Dan Marino rookie cards never snuck up on anyone.

After all, here was a guy who came out of Pitt with a chip on his shoulder after falling to 27th in the 1983 Draft after a drop-off in performance in his senior season and some ugly rumors about his life off the field.

Real or not, fair or not, the storm of controversy sapped what looked to be a top-tier draft profile and left Marino looking up at five other QBs when the picks were in.

But it also left him with the Miami Dolphins, defending AFC champions, and paired with Hall of Fame coach Don Shula — not to mention other offensive weapons like Mark Duper, Andra Franklin,

Intro paragraph

1984 7-Eleven Discs Dan Marino (#15E)

1984 7-Eleven Discs Dan Marino

It’s tough to confirm all these years on, but there is at least a possibility that 7-Eleven stores of a 1984 vintage could offer more Dan Marino splendor than any other retail space in the land.

After all, it’s easy to imagine packs of Topps football card stuffed up under a low shelf, between the Gummi Bears and Big League Chew, and underneath the hanging packs of jerky.

And, where there are Topps wax packs, there just may be paper packs of Topps Stickers.

Then, of course, at 7-Eleven, you could always wash down your purchases with a brain-snapping Slurpee. If you were perusing one of the branded convenience stores on the east coast that fall of 1984, your cup might have featured a magic-motion coin featuring the Dolphins’ gunslinger.

Today, you’ll have to pay a bit more for the privilege of owning a psychedelic Marino disc than the cost of a brain freeze.

Value: $150-200

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1984 Dolphins Police Dan Marino (#9)

1984 Dolphins Police Dan Marino

The Dolphins teamed up in 1984 with Miami law enforcement as well as other local agencies (Kiwanis, hospitals, etc.) to produce a set of over-tall cards featuring 16 players and legendary coach Don Shula.

Despite a start-studded lineup that included the likes of Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, A.J. Duhe, Dwight Stephenson, and others, though, it was — and is — Marino who carries this set.

Surprise!

Value: $45-55

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1984 Topps Dan Marino (#123)

1984 Topps Dan Marino

This is it. The one. The big kahuna of Dan Marino rookie cards.

Heck, for a lot of years, the 1984 Topps Marino was the big kahuna among all 1980s rookie cards, or at least those outside of the 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC.

A couple of old-man Super Bowl titles for John Elway sort of dampened the relative impact of this card, but it was still the Marino rookie (and to a slightly lesser extent the Eric Dickerson RC) that redefined what we might expect from values of a *new* football card right out of the pack.

If you check into the PSA 10 market, you’ll find prices in the $4000+ range. That makes our mere MINT targets look almost cheap by comparison.

Value: $325-350

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1984 Topps Dan Marino Instant Replay (#124)

1984 Topps Dan Marino Instant Replay

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Marino rookie card at #123, you had to find a way to add #124 to your collection, too.

They were a matched pair!

And, though this 1984 Topps Instant Replay card has never walked with the swagger of Marino’s base RC, it’s spent 40 years trouncing all over most mere superstar cards of the era.

Value: $30-50

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1984 Topps NFL Star Set Dan Marino (#3)

1984 Topps NFL Star Set Dan Marino

Inserted one per rack pack, the 1984 Topps NFL Star set was a run of 11 super glossy cards on thick, white cardstock. As with some others on this list the Marino “rookie” here had to elbow for daylight among some other great names. Here, consider the full checklist:

  • Curt Warner
  • Eric Dickerson
  • Dan Marino
  • Steve Bartkowski
  • Todd Christensen
  • Roy Green
  • Charlie Brown
  • Earnest Gray
  • Mark Gastineau
  • Fred Dean
  • Lawrence Taylor

Only Dickerson could hold a candle to Marino when it came to hobby appeal, and even his beastly flame didn’t burn as long. (Yes, LT eventually got into that realm, too.)

Value: $150-200

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1984 Topps Passing Leaders Dan Marino/Steve Bartkowski (#202)

1984 Topps Passing Leaders Dan Marino/Steve Bartkowski

Can’t you just hear the theme to The Odd Couple streaming from this card?

Bartkowski was a good quarterback, to be sure. Great at times, even.

I mean, heck … he did lead the NFC in passing yards in 1983.

With 3167.

Marino had only 2210.

We won’t talk too much about their follow-up seasons other than to say *cough* 2158 to 5084.

Yeah, this is a Marino card.

Value: $20-25

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1984 Topps Stickers Dan Marino/Nolan Cromwell (#144)

1984 Topps Stickers Dan Marino/Nolan Cromwell

This baby is sort of the sticky equivalent of that Bartkowski-Marino number up there.

Nolan Cromwell was a Rams legend and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-1980s team.

He was also a Pro Bowler in 1983, which landed him next to Marino here in shiny-foil land.

Second fiddle is no shameful fate when first chair is #13.

Value: $30-50

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1984 Topps Stickers Dan Marino (#222)

1984 Topps Stickers Dan Marino

Of course, Marino got his own, solo rookie sticker in the 1984 Topps set, too.

Well, nearly solo.

The photo-bombing lineman apparently loved watching Marino work so much that he went sans-helmet to avoid any obstructed views.

Value: $100-150

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1984 topps #123 Dan Marino Rookie Card HOF PSA 7 NRMT

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1984 Topps Dan Marino Instant Replay Rookie RC #124 SGC 7 Dolphins NM

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1984 Topps Dan Marino Rookie Rc Dolphins HOF

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1984 Topps Football #123 Dan Marino RC Rookie PSA 7

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1984 Topps - DAN MARINO - Rookie - Card #123 RC - Dolphins

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1984 topps dan marino 123 rookie card

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