Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2021 Issue

Another Record Price for a Collectible Card

The $2.25 million Brady card (Lelands photo).

Once in a while, a collecting field becomes so hot it's hard to even keep up with what is going on. Such is the case with collector cards these days. It's reminiscent of tulips a few centuries ago, but hopefully, with a better ending.

 

Last month we wrote about a slew of record prices for collectible cards. Between last November and March, record prices were set for cards in every major team sport – baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. That article has already become outdated. Another record price has come tumbling down and it isn't even close. That record lasted only a month before being eclipsed by a new record price that is almost $1 million higher.

 

Last month, Lelands, a sports auction house, set a new record price for a football card. That price was $2.25 million, or, to be exact, $2,252,854.80. It was a rookie card for one Tom Brady, a 2000 Playoff Contenders Champion Rookie Ticket produced in “only” 100 copies. As you may know, Brady has gone on to have a very record-setting career himself. Based on this price, the complete card run, if in comparable condition, would be worth $225 million today.

 

What is astonishing is how fast these prices have risen. A month earlier, the same card, in very similar condition, sold for $1.32 million. That is an increase of $930,000 or 70% in just one month. This latest card was graded at 8.5, and 9 for the autograph, while the one from a month before was graded an 8 with the autograph at 10.

 

Making this all the more remarkable is how fast football cards had been appreciating even before the March sale. The $1.32 million paid for the March Brady card itself broke a record only one month old, and that, too, was by a large margin. The previous record was for a Patrick Mahomes card that sold for $861,000. So that was an increase in over 50% in just a month. But as they say on TV infomercials, “wait, there's more.” Another Brady card sold in January for what is believed to have been a then record price of $556,000. The Mahomes card, too, represented over a 50% increase from the previous record. Add them all up and you have an increase in the record price paid for a football card between January and April of over 300%.

 

Another way of looking at it is that another copy of the $2.25 million Brady card, in a little better condition (9/10) sold for $400,000 two years ago. That is a 460% rise in value in just two years. How are your investments doing?

 

So, what does Tom Brady think of all this? Interviewed on Good Morning America, Brady said, “It’s surreal, and it makes me want to go check all my cards that I have stored. There’s got to be one in there somewhere. And I kept all these cards for all these years. You know, when I was coming out I tried to make some money. My agent, Steve, was like, ‘I got a trading card deal for you. Sign a thousand cards and they’re going to pay you like 20 cents a card.’ And I was like, ‘Twenty cents a card? I’m going to be rich!’ Unbelievable. Twenty-one years later you see these cards that are worth that kind of money. I definitely should’ve kept some of them but whatever I think it all worked out pretty good.”

 

Now, would you like some more evidence of just how crazy the card collecting field has become? Unlike with books, there are independent grading services that will put a condition score on cards so collectors can put an informed value on them. The primary grader is PSA. Recently, they stopped accepting new cards for evaluation. The reason? They are overwhelmed. They have such a large backlog of cards to grade they don't know when they can get to them all so they have just stopped accepting any more. In a letter from PSA President Steve Sloan, he explained, “The sheer volume of orders that PSA received in early March has fundamentally changed our ability to service the hobby. The reality is that we recently received more cards in three days than we did during the previous three months. Even after the surge, submissions continue at never-before-seen levels. Given our growing backlog, it would be disingenuous for us to continue to accept submissions for cards that we will be unable to process in the foreseeable future.”

 

These are not some tattered old cards someone found in the attic, worth maybe a few bucks each. These are cards often worth thousands, even hundreds of thousands, once in awhile millions, of dollars. Would you like a tulip with that?

Rare Book Monthly

  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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