What Are The Rarest Football Collector Cards?

What Are The Rarest Football Collector Cards?

Are there any rare football cards in your collection that you’d like to sell? It’s conceivable, and they don’t even have to be very ancient in order to be regarded as valuable.

More people in America watch National Football League (NFL) games than any other professional sports league, and the NFL is the most profitable sports organization in the country.

That interest in the NFL trading card market has remained high may come as no surprise in light of all of this. Football has been a major part of American culture since its founding in the early 1900s.

Here are some of the rarest and most valuable American football collector cards:

  • 1998 Peyton Manning Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto Rookie Card

Due to its rarity (only 200 were printed), this card is a must-have for any serious collector. Manning is one of the best player ever, one of the best quarterbacks in the world and the third one with most passing touchdowns in history (find out who has the most passing touchdowns ever here).

The fact that this is Manning’s sole autographed rookie card raises its market value even further. A gold version of this card was reportedly limited to just 25 cards, but since it is hard to verify, the actual number is unknown.

A red version of this card was sold in November 2016 for $52,580, and estimates put the value of the gold version at around $65,000.

  • 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski Rookie Card

For decades, Bronko Nagurski was one of football’s most dangerous runners. In 1963, he was inducted into the NFL’s Hall of Fame, and his National Chile rookie card from 1935 is the most valuable football card ever produced.

As a high-numbered card in the collection (#34 out of 36 total cards), this set is significantly more challenging to put together. The card shows Nagurski in his University of Minnesota uniform, where he was an All-American, but he played with the Chicago Bears from 1930 through 1937 and temporarily returned in 1943. $450,000 is the estimated value.

  • 1948 Leaf Sid Luckman Rookie Card

It has an estimated value of $46,500. The 1948 Leaf set has the most cards on this list, and Luckman’s rookie is the most valuable of them all. The design of the card is vibrant, with a good depiction of Luckman tossing the ball to a potential receiver.

While several of the cards in this collection are available in multiple designs, Luckman is only available in one.

  • 2000 Playoff contender’s championship ticket Tom Brady rookie card

Ever since he won six consecutive super bowl championships, the 2000 Playoff contenders championship ticket Tom Brady’s rookie card has become a must buy for collectors over the years as one of the two autographed rookie cards on the list.

As it is a dream card for many, Brady’s card has surpassed its previous competitor, Peyton Manning’s card, by a long shot, going for a sky-high price of $400,100 in a BGS 9 holder in the latest auctions.

  • 1965 Topps Joe Namath Rookie card

Arguably, Joe Namath’s rookie card is the most popular card of all football cards, but it is not the most valued one out there. This card has a very high risk of wear and tear, mainly because of its size and design. Measuring 2 1/2″ x 4 11/16″, the card is much larger than the average sports card.

It is said, according to collectors, that the card has a ‘butterfly variation’ which is the obvious print mark at the back of the player’s hand. This doesn’t affect the value of the card.

  • 1957 Topps Johnny Unitas Rookie Card

With an estimated PSA 9 value of $140,000, the horizontal layout and dual-pane design are the distinguishable characteristics of the Topps 1957 football set. Amongst this set are the Paul Homung and Bart Starr cards. Because these cards are part of the double-printed series, they are not particularly scarce, except the high-grade ones, which are particularly valuable.


So, there you have it. For those who are collectors, it is, however, essential to stick to the collection of what you love.

Remember that some of these football cards are an investment safer than gold or stocks and they are normally auctioned for a lot of money.