The Most Expensive Football Card in the World 

Are you curious to know what is considered the most expensive football card ever sold? Read on to find out which collector’s item holds this title!

What is the Most Expensive Football Card?

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive football card in the world is? Well, now you can find out! Football cards have become an increasingly popular collectible item over the years, and many ultra-rare editions can fetch staggering amounts of money. 

In this blog post, we’ll be examining why certain football cards come with such hefty price tags and exploring which one holds the title for being the most expensive of them all. If you’re a collector or die-hard fan who loves learning about historical memorabilia, then this blog post is definitely for you! 

So keep reading to discover more about why some football cards carry higher values than others.

What Are Football Cards?

Football cards are collectible trading cards featuring players from the NFL, NCAA, and other professional football leagues. They have been around for decades and were initially popularized as a way to show off your favorite team and player. 

Some of these cards feature rare characteristics like autographs from the players or one-of-a-kind prints that make them even more valuable. Football cards can be incredibly rare, and if you are lucky enough to find one from years ago, it could be worth a lot of money!

Why Are Some Football Cards So Valuable? 

The value of football cards comes in part from their scarcity. There are only so many original copies of certain cards available, meaning that the demand far outstrips the supply. 

But scarcity alone isn’t enough to make a card valuable. Other factors like condition, age, and edition also play a role in determining its value. So essentially, the most expensive football cards are those that have all these attributes combined: rarity, condition, age, and edition. 

The Most Expensive Football Cards: What Are They?

#1 Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Autographed Rookie Card #161

Final Price: $4,300,000 (July 2021)

#1 Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Autographed Rookie Card #161

Prepare to be stunned as we unveil the most valuable football card on the market. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes takes the top spot with his 2017 National Treasures NFL Shield Autographed Rookie Card #161, which fetched a jaw-dropping $4.3 million in a private sale on PWCC Marketplace in July 2021.

This premium football card product, released by Panini on March 21, 2017, features the illustrious serial numbered 1/1 card with a BGS 8.5 condition rating and Mahomes’ pristine signature, earning a perfect BGS 10. As Mahomes signed the richest contract in NFL history for ten years and $450 million, the excitement and anticipation for both the player and collectors are sky-high.

It’s worth noting that the most expensive football trading card ever sold isn’t from a household name like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Instead, it comes from the rising star of the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This impressive card showcases Mahomes’ exceptional talent, with its 8.5 rating and the signature NFL shield logo patch, making it a highly sought-after treasure among passionate collectors.

Mahomes has already etched his name in NFL history, becoming the only player to throw for over 5,000 yards in a single season in both college football and the NFL during his rookie year as a starting quarterback in 2018. Additionally, he led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in fifty years during the 2019-2020 playoff season, earning himself the Super Bowl MVP title.

At just 27 years old, Patrick Mahomes II has proven himself as one of the most decorated players in NFL history. With 2 Super Bowl championships, 2 Super Bowl MVP titles, and 2 NFL MVP awards, his future in the league holds limitless potential. This remarkable achievement has collectors clamoring for the chance to own rare Mahomes football cards.

In July 2021, the 2017 Panini National Treasures Platinum #161 Patrick Mahomes II NFL Shield Rookie Autograph 1/1 surpassed all previous records, selling for an astounding $4.3 million in a private sale. This rookie card features a captivating image of a young Mahomes donning his iconic red Chiefs uniform, scanning the field for his receivers. With the distinctive red, white, and blue NFL shield patch on the right side of the card and Mahomes’ autograph beneath his image, this piece represents the epitome of the excitement and potential surrounding this electrifying player.

As collectors eagerly pursue rare Mahomes football cards, this record-breaking sale demonstrates the enduring fame and allure that Mahomes will continue to hold in the eyes of fans and enthusiasts alike. 

#2 Tom Brady 2000 Rookie Card and Unmatched Legacy #144

Final Price: $3,107,372 (June 2021)

When it comes to modern football, Tom Brady is revered as the “Greatest of All Time.” With a career spanning from his rookie season in 2000 to his final season in 2022, Brady’s impact on the NFL is undeniable. He led the New England Patriots to an unprecedented six Super Bowl victories, more than any other player in history. Even after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, he secured another Super Bowl win.

Brady’s achievements go beyond the field. He holds the distinction of being the first unanimous NFL MVP and has the most Pro Bowl selections for any player. He is also the only quarterback to be named to two all-decade teams and has won Super Bowls in three different decades. It’s no wonder that his cards are highly sought-after in the trading market.

One particular card stands out among the rest – the Tom Brady #144 championship ticket autographed rookie card. This card once held the record as the most expensive NFL card, fetching a staggering $3,107,372 at a Lelands auction in 2021. Featuring Brady in action, with his autograph proudly displayed, this card is a prized possession for any football card collector.

Brady’s extraordinary accomplishments on the field, including being the first unanimous NFL MVP, holding the most Pro Bowl selections, and being named to two all-decade teams, contribute to the extraordinary value and desirability of his cards. As a five-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time NFL MVP, and ten-time Pro Bowler, Brady’s prowess is unmatched.

While Brady’s card may have been surpassed in value by others, its significance remains. With its iconic image and impeccable condition, it has secured its place as the second most expensive football card ever sold.

Tom Brady’s greatness as a quarterback is indisputable, evidenced by his record-breaking Super Bowl wins and numerous accolades. He has left a lasting legacy in the NFL, and the market for his football cards serves as a testament to his place in history.

#3 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #091

Final Price: $2,404,372 (April 2021)

This card recently sold for an impressive $2,404,000, making it one of the most valuable football cards ever sold. However, there may be more opportunities for collectors to acquire this sought-after card in the future. 

In April 2021, a near-mint-to-mint condition card with a Beckett grading of 8.5 and an authentic autograph grade of 9 fetched $2,252,854.80 through Lelands. It’s noteworthy that this card was once available for just $4901 in 2016. What a missed opportunity for some lucky investors!

#4 Justin Herbert 2020 Panini National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield #158 

Final Price: $1,800,000 (September 2022)

#4 Justin Herbert 2020 Panini National Treasures Platinum NFL Shield #158 

This extraordinary card recently fetched an impressive $1,800,000 at auction in September 2022, solidifying its place as one of the most valuable football cards ever sold.

Justin Herbert, at just 22 years old, took the football world by storm during his rookie season as quarterback of the LA Chargers. Not only did he secure the esteemed title of Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, but he also shattered numerous rookie records along the way. From passing touchdowns to yards per game, Herbert’s performance had fans and experts alike in awe.

What makes this card even more special is its grading. With a remarkable NM-MT+ 8.5 by BGS and a perfect “10” signature grade by Beckett, you can trust that you’re adding a top-tier collectible to your arsenal.

The cardfront presentation is simply breathtaking, showcasing a stunning multicolored authentic memorabilia patch adorned with the iconic NFL Shield logo. With his star power rising in the NFL and the collectibles industry, Herbert’s cards have the potential for enduring value—especially if his remarkable success continues on its upward trajectory.

#5 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #025

Final Price: $1,470,000 (September 2022)

This highly sought-after card solidly secures a position on the prestigious list of the most expensive football cards, specifically slots five through nine.

Ranking at number five, the card’s most recent sale fetched an impressive $1,470,000. The demand for this card remains high, making it highly probable for it to make another appearance at auction, commanding a substantial price.

#6 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #056 

Final Price: $1,410,000 (September 2022)

Discover the sheer value of the Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie card #056, which recently fetched an impressive $1,410,000 in auction. 

Ranking sixth among the priciest football cards ever sold, this exclusive piece holds significant potential for future collectors. Although not every card in this series has been auctioned recently, the consistently robust prices over the past three years underscore the continued upward trajectory of these collectibles.

#7 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #048

Final Price: $1,309,722

Prepare to be amazed by the astonishing value of Tom Brady’s 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card! Recently sold at auction for an astounding $1,309,722, this incredible piece of sports memorabilia has claimed its well-deserved spot as the seventh most valuable football card globally.

However, if the current buzz surrounding the upcoming auction of card #144 is any indication, brace yourself for the possibility of this card surpassing millionaire status. 

#8 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #029

Final Price: $1,290,000

Highly sought-after and immensely valuable, the Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #029 recently fetched an impressive price of $1,290,000 at auction. 

This rare collectible, made early in the printing run, holds immense appeal to passionate sports memorabilia enthusiasts. 

#9 Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Card #099

Final Price: $1,234,843

Discover the captivating story of the Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Autograph Rookie Card #099, which recently made headlines with its astonishing sale price. 

This highly sought-after card, the last of its kind on our list, commanded a staggering $1,234,843 at auction. As we explore the current top ten most expensive football cards of all time, it becomes clear that this legendary card will undoubtedly continue to captivate collectors and influence the memorabilia trading market for years to come. 

#10 Justin Herbert 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite Prizms card #325

#10 Justin Herbert 2020 Panini Prizm Black Finite Prizms card #325

Final Price: $1,000,000

This is listed as one of the most expensive football cards ever sold. This card, ranking tenth on the list, achieved a remarkable sale price of over $1,000,000. 

While not considered rare in quantity, the immense value of Herbert’s cards can be attributed to his outstanding performance as a rookie. 

#11 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski #34 

Final Price: $750,000

#11 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski #34 

Own a piece of football history with this highly coveted 1935 National Chicle Bronko Nagurski #34 card. This legendary superstar runner was captured in his prime, before his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1963.

Part of a set of only 36 cards, this #34 card is extremely rare and sought after by collectors. Recently, a card from the same set was sold for an impressive $750,000 at Heritage Auctions.

The card showcases Nagurski during his time playing for the University of Minnesota in his All-American uniform. Although he had a successful career with the Chicago Bears from 1930-1937, this card is the only surviving one from the set, as there were no cards issued during his 1943 stint with the team.

Bronko Nagurski was known as one of the most feared runners in the game, and this card captures him in all his glory. Acquiring this high number card from the set is a challenge in itself, as the set is notoriously difficult to complete.

#12 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw Rookie Card

Final Price: $430,500

#12 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw Rookie Card

Terry Bradshaw, the legendary quarterback who led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories and earned the 1978 MVP award, has become an iconic figure in the world of football. Beyond his on-field achievements, Bradshaw has remained in the public eye for decades as a beloved sportscaster and reality TV personality.

Now, let’s talk about the card that captures the essence of Bradshaw’s rise to fame – the 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw Rookie Card. This card holds immense value, not only due to Bradshaw’s celebrity status but also because of its scarcity. Very few of these cards have been given the prestigious PSA 10 rating, denoting their exceptional condition.

What’s fascinating about these cards is not just their rarity, but also the fact that they provide a glimpse into Bradshaw’s early years when he sported a head full of luscious blonde locks. It’s a nostalgic reminder of his iconic presence on our TV screens every football Sunday.

If you’re a collector or a football enthusiast, owning a 1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw Rookie Card is a true testament to this quarterback’s remarkable career. And if you’re lucky enough, you might come across a gem mint card like the one that recently sold at an astonishing price of $430,500 through Goldin Auctions in 2021. 

#13 Jim Brown 1958 Topps Rookie Card #62

Final Price: $358,500 (November 2016)

#13 Jim Brown 1958 Topps Rookie Card #62

This card showcases one of the greatest power running backs in NFL history during his prime.

Jim Brown’s impressive career as a fullback for the Cleveland Browns is legendary. He earned numerous accolades, including three NFL MVP recognitions, eight seasons as the NFL rushing yards leader, and a position on the 1960s all-decade team. He was also Rookie of the Year in 1957 and made nine Pro Bowl appearances.

This particular card holds immense value, selling for an impressive $358,500 at auction in November 2016. Its near-pristine grade of PSA 9 contributes to its rarity and high worth.

Out of a card population of 3619, only five have graded at PSA 9, making it an extremely rare find. It represents just 0.001% of the total population.

Jim Brown’s dominance on the field is still celebrated to this day. As one of the NFL’s all-time great running backs, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Even after his football career, he continued to inspire through his philanthropic endeavors.

The 1958 Topps #62 Jim Brown card features an action shot of the player running with the ball, surrounded by a sleek circular border on a solid black background. At the bottom, you’ll find Brown’s name, position, and team proudly displayed. 

#14 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady Rookie Card #118 

Final Price: $312,000 (April 2021) 

Issued by Upper Deck, this rookie card is widely regarded as one of the most valuable Tom Brady cards out there. Graded a perfect BGS 10 and limited to just 1250 copies, it’s a true gem for collectors.

Given Tom Brady’s legendary status in the football world, it’s no surprise that his rookie card consistently ranks at the top of every football card list. As he continues to dominate the NFL, the value and demand for his cards, especially those in pristine condition, are expected to soar. 

#15 2017 Panini Flawless Patrick Mahomes Rookie Card #4

Final Price: $312,000 (March 2021)

#15 2017 Panini Flawless Patrick Mahomes Rookie Card #4

Issued by Panini, this particular card is the epitome of collector’s dreams, featuring the legendary NFL Shield from one of Mahomes’ jerseys, along with his autograph. It has earned an impressive BGS rating of 7.5, with the autograph itself awarded a perfect BGS rating of 10. Furthermore, this card is also one-of-a-kind, making it an incredibly rare find for passionate collectors.

As Patrick Mahomes continues to dominate the NFL with his unmatched talent, the value of his rookie cards continues to skyrocket.

#16 1957 Topps Bart Starr Rookie Card #119

Final Price: $288,000 (February 2017)

#16 1957 Topps Bart Starr Rookie Card #119

In February 2017, a highly sought-after Bart Starr rookie card from the 1957 Topps collection was sold for an impressive $288,000 by Heritage Auctions. 

If you grew up in the 1960s, chances are your parents were fans of the legendary Green Bay Packers, making this card even more significant.

Considered a treasure among collectors, Bart Starr’s rookie card is a true gem. With only three cards out of a total of 1,710 graded cards receiving a PSA 9 rating, this card is extremely rare. No card has been graded higher.

Bart Starr is an iconic figure in NFL history. As a vital member of the Green Bay Packers dynasty in the 1960s, he led the team to five NFL championships and two Super Bowl victories. Starr’s legacy as a two-time Super Bowl MVP and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 continues to be celebrated.

Unlike other cards, Bart Starr’s rookie card stands out with its two images of the player. Featuring a headshot of Starr in his Packers uniform on the left and a photo of him throwing a pass on the right, this card captures the essence of his greatness.

While the card may have some imperfections in terms of centering, printing, and coloring, its rarity and high-grade condition make it all the more valuable. Bart Starr’s rookie card holds a glorious vintage charm and is recognized as the only official rookie card for this football legend.


Football cards are a great way to express your fandom and show off your interest in the sport. Whether you collect to hold onto the memories, or to make a profit, take a look at all these unique and expensive cards that are out there. 

If you’re lucky enough to find one of these rare sets, you can add it to your collection and perhaps pass it down to future generations. It’s an important part of sports history that will never be forgotten! 

With football being one of the most beloved sports in the world, it only makes sense that some of its memorabilia is worth extraordinary amounts. Interested in going on a collector’s journey? Acquiring each of these 16 cards should be your main goal. The prized items can be found around the world so start your search today!

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