Are Tom Brady Rookie Cards A Good Investment?

Trading cards are big in the world of sports. They are popular within baseball, ice hockey American football, soccer, and many others. It is a hobby for many, with fans creating their own little sets and some making a lot of money from trading them.

The main rule of thumb is the rarer the card, and the better the player, the more money the card is worth. This article will revolve around American footballer Tom Brady, and whether investing in his rookie cards would be a good investment. 

What are rookie cards and what gives them their value? 

Traditionally, the rookie card was the first card with a player printed on it along with their major league team. As these cards gained more popularity, in the 1980s companies would race to get the “first” card of a player and put it on the market.

In 2006, Major League Baseball made some new rules about rookie cards. They created a logo and stated that players were only to be in base sets once they had started their year in a Major League debut. 

This is also the case for other sports. Within them, a rookie card is the first trading card that features an athlete after they have participated or competed in the highest level of competition in their sport. 

There are many reasons why rookie cards are so popular, but that mainly comes down to supply and demand. Due to them being around so long, finding one in decent condition was like finding a jackpot. When a player gained popularity it was the rookie card that gained the most value, and that is still the case today. 

Different brands make different rookie cards and they are worth a lot now due to the fact that they were historically harder to find than other cards.

Other types of cards to be aware of

In order to get some good background knowledge, especially if you are a novice in trading,  we’re going to cover some other types of cards you are likely to come across. 

Base cards are the individual cards that make regular sets. Some brands that feature base cards are Panini, Bowman, Topps, Stadium Club, Upper Deck, and Pinnacle/Score. They usually are sets of hundreds of cards and feature the best players from the previous season. 

Parallel cards carry the same photo and design as base cards but with minor changes to make them different. The most common changes are colored borders, a rainbow effect on the surface of the card, colored foil, and die-cutting. 

Insert cards are known as special edition cards that are inserted into packs. These are smaller specialty sets that are rarer than cards in regular series and they hold more value. Some inserts are common and can be inserted as one per pack, whereas others are rare and are found less common. They can be identified as having a foil serial-numbering on the front or back or by having a design that is noticeably different from the base series. 

Autograph cards, like the name suggests, contain an autograph of the player at the front of the card. As you can imagine these are some of the most popular cards in the trading market. They used to be pretty rare, but they are now found in at least one per box. 


Back when trading began in the 1950s, packs would cost as little as a nickel, with kids trading cards at school with friends to complete their sets or obtain cards from their favorite players. Gone are those simple days, and trading is now a much more complicated process.

Although you can still trade in person, due to the rise of the internet, it has now become the easiest and most popular way to trade cards. This can be done on simple sites such as eBay and Facebook, but novices are warned to do their research in case they get scammed.

Luckily, many websites have been created solely for trading purposes and they’ve incorporated safeguards to protect their users from bad transactions. Some of these platforms include Blowout cards Forums, Sports Card Forum, and The Bench Trading. 

Who is Tom Brady? 

Tom Brady is an American football player. He is 44 years of age from San Mateo, California. He is known as the quarterback who led his teams to win seven Super Bowl victories and has been named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) five times! Given what a high-rated player he is, it is safe to say that his rookie cards would be worth a lot of money. 

Tom Brady Rookie Cards

Given his high ranks in the American Football world, every Tom Brady rookie card is valuable today (already off to a good start if you’d like to invest in these!). Back in 2000, Tom Brady was not the star he is now, so from the six trading card manufacturers who had NFL licenses that year, some didn’t include him in their cards (you snooze you lose!).

Others produced several rookie cards of him that year, so there are many varieties and choices now. Luckily for them, the fact that he is now an MVP, means these cards are worth a lot. His place in history is being debated as the best quarterback of all time, or close to that effect.

This means that his rookie cards will probably continue to have a high value for years to come, given how good of a player he is. 

To give you a better idea of what their value is today, here are a few rookie cards and what they are selling for. 

  • 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie Card Autograph #144

There are 13 different autograph cards for Tom Brady from 2000. Only one of them is a rookie and that is this one. There is also a Championship Ticket parallel numbered 100 which is also signed by him. A BGS copy of that card sold for $1.32 million in March 2021. This one is selling on eBay for $99,000.00. 

  • 2000 Leaf Limited Tom Brady Rookie Card #378/350. This is one of the rarest rookie cards, at only 350 copies. This card is  currently being sold on eBay for $14,950.00 
  • 2000 Revolution Tom Brady Rookie Card #128/300. This is an extremely rare card with only 300 copies. It is selling on eBay for $20,502.28. 

To add to this, In more recent news, in June of this year, his 2000 Autographed Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket #144 sold for $3.1 million at the Lelands Mid-Spring Classic Auction. This beat TB12’s world record. 

How to start investing in rookie cards

The business of trading is complex, to say the least, and it may take time to build profits. However, this does not mean it can’t be done, so here are a few tips to help you get started: 

  • Be sure you are allotting a reasonable budget. To make money, you must spend money, but be realistic with your budget and truly ask yourself what you can afford before spending money on any sports cards. 
  • Be sure to do your homework on investing. There are many websites and even investors out there who share their tips on how to start trading. 
  • Find your investing strategy. You may have to dip your toes into a few to see which works best for you, but once you go through some trial and error, you should be able to settle on an approach that is best suited for you. 
  • Know when to buy and sell. When you purchase a card, you should know whether you plan to hold onto it until you get a good offer or wait a significant amount of time until it gains value. This all depends on your outlook on certain cards.


As this business has evolved, people involved need to be made aware of certain fakes and scams that can circulate.  Fake cards, known as counterfeit cards are made with one purpose and that is to mislead collectors. Vintage counterfeit cards, on the other hand, are aged on purpose to make cards look authentic.

One way to look out for this is to look at the seller’s previous auctions, feedback, and selling history. If they have come out of the blue with an incredible card but zero histories of listings then you know this seller should be avoided.

Some scammers will also try to sell off their fakes as “aged” reprints. They’ll take reproduced cards and make them look vintage by soaking them in tea or coffee. They’ll eventually get a “wrinkled” look making them look aged. With this, it’s best to familiarize yourself with what an actual vintage or aged card looks like, so you can spot the fakes. 

Final Thoughts

As we’ve covered, sports card trading is a popular hobby for some and can be a very good investment if done the right way.  Looking at what a successful American football player Tom Brady is, it is safe to assume that his rookie cards are a good investment, and looking at what some have been sold for adds to this point.

To become successful in investing, appropriate research needs to be done, and time must be spent planning and evaluating all aspects of it. If you feel passionate about this and feel it could be the right path for you, then go for it! 

Matt Roberts
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