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Super Bowl in the spotlight

Online Auctioneer examines cards of players from the Chiefs and 49ers

SEEING RED IN THE SUPER BOWL —Hobby-wise, this year’s Super Bowl leans definitively on the side of the Kansas City Chiefs, mainly because of the all-important quarterback position. The Chiefs’ QB, Patrick Mahomes II, is one of today’s hottest names among collectors. His breakout 2018 season made him an instant hobby star, and despite an injury that cost him part of 2019, he’s remained in the top tier of collectible athletes.


The Top 10 chart on this page includes a rare Mahomes 2017 National Treasures autographed patch card that sold for $43,100. Last time out, we reported on a Mahomes National Treasures Stars & Stripes auto patch card—this one from an edition of 13—that brought $40,709. In November, another Mahomes Stars & Stripes card sold for $32,877 on 67 bids. It was ungraded but in top condition.


His counterpart on the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo, is nowhere near Mahomes in terms of collectibles. Not yet, anyway. He manages a run-first team, limiting his stats and highlight footage. Plus, that name is a little hard to spell (let’s see—one R, two Ps, one L...). There’s nothing like a Super Bowl win, however, to get a quarterback’s memorabilia prices spiking.

Right now, Garoppolo’s most desirable items are his 2014 National Treasures autographed patch cards. One of them, graded 9.5 by BGS, sold for $2,411 on 26 bids. It was from an edition of 99. Two other National Treasures cards—both from a more limited run of 25—sold for prices of $2,200 (ungraded) and $2,180 (BGS 9.5).

Another Garoppolo card of interest is his 2014 Panini Contenders Cracked Ice card. We saw one sell in December for $2,050 on 28 bids. On that and the quarterback’s other rookie cards, he’s pictured as a member of the Patriots, for whom he backed up Tom Brady for three seasons.

CHIEFS AND 49ERS, OLD-SCHOOL — The two franchises in this year’s Super Bowl are rich in tradition. Some 27 Hall of Famers have connections to the 49ers, and 23 have connections to the Chiefs. That includes—on both lists—Joe Montana. It also includes various contributors and coaches, not the least of which are Hank Stram and Bill Walsh.

Here’s a quick sampling of recent eBay items related to hobby heroes most closely associated with each of the two teams. Note the defense-focused Chiefs vs. offense-heavy 49er HOFers—the opposite of how we’d categorize these two teams this year.


Kansas City Chiefs

LB Bobby Bell: $400 for a 1970 Topps card graded PSA 9

DT Buck Buchanan: $250 for a signed Goal Line Art card

DT Curley Culp: $333 for a 1973 Topps rookie card graded PSA 9

QB Len Dawson: $1,295 for a 1963 Fleer rookie card graded PSA 8.5

TE Tony Gonzalez: $300 for a 1997 Fleer Red Precious Metal Gems card (#57/150)

LB Willie Lanier: $200 for a 1973 Topps card graded PSA 10

S Johnny Robinson: $285 for a 1964 Topps card graded PSA 8

LB Derrick Thomas: $1,595 for an assigned jersey (Beckett)

San Francisco 49ers

CB Ronnie Lott: $950 for a1982 Topps rookie card graded PSA 10

RB Hugh McElhenny: $202 for a 1959 Topps card graded PSA 9

QB Joe Montana: $9,200 for a 1981 Topps rookie card graded PSA 10 (see below)

WR Terrell Owens: $1,834 for a 1997 Skybox Metal Gems card graded SGC 92

RB Joe Perry: $7,800 for a 1952 Bowman Large graded PSA

WR Jerry Rice: $1,705 for a 1986 Topps rookie card graded SGC 9.5

QB Y.A. Tittle: $632 for a 1950 Bowman card graded PSA 7

QB Steve Young:$5,100 for a 1984 Topps USFL Steve Young card graded PSA 10


BOTH SIDES NOW — While playing for San Francisco from 1979 through 1992, Joe Montana was a consistent winner, posting a 100-39 record as a starter and leading his team to four Super Bowl wins. He went to Kansas City in 1993 and played two seasons, compiling a 17-8 record as a starter. He finished his career with 273 TD passes and 40,551 passing yards.

  • Montana’s 1981 Topps rookie card has long been a collector favorite. Recent sales on eBay show two PSA 10 specimens that brought prices of $9,200 and $7,850. However, drop down to a grade of 9 and you can pick up a Montana rookie for less than $1,000.

As a member of the Chiefs, Montana appeared on football cards in 1993 and 1994. They’re budget-friendly and worth tracking down, considering the historical stats on the flip sides. A good place to start is his 1994 Topps. It can be had for just a few dollars, unless it’s slabbed and graded Gem-Mint. A PSA 10 example recently sold on eBay for $110.