Filed under: Beckett Media, NFL | Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Big 33, Canton McKinley High School, Curtis Martin, Denver Broncos, Football Card, high school football, Josh McDaniels, Marvin Harrison, New England Patriots, Rare Trading Card
Long before Denver Broncos rookie head coach Josh McDaniels started winning games, Rocky Mountain hearts and league-wide respect this season, the 33-year-old maverick was a cocky-looking quarterback and kicker for McKinley High School in – of all places – Canton, Ohio.
And he’s got an obscure-yet-burgeoning football card to prove it.
The card, a virtually valueless afterthought for the better part of 15 years, made a rare appearance on the secondary market earlier this month – and sold for $26, four times its current value at the time and a staggering 3,500 percent more than it was worth just nine months ago.
Hailing from the 1995 Ohio High School Big 33 set, McDaniels’ first and only football card was worth just 75 cents in January before ascending to $3, and then to $5, as one of the most gifted young coaches in the NFL finalized his meteoric rise from New England assistant to the league’s youngest head coach at the time of his hiring in Denver.
All he’s done since then is trade away the club’s franchise quarterback, engage in a highly publicized spat with franchise receiver Brandon Marshall, turn the perpetually pedestrian Kyle Orton into an MVP candidate and direct the Broncos to a shocking 6-0 start.
As a result, his card’s new Beckett value as of Friday morning is $30.
“The fact that this little-known card has appreciated so substantially literally overnight is a tribute to the remarkable job McDaniels has done so far in Denver,” says Dan Hitt, Beckett Media Senior Market Analyst. “Most people around the country expected 2009 to be a down year for the Broncos; instead, they’re the surprise team of the league with more victories than the rest of the AFC West combined.”
McDaniels’ so-good so-soon success quickly has turned one of his only legitimate collectibles into a must-have memento with an upwardly mobile price tag. The hardest part for would-be collectors is waiting for copies of the relatively scarce card to surface.
Promotional sets have been an annual part of the Big 33 Football Classic – a high school all-star game between blue-chippers from Ohio and Pennsylvania – since 1991. But what started as nothing more than a keepsake almost 20 years ago has turned into something much more collectible.
“The cards were given as souvenirs to the players, their families and the fans and were not necessarily intended to be chased by football card collectors,” Hitt says. “But collectors began to catch on in the latter half of the 1990s as some of the players from these early sets, like Marvin Harrison and Curtis Martin, made it big in the NFL.
“By the new millennium many collectors and dealers were purchasing extra sets directly from the game’s promoter, making those slightly easier to find than the sets issued in the 1990s.”
For what it’s worth (which is a lot more than it used to be), McDaniels’ new $30 gem is comparable to keystone 1991 Big 33 cards of Martin and Harrison (valued at $40 each) and Larry Johnson’s from 1998 ($20). Ben Roethlisberger’s card from 2000, at $80, is the most valuable in the entire history of the series.
Of course, if McDaniels keeps this up, even that might look like chump change by season’s end.
— Tracy Hackler
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