We are now less than two months from the largest Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend that we can remember. Because of Covid, the 2020 ceremony was postponed. That celebration is now being combined with the 2021 procession, meaning a whopping 28 players will get their gold jackets in a single weekend.
While we’re sure the NFL is doing everything in its power to ensure the two classes get equal love, it’s impossible not to see this year’s class having the edge in coverage because Peyton Manning is sitting atop the ’21 marquee.
Still, as we get closer to the August 5-9 excitement, more talking points, more ESPN segments and more card chatter will inevitably center around the ’20 group. Knowing that, if you didn’t make your move on that class’ rookie cards last year, now might be a good time to grab a few.
Edgerrin James- 1999 Topps Chrome PSA 10
A smooth, strong presence in the Colts and Cardinals backfield for 10 seasons, James chewed up more than 12,000 rushing yards and another 3,364 in the air. When the TV spotlights and hall of fame speeches about him are told this summer, they’ll rightfully say he was one of the early 2000’s most versatile offensive weapons.
James’ 1999 Topps Chrome has steadily climbed from the $50s to the $70s and now to the $130s. Maybe it’s Indy fans holding on to old memories of the four-time Pro Bowler. Might be the Arizona faithful doing the same thing. Could just be smart investors making their move before others realize how much of a bargain this card is.
Troy Polamalu- 2003 Topps Finest PSA 10
The Pittsburgh Steelers may be dealing with an identity crisis right now, but that was far from the case between 2003 and 2014 when Troy Polamalu was patrolling the team’s stout D. Capable of blanketing a team’s best wide receiver and laying a big hit on its toughest running back, Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowler and indisputably one of the best defensive players in recent memory.
That might explain why his 2003 Topps Finest just keeps going for more and more. After taking an odd dip last fall into the $60-130 range, sales over the last 90 days have routinely been more than $200. We can only envision where prices will head once clips of Polamalu bowling over poor receivers start making the rounds again on television.
Steve Atwater- 1989 Score PSA 10
But if we’re talking about heavy hitters, few have ever done it better than Steve Atwater. The Denver Broncos legend attacked opposing skill players like he had a personal vendetta against them. An eight-time Pro Bowler, Atwater collected more than 1,100 tackles, 24 interceptions and more rewind-worthy pops than we can count.
What we can measure, however, is how his 1989 Score rookie card is doing on the market. It’s presently floating somewhere between $75 and $150, which certainly doesn’t jive with the man’s talent. But once you consider that classic RCs from Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders overshadow most other cards in the ’89 Score set, it actually proves rather impressive.
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