The season begins tonight but for collectors and prospectors, the NFL's 2012 campaign actually kicked off months ago when this year's much anticipated crop of rookies began showing up on officially licensed trading cards. Unofficial statistics compiled by Sports Collectors Daily show that the two marquee players in this year's draft have accounted for over $661,000 in sales on eBay alone since July 4.
Andrew Luck, the first pick, and Robert Griffin III, the Heisman trophy-winning second selection, have dominated sales of rookie cards from the players taken in the first round of this year's draft. In a 60-day period ending September 1, Luck rookie card sales totaled at least $356,652 while Griffin's debut season cards sold for a combined $304,438.
The trading card manufacturers have built their campaigns around the two young stars and collectors seem to have caught the rookie card bug in the weeks following the 2012 NFL Draft. The average selling price of a Luck rookie card during the period was $33.92, inflated by the limited quantity autographed insert cards that often bring a premium.
Of the 12,763 2012 Luck cards offered, 71.4% sold, an especially high percentage for sports cards. There were more than 13,000 Griffin cards offered, of which 63% sold for an average price of $29.59. His highest selling card was purchased for $3,000.
In the last 90 days, starting around the time the first cards began hitting the market, $1.4 million worth of NFL rookie cards changed hands on eBay, with $1.16 million coming since July 4.
Sixty-day sales figures also show collectors putting money into some of the other high profile picks including number five pick Justin Blackmon. Over $43,000 worth of his cards sold during July and August at an average price of $17.12. However, the number of cards of Blackmon and other skill position first round picks offered on eBay was less than half of the cards of Luck and Griffin. Blackmon's highest priced card sold for $620.
The average price of cards featuring Miami Dolphins' rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was $20.25 with more than 5,000 on the block.
Cardinals' receiver Michael Floyd, drafted 13th, saw just over half of his cards sold (average price $13.07) while 31st pick Doug Martin of Tampa Bay drew some love from collectors, with 62.5% of the 3,097 cards offered finding new homes. More than $34,000 worth of Martin cards changed hands at an average price of $16.72.