Kurt Warner Rookie Card Rankings and What’s the Most Valuable
From obscurity to legend, Kurt Warner has one of the most inspiring backstories in all of professional sports. Much like he took the NFL by surprise in 1999, the Kurt Warner Rookie Card lineup shows how he came out of nowhere in the hobby as well.
Warner’s path to the NFL is the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of. After going undrafted in 1994, the Green Bay Packers gave the quarterback a look but cut him before the start of the season. Over the next several years, Warner’s journey took him to both the Arena Football League and NFL Europe before finally getting a spot on the St. Louis Rams in 1998, albeit appearing in just one game.
In 1999, the plan was for Warner to be the Rams’ backup but a preseason injury to Trent Green changed everything. Warner took over and never looked back. In 1999, his first season of seeing meaningful playing time, Warner helped St. Louis win the Super Bowl. He took home both NFL and Super Bowl MVP honors that year.
Entering the 1999 season, Warner was off every card maker’s radar. Several years removed from the year’s draft class, all signs pointed to him being a non-factor in the hobby. As a result, you won’t find Kurt Warner cards in many of the year’s products, particularly the early ones. However, things did change.
Warner has 14 total Rookie Cards in 1999 products. Most are basic and still very affordable today. However, there are some exceptions including one autograph RC.
Below is a ranked look at every Kurt Warner Rookie Card. Following that is a look at several of his other key early cards that don’t carry the traditional RC tab but are still important.
Most Valuable Kurt Warner Rookie Card Rankings
The following list includes base cards with the RC tag in the Beckett Database. Inserts and parallels are not considered here. Ranks are based primarily on value in the Beckett price guide. A full Kurt Warner football cards checklist can be found here.
1. 1999 Playoff Contenders Kurt Warner RC Autograph #146
Warner has just a handful of autograph cards from his rookie season. All but one are inserts. Being his only autographed Rookie Card, it shouldn’t be surprising that 1999 Playoff Contenders comes out on top as his most valuable as well.
Besides the on-card signature, there’s also the legacy of the Contenders brands that remains strong today.
This card has a print run of 1,825 copies.
Parallels: SSD Speed Red (/100), SSD Power Blue (/50), SSD Finesse Gold (/25)
2. 1999 Collector’s Edge First Place Kurt Warner Rookie Card #201 /500
The Rams quarterback was a late addition to the 1999 Collector’s Edge First Place checklist. The pack-inserted RC can be identified by the hand numbering on the back. At 500 copies, it’s the rarest Kurt Warner Rookie Card with a known print run.
More frequently found on the secondary market are unnumbered promo cards, some of which trace their origins to Shop at Home. These don’t carry the same clout or value.
Parallels: Promo Gold, Promo Silver
3. 1999 Leaf Rookies & Stars Kurt Warner Rookie Card #288
Rookies might have been the driving force but it was the stars who were much more common in 1999 Leaf Rookies & Stars Football. Warner is one of 100 rookies in the set, which combined to land 1:2 packs. Really, the odds of landing an RC are solid but with such a deep list, finding these in any sort of bulk isn’t easy.
Parallels: Longevity (/30)
4. 1999 Collector’s Edge Masters Kurt Warner Rookie Card #157 /2000
This is Warner’s only other serial-numbered Rookie Card. While some rookies have 5,000 copies, the Rams quarterback is one of the short prints with just 2,000. It might not carry the traditional RC tag, but the card’s HoloSilver parallel, which doesn’t look much different, is more plentiful at 3,500 copies.
Parallels: HoloSilver (/3500), Galvanized (/1000), HoloGold (/25)
5. 1999 Bowman’s Best Kurt Warner Rookie Card #110
When it comes to Topps brands, Bowman’s Best isn’t usually considered to be top-tier. Here, it’s the only choice. This is the lone traditional Kurt Warner RC released by Topps. It’s also the quarterback’s only chromium-style Rookie. Both of these combine to help elevate this card.
The Refractor and Atomic Refractor parallels, both serial numbered, are extremely popular among Warner’s larger portfolio of first-year NFL releases.
Parallels: Refractors (/400), Atomic Refractors (/100)
6. 1999 Playoff Momentum SSD Kurt Warner Rookie Card #144
Printed on clear acetate, this one stands out largely because of how it’s made. The plastic approach means that not only is the card see through, but there’s a sturdier feel to it as well. It’s also a moderate short print, part of a group of 50 cards that combine to land one per pack.
Parallels: X’s (/300), O’s (/25)
7. 1999 Crown Royale Kurt Warner Rookie Card #116
Crown Royale is a gimmick brand. The crown-shaped die-cut design is immediately recognizable no matter the year or even decade. It might not be for everyone but for many it’s something that simply looks cool.
Parallels: Limited Series (/99), Premiere Date (/68)
8. 1999 Upper Deck Encore Kurt Warner Rookie Card #139
Like Topps, Upper Deck managed to get just one Kurt Warner Rookie Card into their 1999 football lineup. For most cards in the set, they’re basically the same as what’s in the main Upper Deck set only with a foil makeover. Warner, obviously, didn’t get a flagship card so this one stands out a little than it might have otherwise.
Parallels: F/X (/100), F/X Gold (1/1)
9. 1999 Donruss Kurt Warner Rookie Card #188
It might not be a Rated Rookie, but there’s still some brand affinity and tradition at work here. Donruss is one of the hobby’s most recognized names, giving this entry-level card a bit of a boost. There’s also the fact that Warner is one of 50 rookie short prints in the set with one landing every four packs.
Parallels: Stat Line Career (/165), Stat Line Season (/15)
10. 1999 Pacific Kurt Warner Rookie Card #343
Warner isn’t alone on his 1999 Pacific Rookie Card. It’s a dual-player card the quarterback shares with Tony Horne (whose RC is in 1998 Crown Royale). No other Kurt Warner RC has more parallels than this one. The total number of different versions? Five.
Parallels: Red, Gold (/199), Copper (/99), Platinum Blue (/75), Opening Day (/45)
11. 1999 SkyBox Molten Metal Kurt Warner Rookie Card #93
If you’re getting flashbacks to the old Sears portrait studio pictures with this one, you’re not alone. While most RCs on the 1999 SkyBox Molten Metal checklist are printed on actual metal, Warner is not. Likely a late addition, he’s lumped in with the veteran players using the more standard foil stock.
Parallels: Player’s Party, Millennium Silver (/3400), Millennium Gold (/2000)
12. 1999 Collector’s Edge Odyssey Kurt Warner Rookie Card #123
The large nameplate blob is out of balance with the rest of the card, but the full-bleed layout and crisp close-up photo make for an otherwise clean and simple card. 1999 Collector’s Edge Odyssey has a four-tiered base set. Found on the First Quarter portion of the checklist, Warner is among the most common group.
Parallels: Millennium Collection, Millennium Collection Blue
13. 1999 Fleer Focus Kurt Warner Rookie Card #40
Similar to Molten Metal, Warner is not part of the main rookie subset in 1999 Fleer Focus, which come with serial numbers. That actually makes his RC among the more common veteran players. As a brand, Focus wasn’t around long enough to really establish a foothold in the hobby, which is part of the reason why this remains one of Warner’s most affordable first-year cards.
Parallels: Stealth (/300), Masterpieces (1/1)
14. 1999 Score Supplemental Kurt Warner Rookie Card #S-57
Going back to Score’s early days in football, this card came packaged as part of a 110-card factory set designed to update the year’s main release. Like most Score Rookie Cards over the decades, availability is not a concern and prices are inviting to every budget.
Other Key Early Kurt Warner Cards
1995 Iowa Barnstormers AFL Kurt Warner
His NFL Rookie Cards came out in 1999. However, his first football cards date back to 1995 and his time in the AFL. A team-issued release, it was never easy to come by or plentiful. It might not have the brand power or even the production values mainstream football cards, but to many, this might be the most significant Kurt Warner card ever. Not only does it mark his debut and have built-in rarity, but it’s from an important chapter in the larger story of Warner’s career.
Collectors should be cautioned that counterfeits and reprints of this card exist. Going with a professionally graded copy might be the safest route.
1998 Rams Team Issue Kurt Warner
Measuring 5″ x 7″, this might not be a traditional card, but it is Warner’s first in the NFL. Given out by the Rams, it’s unicorn-level scarce on the secondary market today.
1999 Collector’s Edge Masters Pro Signature Authentics Kurt Warner #2 /500
Outside of his Contenders Rookie Card, Kurt Warner doesn’t have many autographs from his first NFL season. The quarterback joins Peyton Manning as the only players with autographs in the 1999 Collector’s Edge Masters Pro Signature Authentics set. Warner’s card is hand-numbered to 500 on the back.
1999 Fleer Focus Feel the Game Kurt Warner #10
Although Warner has more than 1,200 different memorabilia cards, this is one of just three to come from his rookie season. According to the disclaimer on the back, it’s from a game-worn jersey, not one from a photoshoot.
1999 Playoff Contenders SSD Game Day Souvenirs Kurt Warner #GS13
A piece of game-used football might not have the hobby prestige of a jersey swatch, but there’s still something very interesting about this card. The small piece of pigskin can be traced back to an October, 1999 matchup between the Rams and Titans. Tennessee won the game but Warner still threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
1999 Score Supplemental Inscriptions Kurt Warner #KW-13
Warner is one of 30 players included on the 1999 Score Supplemental Inscriptions set. These were found in approximately 1:3 factory sets making individual cards fairly tough to find today.
1999 SkyBox Premium Autographics Kurt Warner #78
Arguably Warner’s most recognizable autograph card outside of his Contenders RC, this one comes from the sprawling Autographics set that spans several brands and sets. This card is in packs of 1999 SkyBox Molten Metal. There’s also a scarce Red Foil parallel that’s numbered to 50.
1999 Topps Stars Rookie Relics Kurt Warner #RR1
Just three players are on the 1999 Topps Stars Rookie Relics: Warner, teammate Torry Holt and Donovan McNabb. These were fairly tough, landing 1:209 packs.
1999 Upper Deck Encore UD Authentics Kurt Warner #KW
Warner is part of an impressive crop of signers on the 1999 Upper Deck Encore UD Authentics checklist. Joe Namath, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss and Troy Aikman are among the 13 others who appear. With 1:144 odds, not many are available at any given time.