Gale Sayers was a standout running back for the Chicago Bears from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. During his short, but successful NFL career, Sayers was a dominant runner, who would later become the youngest inductee ever elected to the Hall of Fame. His 1966 Philadelphia Gum rookie card is very popular and along with Dick Butkus’ rookie, one of the keys to the set. The classic pose, his Hall of Fame status and relatively few high grade examples make the Sayers rookie card extremely popular.
As of this writing, PSA has graded only 28 Sayers rookie cards at the mint ‘9’ level, with no 10s. There have been 271 NM/MT 8s among the approximately 1,500 cards the company has examined.
At auction those PSA 9 Sayers rookie cards routinely sell for more than $2,000. Those graded at PSA 8 usually sell for around $500. Small differences in condition often translate to large differences in value. An ‘8’ would seem to offer good value for the collector and a decent long-term play for the investor. However, those with a nice bankroll may wish to hold out for an 8.5 or 9 if possible. Watch also for SGC and Beckett graded cards, which can sometimes be purchased at a slightly lower price level.
Cards at higher grades are far scarcer, but they also cost much more, making them somewhat risky if you don’t do your research. Examine recently completed sales of cards graded at the same level to determine what a good value for the card would be. Pay close attention to centering as not all graded cards are created equal and how a card is centered will be a major sticking point for future buyers. Lower grades are more common and cheaper, but are not likely to accumulate as much value as the higher grades. Either choice, however, leaves an investor with the possibility for reward as a rising tide often lifts all boats.
The Butkus rookie card is even tougher in high grade, making the Sayers a little easier to obtain for most collectors.
The popularity of the Bears’ franchise and his Hall of Fame status make the 1966 Philadelphia Gale Sayers a solid investment.