At some point after the 2000 NFL Draft, sixth round draft pick Tom Brady sat down to sign a bunch of autographs for a Texas-based trading card company called Playoff. Among the cards he signed were a group of 100 numbered cards for the company’s Contenders brand. He was paid a few dollars for each signature.
Little did the New England Patriots backup quarterback know that those cards would someday be worth millions.
In fact, Brady likely signed two cards within seconds of each other–numbers 59 and 63–that have sold within the last three months for over $1.7 million. On the heels of an $857,695 sale of a BGS 8/9 example in September, Lelands auctioned a second Contenders Rookie Ticket for $900,579 late Saturday night. The card was the top selling item in the company’s Fall Classic Auction.
While higher graded copies of Brady’s most sought after rookie card have sold for seven-figure prices over the last 12 months, any of the 100 serial numbered cards instantly ignites a battle among interested buyers. A total of 34 bids were made after the card opened at $150,000 last month.
Another Brady rookie card–this one actually more scarce–was the third highest selling item in the auction. The 2000 Fleer Showcase Legacy insert, numbered 13/20 and graded 8 by BGS, netted over $157,000.
The card is notable for its low production run but also for the photo of Brady on the back during a brief time in which he had shaved his head.
Modern cards accounted for nine of the top 12 selling lots in the auction. A 2020 National Treasures Stars & Stripes Justin Herbert Rookie Patch Autograph #9/20 graded BGS MINT 9/10 sold for $123,483.
One of six 2003-04 SP Signature “Famous Nicknames” LeBron James “The Chosen 1” Rookie Autograph (#19/25) that have been graded BGS GEM MINT 9.5 went for $106,669. Another Brady rookie card, this one a 2000 Leaf Certified Mirror Gold numbered 23/35 and graded 8.5 by BGS, went for $90,061.
The second highest priced item in the auction was decidedly vintage in nature. An early 1930s Mel Ott New York Giants jersey, matched to seven photographs used to create his baseball cards according to Resolution Photomatching, sold for $387,009.
Among the vintage cards was a signed copy of Roberto Clemente’s 1955 Topps rookie card. Offered to the hobby for the first time and originating with a New York autograph collector who began more than 60 years ago, the rare relic netted $77,797.
Other vintage cards and memorabilia sold included:
1953 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 8 $58,054
1958 Alifabolaget Pele rookie card PSA 3 $58,054
1961 Don Drysdale Dodgers road uniform $41,477
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle SGC 7 $33,434
1953 Topps Jackie Robinson SGC 8 $30,949
For complete results, click here.
The company’s next auction takes place this winter with consignments being accepted through January 16.
About Rich Mueller
Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for over 35 years and a collector for even longer than that, he’s usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected]