The NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher might be the hobby’s most underappreciated player.
Frank Gore rookie cards are among the most inexpensive of any veteran offensive player who is almost certain be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has now rushed for over 15,000 yards, more than any player in NFL history other than three pretty fair ball carriers: Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. He’ll soon pass Sanders, who called it a career at age 30.
Let’s Be Frank
Gore has never won a rushing title and spent the vast majority of his career playing for teams that didn’t even make the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. Those two factors are among a few reasons why his cards aren’t even on the same radar screen as some of the superstars who came before him. A look at sales figures would certainly seem to indicate he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of running backs.
In addition to his eye-popping career total, Gore is now the second oldest player in NFL history to rush for 100 yards in a game. He may not be quite the same as he was a dozen years ago, but at age 36, with his fourth NFL team, he’s showing there’s plenty of gas left in the tank, thanks in part to his legendary workout routine.
“Blessed you know, I’m blessed,” Gore said after joining the select company he now keeps. “The hard work, loving the game and thanks to all the guys who helped me get it – my offensive linemen, my receivers, my coaches. Now I just want to keep playing ball.”
After an outstanding career at the University of Miami, Gore was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2005 draft, behind Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, J.J. Arrington and Eric Shelton. It took a year, but Gore’s potential soon came to fruition. In 2006, he rushed for 1,695 yards and added 485 receiving yards. Remarkably durable, Gore has played no fewer than 14 games per year in all but one of his 15 seasons.
A Gore for Every Budget
Gore’s rookie cards come in dozens of flavors. Arriving at a time when there were multiple manufacturers, he’s featured on a dizzying number of issues but several stand out more than others. Very few require a large investment, even his better autographed cards in high-grade. In fact, all but 20 Frank Gore rookie cards have sold for under $500 on eBay during his entire career.
Even Gore’s signature rookie cards don’t sell for that much. A PSA 10 2005 Playoff Contenders Gore Rookie Ticket (current population=14) sold recently for a best offer price of $750. A BGS 9.5 went for $600 earlier this year. While Contenders has become perhaps the most popular type of rookie card, the earliest versions carry mostly sticker autographs. How does it compare to others? Consider that a Drew Brees Contenders rookie autograph in a ‘10’ grade with a sticker auto regularly sells for over $20,000. While Brees is a record-setting quarterback who has won a Super Bowl, that’s a massive disparity for two future Hall of Fame players.
Many Gore rookie autos can be found for under $50.
Another popular option is 2005 Topps Chrome. While high-grade refractors can sell for $150-$200, a standard Chrome rookie in high-grade seldom costs more than $50. Topps’ Heritage line was utilized for football in 2005 and a PSA 10 Gore rookie, done in the style of 1984 Topps is another fun option that can be had for under $5 ungraded.
The Current Market for Frank Gore Rookie Cards
Below is a live list of the ‘most watched’ Frank Gore rookie card auctions on eBay. To see all Gore rookie cards, click here.