It’s been a week since Tom Brady won a fifth Super Bowl title and an unprecedented fourth Super Bowl MVP award after leading the New England Patriots back from 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, in overtime.
It’s also been a week since Brady’s Super Bowl jersey went missing.
If you haven’t seen the video, here it is courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.
“If it shows up on eBay somewhere, someone let me know,” Brady told reporters last Monday at his Super Bowl MVP news conference.
The value of the game-worn jersey has been estimated to be as much as $500,000 if were ever to be put on the open market. That, of course, won’t happen because of the felony theft charges that would be waiting for that seller, but the estimation reflects how commanding Brady’s presence is in the sports memorabilia world.
That value has been built upon his career in the NFL, but what about Brady’s Michigan memorabilia? How much is it worth? Where does it stand in the pantheon of Michigan items?
“In the modern era of memorabilia, Tom Brady is the hottest,” said Ken Magee, who operates Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia Shop, an online store specializing in Michigan items. “The order probably goes Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, Bo Schembechler and Desmond Howard. That’s in the modern era, say the last 50 years.”
Bo is Bo, while Woodson and Howard each won Heisman trophies at Michigan. Brady’s career with the Wolverines never foretold of what he’s become in the NFL. Michigan went 20-5 in his two seasons as the starter in 1998 and 1999, including bowl wins over Arkansas and Alabama, but Brady was the guy fans continually wanted out of the starting job in favor of Drew Henson.
Look on eBay for legally obtainable Brady items and you’ll find autographed Michigan helmets selling for as much as $1,500. There is a Brady Michigan jersey, signed and marketed as authentic with an asking price of $950. Look for Schembechler items and, while they’re not cheap, they’re not quite as pricey. A Schembechler-signed mini-helmet is selling for $1,000.
It’s all about supply and demand.
“They’re probably a 1 and 1A because Bo is Michigan royalty,” said Mark Fenwick, owner of Stadium Cards and Comics in Ypsilanti, Mich. “(Bo’s) autograph, he was generous to a fault with his autograph. That’s why they’re not worth anywhere near as much.”
To get a Brady autograph, you’ll have to be one of the lucky ones after a training camp practice or be willing to pay for an item that probably comes from a private, non-meeting signing session Brady will hold. Such a session is set up with a private seller, who pays Brady for a specific amount of time spent signing his autograph to various items. The items will be signed in an assembly-line fashion and authenticated.
The Holy Grail?
The smaller supply leads to higher prices for the items. Winning a fifth Super Bowl championship only raises the price. You can find Brady-signed Uggs being sold on eBay for $10,000. A Brady 2000 Collector’s Edge Supreme HoloGold rookie card, still in its case, has a $75,000 price tag.
Fenwick said he was selling Brady rookie cards for $80 in December. He sold out his supply of cards after the latest Super Bowl victory even though the price had gone up to $200.
Magee and Fenwick agree that there is no one signature Brady Michigan item that could be considered the Holy Grail of memorabilia, unlike his missing Super Bowl LI jersey. Maybe if you had his game-worn jersey from the 2000 Orange Bowl, a 35-34 overtime win against Alabama. Brady, playing in his final college game, completed 34 of 46 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns in the game, twice leading the Wolverines back from 14-point deficits. The 34 completions are still a school record.
“I’ve never heard of a Tom Brady (Michigan) jersey for sale,” Magee said. “Remember when Brady left Michigan, he was just a quarterback, end of story. There was no major hook-up for the guy.”
There certainly is now.