A Look at Joe Paterno’s limited card legacy


By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As many continue to mourn and contemplate the loss of legendary Joe Paterno, the collecting world offers its cardboard tribute.

As many hobbyists may have already discovered, JoePa’s legacy on trading cards is a mere speck in comparison to his legacy at Penn State and beyond. Paterno — who died on Sunday at the age of 85 — had undoubtedly been blemished by the unspeakable abuse scandal. However, his 18-card hobby presence was too limited to see a significant dip in value.

Not uncommon for a career coach, particularly for one who never played professionally, Paterno only had a handful of product appearances and just one designated Rookie Card to chase. The majority of his cards come from various Penn State sets, ranging from $1 to $25 in value.

JoePa’s Hobby Numbers
18 total cards
$2,214.50 total value
0 memorabilia cards
1 Rookie Card
2 autograph cards

Accounting for 90 percent of that $2,214.50 total value, Paterno’s lone Rookie Card books for a $2,000 high value. Three of these cards have popped up on eBay with varying grades and Buy-it-Now options since the news of JoePa’s death broke yesterday morning. Naturally, a number of other Paterno card listings have also made their way to the secondary market — most prominently featuring the 1992 Front Row promo card.

Despite lingering controversy around his name, Paterno’s death signals a loss and a time to pay tribute in the hobby.



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  1. Richard 23 January, 2012 at 15:40

    Always fun to see the vultures come out to capitalize on a death.
    Got a guy asking near $2K for the felt RC in vg shape.

    Given that there are only a total of 4 existing cut autos now, though I expect more
    very soon, I’m sure that they will demand enough big bucks to come into view assuming
    that they have been pulled.

    Give it 3 months and the prices of the regular cards will drift back down to what they
    were (more or less).

  2. chrisolds 25 January, 2012 at 17:21

    Harping about “vultures” is becoming quite a cliche online these days. There is *always* added interest in players’ autographs and cards after they die. Always.

    And you can blame the buyers just as much as sellers in this whole scenario if you choose to point the finger. It’s supply and demand. You’d think someone would get on getting cards of someone if they had wanted them beforehand, but then a death prompts them to get them immediately fearing they won’t be able to later.

    Again, this has happened for years. Nothing new here whatsoever.

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