Tom Brady rookie cards are a lot like the rack of chocolate bars at the corner store. There's loads to choose from, all of which can be good in their own way. It's honestly tough to go wrong. Still, we have our favorites and personal preferences. Ask your wife—not all chocolate bars are created equal. Just the same, neither are Tom Brady rookies.
With more than 40 Tom Brady rookie cards available, the options can be daunting. To help with that, here are our picks for the best Brady RC choices. While value and rarity were taken into consideration, we've also included a couple of cards that are a little more common and not quite as pricey.
At this point, no Tom Brady rookie cards are dirt cheap. That said, with multiple Super Bowl rings on his hands and his name becoming increasingly common in the record books, his legacy is cemented. So, when it comes to risk, there's not much with this modern legend's first cards.
Although rookies are regularly among the most pursued Tom Brady cards, there are plenty of other choices worth keeping an eye on. Track his popular cards on eBay with a real-time Tom Brady hot list for the most-watched auction listings.
Top Tom Brady Rookie Cards
Shop for singles or check completed sales values and prices using the eBay links.
15. 2000 Metal Tom Brady RC #267
Fairly cheap in comparison to many other Tom Brady rookie cards, the Metal card is still an impressive choice even without a limited print run. There is also a non-numbered Emerald parallel. The full Patriots uniform for Brady is a plus, and as the list shows, quite uncommon.
14. 2000 Crown Royale Tom Brady RC #110
Found in both a Hobby and Retail version, the main difference for 2000 Crown Royale is the background color. The Hobby release can be seen below and Retail has a dark red background. Although the die-cut design is distinct, it can make the condition more of an issue.
13. 2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond Tom Brady RC #126
Collectors will likely notice the many college, Senior Bowl and practice jersey images used for Tom Brady rookie cards. While these are not normally ideal, they can still produce strong interest with collectors. That includes the Black Diamond rookie from Upper Deck that comes in a base version in addition to a gold parallel, numbered to 500 copies.
12. 2000 Upper Deck Pros and Prospects Tom Brady RC #124 #/1,000
Showcasing his time with the Wolverines, this Draft Class subset in UD Pros & Prospects carries a print run of 1,000 copies. Like Black Diamond and Graded, Pros and Prospects is another Upper Deck release with a busy design.
11. 2000 Upper Deck UD Graded Tom Brady RC #104 #/1,325
Tapping into the SP Authentic look slightly, the Tom Brady rookie card in the oddly-named UD Graded falls in the more affordable range but still sells for hundreds. While the print run of 1,325 cards is not exactly rare, it does appear to be in less supply than one would expect.
10. 2000 E-X Tom Brady RC #122 #/1,500
Fleer's E-X line is one of the hobby's overlooked gems. And while the brand does have its fans, it failed to reach a level of mainstream appeal. The 2000 E-X Tom Brady has a clean design and a clear photo (because everyone wants a sharp shot of a quarterback's sweat pants). Numbered to 1,500 copies, it's somewhat rare but not impossible to find.
9. 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady RC #236
The 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady rookie card is one of the few to have an in-game action shot. Combine that with the card's brand recognition and you've got the best of Brady's non-numbered rookies. Refractors, like the one shown below, are also very popular with collectors.
8. 2000 Donruss Elite Tom Brady RC #183 #/2,000
Pictured as a member of the Michigan Wolverines, the 2000 Donruss Elite Tom Brady is another card that benefits from a brand with an established history in the hobby. The foil-based card is numbered to 2,500, with the first 500 in the print run being die-cut and the final 1,500 issued as regular cards. Although many of the Elite designs blend together, this one stands out a little more than normal.
7. 2000 Playoff Momentum Tom Brady RC #180 #/750
Limited to just 750 numbered copies, the 2000 Playoff Momentum Tom Brady ranks among his rarer first-year cards. In addition, the etched foil background helps set it apart.
6. 2000 Pacific Private Stock Tom Brady RC #128 #/278
The only reason the 2000 Pacific Private Stock Tom Brady breaks into the list is because it's got the lowest serial numbering. Hindered by a run through the Photoshop filters, the quarterback looks like he's ready to shoot laser beams from his eyeballs. As cool as the thought of laser beams is, it makes for a pretty ugly card. That said, with just 278 numbered base copies, it's legitimately rare and garners solid attention on the secondary market.
However, other versions include Silver (#/330), Gold (#/181), and Premiere Date (#/95) parallels, as well as a Retail version (#/650), so the overall numbers aren't quite as low.
5. 2000 Leaf Limited Tom Brady RC #378 #/350
A colorful foil look and extremely low numbering are what make the 2000 Leaf Limited Tom Brady notable. With a print run of only 350 copies, Limited is one of his rarest cards. Because it was one of the final releases of the year, it's also bolstered by an in-action photo.
4. 2000 Pacific Revolution Tom Brady RC #128 #/300
There's a lot going on with the 2000 Pacific Revolution design. The background mixes gold, blue, red and black colors, not to mention rainbow lettering. It probably shouldn't work, but it does. Also helping the appeal, with just 300 total cards, it's his second-rarest rookie. While it hurts that Brady isn't pictured in his Patriots uniform, this is the case for many of his first-year cards.
3. 2000 SPx Tom Brady RC #130 #/1,350
Despite the large print run, the 2000 SPx Tom Brady rookie remains one of the best options for collectors. Numbered to 1,350, it has a high-tech feel and a premium design.
2. 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady #118 #/1,250
The SP Authentic name has long been popular with several types of collectors as set builders, player collectors and rookie collectors all vied for a relatively small number of cards. Basic supply and demand principles mean that prices of the 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady rookie card outpace many of his much rarer rookies that don't have quite the same brand appeal.
1. 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady RC #144 Autograph
It's hard to believe that there is just one autographed Tom Brady rookie card. Of course, there are several different Tom Brady rookie-year autographs in 2000 products as part of various inserts, but the iconic 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady is the only official rookie with his signature. Although it is not numbered, 2000 Playoff Contenders comes with the distinct Rookie Ticket theme, further boosting interest. The rarest choice is the Championship Ticket parallel that is numbered to just 100 copies.