The sweetest "Sweetness" of them all1976 Topps Walter Payton Rookie #148 PSA Gem Mint 10. In the thirteen seasons following his first round acquisition in the 1975 NFL draft, this superstar running back refashioned the record books in his image, claiming the top ranking in a vast array of career categories including rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards and more. His coach and a Hall of Fame player in his own right, Mike Ditka, called Payton the greatest football player he'd ever seen, but an even greater human being. Today the annual award presented to the NFL player offering the greatest service to his community fittingly bears Payton's name.
But when the presented trading card emerged from its wax cocoon during the year of our nation's bicentennial, there was little reason to suspect that Payton would evolve into one of the sport's all-time greats. Those hoping for the next incarnation of the iconic Gale Sayers saw Payton's 679 yards in 1975 as a considerable disappointment and wondered if their first draft pick had been wasted.
But 1976 would see Payton more than double his production, earning his first of nine Pro Bowl appearances, where he'd claim the game's MVP Award. In 1977, he'd set a single-game record of 275 yard while playing with a 101-degree fever, and go on to lead the NFL in rushing yards for the season. With each successive Sunday, the number 148 card of the 1976 Topps Football set more firmly established itself as the decade's most coveted cardboard, and Payton as the face of the Chicago Bears.
Here we present the very finest example of his rookie card, a specimen bestowed with a grade enjoyed by less than one percent of the PSA population. A discussion of the card's physical attributes becomes moot, as every point of consideration--color, registration, centering and condition--is quite literally unimprovable. PSA assigns a Gem Mint rating only with the greatest reluctance, but there was no other option available with this submission.
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2018 November 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction