The first time you caught a glimpse of 1985 Topps football cards, you knew they were different.

Horizontal (landscape) instead of the traditional vertical (portrait) photo orientation.

Lots of very closeup player photos, many without helmets, and some with solid screens behind them — studio photos, basically.

And, probably most striking of all, those beautiful, shiny black borders that were more than just borders and more like the canvas on which the card masterpiece was created.

All in all, the design added up to one of the most iconic gridiron issues of all time, yielding plenty of popular individual cards despite a fairly weak rookie card class.

If you’re ready for a walk down this asphalt-paved memory lane, then, check out the 16 most valuable 1985 Topps football cards below, as culled from actual selling prices for copies in PSA 9 condition.

Hut! Hut!

(Note: The following sections contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon listings for the cards being discussed.)

1985 Topps Mike Munchak Rookie Card (#253)

1985 Topps Mike Munchak Rookie Card

Guards don’t tend to get much limelight, and their football cards hardly ever make hobby hot lists.

But Mike Munchak was one of the best ever, garnering nine Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections while providing protection for the 1980s Houston Oilers teams that featured the quarterback wizardry of Warren Moon.

It took awhile for Munchak’s rookie card to make any hay, but his election to Canton in 2001 helped land him on lists like this one.

Value: $30-50

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1985 Topps Jack Lambert (#357)

1985 Topps Jack Lambert

Much as Lawrence Taylor did for outside linebackers in the 1980s, Jack Lambert spent the 1970s helping to set expectations for what a great middle linebacker could mean to a championship team.

At the heart of the Steel Curtain defense that helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls from 1974 through 1979, Lambert was already retired by the time this card made its way into collector hands.

As such, it’s a rare career-capper that gave us all one final look at an NFL legend.

Value: $40-45

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1985 Topps Steve Largent (#389)

1985 Topps Steve Largent

Entering the 1985 season, Steve Largent already had seven 1000-yard receiving seasons under his belt, but that fall, he racked up an NFL-leading 1287 yards.

That performance not only established a new Seattle Seahawks record but also set Largent on a path toward the all-time NFL record for career receiving yards. Indeed, when Largent retired after the 1989 season he stood #1 in receiving yards (eclipsing Charlie Joiner in 1987), total receptions, and receiving touchdowns.

Though all those records have since tumbled at the hands of others (Jerry Rice, mostly), Largent’s cards still take their rightful place as hunks of hobby – and NFL – history.

Value: $45-50

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1985 Topps Walter Payton – Bears Team Leaders (#22)

1985 Topps Walter Payton - Bears Team Leaders

This card is like a dream for Bears fans, bringing to life a scenario that has driven their (our) gridiron fantasies for decades – Walter Payton has the ball, and he sees daylight.

Ostensibly a “team leaders” card, this one is all about Sweetness – which actually hits Topps’ target square on the head considering there’s never really been a Bears team leader like Number 34.

Value: $40-65

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1985 Topps Lawrence Taylor (#124)

1985 Topps Lawrence Taylor

Who is the greatest linebacker of all time?

Like almost any GOAT discussion, there is no one correct answer to that question that all fans will agree on. But just about everyone who witnessed the man play will tell you that Lawrence Taylor was a game-changer and one of the greatest at *any* position to ever take to the gridiron.

L.T.’s 1982 Topps rookie card helped football cards claim their own territory in the crazy 1990s hobby explosion, but his other cards – like this nifty 1985 – have more than held their own over the years.

Value: $50-70

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1985 Topps Eric Dickerson (#79)

1985 Topps Eric Dickerson

What Dan Marino did for quarterback cards, Eric Dickerson did for running back cards.

The second overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft, Dickerson burst out of the gates like few RBs ever, streaking to 1808 yards and 18 touchdowns in his rookie season for the Los Angeles Rams.

That had collectors clamoring for his 1984 Topps rookie card as soon as we could get our hands on them, and Dickerson poured gas on the fire – a record 2105 yards and NFL-leading 14 TDs in 1984 set up Dickerson’s cards to be hobby staples for decades to come.

That bust in Canton only sealed the deal, keeping those cards – and this card – among hobby favorites today.

Value: $95-105

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1985 Topps Passing Leaders – Dan Marino and Joe Montana (#192)

1985 Topps Passing Leaders - Dan Marino and Joe Montana

There was no real Montana-Marino rivalry to get fans tied up in frothy arguments, not like the Brady-Manning wars to come.

But any time you could get two all-time great quarterbacks together on the same card, you were sure to have a conversation piece on your hand … even if said card was “just” a commemoration of league leaders.

All these years later, the “why” doesn’t matter so much to collectors as the the fact that we get Dan and Joe together on one sweet swath of cardboard.

Value: $100-105

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1985 Topps Dan Marino (#314)

1985 Topps Dan Marino

After falling to the Miami Dolphins at the 27th pick of the 1983 NFL Draft, Dan Marino managed to wrest the starting quarterback job from David Woodley (and Don Strock) by the end of the season.

In 1984, legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula installed Marinon in the pocket from the beginning of the campaign, and the young signal-caller shredded defenses to the tune of 5084 yards and 48 touchdowns. Both were new records, which came at the cost of just 17 interceptions.

Not surprisingly, Marino’s 1984 Topps rookie card rocketed to the top of hobby hot lists, and his 1985 follow-up was nearly as vaunted.

Today, today, though Marino’s records have mostly been surpassed and his cards don’t drive the market, they’re a beloved – and still pricey – piece of hobby history.

Value: $100-110

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1985 Topps Joe Montana (#157)

1985 Topps Joe Montana

In 1984, Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to their second Super Bowl title in four seasons, catapulting himself into the conversation about the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

The timing couldn’t have been better from a hobby perspective, either, as Montana’s 1981 Topps rookie card became the first real football-card star of the 1980s boom years. And, any Joe Cool card instantly became one of the biggest draws of any set it appeared in.

This 1985 Topps beauty was no exception, and it’s still a collector favorite after all these years.

Value: $100-130

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1985 Topps Mike Singletary (#34)

1985 Topps Mike Singletary

Like Walter Payton, Mike Singletary spent the first several years of his NFL career toiling for a Bears team that struggled to get both wins and attention.

Singletary himself started to get some notice in 1983, though, as the third-year pro nabbed his first Pro Bowl nod, then added first-team All-Pro honors in 1984.

By the time Chicago unleashed their 1985 juggernaut, Iron Mike was a star and the acknowledged leader of a defensive unit that ranks as one of the game’s all-time greats. This smiling Singletary card was the visage that greeted fans across the country as they go better acquainted with a key architect of the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Value: $125-175

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1985 Topps John Elway (#238)

1985 Topps John Elway

John Elway was still pretty much a gunslinger through his first two NFL seasons, having tossed more interceptions than touchdowns in 1983 and 1984 combined.

But he had helped the Broncos into the playoffs both years, after a three-year drought.

That was enough to get his 1984 Topps rookie card bubbling a bit, and collectors were happy to pull this card the next fall.

Today, it’s a must-have early-career issue of an absolute NFL legend.

Value: $150-225

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1985 Topps Warren Moon Rookie Card (#251)

1985 Topps Warren Moon Rookie Card

Coming out of the University of Washington in 1978, Moon signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League rather than enter the NFL Draft. The consensus had been that he would have been a late-round pick, and the young signal-caller wanted a more sure thing.

Mission accomplished.

In six CFL seasons, Moon helped the Eskimos to five Grey Cup championships and set the all-time single-season record for passing yards in 1983 (5648).

That all led to a place in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, but not before Moon decided to make the jump to the NFL, where teams were eager to bid for his services entering the 1984 season.

The Houston Oilers won that sweepstakes, and Moon embarked on the American leg of his journey at age 28, playing for four teams through age 44 and amassing nearly 50,000 yards passing to go along with his 291 touchdown tosses.

Moon’s 1985 Topps rookie card (NFL version) was a popular pull from the very beginning, and it only gained in popularity – and value – as Moon steamrolled toward Canton.

Value: $150-250

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1985 Topps Walter Payton Record Breaker (#6)

1985 Topps Walter Payton Record Breaker

Walter Payton set so many records, graced us with so many highlights, over the course of his NFL career that he could have featured on multiple of these “special” cards every year.

As the 1985 season dawned, though, Payton had the big one under his belt.

On October 7, 1984, Payton raced past Jim Brown’s record of 12,312, one of the most revered marks in all of sports.

This 1985 Topps card commemorated that moment in stunning action and stands as a heavyweight in the set.

Value: $175-250

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1985 Topps Richard Dent Rookie Card (#24)

1985 Topps Richard Dent Rookie Card

Mike Singletary may have won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award as the 1985 Bears established themselves as one of the great defenses of all-time, but it was Richard Dent who led the league in both sacks (17) and forced fumbles (7).

Heck, the young defensive end even picked off two balls, returning one for his first of two career touchdowns.

It took awhile for Dent to start getting his due in the football card market, but this black-bordered rookie card (he was a part-timer in 1982 and 1983, with no RCs to show) is a Hall of Famer in its own right today.

Value: $200-250

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1985 Topps Walter Payton (#33)

1985 Topps Walter Payton

It was almost as if Topps anticipated the Chicago Bears’ magical romp through the 1985 season, capped by a title in Super Bowl XX over the New England Patriots in January of 1986

After all, those intimidating black borders were a perfect complement to the Bears’ black uniforms and dominant presence on the field and in popular culture (“Super Bowl Shuffle,” anyone?).

And, for all the hype around Jim McMahon and William “Refrigerator” Perry, for all the shutdown moments from the vaunted Bears defense, for all the tough-guy swagger from coach Mike Ditka, there was no doubt that Walter Payton was still the heart and soul of the Bears, just as he had been for a decade.

This card shows a closeup of an intense looking Sweetness in his Bears helmet, perhaps considering all that has been and all that may still lie ahead.

It’s a hobby classic.

Condition: https://www.psacard.com/auctionprices/football-cards/1985-topps/49769#g=9

Value: $650-700

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Honorable Mention

1985 Topps Mark Clayton Record Breaker (#1)

1985 Topps Mark Clayton Record Breaker

Teaming with quarterback Dan Marino, second-year receiver Mark Clayton set the record for most receiving touchdowns in a season in 1984, converting on 18 scores.

Jerry Rice and Randy Moss have since passed that mark, and two others (Sterling Sharpe and Davante Adams) have also reached 18, but Clayton was the first.

And, while this card is notable for celebrating that feat, it’s also card #1 in a set notorious for condition sensitivity, thanks to those black borders. First cards always tended to take more beatings than others thanks to frequently being placed on top or bottom of card stacks.

So, consider this Clayton special to be both a cool card in its own right, and an exemplar for the difficulties in finding top-condition 1985 Topps football cards, in general.

Value: $60-75

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1985 Topps #33 Walter Payton AP

$4.00
End Date: Wednesday 08/31/2022 00:45:56 EDT
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