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5 Tom Brady cards flying under radar; Max Scherzer cards still a bargain

Tom Brady cards have long been the highest-selling football trading cards on the market. Even Brady's non-rookie cards are starting to attract big dollars.

In all the years he played in New England, Tom Brady never had the full and deep range of weapons he’s enjoying in Tampa. As such, he’s having an otherworldly season.

Never mind that he’s 44. Brady is defying all logic in terms of the human body’s durability, playing at a level not far from his peak years — which in scientific corners would have been 15 or so seasons ago. (“Peak years” theories typically hold that athletes reach their highest level of play in their mid- to late-20s.)

In the first six games of the NFL season, Brady threw for 17 TDs (vs. only three interceptions), putting him on a pace for more than 50 TDs. He did throw exactly 50 touchdown passes one season — way back in 2007, when he was a mere lad of 30. By now, he’s about to surpass 600 career TD passes and 81,000 yards.

In the process, Brady has become one of the most revered figures ever among collectors. You know full well about his most popular cards — his 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket and 2000 Upper Deck SP Authentic. But what about Brady cards beyond those?

More: Serena Williams rookie card rising in value 

Here’s a list of five different Brady cards that are bubbling under, per these recent eBay sales:

• $22,323 on 46 bids: 2012 Panini Prizm Silver Rainbow (PSA 10): Notable because it was Brady’s first Prizm card.

• $21,469 on 46 bids: 2000 Bowman Chrome (PSA 10). Not nearly as pricey as his rookie-year Contenders and SP Authentic cards but gaining steam. (Along with this example, another one graded PSA 10 brought $20,201 on 70 bids. Going deeper, five others graded PSA 10 sold for prices between $15,750 and $17,000.)

2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady card.

2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady card. 

• $20,966 on 65 bids: 2020 Panini Prizm Snakeskin (PSA 10). One of Brady’s first cards as a Buccaneer. Features a border replicating the look and feel of a snake’s skin.

2020 Panini Prizm Tom Brady Snakeskin card.

2020 Tom Brady Panini Prizm Snakeskin card. 

• $19,999 on 1 bid: 2020 Panini Flawless Finishes, #1/10, autographed (ungraded). Celebrates the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVIII win over Carolina in February 2004.

2020 Panini Flawless Tom Brady patch auto card.

2020 Tom Brady Panini Flawless auto patch card. 

• $16,100 on 46 bids: 2020 Panini Flawless Gold Dual Jersey, #2/10, autographed (ungraded). Besides Brady’s signature, this card holds two Patriots uniform patches — one blue and one white.

MAX TO THE MAX

One of these years, Max Scherzer, now 37, is going to retire. But it may not be anytime soon, if you go by his 2021 performance.

In 2021, he evoked later-stage Nolan Ryan, posting a record of 15-4, an ERA of 2.46 and a WHIP of 0.86. He also struck out 236 in 179 innings as he pitched the Dodgers into the NLCS. Yet he’s hiding in the shadows in the hobby — a superstar who hasn’t drawn masses of collectors. His debut on cardboard was 2008; the Scherzer rookie drawing at least some attention is the Update Refractor of his Topps Chrome card.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen it sell for prices of $1,025 on 31 bids (ungraded) and $1,000 on one bid (BGS 9).

Then there’s the no-frills (non-Refractor) base card of Scherzer’s 2008 Topps Chrome card. One Gem-Mint PSA 10 example of Scherzer’s Chrome rookie brought $818 on 57 bids in September. Three others graded PSA 10 fetched similar prices: $800 on 40 bids, $799 on 39 bids and $796 on eight bids.

2008 Topps Max Scherzer card.

2008 Topps Max Scherzer rookie card. 

That card may have a consistent sales pattern now, but if Scherzer keeps on baffling opposing hitters next season, it’ll no doubt start pushing four figures.

Other Scherzer gems that have sold in recent eBay auctions:

 • A 2009 Upper Deck Masterpieces autographed Stroke of Genius card graded PSA 10 sold for $823 on 34 bids.

• A 2008 Upper Deck Ultimate Gold Jersey signed card (marked #18 of 25) brought $732 on 28 bids. It was graded BGS 9.

• A signed 2008 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor (#79/99) fetched $616 on 29 bids.

• A 2019 Topps Dynasty signed 1-of-1 Gold card bearing a game-used Scherzer jersey patch sold for $610 on 32 bids. The reverse celebrates a special Scherzer accomplishment from May 11, 2016 — he tied an MLB record by striking out 20 batters in a game.

REMEMBERING KOBE

Here’s an extremely cool and very moving item related to Kobe Bryant: a multiple-autographed booklet of L.A. Lakers game tickets from 2015-16, his final season as a pro. An eBay seller offered the item in a September auction. Some 76 bids later, the price had soared to $22,100.

2015-16 Kobe Bryant ticket booklet.

Kobe Bryant autographed ticket booklet. 

More: Rare Jordan card sets record for MJ memorabilia 

Bryant signed the booklet five times: once on the cover and then individually on four different tickets inside. The booklet cover was printed with two photos of the beloved Hall of Famer — once as a rookie and once toward the end of his career. Bryant’s photo also appears on the tickets inside.

DON’T FORGET ME!

Ronald Acuna Jr. may have missed half of this season’s games, thanks to the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his right knee in July. But collectors are counting on a healthy return in 2022 for the Atlanta Braves. That’s the only way to explain the $35,100 winning bid in an eBay auction in early September for a BGS 9.5-graded specimen of Acuna’s 2017 autographed Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor patch card. It touched off a bit of a bidding war, too. A flurry of activity—80 bids in all — led up to the hefty sales price.

2017 Bowman Chrome Prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. Gold Refractor.

2017 Bowman Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. Prospect card. 

Acuna was having the type of season we’ve come to expect from the centerfielder, batting .283 with 24 homers and 17 steals through July 10. At age 23, he already has 105 career homers and 78 stolen bases over what amounts to about two and half seasons (he hasn’t yet played 400 games). Pro-rate those stats out over 12 or so healthy seasons. They tell us Acuna is on a path to 600 HRs and 400 SBs.

TOP 10 ONLINE AUCTIONS 

(Through Oct. 11)

1. $123,100 on 66 bids: 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James Refractor (BGS 10)

2. $83,101 on 169 bids: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 5)

3. $77,850 on 134 bids: Upper Deck All-Time Greats /9 Autographs (Jordan, James, Bird, Johnson, Russell, Erving, West, Olajuwon, Robinson) #1/1, nine autos (BGS 8.5)

4. $55,100 on 57 bids: 2004-05 Panini Megacracks (soccer) Lionel Messi (BGS 9.5)

5. $42,100 on 56 bids: 2020-21 Panini National Treasures LaMelo Ball, #16/99, auto patch (PSA 9)

6. $40,700 on 73 bids: 2020-21 Panini National Treasures LaMelo Ball Gold, #4/24, auto patch (PSA 9)

7. $36,367 on 93 bids: 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tiger Woods Gold, #92/100, auto (PSA 9)

8. $34,999 on 1 bid: 2000 Playoff Contenders sealed box

9. $30,500 on 60 bids: 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James Refractor (PSA 9)

10. $30,199 on 34 bids: 2020-21 Panini National Treasures LaMelo Ball, #87/99, auto patch (ungraded)