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Costco Is Selling an Autographed Tom Brady Rookie Card for $40,000

A family of four sitting on the couch and cheering on a football game.

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If you haven’t surfed Costco’s website before, you might be surprised that it sells autographed sports gear. Yes, as if buying a 72-pound cheese wheel or 8-foot tall stuffed bear wasn’t bizarre enough, Costco’s website also sells autographs from sports legends, like Mickey Mantle, Magic Johnson, and Tom Brady.

Right now, Costco is selling a Tom Brady Autographed 2000 Playoff Prestige Spectrum Red Rookie Card No. 286. The card shows Tom Brady when he played for the University of Michigan, while he was still widely unknown. Love him or hate him, this autographed card is a rarity — and the Costco price is almost as competitive as Brady himself.

A Tom Brady rookie card is remarkably cheap at Costco

Currently, you can buy this Tom Brady 2000 rookie card for roughly $40,000 on Costco’s website. The card is graded a 9.5 (also known as the “gem-mint,” since it’s immaculate) by Beckett Authentication and also has a perfect 10 for the signature.

While $40,000 isn’t cheap, Costco has the lowest price for this specific card. Significantly lower than other outlets, in fact. For example, sellers on eBay are listing the same autographed card (No. 286) for $49,500. Meanwhile, the website Sports Collectible has the card listed for about $53,000, while Sports Memorabilia is selling it for roughly $76,500.

Why does the card cost so much? Three reasons: the signature is immaculate (a perfect 10), the card itself is extremely rare (only 100 are in print), and Tom Brady is — well, you know who he is. If there were more cards in print (say, 1,000) or the card was damaged, it wouldn’t cost as much as a new Model 3 Tesla. As it were, this card is a rarity, which makes its lower price on Costco pretty attractive.

This isn’t the first time Costco has sold autographed sports memorability for a significantly lower price. For instance, it’s also selling a basketball signed by five Lakers legends, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Jerry West. The price for that is roughly $8,000, which is about $2,000 cheaper than the lowest price at other outlets.

This seems like a good investment. Should I buy one?

If you’re an investor who wants to turn a profit, you might wonder if a sports card is a lucrative endeavor. While it certainly can be, buying a rare sports card — especially one at this price — can be risky and not right for everyone.

The main problem with buying expensive sports memorabilia is liquidity. Unlike most stocks and ETFs, which can be bought and sold relatively quickly, rare collectibles could take you a long time to resell. For example, the Tom Brady rookie card that I found on eBay (price: $49,500) was first listed on Nov. 27, 2023. Unless you list your card for a lower price, expect to have to wait for a buyer.

Secondly, sports collectibles have physical risks. They can be damaged, destroyed, or stolen. Unless you have a safe at home, you’ll likely need to invest in one before you buy a Tom Brady rookie card. Likewise, it would be prudent to check your home or renters insurance to see if you can buy extra coverage for collectibles.

All in all, the price for this Tom Brady rookie card is comparatively low. If you’re a New England Patriots fan or sports collector who can budget for this expense, you might not find a better price. Better yet, if you’re an Executive Costco member, you can earn 2% back on your purchases (up to $1,000 per 12-month period). Add in Costco’s 100% generous return policy, and you might not find a better outlet to buy your sports memorabilia.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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