If you’re looking for a set top-heavy with Hall of Fame rookies, you won’t do much better than 1986 Topps football cards.

(OK, so maybe 1984 Topps football cards would have something to say about the matter, but …)

Heck, even if you’re more interested in rookie cards of guys who were superstars for awhile, or superstars who just haven’t quite made the Canton cut yet … well, 1986 Topps football has you covered there, too.

1986 Topps football cards unopened wax pack

And mid-career cards of Hall of Famers? Yep, those are here, too.

So, now that you’re properly frothed up for some classic gridiron cardboard …

… here is a list of the most valuable 1986 Topps football cards, as culled from the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide (PSA 9 condition).

Let’s dig in!

1986 Topps Jerry Rice Rookie Card (#161)

1986 Topps Jerry Rice

Who is the greatest receiver in NFL history?

By most objective standards, you’d have to go with Jerry Rice.

And, for most fans, Rice would pass the more subjective “eye tests” as the greatest, too.

Rice wasn’t the absolute fastest man on the field, but he was always where he needed to be — at the ball.

In the end, after a 21-year stay in The League, Rice held most meaningful career marks … and he still does.

(Those marks include receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, in case you’re wondering.)

And, while he doesn’t hold many single-season marks, he’s near the top for those, as well.

Throw in three Super Bowl rings, a Hall of Famer bust, and mad dancing skills, and you have a guy who has been at the top of collector want lists for decades.

That goes double for the 1986 Topps Jerry Rice rookie card, which sells for $450 or more in PSA 9 condition these days.

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1986 Topps Steve Young Rookie Card (#374)

1986 Topps Steve Young

It’s kind of ironic that Rice and Young appear on this list, in this order.

While the 49ers selected Rice in the first round (16th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft, he wasn’t a big name to most fans.

Young, on the other hand, was a hotshot quarterback from Brigham Young who had already signed with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL when the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft rolled around.

That draft allowed NFL teams to claim first rights to college seniors who had committed to the USFL (or the Canadian Football League) in the case anything happened to the upstart league.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Young with the first pick in that supplemental round, and they were there waiting when the USFL folded in 1985.

After a couple of ugly seasons in Tampa, the Bucs shipped Young off to San Fran for some draft picks and cash.

With Joe Montana in front of him, Young was destined to be a backup. And he was … until 1991, when he played well enough at age 30 to convince the Niners to move on from their legendary QB.

Within a few years, Young-to-Rice had the team back in the Super Bowl and Young on a path to Canton.

Today, his 1986 Topps rookie card — showing him with Tampa Bay — sells for around $300 in PSA 9.

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1986 Topps William Perry Rookie Card (#20)

1986 Topps William Perry

No one was bigger than William Perry when it came to pure size as the 1985 Chicago Bears romped to the Super Bowl title.

And no one was bigger than The Fridge when it came to personality and fan love, either.

Dude could move mountains with his body and light up a room with his smile, all of which made him a collector favorite.

Much of that glow still gloms to his rookie card, which today goes $150 or so in PSA 9 condition.

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1986 Topps Reggie White Rookie Card (#275)

1986 Topps Reggie White

The Minister of Defense made an immediate impact after coming over to the Philadelphia Eagles from the Memphis Showboats of the USFL in 1985.

That season, White recorded 13 sacks and started building the legend that would feed perfectly into the NFL’s first free agent class in 1993.

Signing with the Green Bay Packers for a huge sum, Reggie lived up to his hype, continuing to rack up double-digit sacks and helping Title Town find its old Super Bowl-winning ways in 1996.

This 1986 Topps rookie card reflects White’s status as one of the game’s all-time great defensive lineman with a $65 price tag for PSA 9 copies.

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1986 Topps Jay Hilgenberg Rookie Card (#17)

1986 Topps Jay Hilgenberg

You may not think center is a very glamorous position, especially for a list like this, and you’d be right.

But the thing about Jay Hilgenberg is that he provided one of the missing pieces for the Walter Payton Bears and allowed them to finally break through.

For years, Payton and his QBs struggled behind unsteady offensive lines that heaped a load of extra work on Sweetness just to get his yards.

By 1985, though, Hilgenberg had been on the job for four years, and he turned in his first Pro-Bowl performance that season as Payton, Jim McMahon, Willie Gault, and other offensive weapons stepped up to complement an all-time dominant defense.

For his place in history and still with a chance to make the Canton cut, this Hilgenberg RC is a $40 item in PSA 9 condition.

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1986 Topps Mark Bavaro (#144)

1986 Topps Mark Bavaro

Bavaro was pure electricity when he first combined with Phil Simms to ignite the New York Giants offense in 1985.

The big tight end hauled in 37 catches for 511 yards as a rookie, then went crazy with 66 receptions and 1001 yards in 1986.

That latter campaign helped the G-Men to a title, and Bavaro would be on hand for a second ring in 1990, too.

Big performances in the big city made Bavaro a collector favorite, and his RC sells for around $50 in PSA 9 these days.

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1986 Topps Charlie Joiner (#236)

1986 Topps Charlie Joiner

In 1986, ancient Charlie Joiner (he was 39) returned for one last go-round with the San Diego Chargers.

That season, he caught 34 balls for 440 yards, which left him as the all-time leader with 12,146 receiving yards.

Joiner has been passed by many men since then, but he remains an all-time great, and his last base Topps card is a $40 buy in PSA 9 condition.

(Topps did issue a Joiner Record Breaker card in 1987.)

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1986 Topps Dwight Clark (#160)

1986 Topps Dwight Clark

Clark is best known for “The Catch” that helped the 49ers defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship game and kicked off San Fran’s 1980s dynasty.

But Clark was a big-bodied receiver who remained a favorite Joe Montana target throughout his career, and a favorite of collectors everywhere.

This 1986 Topps Clark card sells for north of $30 in graded MINT condition.

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1986 Topps Richard Dent (#19)

1986 Topps Richard Dent

Dent was a marquee name on one of the greatest defenses in history during the Bears’ 1985 run to glory.

In fact, the defensive end led the NFL with 17 sacks and seven forced fumbles, and he even scored on an interception return.

To top all that off, Dent was named MVP of Super Bowl XX, where the Bears manhandled the New England Patriots.

All told, Dent played for 15 years in The League, including 12 with Chicago, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.

The 1986 Dent is a $30 card in PSA 9.

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1986 Topps Walter Payton (#7)

1986 Topps Walter Payton RB

After breaking Jim Brown‘s all-time mark for career rushing yards in 1984, Payton was back on the record-breaking train in 1985.

So … which record did he take down in that championship season?

Well, he ran off nine straight games with at least 100 yards rushing, breaking the previous record of eight held by O.J. Simpson and Earl Campbell.

This card commemorating Payton’s new mark sells for about $30 in PSA 9 today.

(Marcus Allen also ran for 100 in nine straight later in the 1985 season).

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1986 Topps Joe Montana (#156)

1986 Topps Joe Montana

For most of his career, and for many years after, Joe Montana was considered by many in and around the game to be the greatest quarterback ever.

More recent superstars like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady may have surpassed Montana in the eyes of some, but Joe will always be a fan and collector favorite.

This 1986 Topps Montana is a $30 card in slabbed MINT condition.

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1986 Topps Charles Mann Rookie Card (#181)

1986 Topps Charles Mann

Mann worked himself up from a third-round pick in 1983 to a Pro-Bowl career at defensive end with the Washington Redskins.

Along the way, he recorded 83 sacks and picked up three Super Bowl rings, including one as a reserve for the Niners at the end of his career in 1994.

Today, Mann’s 1986 Topps rookie card sells for around $30 in PSA 9.

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1986 Topps Football Jerry Rice ROOKIE RC #161 PSA NM 7

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Steve Young 1986 Topps Football Rookie Card

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