by Troy Anderson
From a collector's perspective, it's hard to recall a time in the hobby when the quarterback position was shining quite so brightly in the NFL. Last year Cam Newton made a huge splash as a rookie, and showed the kind of fire and upside that could translate into a long run as a fan favorite. Newton was stellar on the field, and his sports cards and memorabilia were red hot as well.
Newton was a huge hit for NFL collectors during his inaugural season, as some of his rookie cards were going for big money on eBay, and they continue to be in high demand now. Does Newton have the potential to be the most valued NFL player by collectors? It would appear that he has a chance at a very young age. Let’s examine a little closer some of the recent sales in the Cam Newton Market.
On eBay as of early June, there are approximately 100 Newton cards and autographs that listed at over $1,000! Pretty remarkable for a guy who hasn’t even come close to reaching his potential. The market for higher end Newton cards is something to take a closer look at as well. Some of his 1/1 rookie cards are selling for $5,000.00 and above. Most recently, a Newton autographed rookie year jersey sold for $12,000 on eBay. That is quite the hefty price tag for a game worn jersey, and it shows the kind of market demand that Newton attracts.
The number one football card on the most recent Beckett hot list was a 2011 Playoff National Treasures Newton JS/AU RC going for around $1,000 per rookie card. Newton has one of the brightest futures in NFL history on the field, and for football card collectors as well.
Of course, you can question the wisdom of investing that kind of money into a guy with one year under his belt but the prospecting ship sailed a long time ago. It's a serious market, full of big time failures, but also some huge successes for those lucky enough to find one in a pack or take a chance on the right rookie.
So what will the market look like for number one draft pick Andrew Luck? It appears that Luck will have a huge market with NFL hobbyists as well, but I don’t think he has the kind of upside that Cam Newton has. There are several Luck autograph rookie cards that are circulating on eBay at prices over $1,000. It will be very interesting to see how this rookie season will come out for a struggling Indianapolis Colts team, and how it will affect his market early on. Luck will no doubt have some very popular JSY/AU RC cards but I don’t think he has the kind of upside at the very top that Cam Newton has.
Robert Griffin III is a very interesting young QB when it comes to hobby interest. He has boom or bust potential, and that is the way collectors will have to look at him. I believe that RG3 has the most upside out of any young QB outside of Newton for NFL. A quick start to the season will translate into hobby gold for his rare rookie card market.
On the current Beckett hot list for NFL cards, Griffin III and Luck combine for eight of the top 20 spots, with Luck’s Press Pass Fan Fare card ranking second. This shows that the market for these young rookie quarterbacks is already red hot coming out of the gate.
Andy Dalton also has a very big market for NFL collectors. Although playing in Cincinnati may limit his marketing opportunities, he is still an in demand young QB for NFL fans. He has some high priced rookie cards on eBay that are competitive with some of Cam Newton’s rookie cards. Eleven signed Dalton rookie cards have sold for $999 and up over the last two months. While he may not have the kind of collecting upside as the other young QB studs, he has a very solid marketplace presence.
So which young player has the most upside for collectors? My vote goes to Newton, although it will be very interesting to see how collectors respond to the early hype surrounding RG3 and Andrew Luck. Both guys have tremendous upside on the field and off the field for collectors. Or will another quarterback that's coming in with far less hype, like Ryan Tannehill, surpass all of them?
That's the fun part of watching an NFL season unfold. It'll be here before you know it.