WAX RUSH — A seller offered a BBCE-authenticated sealed box of 1976 Topps football cards on eBay. The ’76 set is a more tempting draw than the 1978 issue because of one name: Walter Payton. His rookie card has become a major hit among collectors, so it was no surprise to see 25 bids push the price of this unopened box up to $8,400. And remember: That price was for a single box—not an entire case.
The box included 36 packs, each offering 10 cards for a total of 360 cards. Considering that Topps’ 1976 set included 528 cards, it’s not a gimme that Payton appears in the box. However, if the buyer opens his case and does find a Mint-condition Payton, he’d recoup his cost… and then some. We’ve been tracking Payton’s rookie and seeing it rise gradually in value:
• In 2015, PSA 10-graded Payton rookies landed on our charts five times, selling for prices between $14,000 and $14,700.
• In 2016, we reported on a PSA 10 Payton rookie that reached $15,000.
• In 2017, another example reached $16,000.
• In 2018, still another example brought $16,500.
• And earlier in 2019, a PSA 10 Payton rookie charted at $16,800.
Obviously, Payton became “Sweetness” in the hobby just as he was on the gridiron. And who can forget the shiftiness and sheer power of No. 34? After 13 seasons, Payton retired as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher with 16,726 yards, a mark later surpassed by Emmitt Smith.
MORE BURIED TREASURE — Nineteen years ago, Playoff put out its 2000 Contenders football set. Who knew then that one particular card in the set would be drawing five- and six-figure prices? The player, of course, is Tom Brady. The New England quarterback and future Hall of Famer has become a regular on our Top 10 chart (note the No. 1 and 3 spots in this edition) largely because of his Contenders rookie issues.
Brady’s name also was the driver behind the sale of an unopened hobby box of 2000 Playoff Contenders: It brought $15,326 on 38 bids. The odds of drawing a Brady? Not all that promising. Playoff’s 2000 Contenders hobby boxes included just 12 five-card packs, meaning there was a total of 60 cards in the box.
OUR DEAR WATSON — If you play fantasy football, you’re well aware of the exploits of Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson. The third-year QB led the Texans to an 11-5 record last year and could match that record this year. He’s also thrown 65 TD passes through his first 34 games as a pro while scoring 12 more on the ground.
Collectors have noticed his flashy play. In November, an autographed Watson patch card brought $14,000 on 54 bids. The card, from the 2017 National Treasures set, was marked #1/13 and graded PSA 10.
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN — Among the names showing up in the top-selling eBay auctions over the past month are baseball legends Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. Adversaries during their playing days, they had totally different styles on the diamond. Cobb was old-school—a speed demon who did anything to get on base… and then ran wild. Between 1905 and 1928, he hit .366 and stole 897 bases. Ruth came along in the middle of Cobb’s career and changed the game, putting the long ball front and center. Between 1914 and 1933, Ruth batted .342, drove in 2,214 runs and—you know this number—hit 714 homers.
Our full “next 10” list:
• $17,999: Babe Ruth signed Wilson Official baseball (PSA/DNA authenticated)
• $17,999: 1978 Topps Football factory-sealed cello case (15 boxes)
• $17,800: 2007-08 Upper Deck Exquisite Kevin Durant, #67/99, auto patch (BGS 9)
• $17,400: T206 Sweet Caporal Ty Cobb, green background (PSA 4.5)
• $15,326: 2000 Playoff Contenders factory-sealed 12-pack box
• $15,100: 2018-19 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic Rookie Signatures Gold, #6/10, auto (BGS 9.5)
• $15,000: 2015-16 Panini National Treasures Kobe Bryant, 1/1, auto patch (Logoman),
• $15,000: 2018-19 Panini Prizm Trae Young Gold Prizm, auto PSA 10 (PSA 100
• $14,850: 2011 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Orange Refractor, #/25 (BGS 9.5)
$14,699: 1997-98 SkyBox eX2000 Jambalaya Michael Jordan (ungraded)