Top 25 Most Valuable Football Cards

1393014205741.cached 560x373Since the 1940’s and 50’s, football trading cards have grown into a large part of the sports trading card hobby with some of the most valuable cards ever pulled coming from the 1948 Leaf set that features an amazing assortment of football cards.

However, over the past 20 years, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have turned the hobby of collecting autographs into an art form thanks to their ability to stay away from lucrative contracts that force them to sign thousands of cards. Instead, they both have avoided signing too many cards forcing the price to rise beyond any price you can imagine.

So let’s take a look at the most expensive football trading cards ever sold.

25. Steve Young RC – $16,400

Year/Company: 1986 Topps

Grade: PSA 10

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24. Otto Graham RC – $16,500

Year/Company: 1950 Bowman

Grade: PSA 9

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23. Tony Dorsett RC – $16,631.67

Year/Company: 1978 Topps

Grade: PSA 10

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22. Dick “Night Train” Lane RC – $17,300

Year/Company: 1957 Topps

Grade: PSA 9

(Card pictured isn’t the PSA 9 listed here but it is the card)

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21. Roger Staubach RC – $17,766

Year/Company: 1972 Topps

Grade: PSA 9

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20. Bart Starr – $18,112

Year/Company: 1959 Topps

Grade PSA 10

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19. Johnny Unitas RC – $19,000

Year/Company: 1957 Topps

Grade: PSA 9

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18. Bart Starr RC – $21,600

Year/Company: 1958 Topps

Grade: PSA 10

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17. Tom Landry RC – $22,100

Year/Company: 1951 Bowman

Grade: PSA 10

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16. Tom Brady RC – $23,901

Year/Company: 2000 SP Authentic RC

Serial Numbered: 416 of 1,250

Grade: BGS 10

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15. Tom Brady RC – $24,329

Year/Company: 2000 Championship Contenders

Special Insert: Autograph

Grade: BGS 9 (Autograph 10)

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14. Jameis Winston RC – $25,000

Year/Company: 2015 National Treasures

Special Insert: Red Shield Patch Autograph

Serial Numbered: 1 of 1

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13. Walter Payton – $28,500

Year/Company: 1976 Topps

Grade: BVG 10

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12. Jim Lansford – $30,000

Year/Company: 1952 Bowman

Special Variation: Large Version

Grade: SGC 92

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11. Bob Waterfield – $31,600

Year/Company: 1948 Leaf

Grade: PSA 8.5

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10. Peyton Manning RC – $35,105

Year/Company: 1998 Playoff Contenders

Special Insert: Autograph Ticket

Grade: PSA 10

This was sold before he won the Super Bowl and retired. Over time, this is one of those cards that will rise in value because of its’ rarity. It isn’t easy to find a PSA 10, that means the card is in perfect condition. Peyton didn’t have hundreds of autographs during his rookie year besides this one which is just increasing its’ value.

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9. Sammy Baugh – $38,000

Year/Company:  1948 Leaf

Grade: SGC 96

Most cards that date back to before the Super Bowl are very rare to find in this type of condition but when they do show up, it doesn’t even matter who is on the card. A score of 96/100 from SGC is as close to perfection as they come in the 1948 Leaf collection. But to get a Sammy Baugh on it, that means it is more valuable than 76% of brand new cars being sold today.

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8. Charles Bednarik – $38,600

Year/Company:  1948 Leaf

Grade: PSA 8

Charles Bednarik was a rare type of football player. He played offense and defense but not the positions you would think. He played LB and he was their Center. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Charles served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during World War II before going on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949 to 1962, winning two NFL Championships.

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7. Terry Bradshaw RC – $50,190

Year/Company: 1971 Topps

Grade: PSA 9

Terry Bradshaw has been one of the only QBs in NFL history to win four Super Bowls. But because he didn’t have eye-popping numbers are passing yards, he never got the respect he deserved. He recently had one of his rookie cards sold at auction for more than any of them ever sold before.

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6. Paul Hornung RC – $50,324

Year/Company: 1957 Topps

Grade: PSA 9

The great halfback from Notre Dame went on to play for the Green Bay Packers, twice, throughout his eight year career. He won four NFL Championships and Super Bowl I before being named into the Green Bay Hall of Fame, among other awards. So when this guy’s card shows up with a PSA 9 rating, people started bidding.

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5. Sid Luckman- $71,800

Year/Company: 1948 Leaf

Special Variation: Yellow Background

Grade: PSA 8

Long before variations were common among football card sets, we had the 1948 Leaf set which had mistakes made during printing that was the cause of the variations. This was something that made them worth more money alone and not because they are graded a PSA 8.

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4. Jim Brown – $84,800

Year/Company: 1958 Topps

Grade: PSA 8.5

Jim Brown is arguably the greatest football player in NFL history. He retired after nine seasons, which is not something you would see these days, and was the NFL’s leading rusher, all-time at that time until 1984 when Walter Payton broke his record. So owning his rookie card in near mint condition is worth the price paid for it.

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3. Joe Namath RC – $92,433

Year/Company: 1965 Topps

Grade: PSA 8.5

The Joe Namath collection has become one of the most valuable in NFL trading card history. No one knows why except for the fact that this card was actually taken while he was in the hospital recovering from knee surgery. He posed for it while not even being able to stand up on his knee. It’s also very hard to find any Joe Namath 1965 Topps RC in such good condition like this one was when it sold for nearly 100k.

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2. Jim Thorpe – $119,500

Year/Company: 1933 Sport Kings

Grade: PSA 9

According to the PSA website, the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings set is one of the most sought after collections in all of sports mainly for the PSA 9 or higher valued cards like the Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb cards. Although this is a baseball set technically, Jim Thorpe was a football player that only dabbed a little in baseball. Since the card shows off his football playing skills, we included it because of its’ value and condition.

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1. Bronko Nagurski – $240,000

Year/Company: 1935 National Chicle

Grade: SGC 96

When it comes to football trading cards, there isn’t as many highly valuable cards like in baseball. But this 1935 Bronko Nagurski is the exception as it once sold for $240,000. The 96 out of 100 score means it might have one or two minor issues, if not less. For a card from almost 90 years ago, it is incredible that someone had it in this condition. But the luck goes beyond how they manage the card as the manufacturer also has to print it correctly and have proper spacing. It is pure luck to get this card and it’s worth every penny of the quarter of a million it sold for.

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