A Mile High: Tim Tebow’s Best Rookie Cards Keep Going Up . . . and Up . . . and Up

December 14, 2011

Tim Tebow’s remarkable ascent this season amid the thin Rocky Mountain air to the top of the NFL universe has been unbelievably breathtaking. In leading the Denver Broncos to seven wins in his first eight starts, the omnipresent Tebow has added a new word to the English language and helped change the fortunes of an entire franchise.

And with every hair-raising, fingernail-gnawing, Tebowing-tinged finish, the kid continues elevating the fortunes being paid for his 2010 National Treasures Rookie Card, not surprisingly one of the single hottest commodities on the sports collectibles market right now.

The card — produced by Panini America and released last January — is limited to just 99 total copies, is blessed with Tebow’s carefully-scrawled, highly-coveted autograph and is embedded with a piece of jersey Tebow wore during the 2010 NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

Add it all up — the scarcity, the sullied swatch and the scribbled signature from a true superhero southpaw — and it’s easy to see why collectors in recent days have paid as much as $921 for a football card that the pricing experts at Beckett Media currently value at $500. Other copies of the appropriately named national treasure have sold in the last week for $810 and $699, respectively.

For the record, someone paying as much as 37 percent over Beckett book value for any sports card in today’s market is virtually unheard of; then again, so are Tebow and his string of surreal, storybook endings that have vaulted Denver to the top of the AFC West following a 1-4 start under former quarterback Kyle Orton.

There is similar frenzy surrounding Tebow’s 2010 Playoff Contenders Rookie Card, his other key autographed RC from last season that Dan Hitt, the Senior Market Analyst for Beckett Football, raised in value this week from $150 to $175, that card’s highest price since last May.

“Tebow’s cards have always sold very well since being drafted a year and a half ago,” Hitt says. “Collectors seem to be nibbling at many of his rookie-season autographs in the hopes that Tebow mania will continue. It seems any signed card valued around $150 or less is selling at or near high book value.

“His 2010 Playoff Contenders RC is a good example. Recently — for months now, actually — it had been priced at $150 and remained stable at that level. Just this week a few eBay sales on the card have surpassed that price point, pushing the card up in value.”

That’s certainly not an isolated phenomenon. Everything Tebow touches these days seems to be going up. Everything.

As a nation full of enthralled witnesses — hardcore football fans and casual observers alike — prepares for Sunday’s epic AFC showdown between Tebow and Tom Brady (he of the $1,000 2000 Playoff Contenders RC), here’s a gallery full of Tebow’s most compelling and upwardly mobile trading cards.