The NFL Shield card is the holy grail of rookie patch autographs (RPAs). Not only does it feature a patch – it features the patch. Specifically, the NFL shield patch from the player’s jersey, giving it the name. To celebrate these gorgeous cards, here is your ultimate guide to NFL Shield cards.
The logo swatches are sometimes accompanied by an autograph and sometimes not. Either way, these cards are monster hits and great pieces to investments.
Here’s what you need to know about NFL Shield cards.
NFL Shield cards are all 1 of 1. Unfortunately, there’s only one NFL logo patch on each NFL jersey, so it’s far too rare of prime memorabilia real estate to make these cards big sets.
Like a unicorn, these cards are rare and magical additions to sets because of their 1/1 nature. While not everybody can have an NFL shield card, that’s also part of the fun. Moreover, these cards are typically reserved for big-name veterans or star rookies, so there’s no such thing as a “cheap” NFL Shield card.
They’re hard to acquire. Shield cards are rare, and the demand greatly exceeds the supply. This is an excellent combination for value. A nice rookie shield card can be a six-figure card, depending on the player and set. In the case of this Patrick Mahomes, that number can be more like $4.3 million.
It’s hard to put a date on the first NFL shield card. However, it is easy to trace their roots – they were inspired by the success of the NBA logoman cards.
As we wrote in our article about logoman cards: “Upper Deck Exquisite released the first Logoman cards in 2003, LeBron’s rookie year. They only made three total logoman cards that year, and each was “dual,” meaning they featured two players. They were Kobe Bryant/Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant/LeBron James, and LeBron James/Michael Jordan. Obviously, those cards have aged exceptionally well.”
That kicked off the logoman craze. The following year, Upper Deck Exquisite expanded to produce forty more logoman cards (30 duals and 10 triples). Collectors went wild over the new wave of logoman cards, and since that year, the cards have swept across sets and even manufacturers.
With football cards, the evolution isn’t quite as linear. There are a few 2003 and 2004 NFL shield cards, but they’re mostly not 1/1, so they don’t seem like a true shield card. They’re more common than the iconic logoman card, but the extent they’re being printed is harder to track. So, which products have them?
With basketball cards, logoman cards are almost exclusive to the brand National Treasures. Or the logoman cards that collectors think of as true logomans, at least.
While the most expensive Shield cards will always be National Treasures, it’s slightly different with the NFL. A quick eBay search of “NFL Shield card” pulls results from many brands: Certified, National Treasures, Limited, XR, Obsidian, Spectra, Black, and more. While a few of these might be the NFL shield from the laundry tag, the vast majority look like the real deal.
So what’s the deal?
Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. If you read the back of a Shield card, it says, “The enclosed authentic memorabilia is not from any specific game or event.”
In other words, while the autograph is guaranteed, Panini could get 100 jerseys of the same player and make 100 shield cards. The wording is vague enough that it’s hard to tell. The NBA Logoman cards appear more of a “rare air” feeling. However, that doesn’t stop the NFL shield cards from selling for a pretty penny.
Because shield cards are 1 of 1s, they’re typically tremendously expensive. In fact, if you see a football card making headlines for a big sale, chances are it’s an NFL shield card.
In addition to the Patrick Mahomes National Treasures shield that recently did $4.3 million, there are other impressive numbers from these beauties. For example, the Justin Herbert 2020 National Treasures Shield went for $546,328, and a Mahomes Flawless shield rookie went for $312,000. An early shield card – the 2005 SP Authentic Aaron Rodgers shield rookie auto – has sold for $229,00.
There are many amazing NFL Shield cards. But these are the cream of the crop.
This stunning card of a likely Hall of Famer went for 4,300,000$. Not bad! Keep in mind that this 1/1 card scored a mere 8.5 BGS grade.
Paying $550,000 for a QB who may never win a Superbowl seems risky. But the upside is very high. If Herbert follows projections, he is expected to retire a legend, and this card will be worth several million.
Yup. Mahomes again. After all, he is the biggest quarterback as a rookie in the NFL shield era. This BGS 7.5 went for $312,000 at Goldin Auctions. For the sake of the shield investors, we hope Mahomes continues to shine.
Trevor may have had a somewhat disappointing rookie season. However, he has the skills to be a legend. Therefore, whoever bought this card for under $25,000 on eBay, made an excellent investment.
Tua is not a sure thing. But if you are a believer, this card is a beauty and a BGS 9 to boot. It was sold in June 2022 for an undisclosed sum.
For a football fan, very few cards are more memorable than an NFL shield card. They’ve become exceptional in the hobby for a good reason. These cards represent rarity and value, and they’re eye-catching cards. In addition, they’re a great potential investment piece if you’re lucky enough to own some. An RPA on steroids, if you will.