Rookie Card Year: 1997
Investment Rating: 6.5
Tony Gonzalez helped to bring the tight end position some much deserved star power. As a result, Tony Gonzalez cards and autographed memorabilia are well respected. Upon his retirement at the conclusion of the 2013 season, he held the all-time record for most touchdowns (111) and reception yardage (15,127) by a tight end. He was an All-Pro a record 14 times.
Gonzalez has a total of 40 rookie cards. They were issued in various products during the 1997 season. He has no rookie autograph or memorabilia cards. Additionally, Gonzalez has a little-known card that was issued by the California Highway Patrol in 1996.
His first certified autograph cards were issued in 1997. They are all insert cards. As such, they do not qualify for official rookie card status. One of his most popular early autographed cards is from 1997 Leaf Signature Series. The card has a known print run of 4,000 copies but is not serial numbered.
Tony Gonzalez's first game-used memorabilia cards were issued by Topps in 2000. He has jersey cards in Bowman Reserve, Finest, Topps Football and Topps Stars.
With a lengthy career in the NFL, Gonzalez has signed his share of material. Having played for several teams, his popularity isn't isolated to one specific team or market. Signed footballs are the most commonly found items. Gonzalez is sure to be elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame when he is eligible. The prices for his autographed memorabilia will almost certainly see an increase.
Top 5 Tony Gonzalez Rookie Cards
The Bowman's Best brand was a premium alternative to traditional Bowman products. The thicker card stock and Chrome technology combine to make an aesthetically pleasing photo in both look and feel.
When Finest emerged on the scene as a premium offering, it was an instant success. The cards are layered with a protective film, that most collectors quickly stripped and discarded. This card is often submitted for professional grading.
The Playoff Contenders brand has had a loyal following for years. Gonzalez's card is no exception. Both this version and its Refractor parallel are commonly submitted for professional grading. Those returning high marks can sell at a premium due to that brand loyalty.
The Future Watch subset of SP Authentic has been an instrumental part of Upper Deck's success across every sport. This card came before the card maker started serial numbering their rookies in the set. Even still, it's one of the more valuable Tony Gonzalez rookie cards.
Of the top-end Tony Gonzalez rookie cards, this one is the least expensive. Interest in this card continues to increase as more examples are submitted for professional grading.
Tony Gonzalez Rookie Card Checklist
Budget Rookie Cards
- 1997 Collector's Choice #12
- 1997 Collector's Edge Extreme #80
- 1997 Donruss #211
- 1997 Fleer Goudey II #136
- 1997 Leaf #174
- 1997 Metal Universe #193
- 1997 Pinnacle #163
- 1997 Pinnacle Certified #149
- 1997 Pinnacle Inside #143
- 1997 Pinnacle X-Press #117
- 1997 Playoff First and Ten #62
- 1997 Playoff Zone #144
- 1997 Pro Line #278
- 1997 Pro Line Gems #79
- 1997 Pro Line Memorabilia #23
- 1997 Revolution #67
- 1997 Score #289
- 1997 Score Board Playbook #86
- 1997 Score Board Playbook By The Numbers #RK1
- 1997 SkyBox Impact #223
- 1997 Ultra #212
Mid-Range Rookie Cards
Premium Rookie Cards
1997 Finest #269 Tony Gonzalez B RC - NM-MT
1997 Flair Showcase Row 2 #49 Tony Gonzalez RC - NM-MT
Tony Gonzalez 1997 Pro Line Emerald RC Auto SP 0241642
Tony Gonzalez, 1997 Donruss Rookie # 163, PSA graded 8, ROOKIE!!!
Tony Gonzalez Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find examples of what an authentic Tony Gonzalez autograph looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Tony Gonzalez Cut Signature Exemplar:
Tony Gonzalez Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Tony Gonzalez autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- The signature is written on a slightly elevated angle.
- The lettering is written in cursive.
- The dominant letters, "T" and "G" are distinguishable.
- The "T" starts with a small hooked line and comes around extending to the right on a 45-degree angle.
- The "o" is sometimes open and sometimes closed.
- The "n" is implied but the "y" is legible.
- The "G" is unique in that you can identify three loops all connecting to form somewhat of a clover shape.
- The "o" is usually open.
- The remaining letters are not discernible.
- His jersey number "88" often accompanies his name.
Tony Gonzalez Signed Football Pricing:
Tony Gonzalez Signed Jersey Pricing:
Tony Gonzalez Signed Helmet Pricing:
Tony Gonzalez Signed Photograph Pricing:
For general information about Tony Gonzalez, including his career player statistics, visit: