You may have noticed that the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has particularly expensive cards. In light of this, we ask: are Patrick Mahomes cards overpriced?
If you ask any football fan in America to name the best player in the game, they’ll give you one of two names.
The first is a seven-time Super Bowl champ who has three MVPs at 43—Tom Brady.
The other name is a 25-year-old—basically a kid by comparison—who has one Super Bowl and one MVP.
Mahomes is a dynamic talent for sure, and his place as one of the prominent faces of the NFL is certainly warranted, but today we’re going to dig into a big question: as good as he is, are his cards overpriced?
Patrick Mahomes entered in NFL in 2017 as the 10th pick in the draft after a standout career at Texas Tech. His talent was never questioned, as the Chiefs traded up from Pick 27 to land Mahomes at 10.
However, he didn’t have a flashy rookie season. In a very real sense, he didn’t have a rookie season at all. Instead of logging time on the field, Mahomes backed up Alex Smith for the first 15 games of his rookie year and attempted to learn as much from the savvy veteran as possible. Apparently, it worked. Mahomes’ first start came the final game of his rookie season, in which he threw for 284 yards.
He hasn’t looked back since. Instead, he’s writing his name into history books: fastest to reach 10,000 yards, fastest to 90 touchdown passes, third-youngest Super Bowl MVP, and the youngest to win a Super Bowl and MVP.
Since then, he’s been the Golden Boy of the hobby, too.
To get a feel for if Mahomes’s cards are overvalued, we first need a reference point. To judge that, here is a table the compares the comps of PSA 10 Optic Holo rookies for quarterbacks in the same generation.
First, if you’re thinking, “why didn’t you compare Prizm,” the answer is simple: that’s a tough comparison to make. In 2017 Prizm, all rookies were “silver.” In 2018 (Jackson and Allen), there was only one silver card per box. This scarcity makes them much rarer and more valuable. Therefore, Optic is a more comparable point of reference.
Next, let’s look at the numbers.
To be fair, Mahomes is the only one on the list who has a Super Bowl to his name, but is his card worth an average of 4x as much as the next player on the list?
It depends on how much you value accomplishments over stats.
Statistically, he has very close competition. Last year, Mahomes threw for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns. Allen threw for 4,555 yards and 37 touchdowns while also rushing for 8 (considerably more than Mahomes’s 2).
Then, add Lamar Jackson to the list. Jackson plays a different style than Mahomes, but he still passed for almost 3,000 yards while adding another 1,000 on the ground last year to combine with 33 touchdowns… in a down year. On top of that, Jackson is even younger than Mahomes and already has an MVP. So if anything, Jackson’s cards might be underpriced.
It’s hard to compare Mahomes’ prices to the all-time greats and Hall-Of-Famers because older cards are worth more in mint condition, and the brands are also a bit different. We also know that some Hall-Of-Famer cards are underpriced.
That said, here’s the best attempt at comparing Mahomes cards with the rookies of all-time greats and HOF talent. In this comparison, I’m using a PSA 10 Mahomes rookie against PSA 9 rookies of older cards for the sake of keeping the comp as reasonable as possible based on population.
|Patrick Mahomes Donruss PSA 10||$1,230|
|Joe Montana Topps PSA 9||$2,225|
|Tom Brady Bowman PSA 9||$2,600|
|Dan Marino Topps PSA 9||$350|
What do these numbers tell us?
For one, there’s room for Mahomes to go even higher. That’s almost certain.
But there are a couple of issues with this table that make comparing prices a challenge. As mentioned above, the first issue is time. A card from the early 2000s (or even ’80s) will be worth significantly more as a PSA 10 than a modern card would. So even using PSA 9’s in the table for the non-Mahomes might not be enough buffer.
That said, the cards I used of Brady, Marino, and Montana were also the most coveted cards of those players. But, again, there were only a handful of brands making rookie cards for those three gridiron titans, and Donruss feels like the closest comp to Topps/Bowman for Mahomes. However, if I would have used Mahome’s most coveted rookie card, the Silver Prizm, he would already outsell all three of the HOFer’s (and future-HOFer’s, @Tom).
If you can read this chart while bearing both of those factors in mind, it gives you a feel for how Mahome’s rookies fit into the grand scale.
All Mahomes’ accomplishments have fueled the love of him throughout the hobby—and let’s face it, he seems like a good guy that’s pretty easy to cheer. Collectors are latching onto his “youngest-ever” accomplishments and predictively extending his career to a place where only Brady stands.
In other words, Mahomes is being treated as a blue-chip stock of card collecting, but is he a safe bet?
Mahomes’ rookie card value is high, at least in my eyes, but it is justifiable. Let me explain.
Mahomes has been great. He’s been outstanding, even, and he could be dynamite for a very long time. If his career trajectory plays out as it could, he might end up at the top of several record lists. If you want to fork over thousands of dollars for Mahome’s premier rookie cards, I get it. The value could go up over time.
But there’s a counter-argument, too. One could say Mahomes is playing with the best tightened in football, one of the most explosive receivers in the league, and a head coach that couldn’t be a better match. And league-wide, many other young quarterbacks are making significant strides to storied careers, too. Don’t get me wrong: Mahomes has been the best of any of them. But he’s not as far ahead of Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson as his card prices might suggest.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Mahomes wins the next five Super Bowls, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t win one of them, either. There is a lot of talent in the NFL.
An investment in Mahomes boils down to one thing: can he sustain his hot start?
If you’re ready to go all-in on Mahomes, here’s a list of the best five cards to consider:
1. Prizm Rookie
The Prizm rookie will forever be the Patrick Mahomes rookie card. It’s the most valuable brand for a reason: everybody loves it. A PSA 9 will cost around $2,000.
2. Prizm Silver Autograph
What’s better than the most popular rookie card? A signed version! However, the $10,000 price tag attached to this one and the scarcity drops it down to #2 on the list.
3. Optic Holo
Optic is the second most popular brand for modern rookies, and the Holo is the best rookie to own. If you have a Mahomes, it’s truly a gem of a card, and the PSA 9 can be purchased for under $5,000.
4. Contenders Auto
Contenders is another timeless set with the iconic ticket-inspired rookie card. A Mahomes rookie auto could be north of $20K, depending on the grade and version, but if you’re a real high-roller, this card could be worth a fortune someday.
5. Donruss/Optic Rated Rookie
Finally, the Donruss Rated Rookie and Optic Rated Rookie are great cards that are much more collectible because of price. A Donruss rookie PSA 9 sells for around $400. Meanwhile, the Optic version sells for about $600. So which one you want to buy depends on how much you’re looking to spend and if you prefer the chromium style. Either one is an excellent addition to a collection.
Mahomes cards might be overpriced compared to other young talents of his generation, but if his career pans out like it very well could, they still could majorly increase in value. But, of course, your decision to buy or pass depends on how much you believe in the young man in Kansas City.