Every Sunday, America freezes to embrace the game of football and the teams representing the shield. Due to this popularity, football trading cards and the football card market have been the benefactor. Over the years, the price tag for football cards has seen astronomical heights, and today we’re going through the five most expensive football cards in history.
This list is unlike many of the others we have published, giving you our favorites and opinions on why they made our list. In this one, we’re sticking strictly to the numbers. However, along the way, we’ll give you a bit of history on each player and the card’s significance as to why they are the most valuable football cards to date.
1958 Topps Jim Brown Rookie Card
While there may have been other cards that have had bigger days in recent years on the auction, I thought it would be good to mention one that was quite exceptional before the sports card market erupted. One of the greatest running backs in the history of football Jim Brown. The longtime Cleveland Browns back demolished defenses earning himself a spot NFL’s all-time leading rushers list for yards and touchdowns.
While this isn’t an autographed card like many cards that are considered valuable, this particular one was graded the highest by PSA with a 9 (only 5 copies to do so). Therefore when this highly graded vintage football card hit the auction, sports card collectors spared no expense.
In November 2016, this PSA 9 Jim Brown 1958 Topps Football Card sold for $358,500 in auctions.
5. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 – BGS 8
The legend of Tom Brady is special to fans of football. The man is fighting against father time, and it looks like he may be winning. As the only player or franchise to win 7 Super Bowls, his success has garnered the respect of the sports card world, making his rookie autograph card a gem.
With this particular card selling for $1,320,000, it helped spark one of the biggest series of sales in football card history, and you’ll see how as we progress through this list.
4. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 – BGS 8.5
No, it’s not a typo. The 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Tom Brady returns for the second time on our list of the most expensive football cards ever; however, what’s interesting is that this Tom Brady autograph rookie card was sold a short time after the card mentioned prior.
This card was graded slightly higher than its counterpart, making it more valuable in the sports card market. Yet, I’m sure there were no complaints once the check cleared.
This Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph sold for 1,680,000
3. Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Championship Ticket Autograph /100 – BGS 8.5
When I said it was a special time for football cards, I meant it. At number 3, another Tom Brady Championship Ticket Autograph card snapped the previous card’s record thanks to getting a slightly better grade.
However, it also is unique it its design from the others previously listed with its blue background as opposed to the gradients we’ve seen on others.
This Tom Brady Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph card sold for $2,252,854.
2. 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Tom Brady BGS 9
Whether you love or hate him, the name Tom Brady carries some weight. Brady is crowned as the Greatest of All Time by many football fans and analysts, and while there are those who disagree, the resume bolstering his legendary career speaks for itself. 7 Super Bowl wins, NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passing completions. Oh, and he is 45 and still playing elite-level football.
Tom Brady’s 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph features an action of a rookie Tom Brady alongside the classic and iconic Panini Contenders Championship Ticket design slight color variation with the gold background.
This Tom Brady 2000 Playoffs Contender Championship Ticket Autograph card was the most expensive card sold to date at $3,107,132.
1. 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes Autographed Rookie Card #161
Most of the football world knew that Patrick Mahomes was an exceptional talent; however, when he finally got the chance to show it a year after his rookie season, he earned himself an MVP and a Super Bowl ring with the Kanas City Chiefs. Now, he is widely heralded as the best quarterback in football today, which can explain why any Patrick Mahomes autographed card raises the eyebrows of the sports card market.
But what if that card was a one-of-one rookie card, including Patrick Mahomes’ autograph as well as the 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Mahomes card is a perfect storm of rarity, authenticity, and popularity. It also graded well, getting a rating of 8.5 from BGS.
July 2021 PWCC Marketplace held an auction for this 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes Autographed Rookie Card #161, and it sold for a staggering $4.3million. Not only does this card sit at the top for the most expensive football card, but it also ranks highly among the most expensive sports card ever.
That’s it for us and the most expensive football cards. If you’re looking for a space to expand your collection, hop on the Loupe app today! Collect your favorites on the gridiron from stars of today like Russell Wilson, Pat Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers to past all-time greats from the past like Steve Young, Barry Sanders, and Deion Sanders. Sellers have cards for any unique personal collection, including strictly offensive players’ rookie cards to vintage football cards of legendary status defensive players. Sign up and join the community to get free Loupe credits on your first purchase!