Tom Brady will take the field this Sunday at the age of 45, the oldest starting quarterback in NFL history. A rookie card that arrived when only avid college football followers and Patriots knew much about him is kicking off the 2022 season with him.
It’s the premier lot in Heritage Auctions’ September Sports Card Catalog auction—and one of the best known examples. Graded BGS 8.5 with an autograph grade of 10, the 2000 Playoff Contenders Brady Championship Ticket card could sell for $1.5 million.
Of the 81 examples submitted to Beckett for assessment, only seven have earned a Mint 9 rating. There are none at the 9.5 or 10 levels.
Another high grade card, this one dating back 59 years before Brady’s NFL debut, will be of more interest to vintage card collectors. The 1941 Play Ball Ted Williams is one of only nine graded Mint 9 by PSA with none higher out of 1,150 submitted. It’s expected to bring $200,000 or more.
Other rookie cards on the block include a 2003 Panini Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie PSA Gem Mint 10 that carries a $150,000 estimate, a 2015 Panini National Treasures Nikola Jokic Emerald Rookie Autograph numbered 1/5 and graded PSA 9, a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie graded 9 and a 1925 Exhibit Lou Gehrig rookie graded SGC 2.5. Only 60 Gehrig rookies appear in the combined PSA and SGC population reports.
Also among the more than 1,300 lots in the auction lots are complete and near sets, lots, unopened wax and some historic sports tickets.
Other single card highlights include multiple copies of the iconic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle including a PSA 6 that’s expected to cross the six-figure mark, a rare 1950 Scott’s Potato Chips George Mikan PSA VG+ 3.5 and a 1935 Muratti Cigarettes Jesse Owens Rookie PSA 8 that stands as the only card of him issued before his historic performance in Hitler’s Germany during the 1936 Olympics.
The auction features two 1951 Bowman Baseball sets, including one that has PSA 5 graded copies of both the Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays rookie cards, three 1984-85 Star Company Chicago Bulls sets with Michael Jordan rookie cards, 1939 and 1940 Play Ball sets and a near set of 1933 Goudey with 70 graded cards.
Unopened material is highlighted by a 1974 Topps Baseball wax box, a 1975 Topps Baseball cello box, a 1980-81 Topps Basketball wax box, a 1972 Topps Series 1 Football box and a rare 1968 Topps Hockey unopened rack pack.
Two debut tickets from international sports icons are part of the auction. There’s a 1958 ticket from Pele’s World Cup debut and stubs from both Michael Jordan’s first college basketball regular season game in 1981 and his NBA debut three seasons later.
Another eye catcher is a 2009 full ticket from a game between the USA Baseball team and the New York Yankees—the only time Derek Jeter ever played against the franchise that drafted him. It’s graded Mint 9.
Bidding will close over two nights: September 29 (vintage cards) and September 30 (modern cards and tickets).