After a couple decades of monopolistic bliss, 1989 Topps football cards were born into a world full of competition.

Not only did Pro Set and Score both issue sets that season, but Fleer and Uper Deck would follow close behind.

And then, in the 1990s, the flood gates would really open.

Like most issues from the junk wax era, 1989 Topps football cards are plentiful even today, but some are still popular — like these most valuable cards, as determined by recent eBay sales for PSA 10 specimens.

1989 Topps John Elway (#241)

1989 Topps John Elway

When this card was issued, Elway’s reputation was well established — he was super talented, put up monster numbers, led his teams to gaudy records … and couldn’t win the Big Game.

As in, the Broncos had been to two Super Bowls and lost both of them in blowout fashion.

It would happen again, in 1989, too, when the 49ers trounced Denver in Super Bowl XXIV, 55-10.

From there, Elway sort of faded into the background, and the Broncs stumbled into a run of .500-ish seasons.

Then, just when it looked like Elway was done, Terrell Davis and other youngsters arrived, and the Broncos were suddenly winning again.

It all came together in 1997 … and in 1998 … and Elway suddenly had two rings. By 2004, he was in the Hall of Fame.

Today, this mid-career Elway card brings about $40 in PSA 10.

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1989 Topps Michael Irvin Rookie Card (#383)

1989 Topps Michael Irvin Rookie Card

Wide receivers always seem to have more to say than most any other player, and Irvin was one of the best when it came to jawing.

Still is.

But he was even better at catching the football, and at covering a lot of ground with the pigskin in his hand.

Irvin had his problems, sure, but he also gained nearly 12,000 yards for the Cowboys and helped them win three Super Bowls.

It was all good enough for a bust in Canton, and for a rookie card that pushes $40 in perfect graded condition.

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1989 Topps Thurman Thomas Rookie Card (#45)

1989 Topps Thurman Thomas Rookie Card

Thomas is another guy who knows a thing or two about Super Bowls.

Actually, he knows, like, four things about Super Bowls, seeing as how he and his Buffalo Bills teammates went to four in a row (1990-93).

Yeah, they lost them all, but still …

Thomas ran for 1000+ yards for eight straight seasons and ended his career with more than 12,000 yards rushing and another 4400+ receiving.

A 2007 Hall of Fame inductee, Thomas lines up here with a $35 rookie card.

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1989 Topps Joe Montana (#12)

1989 Topps Joe Montana

Montana never had to find out what it felt like to lose a Super Bowl, but he did become the second quarterback (after Terry Bradshaw) to win four Big Games.

They don’t get any more legendary than Joe Montana (even if they’re named “Tom Brady”), and his ’89 Topps issue is a $30 card in PSA 10.

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1989 Topps Jerry Rice (#7)

1989 Topps Jerry Rice

Montana won two Super Bowls before anyone even knew who Jerry Rice was, but …

Truth is, Montana wouldn’t be Montana — not fully — without Rice.

That’s just what happens when one of the greatest, most clutch QBs of all time teams up with the greatest receiver of all time.

Magic … and a $30 price tag for perfect 1989 Topps cards.

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1989 Topps Chris Spielman Rookie Card (#361)

Spielman was a two-time All-American at Ohio State before stepping right into the Detroit Lion’ starting lineup after they selected him in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft.

The former Buckeye spent a decade at linebacker in Detroit, helping the Lions to five playoff appearances and nabbing a string of Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

Today, Spielman’s rookie card is a $20 buy in PSA 10.

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1989 Topps Tony Dorsett (#240)

1989 Topps Tony Dorsett

Dorsett wrapped up his 12-year Hall of Fame career in 1988 by running for 703 yards and scoring five touchdowns … for the Denver Broncos.

It was very strange to see the Pitt Heisman Trophy winner in any pro uniform other than the Cowboys’ white, blue, and silver, and it still looks strange today.

This card does offer collectors a career-capper of an all-time great RB, though, and it sells for about $20 in PSA 10.

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1989 Topps Ickey Woods Rookie Card (#27)

1989 Topps Ickey Woods Rookie Card

Few players this side of William Perry (Fridge!) have ever stirred fans’ imaginations the way Ickey Woods did as he led the Bengals’ running attack during a push to the Super Bowl in 1988.

With his big body and boyish exuberance — not to mention an offensive line that featured Anthony Munoz — Woods rushed for more than 1000 yards as a rookie.

And he scored 15 touchdowns, which gave him plenty of opportunity to perfect his literally sensational Ickey Shuffle.

Though Ickey lasted only four years in the NFL, his rookie card maintains decent hobby interest at $15 in perfect slabbed condition.

(By the way, if you’re looking for Ickey today, you might start with the Cincinnati Sizzle. Woods established the United States Women’s Football League franchise in 2003, though he no longer owns it.)

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1989 Topps Howie Long (#273)

1989 Topps Howie Long

By 1989, Long’s most glorius sacking days were behind him, but he still had five solid years and a Hall of Fame induction ahead.

And, of course, a second career as an on-screen personality.

Today, this 1989 Long card sells for about $10 in PSA 10.

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1989 Topps 49ers Team Card – Joe Montana (#6)

1989 Topps 49ers Team Card - Joe Montana

Any chance to pull in another Montana card was a chance Topps couldn’t let pass by … so we have this 49ers team card.

You can probably have a perfect one, too, for around $10.

And, bonus … he’s on the run!

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1989 Topps Traded Football Complete Factory Issued Box Set 132 Cards

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1989 Topps Football Traded Series Complete Set

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1989 Topps Football Jerry Rice #7 PSA 9 MINT (PWCC)

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1989 Topps Rod Woodson #323 RC Rookie NM/M MINT Football Card Lot

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1989 Topps FOOTBALL TALK Test Issue - Bob Lilly - NM+ - Dallas Cowboys

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