Veteran quarterbacks driving football card sales

The 2006 football collectibles market was dominated by interest in a significant number of productive rookies. This year, however, no rookie beyond Adrian Peterson has sparked consistent demand for his 2007 cards. In its place, collector demand has shifted to quarterbacks – specifically, Tom Brady, Tony Romo and Brett Favre.

As the Patriots continue to dominate opponents on a weekly basis, virtually all of Brady’s cards have increased across the board, with some of his 2000 rookie cards doubling in value.

Collectors have also jumped on the Romo bandwagon, as he continues to lead the Dallas Cowboys to wins. Demand for cards of the fifth-year quarterback, especially his 2003 rookie cards, didn’t take off until he became a starter last season and led the team to the playoffs. With the team currently at 8-1 and a long-term contract under his belt, Dallas-area stores can’t keep Romo’s cards in stock.

“I’ve been doing this for 21 years, and of all the Cowboys ever, this is the most sought-after Cowboy I have ever had,” said Scott Pierce of SMP Sportscards in Grapevine, Texas. “Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were hot when they first came out, but they were kind of proven college stars and didn’t come out of nowhere. We expected them to do things, but we didn’t expect Romo to do things.”

Collectors are also having a hard time getting their hands on autographed Romo memorabilia.

“He’s done a couple of local signings, but we don’t consider those signings,” said Nick Redwine of Nick’s Baseball Cards in Dallas. “He will be at the opening of something where the customers will go out and get autographs. But as far as stores go, stores that carry legitimate autographs, we are dependent on these big companies to get autographs, and he hasn’t done signings that I know of.”

Favre’s cards are enjoying their best sales since his three MVP seasons a decade ago. But breaking Dan Marino’s all-time TD record, playing as well as any quarterback in the league and leading the Packers to a surprising 8-1 start has collectors coming back for more Favre material.

“It’s not where it was during his MVP years, but it’s getting close,” said Jeff Price of Jeff’s Sports Cards in Greendale, Wis.

How popular is Favre with hobbyists? Even Cowboys fans are seeking out his cards.

“Everybody loves Brett Favre,” Redwine said. “You just can’t say anything bad about the guy. He’s having a great season. Brett Favre is in that class with Marino and Elway. He is loved and will be forever.”

– Bert Lehman

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