Sports Fans and sports card collectors want to get behind the next Tom Brady. Brady leads in passing yards (it’s nearly 50 miles), touchdowns and Super Bowl rings. The next GOAT has been Patrick Mahomes for better than a year. This great quarterback reached 15,000 passing yards faster than anyone in history, threw 114 touchdown passes in just three seasons, and frankly he could do no wrong. And then came the 2021 season.
After a series of missteps, the Kansas City Chiefs have gone from the team likely to win the Super Bowl to a mere 3 wins and 4 losses, Mahomes’ stats are average, and now some fans and collectors are already wondering if Kansas City’s playoff chances are going down the drain.
Are sports fans and collectors simply demanding too much out of a young quarterback and a team that is after all human and capable of mistakes? That is very possible, but there should also be some serious consideration given about cards that are just a few years commanding hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars before a player’s career has even proven to be “the next GOAT.”
Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. This means that high-priced items (that would fit with hot young quarterbacks) are being purchased with the same money that could have been invested in stocks, bonds, crypto and so on. And the collector class is having to compete for almost every purchase against the “sports card investor” class of buyers who is wheeling and dealing cards only with the ambition of making a profit. And of course, even with the great Patrick Mahomes, there is the constant reminder that there are zero guarantees and assurances of a profit when investing in anything.
Before getting into just how disappointing Mahomes’ performance has been in 2020, it is also fair to ask if sports fans, fantasy football addicts and sports card collectors (or investors) are out of touch. After analyzing stock and bond market returns (and property and so on) for 30 years, and after having analyzed sports cards for almost 40 years, it is safe to bring up the notion that card buyers are simply asking too much, asking for full rewards too fast, and expecting too much in the future.
Fans do in fact have a right to be critical. And in a world that has so much attention to fantasy football teams, on top of sports collectors treating young hot quarterback football cards as if they were stocks, it is easy to get how and why the frustrations are bubbling over here. If players are costing time, money and grief, they can just expect everyone to cast doubt on them.
This last Sunday’s output of just 3-points at half-time was the team’s lowest point for the first half for at least 5 years. Mahomes’ performance has been touted by many pundits as shocking, disappointing, and worse. Having 9 interceptions is in fact a tie for the league’s worst, and it’s already 50% more interceptions than all of the 2020 NFL season. And 6 games of interceptions in a row is the worst of Mahomes career.
One last issue that is going to drive some fan frustration is that Mahomes may have the largest sports deal in history after a 10-year $500 million deal. Another aspect that could become an issue is that the game-face athletes who are known and followed by people all around the country have genuinely taken on more extracurricular financial efforts than has ever been seen. Now players have venture funds, partnership funds, NFT exchanges, and are deeply touting crypto and other alternative ventures all throughout their days.
So what about the card sales of Patrick Mahomes? Collectors Dashboard has issued a serious reminder to sports card collectors and investors at the start of the 2021 season — Not all hot new NFL quarterbacks will go the Hall of Fame. The reality is that this simply means some will not work out as you were hoping in a GOAT card chase.
Shortly ahead of the 2021 National sports collectors convention, news broke that a Patrick Mahomes rookie card sold in a privately negotiated sale through PWCC Marketplace for a record $4.3 million. The autographed 2017 Panini National Treasures (pop. 1-of-1) was also the highest price for any football card ever sold. Just think about that for a moment in a career that was basically entering year-4 (Image below courtesy of PWCC Marketplace).
The prior record sale for a football card had been a $3.1 million for a special Tom Brady rookie card. That sale was in march of 2021, and previously Brady had already set the three prior football card price records. The difference here is that Brady’s stats and duration are basically unrivaled.
According to a search of past auctions at Goldin Auctions, their three highest Mahomes card sales have been as follows:
- 2017 Panini National Treasures Black #161 Patrick Mahomes Signed Patch Rookie Card (#1/5) graded BGS MINT 9/BGS 10 for $840,000.00.
- 2017 Panini Prizm Gold Vinyl Prizm #269 Patrick Mahomes II Rookie Card (#3/5) graded as PSA GEM MT 10 for $676,500.00.
- 2017 Panini National Treasures “Stars & Stripes” Jersey Autograph (RPA) #161 Patrick Mahomes II signed patch Rookie Card (#06/13) graded as BGS GEM MINT 9.5/BGS 10 for $584,250.00.
On top of doing research for all of the different Patrick Mahomes cards, there are too many price sources and sales venues to easily track which of the Mahomes cards are still doing well and which ones are not. One serious issue to consider is that an old review of Patrick Mahomes rookie card variations showed that there were 37 different rookie card variations of Mahomes.
The good old reliable eBay has many aspects that can be used for tracking all rookie card sales of the larger population cards. As this is a modern era card, we are looking specifically at the PSA 10 grades for the 2017 Panini Donruss #327 Patrick Mahomes II Rookie. This is more or less considered a base rookie. Prices in auctions and “Buy It Now” and “or Best Offer” look all over the place with certain sellers getting more bids than other sellers. Still, the reality is that the 2017 Panini Donruss #327 Patrick Mahomes rookie card prices in PSA 10 are down handily from before the start of the 2021 NFL season.
2017 Panini Donruss #327 Patrick Mahomes II Chiefs with the “Rated Rookie” logos in PSA 10 grades were selling in the auction-only format on eBay for a a range that reached $1,400 to $1,600 in August of 2021. By the end of September the cards were selling close to $1,000. Despite an October 24 sale of $1,035.00, the other four sales ahead of and after were at prices of $$910.00 (32 bids), $890.00 (32 bids), $960.00 (16 bids) and $940.00 (20 bids).
And going back even further, Heritage Auctions sold a PSA 10 graded 2017 Panini Donruss #327 (Image above courtesy of Heritage Auctions) card for $1,740.00 on May 6, 2021.
Another go-to base rookie is the 2017 Panini Score Patrick Mahomes II (NFL Draft) #2. These cards have sold for between $200 and $250 recently even in PSA Gem Mint 10 graded condition.
It is important to realize that some players have bad seasons. The great players recover, but it also takes a strong team around a solid player for that player to even get a chance at greatness. And if by some measure Patrick Mahomes recovers and takes the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl, even if his stats aren’t what they were in 2020 or before, all of the panic sales and discounting of his cards might look a bit crazy.
The current trend of writing off the career of Patrick Mahomes is a mistake at this point. That just doesn’t mean that his endless high-price card sales have to keep going higher. Remember, there are no guarantees of a profit in any asset class — and that definitely pertains to sports cards and other collectibles that rely upon the performance of a player and his team.
And for a finishing note, below is a photo of a great painting that was taken at the Fanatics booth at the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention 2021.