As Tom Brady’s NFL career has gone on seemingly without end, it’s become easy to forget that the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback once had a beginning as a rookie on the New England Patriots in 2000. A beginning which served as the starting point of his incomparable career, and only continues to provide value for memorabilia collectors.
According to a report by Mike Reiss of ESPN, a Tom Brady football card from his rookie year sold for $3.107 million at the Lelands Mid-Spring Classic Auction, setting a new record for the highest sum ever paid for a football card at a public auction. The sale bests a record set two months ago when another card from Brady’s rookie season was sold by Lelands for $2.25 million.
The specific card that was sold was a Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Autograph edition graded at Mint 9. Only seven copies of the card in Mint 9 are known to exist, with none graded higher.
By now, Brady’s origin story is fairly well known: A sixth-round pick by the Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady began his career in New England as a fourth-string backup before working his way up to the top backup quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe. Brady only appeared in one game as a rookie, completing one pass for six yards in a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions.
His path to stardom would begin in earnest the next season, when Brady was subbed in for Bledsoe, who suffered internal bleeding after a vicious hit from linebacker Mo Lewis in a game against the New York Jets. Brady taking over for Bledsoe would spark the team’s run to Super Bowl XXXVI, the Patriots’ dynasty of the 2000s and 2010s, and Brady’s own individual dynasty which continues with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.