The hobby of collecting sports cards has proven to be just as enjoyable among enthusiastic fans who do this as it is watching that favorite sport itself. Among the most expensive sports cards, there is, it appears baseball cards take the top prize. However, the sports of basketball, football, and hockey have since given baseball cards a run for the money - literally. While baseball legend, Honus Wagner holds the record as the most expensive trading card in history with the value of $6.6 million USD, other players from other sports seem to be catching up. In the case of Tom Brady, he is the first football player to break into the rankings as among the most expensive cards there is on the market. He, along with hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky, share this while baseball cards and basketball cards seem to hog up the spotlight as the most coveted sports cards, at least in modern history.
With the sport of football, unlike baseball, the average player doesn't enjoy as long of a career and has a much higher risk of sustaining an injury that will put an end to the professional athlete's career. Also, football players sports helmets while out on the field, making them considerably less recognizable as opposed to baseball players, and even basketball players. While hockey players sports helmets, aside from the goalies, there are very few that have face coverings that render them unrecognizable, aside from the jersey number. However, 2021 saw a year of record sales revolving around football cards, especially when it comes to Tom Brady and his rookie season with the New England Patriots. This comes as no surprise as he has established himself to become the most accomplished player in the history of the National Football League. On Tom Brady's resume, he has seven Super Bowl Championship victories out of the ten he has played in throughout the twenty-one seasons of his impressive career.
Just like baseball cards, football cards have their own grading system. Called the Beckett Grading System (BGS), this is the judging method used to determine the quality level of the sports card in question. The higher the score, the better. Now, when those very cards happen to be autographed, the dollar value of each card is likely to soar. After the 2000 NFL Draft, the sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady sat to sign a bunch of autographs for Playoff, a Texas-based trading card company. Among those cards he signed, there were one hundred from the Playoff brand called Contenders. For those cards, he was paid a few dollars for each signature. Nobody knew at the time how legendary the name of Tom Brady would become, nor the fact that he'd move forward to earn seven Super Bowl Championships and become one of the most beloved football players of the NFL of all time.
5. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 - BGS 8, 10 Auto - $1,320,000
The private auction was brokered in March 2021 by PWCC that saw the final sale of the Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship football card go to Fitbit CEO, James Park. The celebrated sale of this BGS-8 graded card was posted by PWCC on its Instagram account and quoted James Park, who said, "I lived in Boston for ten years and so am a huge fan of Brady. I'm incredibly excited to now own one of only one hundred of Brady's best rookie cards."
4. 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Tom Brady Signed Championship Ticket Rookie Card – BGS 8.5/BGS 10 ($1,500,000 USD)
According to Goldin Auctions, after twenty-one bidders competed to take home the 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady card, it was officially sold to the winner who forked out $1,500,000 USD on October 24, 2021.
3. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 - BGS 8.5, 10 ($1,680,000 USD)
Graded at a BSG-8.5, this Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders football card was sold at Goldin Auctions for $1,680,000 USD on April 24, 2021. This was a decline from the $2.2 million USD bid for this card that occurred just a few weeks prior. There were a total of twenty bids that sought to take this card home, but only the winner was able to officially collect the prize.
2. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 - BGS 8.5, 9 ($2,252,854.80 USD)
Graded at a BGS-8.5, the Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders ticket autograph sports card was sold for $2,252,854.80 USD at the Leland Auction on April 2, 2021. This same card was sold at $4,901.51 in 2016. Through the USA Today broadcast, this was considered a record-setting deal at the time. While the record for this particular grade of Brady's most coveted rookie card still holds, there was another with his name on it that would earn the number one spot as the most expensive Tom Brady card ever sold.
1. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 - BGS 9, 10 ($3,107,132 USD)
According to USA Today, on June 5, 2021, the 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Championship Auto Ticket that was graded at a BGS-9, which is the highest grade for this particular football card, was sold at an auction for $3,107,132 USD. There are apparently just seven of these cards in existence. In 2008, when this particular sports card was sold at $4,450.01, Tom Brady was already a three-time winner of the Super Bowl Championship. This card was then sold in February 2019 for $400,100 USD at Goldin Auctions. While $3.1 million USD seems to hold the record as the most expensive Tom Brady football card there is, 2021 has so far demonstrated this can change as fast as the gavel hitting the target with the auctioneer shouting "Sold!" to the next successful bidder.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson