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Tom Brady Rookie Card: Ten Best Investments, Value, Checklist

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As a diehard Patriots fan, one of my all-time worst moments was seeing Tom Brady leave New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I was still happy when Brady won the Super Bowl with the Bucs, but still painful to see my beloved #12 playing for another team.

With the Super Bowl victory, Brady pretty much cemented his legacy as the best quarterback to ever play the game

While Montana and Manning and maybe Namath used to get lumped into the conversation, I don’t think many can argue against Brady’s GOAT status any longer. 

With the rise to the top, Brady’s rookie cards have followed. Over the past two years, his 2000 Bowman Chrome rookie card has increased nearly tenfold. Other rookie card issues from Brady have followed the same path.  

After a dreadful 2019 season with the Patriots, many had assumed that Brady’s days as a leading quarterback were over. Some even thought Brady might call it quits.  It’s amazing how quickly the tides can turn.  

I get a lot of questions from collectors asking about Tom Brady rookie cards.

While his cards don’t technically hit the ‘vintage’ radar that we so loosely defined, his cards are so iconic that it would be a disservice to football card collectors not to discuss Brady and the ultimate investment potential of his rookie cards.

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So, sit back while I dig into Brady’s most investable rookie cards, examining the population reports, values and ultimate long-term investment potential.

I had never examined the vast landscape of Brady cards until now, and it’s not surprising that many collectors are confused by what’s what. 

Brady has over 100 rookie cards when counting his year 2000 base, variation, insert and autograph cards.

See The Full Tom Brady Checklist

Over the remainder of this piece, I hope to provide you with more actionable information on Brady’s rookie card.  It’s a confusing landscape, but I try to narrow down some of the best budget and higher priced Brady rookie cards for collectors. 

10 Best Tom Brady Rookie Cards

As mentioned, Brady has quite a few different rookie cards.  I narrowed the options to Ten of Brady’s Best Rookie cards, including only his rookie cards licensed by the NFL with Brady in a Patriots jersey.  ‘BEST’ is all dependent on your budget and there is no order to the rankings here.

#1. 2000 Tom Brady Bowman Chrome RC #236

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Probably one of the most recognizable Tom Brady rookie cards, the 2000 Bowman Chrome Brady card is without a doubt one of the top rookie cards of Brady.

The Brady Bowman Chrome card is also a component of of the All Vintage Cards Large Cap Value Football portfolio.

Collectors gravitate towards the card since Bowman issued it, one of the more established and respected card brands. Note also that Bowman issued a base Bowman Brady rookie #236 along with this Bowman Chrome issue.  

Surprisingly the Tom Brady Bowman Chrome card isn’t all that much rarer than his Bowman card.  Collectors just view the Bowman Chrome card as more of a premium issue.  And the Chrome card is just a nicer issue. 

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Brady’s Chrome Rookie, as measured by a PSA 9 copy (graph below) has seen a big move over the past two years.  

Tom Brady Chrome PSA 9 Pricing–courtesy of Card Ladder

Tom Brady 2000 Bowman Chrome #236 Rookie Card New England Patriots PSA 8 NM-MT

$722.00  (10 bids)
End Date: Monday Jul-01-2024 22:30:01 EDT

Bid

PSA Graded (9.0) 2000 Bowman Chrome - #236 Tom Brady (RC)

$3,500.00  
End Date: Monday Jul-01-2024 15:12:14 EDT
Buy It on eBay for only: $3,500.00
Buy It Now on eBay

#2. 2000 Tom Brady Playoff Contenders Autograph RC #144

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The 2000 Playoff Contenders set featured 200 cards, with the first 100 being base cards and the remaining 100 autographed cards.  Thus, the 2000 Playoff Contenders Brady Autograph #144 is Brady’s only autographed rookie card that is part of a base set.  

There is also a ‘Championship Ticket’ variation of the card (shown below) of which only 100 have been released.   One sold in early 2021 for more than $2 Million!  And then another one topped that in June at over $3 Million.

The average selling price on the Contenders Brady #144 runs around $20k for Mid Grade copy in the PSA 6-7 range.  

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#3. 2000 Tom Brady SP Authentic RC #118 /1250

Tom Brady’s 2000 SP card is among the top tier of all Brady rookie cards—featuring Brady as a member of the Patriots, as opposed to many other cards that features him in college gear.  This is also one of many on the list that has a defined population.  

SP only created 1250 of these cards and the card is numbered as shown on the top right-hand side.  Thus, collectors appreciated the somewhat limited supply and have put this one among the cards to own for Brady rookie cards. 

Due to the limited supply, however, only deep-pocketed collectors will be able to afford this one. Here we can see a similar run-up and recent dip (not this is a PSA 9 copy of his SP rookie card).

But a PSA 9 is still selling for over $20K.

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#4. 2000 Tom Brady Leaf Limited RC #378 /350

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One of the more limited base Brady rookie cards in a Patriots uniform, this one tends to get overlooked. However, given the scarcity–only 350 were produced, it is still a highly prized collectible among football card collectors.  

It’s a sharp card, and features Brady in mid-pose in his Patriots uniform. 

Given the low number release, there is limited sales data on the card, but a PSA 10 copy did just sell for over $43K.

Collectors can find lower-grade graded copies for less, and I think this one is a good choice in a higher grade for those with deep pockets.

#5. 2000 Tom Brady Playoff Momentum RC #180 /750

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One of Playoff’s higher tier football card offerings, the set was issued in a limited release, with Brady’s card only having 750 copies in existence.  

The card has similar tones and colors to the Leaf Limited card of Brady, and in my mind is probably one of the better looking Brady rookie cards out there.  

Still, with a 750 card population, the values get on the edge of unaffordable for many. There also haven’t been a lot of recent PSA comp sales.  Mid to high grade BGS copies have sold in the neighborhood of $6-$8K, so probably not a bad deal given the low supply.

#6. 2000 Tom Brady SPx RC #130 /1350

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I love the look of Brady’s SPx card and it is among the upper echelon of Brady rookies in the minds of nearly all collectors.  With a defined supply of only 1350 cards, it also helps dictate the value—and anything in NM-MT condition or above is likely going to run you up about $6K.  

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#7. 2000 Tom Brady Fleer Showcase RC #136 /2000

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One of Brady’s underappreciated rookie cards, Fleer Showcase cards were serial-numbered to 2000. The card is just super cool looking–Brady throwing the ball, with a shadow on the bottom left and him staring in the background (probably at a receiver that dropped the ball!).

The Fleer Showcase rookie doesn’t get the same sort of attention as some of his other lower numbered rookies–like Leaf Limited, SP, SP Authentic, but I could make a case for it being one of Brady’s most underrated rookie cards.  

However, it feels like maybe collectors have finally caught on–a BGS 9 copy is now selling for around $7K.  See chart below

#8. 2000 Tom Brady Fleer Metal #267

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While it’s not numbered, this is probably my favorite under-the-radar Brady rookie card.  I like that it’s horizontal, I like the design; I just sort of like everything about this card. 

As for population–PSA has graded around 650, BGS has graded about 450, so not a rare card, but pretty much in line with a lot of the other numbered cards.

Copies in Near Mint (NM) condition or lower can typically be found for less than $1000.  

My pick for the best budget Brady rookie card right here.

#9. 2000 Tom Brady Upper Deck Graded RC #104 /1325

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One of the more peculiar issues of the last twenty years, UD issued packs in which there was one graded card and two regular cards in each pack.  

Thus for the Brady card issued in the set, a good portion were already graded before they came into the hobby.

Based on population, still, it’s a fairly limited card, with only 1325 produced.  

#10. 2000 Tom Brady E-X RC #122 /1500

E-X was one of many Fleer issues produced in more limited supplies;  Brady’s rookie card was numbered to only 1500 copies. Note there is also a much more limited ‘Essential Credential’s’ parallel card limited to only 25 copies.

Tom Brady Rookie Card Picks By Budget

$10,000+:  2000 Playoff Contenders Auto

$5K to $10K: 2000 Leaf Limited #378

$1000 or Less:  2000 Fleer Metal #267

What’s The Rarest Tom Brady Rookie Card?

For numbered base cards, it would the 2000 Private Stock Tom Brady RC #128 which was numbered to 278 total cards issued, although it doesn’t really get a ton of love from collectors.  

One, it’s an ugly card with Brady in college uniform.  Secondly there is also another retail issue (numbered to 650) that looks nearly identical and adds a significant amount of supply. 

What’s The Most Valuable Tom Brady Rookie Card?

That award belongs to the 2000 Playoff Contenders Auto ‘Championship Ticket’ #144 variation.  A recent sale at a Leland’s auction saw the cherished Brady rookie card autograph sell for over $3 Million.  Only 100 copies of the card were issued by the manufacturer.  

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What’s The Investment Outlook For Brady’s Rookie Cards?

When I think about sports cards and investing, I strive to purchase only the players that I know will be able to hold value over time.  This leads to me to focusing my efforts on the best players of all time–in baseball that includes names like Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Ted Williams.  

With football cards, when discussing investing, Tom Brady is the guy that has to be a focal point of your collection

Yes there is always the risk that Brady steps on the field and breaks his leg.  Thus, with any active player there is always the risk of injury to depress card values.

However, with Brady, I think we’ve seen everything we need to know.  He’s already established as the best quarterback of all time.  Everything he does from here on in is just icing on the cake. 

With that said, Brady’s cards, even despite a recent sell off, have seen a meteoric rise over the past few years.  For collectors with a limited budget it’s a bit harder to consider any major purchase of Brady cards.

Thus, I do worry that maybe they have gone a bit too far, too fast, although over the long run I still view his cards as great investments.  The Fleer Metal Brady rookie card is my budget pick for anyone trying to enter the Brady rookie card landscape.  

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