There are no 'guaranteed' investments, much less sure things in the football card market. But if there's ever been a player that has a great chance of continuing to increase in value for a long time, that player is Joe Namath. Immensely skilled and wildly popular during his relatively short but brilliant career, Namath was a pivotal player during the transition between the AFL and NFL and ultimate merge.
Broadway Joe's legendary guarantee and his Jets (AFL) subsequent victory over the Colts (NFL) in the Super Bowl, cemented his name in the history books. Namath's 1965 Topps rookie card is one of the most valued around, and albeit expensive for many collectors, well worth the investment.
One of the unique things about the card, is that the picture was actually taken in a hospital, as Namath was recuperating from knee surgery. 'Broadway Joe' discussed the situation in an interview on David Letterman in 2011 (8 minutes or so into the interview).
Clearly, the RC is obviously the gem, but even a PSA 6 or 7 might set you back $1,200-$2,000. Fear not, great value can be found in ungraded versions, as well as other years.
In addition to his RC, his 1969 Topps card has been a collectors favorite, since that is the season the Jets knocked off the vaunted Colts in Super Bowl III. Some would make the same argument for his 1968 issue (PSA 9 sold in 2012 for over $1,000), and the reality is that investing in any Namath card from the 60's or early 70's is worth oy, especially those graded as a PSA 8 and above.
His 1973 Topps issue has its fair share of fans out there, somewhat strictly due to the photo (right). Joe's wearing a wool cap with his name knitted into it, something many of us received from our grandma or aunty over the years (can you imagine the social media backlash if a player today did that?). Ungraded versions can be had for under $10, while a PSA 8 is in the $50 range and a PSA 9 around $100. Joe looks cold!
You can collect virtually all of the original vintage Namath cards without much trouble since he played in an era when Topps was really the only game in town.
Also, Topps has released some rare PROOFS from their vault of Namath's vintage cards ('72 Topps pictured below), which can be a good investment for some, although the re-sell market will depend on finding the right buyer. You'll also want to be sure of authenticity before going this route, but can be a nice unique addition to any collection.
Our recommendation would be to stick to the true vintage Joe Namath card market.