How many different Emmitt Smith football cards are there?

Well, as of this writing late in 2019, there are 2500+ cards on the PSA Master Set listing for the Dallas Cowboys great. And that includes cards through just 2005, shortly after his retirement.

Guess that’s what happens when you pick up three Super Bowl rings with “America’s Team” on your way to the all-time rushing record and a bust in Canton, huh?

December 1991 emmitt smith beckett football card monthly

But, while we can’t detail every Emmitt issue in a piece like this, we can tackle some of the best early ones, when probably not even Smith himself knew he’d one day take down Walter Payton‘s all-time rushing yardage record.

In that spirit, here are 15 great Emmitt Smith football cards issued from 1988 through 1991, covering his first appearance with each company plus a few goodies.

1988 Florida Burger King Gators Emmitt Smith (#2)

1988 Florida Burger King Gators Emmitt Smith

If you want a truly limited Emmitt Smith card, and one that could rightly be called a pre-rookie, this might be the one for you.

Issued by McDag Productions through a promotion at just six Burger King restaurants in Florida, this 16-card set showered even more publicity on an already red hot Florida football program.

The Smith card sells for $50 or more depending on condition — including considerations for raw or graded copies.

But be careful if you’re in the market for this one, as counterfeits abound.

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1989 Florida Gators Smokey Emmitt Smith

1989 Florida Gators Smokey Emmitt Smith

Alright, so this card may rival the BK card above in terms of scarcity, plus you get a cool Smokey Bear drawing on the back.

Fire safety tips, too.

This thing also looks great, too, with Florida colors and a young Emmitt plowing straight-on through a pile of humanity.

It’s another high-value pre-rookie that would look good in pretty much any collection.

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1990 Action Packed All-Madden Emmitt Smith (#9)

1990 Action Packed All-Madden Emmitt Smith

This set was a separate 58-card box set that celebrated the 1990 All-Madden team, rookie Emmitt included.

Like other Action Packed cards, this one is all glossy photos, bumped out 3-D bodyparts, thick cardboard, embossed foil gaudiness … but it’s pretty cool looking.

Prices are all over the place, depending on condition and whether or not the card is slabbed.

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1990 Action Packed Rookie Update Emmitt Smith (#34)

1990 Action Packed Rookie Update Emmitt Smith

This base-design Action Packed Smith rookie card is a bit more subdued than the Madden version, with only gold borders to spruce up the full-on rushing shot.

These cards were a deep-dive into the super premium market and met some resistance from long-time collectors.

Time has also shown us that they maybe weren’t quite as limited as we wanted them to be three decades ago.

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1990 Fleer Update Emmitt Smith Rookie Card (#U-40)

1990 Fleer Update Emmitt Smith

By the time this card was issued, we knew two things …

Emmitt was a stud running back for a still not-great Cowboys team, and …

The 1990 Fleer football card set was about as common as a John Elway Super Bowl loss.

But Fleer missed out on the Emmitt rookie train with that inaugural set, so they went ahead and included them in their Update set after the season.

It’s a bit more limited than the base set, and the Smith RC is still popular today.

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1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith Rookie Card (#685)

1990 Pro Set Emmitt Smith

Pro Set was back for their second run in 1990, and they apparently decided the best thing they could possibly do would be to keep pace with Fleer and whoever else cranked up the presses when it came to the size of their print run.

The result here is a great looking Smith rookie card that you can find for a song most of the time these days.

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1990 Score Rookie & Traded Emmitt Smith Rookie Card (#101T)

1990 Score Supplemental Emmitt Smith

Like Fleer, Score skipped Emmitt in their 1990 base set, but they came around in time to include him in their Rookie & Traded issue later in the year.

This one seems to be a bit more scarce than its 1990 counterparts and usually brings $10-50+, depending on condition and whether or not it has been graded.

As with the Burger King card above, though, be careful of counterfeits and reprints if you’re in the market for this card.

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1990 Topps Traded Emmitt Smith Rookie Card (#27T)

1990 Topps Traded Emmitt Smith

Ho hum … another major card company who didn’t get Smith in its 1990 base set but then included him in a late-season update.

This Topps Traded card shows a helmletless, kneeling Emmitt and doesn’t seem to be scarce in any sort of way … except maybe by comparison to the Fleer and Pro Set base issues.

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1991 Bowman Emmitt Smith (#117)

1991 Bowman Emmitt Smith

Here we begin a run through Smith’s 1991 cards in sets/companies that either didn’t exist in 1990 or just whiffed on the young superstar in his rookie season.

In this case, 1990 Bowman was the first time Topps included football in its resurrected card line, so every player was debuting, in a sense.

For Smith, that meant a “Rookie Super Star” card at #3, and this base card at #117.

Neither sell for a mint, even in MINT condition, but both give us an early look at a young Hall of Famer in the making.

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1991 Pacific Emmitt Smith (#107)

1991 Pacific Emmitt Smith

Once a couple of card manufacturers not named “Topps” pushed their way into the football card market in 1989 and 1990, the floodgates opened as the 1990s glut gripped the hobby.

Pacific was part of that second wave of new sets, and they seized the day with a monstrous 660-card issue.

These cards feature crisp photography front and back, and a tropical color scheme that always makes you (met, at least) feel like you’re in Miami.

Pacific falls squarely in the Junk Wax category, which means you can buy just about any card you want — including Emmitt — on the cheap.

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1991 Pinnacle Emmitt Smith (#42)

1991 Pinnacle Emmitt Smith

Pinnacle was Score’s entry into the premium card market, and it seems most of their effort went to jamming in as many design elements as possible.

The result was a set that went against the growing trend of full-bleed photos and instead buried players among overpowering fonts and thick, blocky borders that left our heroes just tiny cardboard figurines.

Of course … you might love this Emmitt, in which case you can probably find one for a very reasonable sum, even today.

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1991 Stadium Club Emmitt Smith (#2)

1991 Stadium Club Emmitt Smith

Stadium Club, on the other hand, was part of an even newer breed of super premium cards.

Coming on the heels of the baseball Stadium Club issue, this one was basically Topps’ version of Action Packed — thick cards, full-bleed photos, bumpy and embossed design elements.

Alas, even Stadium Club cards are not much above Junk Wax status today, but at least this Emmitt gives us a dramatic landscape action shot.

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1991 Fleer Ultra Emmitt Smith (#165)

1991 Fleer Ultra Emmitt Smith

Every company needed a premium line in the early 90s, and Ultra was Fleer’s foray into that field.

To these eyes, Ultra cards looked sort of like Pro Set, but without the official logos splashed all over the place.

Not a bad look … but Ultra was about as limited as the base Fleer set, which is to say not at all.

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1991 Upper Deck Emmitt Smith (#172)

1991 Upper Deck Emmitt Smith

This was the marriage everyone wanted to see, had been waiting for — Upper Deck and football!

After two years of waiting, we got our wish, and the result was … well … a typical Upper Deck set.

Clean design, great photography.

And way, way too much product on the market.

So, here today, we have a great-looking Emmitt Smith card that’s worth about the same as the program from your cousin’s son’s Christmas choir program at Patty’s Premium Pre-K last winter.

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1991 Wild Card Emmitt Smith (#46)

1991 Wild Card Emmitt Smith

Wild Card football was all over hobby ad pages when they were issued, and there were two sets — a college draft picks version, and an NFL version.

In each, players came in the base avariety, or with numbered strips, which you could supposedly redeem for (I think) that number of base cards.

So, the higher the number, the better and more rare.

Those stripe cards still hold some value today, and even the base versions are a time capsule into a funky era in the hobby when the buzz was palpable and the gimmicks were thick.

On this card in particular, we get to see Emmitt laying waste to the rival Washington Redskins.

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