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March 02, 2024 21 min read

The Golden Game: Unveiling the Most Expensive Football Cards in Existence

Embark on a captivating journey through football history as we unveil the most coveted gems in the world of football cards. From vintage classics echoing the glory days of Terry Bradshaw to the latest masterpieces featuring the unparalleled Tom Brady, this exploration promises an exhilarating blend of nostalgia and contemporary brilliance. Join us as we delve into the stories behind these rare football cards, crafting a narrative that transcends eras and captivates the essence of football's illustrious past and present. Stay tuned as we navigate the intriguing landscape of the most expensive NFL cards, inviting you to discover if these pieces of history also hold substantial monetary value.

Vaulted Display Vault Air Card Edition

Most Valuable Football Cards to Collect and Fun Facts (TOP PICKS)

  • The most expensive football card in the world is 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes Autographed Rookie Card #161 and it was sold for $4,300,000 in 2021.
  • The rarest football card ever in our list is the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski #34 with only 36 copies.
  • The first football cards were included in cigarette packs in the 1880s. These early cards featured illustrations of players and were used as a marketing strategy to attract customers.
  • Topps is a major player in the sports card industry. They produced their first football card set in 1956 and have been a leading name in the business ever since.
  • Football card values depend on various factors like player popularity, card condition, rarity, grading, demand, sport, brand, historical significance, and market conditions. Star players and rookies, especially in mint condition, command higher values, as do limited edition or autographed cards. 
  • Professional grading, like PSA or Beckett, can enhance a card's value. 
  • Current market demand and trends play a significant role, and cards from iconic sports moments can be more valuable.

TOP 10 Most Valuable Football Cards in history

  1. 2017 National Treasures Platinum Patrick Mahomes II Autograph #161 - $4,300,000
  2. 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Tom Brady Autograph #144 - $3,107,372
  3. 2020 National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield Justin Herbert Autograph #158 - $1,800,000
  4. 2017 Panini National Treasure Patrick Mahomes II PAT. Autograph - Stars and Stripes - $720,000
  5. 2017 Panini Prizm Gold Vinyl Patrick Mahomes II Gold Vinyl #269 - $570,000
  6. 1958 Topps Jim Brown #62 - $358,500
  7. 2020 National Treasures Joe Burrow Patch Autographs- RED 1 - $336,000
  8. 2017 Panini Contenders Super Bowl Ticket Patrick Mahomes II Auto - $324,000
  9. 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady #118 - $312,000
  10. 2017 Panini Flawless Shield Signatures Patrick Mahomes II #4 - $312,000
Vaulted Display Vault Card Edition

TOP 30 Most Valuable Football Cards Ever Made

30. 1888 Goodwin Champions N162 Beecher

1888 Goodwin Champions N162 Beecher
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 30
  • Sale price: $30,000
  • Sale year: 2017
  • Sale location: Robert Edward Auctions
  • Grade: SGC 7

One of the rarest football cards and a cornerstone in the sport's trading card history. The card's vibrant orange backdrop frames Harry Beecher in an iconic seated pose, gripping a ball with his red hat perfectly complementing his fiery red hair. What sets this card apart is its unparalleled rarity and pristine condition, standing as the solitary example at its level among the forty-eight scrutinized by SGC. Notably, the next highest SGC grade is an EX+ 70, accentuating the card's exceptional standing. The ideal collector for this treasure is one who cherishes football's early days, captivated by the sport's trailblazers and eager to possess a tangible link to its formative years. This unique piece is a symbol of football's inception and a prized possession for those who appreciate the roots of the beautiful game.

29. 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw #156 

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw #156
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 29
  • Sale price: $43,200
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: PWCC Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

Against a serene blue backdrop, this card captures Bradshaw from the shoulders up, encapsulating the aura of his early football prominence.

As the top pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bradshaw's rookie journey paved the way to four Super Bowls and a distinguished spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This rare 1971 Topps rookie exemplifies perfection, highlighting Bradshaw's pre-season heroics that propelled the Steelers to a 4-1 record.

Your chance to reel in this gem is exclusive, as it's one of just 29 issues graded PSA 9 or better. Beyond ownership, acquiring this card means embracing a tangible tribute to one of football's all-time great quarterbacks, a relic that encapsulates the essence of Bradshaw's legendary career.

28. 1984 Topps John Elway #63 

1984 Topps John Elway #63
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 28
  • Sale price: $50,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: PWCC Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 10

The 1984 Topps Football John Elway captures the essence of a legend's early days. In this iconic card, the rookie, Elway, stands on the field with the number 7 emblazoned on his jersey.

Drafted by the Denver Broncos, Elway's rookie season set the stage for an illustrious career. This 1984 Topps rookie card encapsulates the quarterback's poised and triumphant demeanor on the field. A rare find, this card is a testament to Elway's impact, both as a player and an enduring football icon.

27. 1966 Philadelphia Gale Sayers #38 

1966 Philadelphia Gale Sayers #38
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 27
  • Sale price: $58,800
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

Gale Sayers, "The Kansas Comet," left an indelible mark on football, and the 1966 Philadelphia #38 Gale Sayers card serves as a timeless tribute to his brilliance. Capturing a moment frozen in time, Sayers is a graceful force on this card. His left leg is raised, showcasing the dynamism that defined his playing style. A white-clad lower half, paired with a blue shirt, creates a visually striking ensemble.

Named "The Kansas Comet" for his University of Kansas feats, Sayers truly ignited with the Chicago Bears in 1965, earning the NFL Rookie of the Year title. In a mere seven seasons, he displayed unmatched power, grace, and elusiveness. Honored as the top halfback of the NFL's first half-century in 1969, Sayers remains the youngest Football Hall of Fame inductee.

26. 1986 Topps Jerry Rice #161 

1986 Topps Jerry Rice #161
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 26
  • Sale price: $63,000
  • Sale year: 2023
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 10

A visual ode to the legendary wide receiver's beginnings. On this iconic card, Rice dons a white t-shirt adorned with three vibrant red stripes on each sleeve, a nod to his iconic style on the field. The unmistakable number 80 graces his jersey, signifying his enduring impact on the game.

Capturing a pivotal moment, Rice gazes over his right shoulder, a testament to his vision and ability to read the game. This card, part of the top selling football cards, encapsulates not only a rookie's journey but also the genesis of a player who would redefine the wide receiver position. As the holder of numerous NFL records, Rice's rookie card is a symbolic entry point into the storied career of one of football's all-time greats.

25. 1962 Topps Mike Ditka #17

1962 Topps Mike Ditka #17
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 25
  • Sale price: $72,000
  • Sale year: 2017
  • Sale location: Robert Edward Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

This exemplar stands as an exceptional ultra-high-grade representation of the Hall of Famer's rookie card within the challenging 1962 Topps football set. Among a meager four cards graded at this level, none surpass it out of the 673 cards scrutinized by PSA to date.

The rarity of this card is heightened by the notorious difficulty in preserving the 1962 Topps football set in high grade, given its black flush-to-the-border design prone to corner and edge wear. Yet, this Ditka rookie defies the odds, boasting a bright, crisp, and clean appearance with sharp corners, bold colors, and impeccable centering. A gem of less than one percent, graded MINT according to combined PSA and SGC population reports, this Ditka rookie card is a coveted piece for any elite 1962 Topps football set or Hall of Fame rookie-card collection.

Vaulted Display Vault Air Card Edition

24. 1948 Leaf Sammy Baugh Red Jersey #34

1948 Leaf Sammy Baugh Red Jersey #34
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 24
  • Sale price: $75,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 8.5

The 1948 Leaf Sammy Baugh (Red Jersey), an exceptionally rare rookie card commemorating the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Famer and passing pioneer. In the nascent years of Baugh's professional career in 1937, the football itself was rounder, and passing was a tough task. Slingin' Sammy Baugh revolutionized the game, transforming the forward pass from desperation to a potent offensive weapon.

Over fifteen seasons with Washington, Baugh propelled pro football into the modern era, leading the NFL in passing five times and securing two championships. The 1943 season saw him dominate in completions, interceptions, and punting. The card's aesthetics feature a blue background, a vivid red shirt donned by Baugh, and the iconic number 33 in striking yellow, making it a treasure for both history enthusiasts and collectors seeking long-term value.

23. 1981 Topps Joe Montana #216

1981 Topps Joe Montana #216
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 23
  • Sale price: $87,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Robert Edward Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 10

A coveted piece that secures its place among PSA's Top 250 Sportscards in the Hobby set. This esteemed recognition, featured in the book "Collecting Sports Legends: The Ultimate Hobby Guide" by Joe Orlando, identifies the most significant cards across various sports, underscoring the historical significance of Montana's rookie card.

Notably, premier rookie cards like Montana's, especially those in remarkably high grades, have commanded robust prices in the market. As a key player in the upper echelons of the hobby, this card not only encapsulates the inception of a football legend but also stands as a valuable investment for collectors seeking pieces with enduring significance. The 1981 Topps Joe Montana rookie card is a gateway to the golden era of football.

22. 1959 Topps Jim Brown #10

1959 Topps Jim Brown #10
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 22
  • Sale price: $91,200
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 10

The 1959 Topps Jim Brown stands as a testament to the legendary fullback's iconic status. Amidst over 2,350 examples documented in PSA's census, a mere three copies have ascended to this illustrious tier. The second-year card of Jim Brown typically confronts numerous condition challenges, with print streaks and centering issues often plaguing specimens from this seemingly hastily manufactured series.

However, the offered example defies the norm. This card emerges as an absolute paragon, with border alignment reaching virtual perfection and colors exuding splendid vibrancy.

21. 2019 National Treasures Crossover Rookie Patch Autos NFL Shield Kyler Murray #1

2019 National Treasures Crossover Rookie Patch Autos NFL Shield Kyler Murray #1
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 21
  • Sale price: $96,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 8

Is an exquisite Rookie Card capturing the Arizona Cardinals' dynamic quarterback. Kyler Murray's autograph, rendered in vibrant blue ink, adorns this Panini National Treasures collectible, emphasizing its rarity and significance. As the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray swiftly established himself, culminating in a breakout 2020 season with 3,971 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. The former Heisman Trophy winner showcased his dual-threat prowess with 819 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores, earning a well-deserved spot in the Pro Bowl. This card serves as a tangible testament to Murray's electrifying career trajectory, making it a prized possession for enthusiasts and collectors alike.

20. 2020 Donruss Optic Downtown Gold Vinyl Joe Burrow #40

2020 Donruss Optic Downtown Gold Vinyl Joe Burrow #40
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 20
  • Sale price: $108,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 7.5

The 2020 Donruss Optic Downtown Gold Vinyl #40 Joe Burrow, a one-of-a-kind treasure that encapsulates the spirit of the anointed franchise savior and former Heisman Trophy recipient from Louisiana State University. This debut-year collectible unveils a unique design, showcasing Burrow in the iconic tiger-striped uniform of the Bengals, surrounded by a pair of stalking tigers.

As the chosen one to lead the Bengals to glory, Joe Burrow's image on this card captures the essence of his dynamic presence on the field. The meticulous artistry of the Panini Donruss Optic Downtown Gold Vinyl series adds an extra layer of prestige to this already exceptional rookie card. Limited to an exclusive edition of #1/1, this card not only marks a historic moment in Joe Burrow's career but also stands as a remarkable testament to the fusion of art and sports within the realm of football card collecting.

19. 1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe Football #6

1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe Football #6
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 19
  • Sale price: $138,000
  • Sale year: 2020
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

A card that pays homage to the indelible mark left by the legendary athlete. Thorpe's triumphs are etched in football history with three World Championships alongside the Canton Bulldogs. In 1920, as the National Football League took its inaugural steps, Thorpe's stature was so revered that he was elected League president by the charter members.

Drawing parallels with the iconic Babe Ruth, Thorpe emerges as a "diamond in the rough," transcending his origins from the reservation. Much like Ruth, who rose from an orphanage, Thorpe carved his path to greatness, becoming not only a supreme talent but also a magnetic attraction for fans. The decision to include Thorpe in the Sport Kings issue, dedicated to excellence in sports, was an obvious one. As one of three gridiron luminaries honored by Sport Kings, alongside Red Grange and Knute Rockne, Thorpe stands as an enduring symbol of Native American superstar and football excellence. For enthusiasts seeking to connect with the historical significance of football, exploring the top football cards to collect, including the 1933 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe, provides a tangible link to the sport's rich heritage.

18. 1957 Topps John Unitas #138 

1957 Topps John Unitas #138
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 18
  • Sale price: $167,300
  • Sale year: 2016
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

The 1957 Topps Johnny Unitas, a card that immortalizes the iconic quarterback's impact on the sport. In 1958, Unitas etched his name in football lore by leading the Colts in "The Greatest Game Ever Played." This historic clash with the New York Giants for NFL supremacy featured lead changes, turnovers, a game-saving goal line stand, and a last-minute field goal, every moment resonating with the making of history.

Unitas's indomitable spirit shone brightest when the game ended in a tie, and the unsuspected overtime period was introduced. The Colts emerged victorious in this legendary encounter. Unitas, a four-time league Most Valuable Player, carried this winning legacy to Super Bowl V, securing another triumph. While the majority of his career unfolded in Baltimore, Unitas concluded his football journey in 1973 as a member of the San Diego Chargers, leaving an indelible mark on the NFL and earning his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

17.1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski  #34

1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski  #34
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 17
  • Sale price: $174,000
  • Sale year: 2019
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 8.5

Travel back in time to the football glory days with the 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski, an iconic card that encapsulates the remarkable journey of a two-way superstar. Rising from the ranks of the University of Minnesota, Nagurski's athletic prowess set the stage for his ascendancy as the most celebrated member of the 1930s Chicago Bears.

Throughout his nine seasons under the guidance of George Halas, Nagurski played an instrumental role in delivering three NFL Championships to the Windy City. This legendary tenure not only solidified his place in football history but also earned him the honor of being one of the inaugural inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside his iconic coach. With only 36 copies, this card, a relic from an era when football heroes were forged, is a timeless testament to Nagurski's enduring impact on the sport and stands as the rarest football card in the world.

16. 2021 Panini Absolute Tom Brady KABOOM - GREEN 1/1 #K24

2021 Panini Absolute Tom Brady KABOOM - GREEN 1/1 #K24
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 16
  • Sale price: $188,400
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 8

Featuring none other than the future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. A living legend, Brady boasts an illustrious career highlighted by three NFL Most Valuable Player awards and an unparalleled seven Super Bowl championships, securing his status as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the sport.

This exceptional "KABOOM!" green card showcases Brady in the navy uniform of the New England Patriots, his home for an extraordinary 20 seasons. During his tenure with the Patriots, Brady etched his name in NFL history, securing six Super Bowl titles and becoming a household name in the world of football.

15. 1976 Topps Walter Payton Rookie #148 

1976 Topps Walter Payton Rookie #148
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 15
  • Sale price: $228,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: SGC Pristine

The 1976 Topps Walter Payton, a card that captures the genesis of a legendary career. In 1976, Payton showcased a remarkable performance, earning the first of his nine Pro Bowl appearances. The following year, despite battling a 101-degree fever, Payton set a single-game record of 275 yards, solidifying his status as an indomitable force.

Walter Payton, with his electrifying presence on the field, emerged as the enduring face of the Chicago Bears. This card, a relic from the formative years of Payton's career, is not just a collectible but a tangible connection to the greatness that defined the NFL landscape during that era.

14. 2021 National Treasures Platinum Trevor Lawrence Autograph #156

2021 National Treasures Platinum Trevor Lawrence Autograph #156
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 14
  • Sale price: $264,000
  • Sale year: 2023
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 8 

Selected as the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lawrence's signature in blue ink graces this exceptional debut-year collectible, situated just below a captivating multicolored NFL Shield logo patch.

Fast-forward to Lawrence's remarkable sophomore NFL season in 2022, where he made waves by throwing for an impressive 4,113 yards and orchestrating 25 touchdowns against a mere eight interceptions. The pinnacle of his season came during a historic Wild Card round, as Lawrence led the Jaguars to a sensational 27-point comeback, clinching a thrilling 31-30 victory over Justin Herbert's Los Angeles Chargers. This card not only captures Lawrence's ascent to stardom but also immortalizes the defining moments that underscore his status as a dynamic force in the league, making it a coveted addition to any football collector's showcase.

13. 1965 Topps Joe Namath #122

1965 Topps Joe Namath #122
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 13
  • Sale price: $264,000
  • Sale year: 2018
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

Much like Namath's historic victory in Super Bowl III, the remarkable condition of this specimen is nothing short of a surprise. The oversized dimensions of the card have posed a challenge to its preservation, making this elite representation a rare gem among over 1,200 attempts.

In the vast landscape of football card collecting, only four examples have matched the pristine condition of this card on the PSA population chart, with none ascending to loftier heights. Namath's rookie card becomes not just a testament to his iconic career but a tangible rarity, capturing a snapshot of a bygone era in football history. Acquiring this card means possessing not only a piece of Namath's legacy but also a symbol of resilience and rarity in the ever-evolving world of sports collectibles.

12. 2000 Bowman Gold Tom Brady (#12/99) #236

2000 Bowman Gold Tom Brady (#12/99) #236
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 12
  • Sale price: $288,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 9

A gem that stands out as an extremely limited and highly sought Gold variant, numbered to a mere 99. This rarity elevates it to one of the scarcest Brady rookies in existence. Adding an extra layer of significance, this particular rookie card holds the coveted number 12 of 99, mirroring Brady's iconic jersey number.

In the grand tradition where Jordan immortalized the number 23 and Mantle left an indelible mark on the number 7, Brady has undeniably transformed the number 12 into a symbol of excellence. Regarded as the best, the pinnacle of football greatness, this card holds the potential to be one of the most crucial additions to any Brady card collection this season. Overlooking this masterpiece would be a disservice to collectors, as it encapsulates not just a moment in Brady's early career but also a piece of history that should be cherished by enthusiasts and fans alike.

11. 1957 Topps Bart Starr #119

1957 Topps Bart Starr #119

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 11
  • Sale price: $288,000
  • Sale year: 2017
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

A timeless piece that pays tribute to a legendary quarterback. Starr, the mastermind behind leading the Green Bay Packers to glory on five occasions, including triumphant victories in the inaugural two editions of the Super Bowl, leaves an indelible mark on the sport.

Now, at the venerable age of eighty-three, Starr stands as one of the greatest living veterans of professional football. His enduring legacy transcends eras, marking him as an essential soldier in the transformation that saw football surpass baseball as the nation's most popular sport. This card serves not just as a collectible but as a tangible connection to an icon whose impact reverberates through the annals of football history, making it a coveted possession for enthusiasts seeking a piece of the enduring legacy of Bart Starr.

Vaulted Display Vault Card Edition

10. 2017 Panini Flawless Shield Signatures Patrick Mahomes II #4

2017 Panini Flawless Shield Signatures Patrick Mahomes II #4

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 9
  • Sale price: $312,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 7.5

This card stands as a testament to the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes II, featuring a resplendent NFL shield patch adorned with his blazing blue ink signature.

As the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player, Mahomes etched his name in football history by steering the Kansas City Chiefs to consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. A defining moment unfolded in Super Bowl LIV, where Mahomes' exceptional performance led to a historic comeback victory over the San Francisco 49ers, earning him the coveted Super Bowl MVP honors. This card encapsulates not just a signature and a patch but the essence of Mahomes' extraordinary journey, making it an unparalleled addition for collectors seeking a tangible piece of the quarterback's meteoric rise to greatness.

9. 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady #118

2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady #118
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 10
  • Sale price: $312,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 10

Brady's impact on the NFL has been nothing short of legendary, with an astounding 79,204 passing yards and an impressive 581 touchdowns. This card serves as a visual chronicle of Brady's initial steps into professional football, a testament to the excellence that would define his enduring legacy. For collectors seeking more than just memorabilia, the SP Authentic Rookie Card is a gateway to the beginnings of a football icon, encapsulating the essence of Tom Brady's remarkable career.

8. 2017 Panini Contenders Super Bowl Ticket Patrick Mahomes II Autograph #303

2017 Panini Contenders Super Bowl Ticket Patrick Mahomes II Autograph #303

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 8
  • Sale price: $324,000
  • Sale year: 2023
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 9

In 2017, Mahomes made a fleeting appearance before catapulting into stardom in 2018, leaving an indelible mark with a league-leading fifty touchdowns and an impressive 9.6 yards per passing attempt. His remarkable achievements earned him not only the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year Award but also the prestigious NFL MVP Awards.

Since then, Mahomes has further solidified his legacy, securing two Super Bowl Championships and hinting at the potential for more rings to come. This card serves as a unique relic from the early days of Mahomes' extraordinary career, capturing the essence of a quarterback who transformed from a rookie sensation into one of the most formidable forces in the NFL.

7.2020 National Treasures Joe Burrow Patch Autographs- RED 1 (#1/1)  #156

2020 National Treasures Joe Burrow Patch Autographs- RED 1 (#1/1)  #156

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 7
  • Sale price: $336,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 8 

This singular piece features Burrow's distinctive blue ink signature and is elevated by a vibrant, multicolored authentic memorabilia patch on the card front. It has become of the of utmost expensive NFL trading cards for collectors to chase.

Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy recipient from Louisiana State University, etches his mark on this card after a stellar sophomore NFL season. Amassing 4,611 passing yards and orchestrating 34 touchdowns with an NFL-best 70.4 percent completion rate, Burrow catapulted the Bengals to a historic Super Bowl LVI appearance. This card is not just a collectible; it encapsulates a moment in time when Burrow firmly established himself among the NFL's elite quarterbacks. For those exploring the most popular football cards, the 2020 Panini National Treasures Joe Burrow RPA  is a must-have in any collection.

6. 1958 Topps Jim Brown #62 

1958 Topps Jim Brown #62

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 6
  • Sale price: $358,500
  • Sale year: 2016
  • Sale location: Heritage Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 9

Initially The Sporting News Rookie of the Year, it later hailed him as the greatest professional football player ever. The sixth pick in the 1957 draft, Brown was known for toughness, not elusive rushes. At Syracuse, he was the second leading rusher in his sophomore year and averaged 5.2 yards per carry the next season. His college finale featured unanimous first-team All-American honors, multiple records, and prowess in basketball, track, and lacrosse, earning more All-American accolades. In the NFL, Brown's bone-rattling style secured the rushing title for eight of his nine seasons. His 1963 record of 1,863 rushing yards stands as a Cleveland Browns franchise peak. Averaging 5.2 yards per carry, Brown's 1957 debut saw him lead all NFL running backs with an impressive 942 rushing yards—an enduring testament to his football legacy.

5. 2017 Panini Prizm Gold Vinyl Patrick Mahomes II #269

1958 Topps Jim Brown #62

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 5
  • Sale price: $570,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 10

Mahomes, a Super Bowl champion in his rookie year as a starter, orchestrated Kansas City's unforgettable 42-36 overtime comeback triumph against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 NFL Divisional Playoff Round.

This card not only captures the essence of Mahomes' meteoric rise, it is also one of the most expensive Panini football cards to date. With only 5 of these Gold Vinyl Prizm cards in existence, this piece is a testament to Mahomes' extraordinary talent and the exhilarating moments he crafts on the gridiron.

4.2017 Panini National Treasure Patrick Mahomes II Patch Autograph - Stars and Stripes #161

2017 Panini National Treasure Patrick Mahomes II Patch Autograph - Stars and Stripes #161

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 4
  • Sale price: $720,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: PSA 10

The 2017 Panini National Treasures "Stars & Stripes Patch Autographs" Patrick Mahomes II RPA, a testament to Mahomes' rapid ascent to the NFL quarterback elite and one of the most valuable Panini football cards in existence. In a remarkable narrative, Mahomes solidified his status as a top-tier signal-caller with a historic comeback victory in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

This card encapsulates Mahomes' exceptional talent, marking his place among the football elite in one of the most valuable NFL cards do date. The former Texas Tech quarterback stands alongside Peyton Manning as one of only two quarterbacks in NFL history to achieve a season with 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, achieving this feat with his MVP-worthy performance in 2018. With only 13 of these "Stars & Stripes Patch Autographs" in existence, this card is a collector's gem.

3. 2020 National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield Justin Herbert Autograph (#1/1) #158 

2020 National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield Justin Herbert Autograph (#1/1) #158

  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 3
  • Sale price: $1,800,000
  • Sale year: 2022
  • Sale location: Goldin Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 8.5 

This exclusive "1/1" card is graced by the vibrant blue ink signature of the Los Angeles Chargers' standout quarterback.

The card front unfolds in a visual spectacle, showcasing a captivating multicolored authentic memorabilia patch adorned with the iconic NFL Shield logo. Justin Herbert's autograph adds a personalized touch, rendering this card a true masterpiece.

2. 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Tom Brady Autograph #144

2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Tom Brady Autograph #144
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 2
  • Sale price: $3,107,372
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: Lelands Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 9

A true marvel in the realm of the most expensive NFL cards. Bearing the autograph of the GOAT himself, this card commemorates Brady's incredible achievements, including his recent capture of a 7th Super Bowl title and a 5th Super Bowl MVP award.

This card is one of only seven BGS MINT 9 examples worldwide, underscoring its exclusivity. As Brady continues to solidify his position as the Greatest of All Time, this card, recognized as one of the rarest NFL cards, stands as a testament to his unparalleled legacy. Despite its 2000 production and a limited print run of 100, not a single card has surpassed the remarkable BGS MINT 9 grade, making it a unique and highly coveted piece for collectors seeking a tangible piece of football history.

Vaulted Display Vault Air Card Edition

1. 2017 National Treasures Platinum Patrick Mahomes II Autograph #161 

2017 National Treasures Platinum Patrick Mahomes II Autograph #161
  • Rank - Most Expensive Football Card: 1
  • Sale price: $4,300,000
  • Sale year: 2021
  • Sale location: PWCC Auctions
  • Grade: BGS 8.5

The most expensive NFL card – The 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes, the most expensive rookie card ever. Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs' maestro, has left his indelible mark on this card with a signature in vibrant blue ink. Dressed in a striking red uniform, Mahomes' presence is further accentuated by an NFL patch that adds a touch of authenticity to this collector's gem.

This card stands as the most expensive football card ever sold and encapsulates the essence of Mahomes' rookie journey, showcasing both his distinctive autograph and the iconic NFL Shield.

Final Thoughts

As we conclude this journey through the world of football cards, we've uncovered not other collectibles, but pieces of history. Each card tells a unique tale of triumph, legacy, and greatness. From the pioneering 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions Beecher, the trailblazer, to the contemporary marvels like the 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Patrick Mahomes,, every card is a snapshot frozen in time. These cards transcend the realm of mere collectibles; they are artifacts of sporting immortality. As you contemplate the stories etched on these cards, remember, they're not just ink and paper; they're gateways to the magic, passion, and enduring legacy of the beautiful game. Are football cards worth anything? They are worth everything. The journey doesn't end here; it's an ongoing saga of heroes immortalized in cardboard, inviting you to be a part of their enduring narrative.

FAQs

What is the most valuable football card?

Considered by some as the best football card in the world, the 2017 Panini National Treasures Platinum Patrick Mahomes NFL Shield Rookie Autograph stands unparalleled as the world’s most expensive football card. In a private transaction held in July 2021, this iconic card shattered records, commanding a staggering $4.3 million. This extraordinary sale not only solidified the card's status as the most valuable in football card history but also etched Patrick Mahomes' name in the chronicles of collectibles lore. The transaction of the best football card ever marked a convergence of rarity, autographic significance, and a fervent collector's desire, culminating in a historic price tag. For enthusiasts on the hunt for football cards worth money, this card stands as a prime example of the market's high-value treasures. Whether or not you're in the market for cards in the million dollar range, it's still wise to protect and store your personal collection wtih a trade card case.

What Joe Montana cards are worth money?

Several Joe Montana cards hold significant value, showcasing the dynamic pricing landscape within the collector's market. Whether it's his rookie card or limited-edition releases, exploring the highest value football cards featuring Joe Montana reveals the intriguing dynamics of card valuation.

1.1981 Topps Joe Montana Rookie Card #216:

  • Price Range: $50 to $74,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $87,000
2.1986 Topps Joe Montana #156:
  • Price Range: $1 to $3,650
  • Highest Sale Price: $6,000
3.1985 Topps Joe Montana #157:
  • Price Range: $10 to $1,350
  • Highest Sale Price: $3,500

What was the first football card ever made?

1888 N162 Goodwin Champions Beecher, the inaugural American football card emerged in 1888 as part of a set comprising 50 cards found in packs of "Old Judge" and "Gypsy Queen" cigarettes. This historic card showcased Yale player Henry W. Beecher, solidifying its status as the earliest documented football card and landing itself on this exclusive list of nfl cards worth money. Subsequently, the Mayo Cut Plug Tobacco Company pioneered the first comprehensive set dedicated to American football players in 1894. This groundbreaking collection boasted 35 cards featuring Ivy League players, marking a pivotal moment in the intersection of sports and collectibles. From the pioneering days of Beecher's card to Mayo's pioneering set, these early artifacts laid the foundation for the rich tapestry of football card history.