The last 2 years have seen the biggest growth in footy cards ever! The hobby has gone from strength to strength, both with the quality and popularity of latest releases and also the interest in vintage cards. We’ve seen new collectors get involved, others rediscovering their childhood passion, and even investors joining the fray.

With the new AFL season already quickly approaching, another big year is expected in the hobby, as more people discover how fun (and lucrative) footy card collecting can be!

Here are 6 cards we believe are worth picking up before the season gets underway.

2021 supremacy matt rowell franchise future signature

2021 Select Supremacy Matt Rowell Franchise Future Signature

Recent sales: $300 – $340

The former number 1 pick came into the league with so much hype and didn’t disappoint, polling an amazing 9 Brownlow votes across 3 consecutive games. Unfortunately, a serious injury caused him to miss the rest of 2020, and another in 2021 put him out for a further 10 weeks. The Gold Coast youngster’s popularity has dropped off somewhat and not surprisingly his card values have also pulled back. But last month Rowell played in an inter-club practice game and dominated, meaning if he can stay healthy, he may become one of the hottest players in the league.

His Franchise Future Signature card is not only a second-year card, but his rarest signature card. Early autos of star players are hugely popular in the hobby, and with Rowell’s FF sig limited to just 70, is one that collectors should be eyeing off.

2019 select dominance max king rookie card

2019 Select Dominance Max King Rookie Card

Recent sales: $40

A lower end card in the scheme of investments but still one worth looking at. The young athletic Saints big man has shown he is unstoppable when he’s switched on. Kicking 38 goals in 20 games, the 202cm forward is still only 21, and with continued improvement will give the Coleman Medal a shake sooner rather than later.

King’s 2019 Dominance Rookie Card insert is limited to 250 copies and plenty of scope for growth at current prices. If you believe in this young Saint, it’s also worth checking out his 2017 Future Force blue parallels, which are even more limited.

2012 select eternity lance franklin medal signature

2012 Select Eternity Lance Franklin Medal Winner Signature

Recent sales: $315 – $390

Buddy will go down as one of the great modern players. Two premierships, eight All Australians and the last player to kick 100 goals in a season. Sitting on 995, early this year Franklin will become just the 6th player ever to kick 1000 career goals. The hype around this momentous occasion will see huge interest for his cards moving forward.

Franklin’s 2012 Medal Winner signature pays tribute to his Coleman Medal performance in 2011, where he led the league with 82 goals (his 2nd highest annual bag ever). Not only is the card an awesome statement of his goal kicking prowess, it is his rarest on-card auto, with only 200 in existence. A historic card for both Hawks and top player collectors.

1958 atlantic bob skilton

1958 Atlantic Petroleum Bob Skilton rookie card

Recent sales: $40-50

Vintage cards saw their biggest growth in 2021 but as a whole are still very undervalued. Which means there are plenty of hidden gems still floating around.

Skilton is a triple-Brownlow medalist (one of only 4 players in the history of the game), which means his rookie card is definitely no secret. But at $50, it truly is a bargain that we won’t likely see for much longer. The Atlantic cards have a scarcity rating of 5 and the Swans legend is the hottest card in the set. Find one in good nick and you can’t go wrong!

2012 select eternity alex jesaulenko signature

2012 Select Eternity Alex Jesaulenko Hall of Fame Signature

Recent sales: $1000

Jezza is one of the legends of the game. A 4-time premiership player with Carlton, 3-time leading goalkicker at the club, All Australian and perhaps the most iconic mark of all time. When past players get media attention, it usually sparks more interest in their cards. Unfortunately, Jesaulenko has been in the news recently for saddening reasons – having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. We send the big fella all the love in the world, and the strength to fight on!

Jezza’s Hall of Fame Signature card is from potentially the greatest insert set in the hobby. First coming out in 1996 and proving super popular over the years (and super rare with only 110 cards each), the 2012 Jesaulenko HOF signature does not show up very often. It is highly prized amongst collectors, not just of the Navy Blue variety, and is a worthy purchase honouring one of the very best in footy.

2019 select dominance tom sparrow dps

2019 Select Dominance Tom Sparrow Draft Pick Signature

Recent sales: $40 – $60

Heading into 2021, Sparrow had played just 7 senior games across 2 seasons. But by the end the year, he had played another 21 games at AFL level, and became a premiership player for the Demons. The boy from SA became a staple in the Melbourne side and racked up 21 possessions in the Qualifying Final win over Brisbane. His strength improved and he showed glimpses of being a star of the future.

Because it was hard to stand out in the Dees star-studded lineup, Sparrow is still flying under the radar. And as a result, his 2019 Dominance DPS is selling around the $50 mark. Very cheap when you consider the 2019 draft signatures are the hottest we’ve seen, and Sparrow has the potential to be a top tier player. Even though his DPS is limited to 175 cards, there are still a few floating around on ebay. This won’t likely be the case once the season gets fully underway.

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