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The Most Valuable Card in My Collection

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

There aren’t too many 1948 Bowman football collectors that I know of. Even among vintage football collectors, the ’48 set is not popular. But I love the black and white cards. I’ve frugally assembled about 80 of the 108 cards in the set. About 60 of them are graded.

As much time as it’s taken to curate my ’48 Bowman set, I wouldn’t consider any of these cards to be my most valuable. I’m a small-time collector. My highest-priced card is probably worth about $300 (a Pete Alonso numbered patch auto).

The most valuable card in my collection is a 2019 Panini Prizm Michael Porter Jr. PSA 10 rookie. On a good day, it’s worth about $15.

I started collecting cards again around 2016, after buying them as a kid and into my teen years. My initial budget was about $50 a month. I could buy some cool stuff with 50 bucks – an Andre Dawson autograph and a few nice 1933 Goudey Indian Gum cards. That kind of monthly haul was enough to make me happy.

Once the card market took off in the summer of 2020, I was eyeing my collection with some cynicism. Was I collecting the right stuff? Why had I started building a 1948 Bowman football when nobody else was? The fear of missing out was real.

I wanted the shiny stuff that was exploding in demand and price. I listened to what others were buying. I set my sights on Michael Porter Jr., a young player coming off a promising sophomore campaign. When his PSA 10 came up for $130 before the 2021 season, I snatched it. I was convinced I could sell it for $500 by the All-Star Break.

When I received the card in the mail, I was ecstatic. I had a steal on my hands, I thought, as I became a member of the shiny Prizm collectors club. But then MPJ got hurt. He needed back surgery, playing all of nine games that season. The card price plummeted.

There were times I could’ve sold the card for a loss. At first, for a minor dent when PSA 10s were selling for $100. Then again, when they were going for about $60. I checked again when I was really ready to let go of the card, but then they were going for $30. The card didn’t go anywhere.

From time to time, MPJ would haunt me. For 130 bucks, I could’ve bought a really nice ’48 Bowman Perry Moss – he started 1 game for the Packers in 1948 and would become a Hall of Fame coach in the Arena Football League. I could’ve used the money to buy some nice sneakers or put it in my kids’ college funds.

But it’s ok now. Over time, I realized that MPJ serves me a greater purpose. Despite the financial loss, I love his card. About once a month, I take it out of the bubble mailer it came in and look at it with a smile. It reminds me to collect what I love.


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