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Tom Brady's autographed rookie card sells for record $3.1 million

An autographed rookie card of NFL quarterback Tom Brady sold last week at auction for $3.1 million, topping a previous record of $2.25 million by a card of the same series in lesser condition.

More than 30 people placed bids for the mint condition 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship card, according to New Jersey auction company Lelands. A Lelands official said the card sold for that price because of Brady's celebrated career with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady has won seven NFL championships and appeared in 10 Super Bowls over a span of 21 seasons with both teams. He has thrown the most touchdown passes of any player in NFL history and has been selected Super Bowl MVP five times, two more than Joe Montana. 

"Tom Brady is the GOAT and continues to break records both on and off the playing field," Jordan Gilroy, Lelands acquisitions director, said in a statement, referring to Brady's record-breaking card sale. 

Tom Brady's 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket autographed rookie card recently sold at auction for $3.1 million, topping a previous record of $2.25 million set just months ago by an identical card in lesser condition.

Auction organizers said only 100 of the Brady cards were printed, and the one auctioned last Friday was in the best condition they had ever seen. Lelands said there are only seven Brady cards in existence of the same quality as the one auctioned, which is graded BGS MINT 9, the highest version available for this particular card.

During that same auction, the football Brady threw for his first career touchdown sold for nearly $430,000.

Brady, 43, spent most of his career as a Patriot before leaving the team and moving to Tampa in 2020 to join the Buccaneers, with whom he went on to win Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Brady is the only quarterback in history to win a championship over age 40 with two NFL different teams. He was also the oldest player to be named Super Bowl MVP.

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Soon after Brady won the Super Bowl in February, sports fans began asking some of the owners of the six other BGS 9 autographed Brady rookie cards if they'd be interested in selling for as much as $5 million a piece, Lelands said. All of them declined. 

It's not uncommon for rare sports trading cards to be sold for hundreds of thousands — even millions — of dollars. Rookie cards for NBA stars LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have sold for $1.8 million each. Baseball greats Honus Wagner and Mike Trout have seen their cards sell at auction for $3.7 million and $3.9 million, respectively. And a 1952 Mickey Mantle card from Topps sold for $5.2 million in January, marking the most money anyone has ever paid for a sports card. 

No matter the sport, the buying and selling of trading cards have seen a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic. Online auction site eBay reported an additional 4 million trading cards were sold on its platform in 2020 compared with 2019. Sales of basketball cards rose 373% over the previous year, while sales of football and baseball cards rose 168% and 73%, respectively, eBay said. 

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