His career was relatively short as NFL greats go but there was no one better running the football during the time he was employed by the Cleveland Browns. From 1957-1965 he terrorized opposing defenses at over 100 yards per game for his entire career. Brown appeared on football cards from 1958-1966 and while his rookie card is the most valuable of all, it’s not the rarest of his cards when it comes to surviving high-grade examples.
That “honor” goes to his 1962 Topps card which is virtually impossible to find at the top of the grading scale. Only three ’62 Brown cards have been graded PSA 9 and none have garnered a 10 grade. There are just 46 rated NM/MT.
Here are some other tidbits as we continue our look at the percentages of some iconic post-war trading cards in NM/MT, MT and Gem Mint grades compared to the overall population of those particular cards. To keep it simple, we’ve again eliminated cards with qualifiers and used only PSA’s Population Reports.
- Brown’s rookie card is notoriously tough to find in high-grade because of the dark-colored front that’s prone to scuffing. Still, nearly seven percent of the cards submitted for grading have been rated 8, 9 or 10. That’s the smallest percentage of any of his career cards, but keep in mind that even low-grade Brown rookie cards are often submitted, which keeps the overall population pretty strong (nearly 3,000 at the moment).
- Overall, a much larger percentage of Brown cards have graded 8, 9 or 10 than those of baseball contemporaries like Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle. Of the ten major Brown base cards issued from 1958-1966, only 1958 and 1962 Topps have a high-grade percentage rating of less than 18 percent. That could be because lower grade football cards sometimes don’t have the same potential value.
- The highest percentage of a specific issue graded 8, 9 or 10? That would be Brown’s 1961 Fleer card. Over one-third of those submitted returned one of the top three grades.
- Likewise, the population of high-grade 1964 Philadelphia Jim Brown cards is sizeable–30.9 percent with a whopping 1,173 on the pop report–that’s almost or more than double every other Brown card’s pop from 1961-1966. Apparently Philadelphia Gum made a lot of cards that year.
- Interestingly, they must have cut back on production during Brown’s final year on cardboard. The 1966 Philadelphia Gum population is just 435 with just over 19 percent rating 8, 9 or 10.
- The population of PSA 9 or 10 Brown cards across the board is very limited. Only eight 10s exist during his entire career and just over 200 have even made a 9. The 1958, 1962 and 1963 Topps issues all have six or fewer 9s and no 10s.
Percentage of Jim Brown Cards in 8, 9 and 10 Grades
You can see graded Jim Brown cards on eBay here.