The 1965 photo that became one of the most valuable football cards ever created sold for a whopping $66,000 late last week in Huggins & Scott’s Summer Auction.
The black and white image of Joe Namath taken in the hallway of a hospital became his iconic rookie card in Topps’ 1965 AFL set. While the card itself can sell for big bucks, the photo offered in the auction is the only known copy.
The 8×10 photo was taken by Bob Olen—official photographer for both the New York Jets and Yankees and one of the most sought-after sources of news-service photography among collectors today. As he told David Letterman several years ago, Namath was recovering from knee surgery but put on a jersey and shoulder pads, grabbed crutches and leaned against the wall for the photograph.
It’s the latest in a series of high prices attained by vintage sports photographs.
The price included a 20% buyer’s premium.
Also sold in the auction was a signed Babe Ruth Hall of Fame postcard, one of only four known to exist. It brought $60,000. A Mel Ott single-signed baseball soared to $42,000, while two 19th century pieces also sold for five-figure prices: an 1888 New York Giants Imperial Cabinet photo ($38,400) and an 1887 N693 Kalamazoo Bats Pittsburg B.B.C. team card graded PSA VG-EX 4 that was recently found at a flea market ($26,400).