Hey, all! In case you didn’t read my Mickey Mantle card blog, I mentioned that I was thinking about starting another blog series that goes into a little more detail about some of the rarest and most expensive sports cards in existence. Well, after swinging away on that idea, it seems that there are some fans out there in the crowd who think I should go for it. So, here it is...the first of what I hope will be many sports card highlights. However, this time we’re switching things up a bit and trading stitched cowhide for pigskin.
I’m kicking things off, so to speak, with a football card/player that goes all the way back to the 1930s and has become one of the most highly sought-after treasures in the world of sports card collecting!
We’ll start with a little background on the player and move on to the card shortly after!
Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski played as a Fullback in the National Football League, for the Chicago Bears, from 1930 - 1937. Nagurski was known for his rugged build, tough/hard running style and resilience, which he showed off in his college days at the University of Minnesota and on Sundays when he played in the pros with the Bears. When he first entered the league, the Bears were a powerful ball club that had been around for 10 years and looking to solidify themselves as strong championship-caliber contenders in the early 1930s. The team was coming off of a winning season and needed someone who could put them over the goal line, both literally and figuratively. Enter Bronko Nagurski!
Shortly after turning pro, the Bears and opposing teams immediately felt the power of his presence. Nagurski hit the ground running (no pun intended) and developed a reputation with his brute strength and large frame. He was truly a dominant force for the Bears and would play a key role in their championship victories in 1932, 1933 and 1943. Of course, this was before Super Bowls came along. With three championships and other notable awards under his belt, Nagurski finally decided to retire from professional football for the second and final time in 1943 after winning his third championship with the Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
The Card is a 1935 National Chicle #34, which depicts Nagurski in his college days wearing his #3 University of Minnesota football jersey. I was actually surprised when I first looked at this card because I figured that it would show Bronko wearing some version of the Chicago Bears uniform. But, as we’ve discovered/learned in previous posts, rookie cards that show players before they made it big are even more valuable than those that show them in their prime pro years. This card is #34 in what was originally a 36-card set that was released back in 1935. We’re talking about pre-World War II here!
Today, Nagurski’s 1935 National Chicle card is ranked as one of the rarest and most expensive rookie cards out there. You can pretty much find it on every rare football card list on the internet next to other big names that you may be more familiar with. Of course, this card often comes in somewhere in the top three (if not at #1). According to PSA, and the sources around the web, a mint condition (PSA 9) version of this card is worth around $750,000. To put that grade and price in perspective, a near mint (NM, PSA 8.5) is worth almost $175,000. You can check out PSA’s grading scale and other price guides for this card by clicking here.
I hope you enjoyed this first post in my new Sports Card highlight series. By now you probably know that I’m a HUGE sports fan and it’s a privilege for me to have this opportunity to write about some of the world’s most legendary players and cards. I’m going to try and shoot for maybe 2 - 3 posts per month, that way I can cover three players from three of my favorite sports (Football, Basketball and Baseball). Don’t worry hockey fans, there’s plenty of room for you too.
Speaking of which, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on which cards I should cover next throughout this series, please let me know in the comments below. Just on a personal note, I think this is going to be a really fun series and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!