George Kittle Rookie Card Rankings

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In an era where most top players in all sports typically have dozens of RCs, the George Kittle Rookie Card lineup has just seven cards.

Seven.

A few decades ago, that would seem like a lot. But at a time when there is a lot more choice and variety, seven seems like very little. Combine that with the smaller print runs for individual products compared to decades ago and you’ve got a situation where tracking down any George Kittle Rookie Card on the cheap can be a challenge.

As a fifth round draft pick, and a tight end at that, there wasn’t any hype surrounding Kittle in the hobby when he entered the league in 2017. He wasn’t part of the annual NFLPA Rookie Premiere so he wasn’t part of the group that was pretty much assured to have autographs and memorabilia cards in virtually every product that year.

That rookie season was solid but not headline-grabbing. Things changed in 2018 when Kittle had 1,377 receiving yards, a single-season NFL record for a tight end. In 2019 the 49er further cemented his star status with another 1,000-plus season and, at one point, talk of possible MVP consideration.

While there may not be a lot of options when it comes to George Kittle Rookies Cards, there is still some variety in what’s out there. This comes through both in card types and styles as well as prices. That said, the days of finding a 2017 George Kittle card in a common box are likely gone. Even the cheapest and most common aren’t that cheap anymore.

George Kittle Rookie Card Rankings

The following list only includes base cards with the RC tag in the Beckett database. Here’s a comprehensive George Kittle card list. Spots are determined primarily from values in the online price guide.

7. 2017 Panini Phoenix George Kittle RC #195

This is the only George Kittle RC that doesn’t have any of the three traditional enhancements: serial number, autograph or memorabilia. It’s the most basic of the seven choices collectors have. And for some, that’s a drawing point. Like almost everything in 2017 Panini Phoenix, there are a lot of design elements and colorful parallels. It makes for a card that doesn’t try to be subtle.

Parallels: Color Burst, Red (/299), Pink (/199), Purple (/149), Orange (/99), Yellow (/75), Green (/25), Black (/10), Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2017 Panini Phoenix George Kittle RC

6. 2017 Absolute George Kittle RC #179 /499

With 499 numbered copies, this may not seem like a rare card by modern standards. And when a player has dozens of RCs to come by, it may not mean much as far as prices go. However, when you’re a star with just seven Rookie Cards, supply is becomes relative. There aren’t many alternatives to go with.

Parallels: Spectrum Blue, Spectrum Red (/100), Spectrum Green (/25), Spectrum Purple (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2017 Panini Absolute George Kittle Rookie Card

5. 2017 Elite George Kittle RC #109 /499

The print run for the 2017 Elite George Kittle Rookie Card matches that of Absolute. However, Elite is, arguably, the more popular brand when it comes to base cards and parallels. That gives this card a bit of a boost when it comes to not just prices, but notoriety.

Parallels: Green, Red (/159), Purple (/99), Status (/85), Orange (/25), Aspirations Die Cut (/24), Status Die Cut (/24), Aspirations (/15), Blue (/15), Gold (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1, in 2017 Plates & Patches), Printing Plates Blue (1/1, in 2017 Plates & Patches), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1, in 2017 Plates & Patches), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1, in 2017 Plates & Patches)

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4. 2017 Limited George Kittle RC #162 /99

Considering the prices the 2017 Limited George Kittle Rookie Card has reached, the term “bargain” may be debatable. However, when you compare it to his other autographed RCs and what they go for, it really does present itself that way. One of four George Kittle RCs with a signature, this one’s got 99 copies. That ties it with National Treasures for his rarest numbered Rookie. And yet Limited sells for significantly less.

Parallels: Silver Spotlight (/35), Gold Spotlight (/25), Ruby Spotlight (/10), Emerald Spotlight (/5), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Sapphire Spotlight (1/1)

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3. 2017 Panini Contenders Optic George Kittle Rookie Card #186 Autograph

2017 Panini Contenders Optic gives the regular Contenders George Kittle RC an opti-chrome upgrade. The two command comparable amounts so it’s really a matter of preference one chooses. All versions here come with the shiny backdrop, including the handful of colorful parallels.

Parallels: Red (/75), Blue (/25), Gold (/10), Gold Vinyl (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2017 Panini Contenders Optic George Kittle Rookie Card

2. 2017 Panini Contenders George Kittle Rookie Card #164 Autograph

The Contenders name brings with it a lot of tradition. That tradition has converted into widespread popularity. As with Kittle’s other autographed Rookie Cards, this one uses a sticker for the signature as he wasn’t considered among the top-tier freshmen heading into the 2017 season, at least from a hobby standpoint. In addition to the regular version and its parallels, Kittle also appears in 2017 Contenders Football‘s variation lineup. It’s easy to spot as the layout is horizontal.

While there isn’t a print run for this card, Panini didn’t list him as a short print. This suggests there are more than 250 copies.

Parallels: Playoff Ticket (/99), Championship Ticket (/49), Cracked Ice (/25), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Super Bowl Ticket (1/1)

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1. 2017 Panini National Treasures George Kittle Rookie Card #160 Autograph /99

It might not have the jumbo patch that a lot of other high-profile National Treasures Rookies have, but there’s still a premium sensibility and elegance to this one. It also happens to be the most valuable George Kittle Rookie Card. Besides the signature and print run of 99 copies, there’s a brand affinity that’s in play here. Simply put, in the modern football market, National Treasures typically translates to “the best” as far as RCs go.

Parallels: Gold (/49), Holo Silver (/25), Holo Gold (/10), Emerald (/5), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Blue (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2017 Panini National Treasures George Kittle

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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