recorded 6.5 sacks and helped the Redskins win a Super Bowl.

He then reeled off four seasons of 11+ sacks to establish himself as one of the most feared defensive ends in the game.

Another ring in 1987 helped solidify Manley’s legacy and gained him some hobby exposure.

Today, his 1983 Topps RC is a $12 buy in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Ted Hendricks (#302)

1983 Topps Ted Hendricks

In 1983, Hendricks was taking the final snaps of a 15-year career that started with the Baltimore Colts, took a one-year detour to Green Bay, and then settled in for eight seasons in Oakland (and Los Angeles) with the Raiders.

The guy played big and won big, establishing himself as an all-time great linebacker and grabbing four Super Bowl rings — one with the Colts in 1970 and three with the Raiders (1976, 1980, 1983).

It was all enough to land him a Canton bust in 1990, and to put his 1983 Topps card at $12 (in PSA 9).

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1983 Topps Terry Bradshaw (#358)

1983 Topps Terry Bradshaw

In 1983, Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers … for one game.

Bradshaw made just a single start before an elbow injury forced him to the sideline. He handed the keys over to Cliff Stoudt, who started 15 games. Mark Malone also saw action in two games.

But Bradshaw already had four Super Bowl rings and was headed to the Hall of Fame, and he ensured he’d stay in the public eye by joining the CBS broadcast team the next summer.

Today, this is a $12 card in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Ronnie Lott (#168)

1983 Topps Ronnie Lott

Lott already had one All-Pro honor and a Super Bowl ring to his credit when this card hit collectors’ hands in the fall of 1983.

There were more of both to come, of course, and a move from cornerback to free safety in 1985 only seemed to stoke his fire more.

Those 1980s Niners wouldn’t have been who they were without Lott, and he remains popular in the hobby.

Today, PSA 9 copies of Lott’s 1983 Topps issue sell for close to $10.

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1983 Topps Doug Williams (#185)

1983 Topps Doug Williams

Williams spent the first several years of his career mired in the muck of the early Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He was delivered to the greener pastures of the Washington Redskins in 1987, though, and he took over the team from Jay Schroeder late in the season.

All Williams did was lead them to a championship.

That run made Williams a legend, and his cards remain popular today — this 1983 beauty is an $8 item in PSA 9.

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1983 Topps Joe Montana RB (#4)

1983 Topps Joe Montana RB

Montana broke all sorts of records in his NFL career, so … which one does this 1983 Topps card commemorate?

That would be the five consecutive 300-yard games Joe put up in 1982, to break Dan Fouts‘ record of four straight.

Whatever … this card gave Topps another slice of Montana real estate, and you can expect to pay $5-10 for a PSA 9 copy today.

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