The secret has been out for a very long time, but it pops up every now and again to smack anyone in the face who might’ve forgotten: Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time. He’s still winning Super Bowls well into his 40s, having just collected his seventh ring a few years ago with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brady is in a stratosphere all his own — and he has been for quite some time. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw are in second place with four titles each. As far as recent QBs go, Ben Roethlisberger is next in line with two championships. No one is catching Brady for a very long time…if ever.
Even though the young guns like Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, and Patrick Mahomes are rookie cards everyone has their sights set on, Tom Brady is the absolute greatest. Basketball has Michael Jordan (or LeBron James if you’re so inclined), hockey has Wayne Gretzky, and football has Tom Brady. That’s why every football card collector — hell, anyone who’s into sports cards at all — would treat a Tom Brady RC as a holy grail card.
Predictably, Tom Brady cards have skyrocketed in value, especially after his faux-retirement this year. But Tom Terrific is geared up for another season in Tampa Bay, and that means we’re treated to another season of the greatest football player of all-time.
Tom Brady has way more rookie cards than you might think. Forty-four to be exact. Some are retail versions, keeping the price relatively low; others are releases for hobby. We’re talking regular cards, popular cards, expensive cards, and downright insane cards. Let’s pare that list down and highlight our six favorites.
2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady RC
This list isn’t ordered in any way, but this first entry might be the one people love the most. Tom Brady’s 2000 Bowman Chrome rookie card isn’t the most valuable, but it’s certainly one of the biggest movers. Over the last couple days, PSA 10s have been going for about $30,000. (That value increases significantly for anyone lucky enough to pull one of the Tom Brady Bowman Chrome Refractors.)
The reason this is a fan favorite is because it’s Brady’s only chrome-style card. That draws a lot of attention. Even though this card wasn’t short-printed, it’s probably the one that’s considered his most iconic. It checks all the criteria when it comes to a great base rookie card.
2000 Fleer Showcase Tom Brady RC
Fleer Showcase is definitely the oddball on the list. It’s printed on colorful foil, with Tom Brady’s gaze looming over the background. It’s one of the more absurd football card styles, and we’re weirdly enamored by it. 2000 Fleer Showcase — shine on you crazy diamond.
2000 Leaf Certified
Tom Brady has 44 different rookie cards, and 9 of them came from the same practice or photoshoot where he’s wearing sweatpants. For some reason, I absolutely love this. It’s like no one expected the 199th overall pick to turn into anyone worth remembering. Just snap a few pics of him in his Kohl’s sweatpants, and then the photographers can go back to getting pictures of Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington.
Although we like the edgy design of Leaf Certified, others might prefer the premium foil card aesthetic of Leaf Limited — especially because it’s one of the few Tom Brady RC numbered trading cards. Don’t worry, we show love to it in the honorable mentions.
2000 Playoff Prestige
Nearly half of Tom Brady’s rookie cards feature him in his college colors. A whopping 21 cards have Brady in maize and blue, either playing for Michigan or representing them in the Senior Bowl. His college career was remarkable but not spectacular.
It’s kind of a toss-up, but Playoff Prestige gets the nod. It’s an elegant-looking card with somewhat modern design that blurs the background so that Brady pops in the foreground. Really though, most of his college cards look more or less the same. (Although I vastly prefer the Michigan uniform over the red Senior Bowl outfit.)
2000 SP Authentic
This is probably the most well-known Brady rookie card. Hell, it might be one of the most well-known football cards of all-time. SP Authentic knocked it out of the park with this one.
People love this card and the price reflects that. Recently, PSA 10s have been going for about $50,000. It’s a numbered card with a print run that’s limited to 1,250 — so it’s not exactly super rare, but it’s also not widely available. Upper Deck’s SP Authentic line was one of the more premium products in the early 2000s, and it resulted in one of the most coveted Brady rookie cards ever.
2000 Playoff Contenders
Is this the best Tom Brady card on the list? That’s up for debate. Is this the most valuable Tom Brady card on the list? Without a doubt.
This is Tom Brady’s only true autograph card (at least as far as non-insert rookie cards go), and that means that it goes for an absolute boatload of money. Somewhat recently, a PSA 10 cleared $500,000 on eBay. Other graded ones have been going for around $100,000. And that’s just the base version of this autographed card.
There is also a Championship Ticket parallel card that’s numbered to 100. Yeah, this Tom Brady RC is among the rarest cards, at least as far as modern cards go. It should come as no surprise that the card price is through the roof, easily clearing a million dollars (although value is condition sensitive, obviously). Whenever one of these rare cards hits a public auction house like Goldin Auctions or Heritage Auctions, it’s fascinating to track the bids and final price.
It’s expensive chasing the best. And Tom Brady is certainly, without question, undeniably the best.
Honorable Mentions: 2000 Leaf Limited, 2000 Pacific Private, 2000 Collector’s Edge Supreme, 2000 Pacific Prism Prospects
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