Sorry for posting it here but the football forum is a ghost town. But it has relevance to baseball and other sports. This card is up for auction: PSA 10 2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Tom Brady
At this moment, it's bid up to $110,000. I'm not an expert in that set, but it does not appear to be serial-numbered. Just before the Super Bowl last year, the one the Philadelphia Eagles won by beating said Patriots, Fly Eagles Fly, Make Tom Brady Cry, a BGS 9.0 of the #/100 parallels sold for $250,000. I've always kind of doubted that sale, but many anonymous people on the internet insist it was. Then the Trout Super sold for $400,000, although the buyer and seller have shady reputations. The seller of this card is Probstein.
I feel I must diverge into the legitimacy of the bidding first. The current Brady card has four bidders over $100,000. Looking at bidding records, one is very dubious (the current underbidder at 474 FB has 30% bidding activity with Probstein, including 12 retractions). Two of the others are a little odd, with 75% and 83% bid activity with Probstein. The 83% guy has placed 18 bids on just two items, and made 2 bid retractions. Hmmm.... The 75% guy has also only bid on 2 items, with 3 of his 4 bids going to Probstein items. The fourth guy, with 80 FB, has bid on several different items, mostly cards but also a handbag, and only 9% of his 44 bids have been with Probstein.
Now, people have different bidding patterns. And I imagine guys in the market for this card are not the type of collector who are chasing random sets and inserts and buying a blaster box here and there. They would only buy really nice, high-end things, so small numbers of bids with a large percentage going to a dealer who is known for dealing in high-end things is probably to be expected from certain kinds of bidders. At a certain level of financial comfort, you'd rather overpay for something at a better price from a known dealer than just some guy.
Let's assume these bids are all legit. Recent sales of the base Contenders Brady auto have been in the $8000-9000 range, but for BGS 8-9 range, and a PSA 7 sold for $7100. Sales have jumped in the last week or so since the Patriots got another trip to the SB. A BGS 9 for $14,299, a PSA 8 went for $15,655, and a PSA 8 BO'd for somewhere in between. A BGS 8 #/100 parallel sold for $61,100. These sales would seem to legitimize the #/100 copy from a year ago and . There are relatively few 9s for sale, and the card is notoriously tough in gem mint. PSA has only had 14 10s, 18 9s, and 80 8s. BGS has 15 9.5s, 247 9s, 305 8.5s, and 64 8.0s. I would imagine these numbers aren't really real, but inflated from numerous resubs. But condition sensitivity is pretty well demonstrated.
The market for the best card (excluding 1/1s and other well-ackshallys) of arguably the best quarterback ever appears to be sitting solidly at five figures for an averagely nice condition copy. A gem mint copy apparently goes for 7-8 times as much. While we are in the middle of SB hype yet again, I feel it's safe to say that the market probably won't drop back much if he loses, and could actually gain further with a win.
The question is, how does this impact other modern cards? At the moment, the one card pretty much anyone would love to have is the 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout. That's going for $3500-7500+ depending on condition and the day. But maybe a better comparison is the 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols. While he's definitely in the twilight of his playing days, his best card is continuing to gain. The most recent BGS 9.5s have sold for $15,388 (PWCC) and $11,356. A PSA 9 sold for $5100 and a BGS 8.5 (9 auto) sold for what looks like a bargain at $3250.
I don't know enough about basketball and hockey, but I have to imagine there's a similar reflection in top cards of Lebron, Crosby, Ovechkin, and other guys who have been around for a decade or more. Different markets, of course, as basketball has a large Asian market, and for a lot of rich Canadians it's only hockey. Or perhaps the Brady is a reflection of them. There's definitely a continual raising of the roof of the values for the best cards of active players. Brady is certainly unique, though, in that he's played so well for so long, same team, same coach, in the most hyped single game on the planet so often. I'm sure he's an outlier, but these sales I suspect also lift pricing for other top cards of top names. And along with that, as people are simply priced out of the best, comes a rise in their lesser cards, 2nd year cards, and other keys from later in their career. And other, lesser players of similar perception also keep rising. I sold out of Vlad Jr last summer and I don't even want to look at the prices on what I sold now. I can't imagine what people expect of him to have cards selling for so much, but it's always a leap forward when the "next best" comes along.