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What Does Tom Brady’s Return Mean for the Trading Card Hobby?

Tom Brady is heading back to the gridiron. Here’s what it means for the value of Brady cards, both new and old.

It feels like just yesterday that Tom Brady announced his retirement. Brady’s seemingly final season ended in a playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams. Earlier this month, Brady announced he would un-retire, and come back for what will be his 23rd NFL season. While the NFL has to prepare for the return of the GOAT, we can also take a look at what this means for the sports trading card hobby.

After Brady’s retirement, we saw an uptick of interest in his cards. His 2000 Contenders Rookie Championship Ticket auto card sold for $2.3 million, the highest selling card in eBay history. Even his cards in a Bucs uniform were selling for decent returns. What does it mean now that he’s back?

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Another year of active-Brady cards

One of the more annoying parts of the hobby is when card manufacturers fill up checklists with retired players. With Brady coming back, we get another year of Prizm, Optic, Flawless and more featuring Brady among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time as an active player. Presumably, if this is Brady’s last season, 2022 NFL cards will be highly sought after for years to come to commemorate the occasion, even if the season ends without him lifting the Lombardi Trophy for the eighth time.

Brady adds higher interest to the upcoming sets because he is active. This makes it easier for hobbyists that are priced out of ripping hobby boxes to purchase singles of players they’re seeking. This includes third-year cards of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, and Russell Wilson in a Broncos uniform. Brady coming back will bring the added value to the 2023 sets, but it may not be the same for his older cards.

Tom Brady Rookies are at their Peak

We’re not saying Tom Brady rookie cards won’t continue to climb. But Brady has already solidified himself as the NFL GOAT. If he wins another Super Bowl, he only passes himself. In order for his cards to experience another boom, Brady would have to do the near-impossible and achieve an undefeated season, win regular season MVP, All-Pro honors, and break any or all single-season QB record(s). That’s a daunting task for someone who will be five years from 50 in August.

Jesse Craig of PWCC had this to say about Brady coming back and its effect on the hobby:

“The takeaway here is that you should seek out immutable assets when collecting legends. Trading cards are the ultimate asset here. The rookie issue will always be the rookie issue. A 1-of-1 or serial numbered offering from an important set will retain that scarcity forever. If you’re looking at game-used memorabilia then you should seek out solidified milestones. The ball from a first touchdown pass or the ball caught on a winning touchdown is set in stone. There will only ever be one of those assets. The ball caught that broke a specific record may be less concrete – records, of course, are meant to be broken – but they still retain the critical narrative and history associated with that moment in time. That’s an unchangeable element that adds to the value and desirability.”

Brady rookies will continue to climb much like how Michael Jordan rookies and other retired greats continue to climb. It’ll also be difficult for any QB to eclipse — let alone match — the number of Super Bowl victories Brady has, unless NFL GMs get smart and cap what they’ll pay a QB. If you’re a Brady fan, or looking for an investment that will continue to grow no matter what, now would be an advantageous time to purchase a Brady rookie. Over the last year, Tom Brady’s Bowman Chrome rookie in a PSA 10 has hovered around $16k. If you have the funds, you can treat this as an ETF-investment and grow for the long-term.

via Card Ladder
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