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NFL’s top rushers see bargain prices

Online Auctioneer

FOOTBALL! — The consistently brilliant play of Patrick Mahomes II, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers keeps them among the most-collected football players on the planet. But what about running backs Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook? Both are headed for monster seasons of 1,500-plus rushing yards as they bowl over, evade and confound defenders every week. Yet neither gets the same collector love quarterbacks usually receive.

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It’s not like they’ve come out of nowhere, either. Henry, 26, has scored 53 touchdowns (and counting) in his five seasons and has now topped the 1,000-yard mark three times for the Tennessee Titans. Cook, 25, has scored 33 TDs (and counting) in four seasons, and has twice cracked 1,000 yards for the Minnesota Vikings.

If you’re interested, both are well-represented on eBay. You’ll find nearly 12,000 listings for Henry items and nearly 9,000 listings for Cook items. And a far greater number of those items can be had for under $25 than for over $25. So now is a good time to stock up—before Henry and Cook become even more entrenched as NFL studs. As it is, rarities related to the duo are starting to attract attention.

The priciest Henry items to auction at eBay in recent months include the following:

• A 2020 Flawless Collegiate Henry 1-of-1 card drew $3,050 on 37 bids in early December. The card pictures Henry as an Alabama star and—enticingly—features a small diamond encased under his photograph.

• A gold 2016 Panini Donruss Optic signed Rated Rookie card of Henry sold for $2,257 on 57 bids. It was one of 10 produced and was graded BGS 10.

• A green version of the same 2016 Panini Rated Rookie card sold for $2,025 on 38 bids. One of only five made, it carried a PSA 10 grade.

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The priciest Cook items auctioned in recent months also were limited-edition pieces:

• An ungraded 2017 Panini Elegance 1-of-1 rookie card sold for $1,000 on a single bid in November. This rarity features Cook’s autograph along with two NFL shield patches.

• A 2017 National Treasures autographed patch card sold for $712 on 42 bids. Graded BGS 9, it features his autograph plus a patch from game-worn gloves.

• A 2017 Panini Rated Rookie Gold Prizm card marked #1/10 sold for $644. Adding to this signed card’s appeal was its PSA 10 grade.

Beyond these types of rarities, you can find hundreds of different items related to Henry and Cook for discount-bin prices.

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FúTBOL! — Internationally, fútbol is soccer, the game that inspires indescribable passion in fans. In the United States, of course, we prefer American football. Yet soccer has been building a bigger audience in the U.S. in recent decades, and we’re seeing it spill into the collectibles hobby.

For example, in November, a holy grail 1958 rookie card of Edson Arantes do Nasciemento, better known as Pelé, sold for $50,600 on 22 bids. PSA has graded only around 60 of these fragile cards, made by Alifabolaget, and only a handful have earned a 6 (like this one) or higher. In September, another example of this Pelé rookie sold for $20,100 on 45 bids, but it had a lower grade: SGC 4.5.

The card pictures a 17-year-old Pelé at a game in which he scored twice for Brazil against Sweden during his breakthrough 1958 season. Pelé and Brazil would go on to win the 1958 World Cup, repeating the feat in 1962.

Two current soccer stars also inspired big bids in recent eBay auctions.

• In November, we saw a PSA 10 Gem Mint 2003 rookie Panini card of Cristiano Ronaldo sell for $47,600. Two months earlier, another PSA 10 example of the same card sold for $41,211.

• In the same span, we saw BGS 9.5-graded rookie cards of Lionel Messi sell for $30,600 (38 bids) and $28,989 (21 bids).

Ronaldo, now 35, is a Portuguese star who plays for Juvenus and captains Portugal’s national team. Messi, 33, is an Argentine who captains the Spanish team Barcelona as well as Argentina’s national team. They’re considered among the greatest “footballers” ever to play.

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN — Beyond our Top 10 chart, these were the next-highest-selling items at eBay:

• $42,106 on 47 bids: 1997-98 Skybox X 2001 Jambalaya Michael Jordan (ungraded)

• $40,100 on 55 bids: 2018-19 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic Prizm Tiger Stripe (PSA 10)

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• $38,900 on 64 bids: 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tiger Woods, #183/900, auto (PSA 10, PSA DNA certificate)

• $35,655 on 47 bids: 1986-87 Fleer Stickers Michael Jordan (PSA 10)

• $31,100 on 49 bids: 2013-14 Panini Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo Silver (PSA 10)

• $30,600 on 38 bids: 2004 Panini Sports Lionel Messi (soccer) (BGS 9.5)

• $30,500 on 60 bids: 2017 Panini Contenders Cracked Ice Patrick Mahomes II Rookie Ticket, #13/25, auto (BGS 9, auto 10)

• $27,788 on 44 bids: 1976 Topps Walter Payton (SGC 10)

• $28,600 on 24 bids: 2019-20 National Treasure Ja Morant, “Stars and stripes” design, #26/30, auto patch (BGS 8.5)

• $26,655 on 30 bids: 2009-10 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry, #657/1000 (PSA 10)

Note the presence of Tiger Woods, with a PSA 10 example of his autographed 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic card having pushed $40,000 in a November auction. It’s noteworthy because it reflects a dramatic jump from prices other Gem-Mint Woods rookies have drawn in recent months. To wit: Another PSA 10 Woods rookie (marked #711 of 900) sold for “just” $16,632 on 14 bids in early October. And in late September, a BGS 9.5 Gem Mint example of the card (#90/900) sold for $16,211 on 33 bids.

TREMENDOUS TRIO — Speaking of golf, how about this treasure: a 2014 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection signed Triple Endorsements card? It features beautifully rendered autographs of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Marked #5 of 5 and graded BGS 9.5, it sold for $10,201 on 33 bids. The three golf luminaries have combined for 218 PGA tournament wins. Woods has 82 wins, Nicklaus 74 and Palmer 62.

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So what’s behind the Tiger rookie card spike? Well, on Oct. 25, he earned his 82nd PGA Tour victory at the inaugural Zozo Championship. It was the victory that brought him even with Sam Snead. Clearly, Woods still has “more in the tank,” as PGATour.com writer Cameron Morfit put it: “Woods still wants to play, still has birdies in him and, assuming his body gives him a few more mostly pain-free stretches of golf, might yet have that record-breaking 83rd victory in him in 2021.”

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THE MAGNIFICENT 1963 YANKEE — Mickey Mantle is a mainstay in the hobby—and in this space. Usually it’s because a 1951 Bowman or 1952 Topps Mantle card brings a five-figure price. But here’s a Mantle we don’t see as often: a 1963 Topps.

In a recent eBay auction, seller PWCC listed a PSA 9 specimen of that colorful card and saw it jump to $27,877 on 71 bids. The card features a close-up photograph of Mantle with the classic Yankee Stadium facade behind him. The reverse of the card notes that The Magnificent Yankee, through the 1962 season, was seventh on the all-time home run list with 404 (he’d wind up at 536, as baseball fans know).

If you want a 1963 Mantle without paying a five-figure price, set your sights on one in 7 or 8 condition. In mid-October, we saw a PSA 8 specimen of that card sell for $3,475 on 29 bids. A month earlier, a PSA 7 example went for just $1,350 on 22 bids.

TOP 10 CHART

12/06/20

$70,000 on 1 bid: 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Blue Refractor, #62/150, auto (#62/150 (BGS 9.5)

$56,204 on 75 bids: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 5.5)

$54,700 on 96 bids: 1997-98 Upper Deck Game Jersey Michael Jordan, auto patch (ungraded; UD Authenticated certificate)

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$53,433 on 77 bids: 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tom Brady, #578/1250 (PSA 10)

$50,600 on 22 bids: 1958 Alifabolaget Pelé (PSA 6)

$50,101 on 58 bids: 2009-10 Panini National Treasures James Hardin. #34/99, auto patch (BGS 10)

$49,600 on 60 bids: 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tom Brady, #330/1250 (PSA 10)

$48,612 on 79 bids: 2018-19 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic Neon Green Fast Break, #5/5 (SGC 9.5)

$47,600 on 18 bids: 2003-04 Panini Sports Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer) (PSA 10)

$46,100 on 36 bids: 2003-04 Bowman Chrome LeBron James Refractor, #85/300 (PSA 10)