Although Ernie Davis never played a single game in the NFL, he is one of the most memorable players in the history of the league. Drafted firstoverall by the
Washington Redskins and then traded to the Cleveland Browns, Davis was poised for an excellent NFL career. During the preseason, however, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and would later die at the age of 23. Despite his nonexistent NFL career, the 1962 Topps Ernie Davis rookie card, is fairly valuable. It's a testimony to his extraordinary college career at Syracuse and perhaps the unfulfilled promise that tragically perished with him.
Examples of his rookie card graded at PSA 8 (nm/mint) usually sell at auction for between $300 and $400. While you may think that these prices are low for a vintage card, you have to take into account that he never played a single game in his career, so the value is derived solely from the story of Ernie Davis. Those graded at PSA 7 often sell for anywhere between $200 and $250. There is not a huge price disparity between the two high grades because so few have received high grades, with less than 150 graded at PSA 7 and PSA 8 combined.
This important piece of NFL memorabilia can also be a profitable investment. There have been just over 300 examples of this card graded by PSA, so it is relatively scarce. The deep black borders of the 1962 Topps issue make it very condition-sensitive.
Key rookie cards like the 1962 Topps Ernie Davis can be a strong investment because they are likely to increase in value over time as more collectors seek out the few high grade examples available. Not many high grade examples are likely to be graded in the future and it's wise to focus on buying the best possible card you can afford. Also, with the release of a movie that tells his story in 2011, Davis has become better known, and this has caused his cards to become slightly more popular.