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2020 Guide: The year Buffalo Bills Trading Cards became Hot!

The sports trading card business is one of those businesses that I believe has had success during the ongoing pandemic and strange year of 2020.



The trading card business in the past was always a way for fans to collect cards of their favorite teams and athletes. Now to the present, it has become a business, as cards are collecting over a million dollars in auctions, most recently the Lebron James Upper Deck Rookie card.

I have been in this hobby for years. As a Canadian kid, for me, it was collecting hockey cards, and boy I loved collecting those Edmonton Oilers cards. I got back into the hobby a few years back, and man has it changed. Now it’s about collecting the big rookies and putting it in safe holders. Is it centered? Are the edges good? Because now they can be worth a lot of money. Gone are the days about just collecting them. Now, it’s about which cards make you the most money.

2019 Donruss Football Robert Foster Auto

I collect cards of all sports and its not as cheap buying a box of cards as they used to be. A box of cards can run you anywhere from $200-$5000 a box, and some boxes you are only going to get 5-6 cards a box. In the past, you collected a set of cards of players in the sport, and now there are player autographs, pieces of their jerseys, pieces of their equipment, etc. They are numbered so they become scarcer as the number is lower.

In the past, going to your local card store and buying packs and boxes was part of the fun. Now you can do it all from social media. They are called breakers. They are all over Facebook, eBay, YouTube. Breakers buy boxes and brake them online for collectors. They can be broken by customers buying a team for a certain price or paying one amount for a random team.

Payments then are made through different pay apps. The breaker once fills all teams or spots goes live and breaks them for the people in the break and then mails them all their cards for their team that they bought or got random. This becomes a cheaper way for a customer to collect cards and hope to hit a big card without spending so much on boxes.

2019 Panini Contenders Football Rookie Ticket Ed Oliver /91

Now, the reason I telling you all this is because the cost of boxes of cards became higher because there is a demand for it. With demand, the value of cards has skyrocketed in all sports, especially football and basketball. Today I am going to talk to you about some of the Buffalo Bills cards that are sought after that are for most people a personal reason, and then some that are high value right now, and some that if you are just starting maybe want to collect.

2018 Panini Flawless Football Jim Kelly Autograph /5

I am going to start with telling you about grading first. There are two main companies that grade your card condition out of 10: Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). You can mail your cards to these two companies to grade the condition of your card. The higher the grade out of 10, the higher the value your card becomes.

They look at the four main features of the card. The first is the centering of the card. Is the picture too much to the four sides of the card? The second is the edges. Are they flat? Is any white showing on the edges? The third is the surface of the front and back. Are there any scratches or scuffs. Finally, are the corners showing any whites, or are their bends anywhere? Once the grader determines a score for all four categories, an average is taken to give your card a final score. If a card has any autographed that will be graded out of 10 separately. This can really turn your card into a more valuable card.

2018 Donruss Optic Football White Sparkle Rated Rookie Josh Allen BGS 9.5
2018 Panini Prizm Base Rookie Josh Allen PSA 9

One of the most prized personal possession cards for most Bills fans will be the Jim Kelly rookie card. This is the 1987 Topps Jim Kelly Rookie card; its value is not too much. You can get an ungraded Jim Kelly rookie card for about $10-$20. Its value, even after being graded, might not be too high, but it is something every fan might want to keep in their collection. Kelly is obviously someone who represents the Buffalo Bills like no other person.

1987 Topps Football Jim Kelly Rookie

Right now, the Panini is the exclusive card company that has the rights to the NFL. There are many different sets throughout the year that they create, but no five are more popular for football than Select, Prizm, Contenders, National Treasures, and Flawless. Here are some cards from those sets that can be worth a lot of money now and in the future.

There is no present Buffalo Bills player that sells better than Josh Allen. Some of his sought-after cards can be worth thousands graded or ungraded with collectors use the term RAW for those.

One of the most valuable cards out there for Josh Allen is the 2018 Optics Cracked Ice Rookie. These are so sought after, not just for Josh Allen, but every rookie every year. There are only 24 that you can get for Allen in the whole entire Optics set. 

2018 Panini Contenders Cracked Ice Rookie Ticket /24 Josh Allen BGS 9.5 Auto 10

This optics card, graded high, can fetch you up to $3,200! If you are lucky enough to hit this kind of card, most people will suggest you grade it right away, as the value can jump extreme amounts in some cases. So, if you have some cash and want to have an investment of Bills cards, this is one of those that holds great value over time. Now the Cracked Ice out of 24 is not the only card of Allen in any set. There are a variety of cards in every set. This is just the most sought after one.

Now, not everyone has that much cash rolling around, but you still want to invest a little bit on a Josh Allen rookie card. The best rookie card then is the Prizm rookies.

2018 Panini Prizm Base Rookie Josh Allen

This is the 2018 Panini Prizm Base rookie card. This can run you about $35-$45 for an ungraded card. A lot of people try to get a base rookie ungraded because it is cheaper and then pay to get it graded, which will make the value run to about $300 if it grades a 10 and then lower as the grade is lower.

As with a lot of products, this is just the base rookie version. There are other color versions in Prizm that are worth a lot ungraded and graded. One of the most sought-after rookie cards in Prizm are the silver rookies. They are the same as the base, but they have a slight shiny appeal to them almost like a rainbow glare. These go for about $250 ungraded, so you can imagine what they would go for if they grade a high number. So, if you are a new collector Prizm is a great starting point for your collection.

Now, card value also depends on the player and what they do in the sport. There is no better example than Patrick Mahomes. In 2017, his Panini Prizm base rookie card was available for $30-$40 dollars ungraded. Now with what he has done the last couple of years, forget about the silvers, the cracked ice. His base Prizm rookie card ungraded goes for almost $500. The silvers are going for $1,000 plus.

So here is the thing. I think right now is the time to invest in Josh Allen cards where you can get the ungraded cards cheap, and if he has an incredible year or wins any awards, super bowls, your card will shoot up in price. Graded cards will be obviously worth more. I think this might be the right time to get any Allen cards graded and into your investment collection as soon as you can.

2019 Panini National Treasures Football Stars and Stripes Rookie Patch Auto Devin Singletary /20

The other player that has some value on the Bills is Devin Singletary. Motor was a pleasant surprise, and to most people out there, he’s a lot better than they thought he would be.  His cards are not even in the same ballpark as Josh Allen cards are, but there are some that are quite collectable and worth good money. A lot of Devin Singletary and veterans’ cards that have value will be found in the Flawless and National treasures set. Here are some cards that you can get in these sets that have value.

This 2019 National Treasures card of Motor pictured above has 20 versions in total and can be worth $1,000 plus. Cards with patches that have the Nike symbol, or laundry tags, team name, as shown above, make the value of cards go up as well as cards numbered to the player’s jersey or a 1/1 card.

2019 Panini National Treasures Football Signatures Bruce Smith /15

There are cards for a lot of players including Dawson Knox, Tre White, Thurman Thomas, Tremaine Edmunds, Ed Oliver, Andre Reed, and many more. You can collect to make money, or you can collect to just have cards of a player you love.

That was the case for me with Zay Jones. I have about 50 different Zay Jones rookie cards, as I collected him as one of my favorite Bills when he played. I do that a lot. I try to collect players that I love. So, this year, I am going to recommend Zack Moss. As the 2020 cards start coming out, some players you might be able to get cheap, and I think Zack Moss will be that person. I think he is a guy in whom you can invest low now. Dawson Knox rookie cards are also, I think, a good investment. The price is low right now from last year’s rookie class, but I think can get more value as he gets more experience. That said, 2020 Buffalo Bills cards with Stefan Diggs are going to be sought after by a lot of Bills fans, so that also can be a good investment.

2017 Panini Gold Standard Rookie Patch Auto Zay Jones /25

So, in the end, I hope I gave you Buffalo Bills fans some insight to collecting cards and some of the Bills cards that you might want to get and look for in the future. I personally have hundreds of Bills cards that I have in my personal collection and love to collect certain players. Go have fun, and enjoy the fun that is collecting!

Reach us on twitter @BuFFanatics and myself @TheMightyDeol