Long before he took his first snap in Saturday night’s pre-season game, Johnny Manziel football cards were everywhere. Starved for a true marquee quarterback, the card companies have jumped on the Johnny Football bandwagon with both feet. And who can blame them? If Manziel gets the opportunity to start for the Cleveland Browns and plays reasonably well, sales will soar. While 2012 draftee Andrew Luck may be far more polished at this point, Manziel brings a flair and excitement to the position that hasn’t been since since Brett Favre was a youngster.
Manziel hit cardboard last spring in the annual draft sets. Once the draft was over, Panini’s Score football arrived and since then, you can find Manziel in every new NFL-licensed product.
Among the most popular issues at the moment are Panini Elite and Prestige and Bowman (the various Chrome refractor parallels carrying Manziel autographs have had collectors ripping a lot of that product). To collectors, the Bowman brand apparently trumps the lack of a pro uniform with sales of Manziel signed cards in low print runs selling for four-figure prices including X-fractor rookie autographs numbered to ten that have been bringing $1500-1600 and even a Bowman Chrome Superfractor which sold for a best offer of somewhere south of $15,000.
While some of the early Manziel rookie cards included the same images taken during his college career, most products issued in the last few weeks have somehow managed to get him in Cleveland colors. Manziel does appear in a Browns uniform on the artsy Topps Inception product with an autographed card numbered to 50 selling for $227 over the weekend.
He even signed a few cards with the ‘Johnny Football’ moniker before the season began. There’s an Inception gold ink ‘Nicknames’ autograph card numbered to 10 up for bid now (check out the bidding here).
The good thing for shops and those who sell online is that even run of the mill, unsigned Manziel cards are selling for a couple of bucks.
Photographers were busy snapping Manziel’s first game action photos over the weekend and you can bank on some of those shots making their way into packs soon as Topps and Panini look to battle it out for the best looking Manziel rookie cards on an NFL field as the season goes on.
The future is unknown. Plenty of high-profile college quarterbacks have fizzled, even after a strong start. Other athletes have proven themselves worthy and what once seemed like a risky investment turned out to be as golden as those ‘Johnny Football’ signatures.
Below is a list of the ‘most watched’ Manziel football cards on eBay right now.