August 2018 Summer Classic Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/1/2018
"The 1998 Playoff Contenders Peyton Manning Rookie Ticket Autograph is one of the crown jewels of the modern hobby. It's the lone autographed rookie card of one of football's greatest quarterbacks of all-time." —The Cardboard Connection

There are precious few events in the history of professional football that had such monumental consequences for the sport as did the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Held April 18–19, 1998, inside the historic confines of New York's Madison Square Garden, the '98 Draft was chock full of players who now are or are soon-to-be Hall of Famers, including Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, and Alan Faneca, as well as a host of All-Pros and Pro Bowlers such as Fred Taylor, Takeo Spikes, and Flozell Adams. There were also a fair number of teams who swung and missed on gridiron prospects including Curtis Enis, Andre Wadsworth, and Jason Peter. However, there are two figures, above all, who loomed large in the 1998 Draft: Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. One man went on to become one of the top quarterbacks in league history. The other is the standard by which all other draft busts are now measured. In fact, although Peyton came from superior NFL pedigree (his dad Archie was a star QB in the 1970s), Leaf was thought to be the more gifted physical talent. "50 percent said Manning, 50 percent said Leaf," said Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian. Despite heavy pressure from Leaf advocates, including late journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the Colts took the University of Tennessee product Manning with the first pick. Leaf fell to the San Diego Chargers, who traded up in the draft to obtain the second pick. The rest, as they say, is history.

In his 17-year NFL career—13 seasons with the Colts and four with the Denver Broncos—Manning broke the sport's records for passing yards (71940), touchdown tosses (539), and game-winning drives (54). He was a 14-time Pro Bowler, five-time league MVP, and two-time Super Bowl champion. He also won the 2012 AP Comeback Player of the Year, proving his resilience by coming back from cervical spine and nerve injuries which caused him to sit out the 2011 season. There is also a statue of him standing outside Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts' indoor arena in downtown Indianapolis that Manning's on-field success helped build. Ryan Leaf, on the other hand, was out of the league by 2002, throwing 22 more career interceptions than touchdowns (36 to 14). And the San Diego Chargers are now in Los Angeles.

There is another quarterback whose name Peyton's will be forever linked: Tom Brady. The New England Patriots quarterback was hailed throughout the media and the sports world as the game's all-time greatest signal caller following his team's 34-27 overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, but up to that point most pundits placed Manning on the same lofty pedestal. Although Tom is the owner of five championships rings to Peyton's two, in five head-to-head playoff matchups, Brady's Pats have had their season ended by Manning-led teams three times. No QB beat Brady more when it counted most. "To me, he's the greatest of all time," said Brady of his counterpart. "What he's accomplished and the way that he studies, the way he prepares....he doesn't settle for anything less than the best."

Offered here is a flawless example of, without reservation, the most important Peyton Manning card in existence. With only 200 copies produced, Manning's 1998 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph, #87 in the seminal set, is the single most important football card of the 1990s decade. Featuring a bold, blue ink certified autograph from the Colts legend, it is one of a mere six out of the 62 total examples graded to earn PSA's highest Gem Mint 10 grade. Perfect corners and clean edges frame a color action photo of Manning in his NFL uniform, with a pristine signature matching the impeccably gem mint condition of this card. Heritage Auctions sold one of these half-dozen Manning gems at their February 2017 Platinum Night Sports Collectibles Auction, bringing down the gavel at $48,000. Due to the robust nature of the high-end market, PSA's Sports Market Report has pegged the worth of this card even higher than the last sale, estimating its value at $55,000 and rising, which we believe is still on the conservative side. Given the historic nature of this player and the sterling condition of the card itself—easily one of the finest two or three in existence, if not the single finest of them all—it is a can't miss investment, just like Peyton Manning back on draft day, 1998. Securing this card will prove that you, like Manning, do not settle for anything less than the best.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $50,207
Number Bids: 25
Auction closed on Saturday, September 1, 2018.
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