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The Top 10 Golf Trading Cards To Look Out For on eBay

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

It has been quite a run for single person sport cards, as of late. Back in September, I wrote this article predicting the rise in value within this category, and many of the cards in that article have seen a substantial increase as the card market continues to break records almost weekly.

Golf has been especially hot, with a potential game-changer on the horizon. It has been seven years since the last official PGA card set but Upper Deck has three releases slated for 2021, including the much anticipated 2021 Upper Deck Artifacts Golf (5/12/21).

This set will mark the first made up of star players like Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Matthew Wolff, and all of the rookies in this set will come with serial numbers.

Each hobby box will contain some exciting chase cards, including memorabilia cards and Aurum or Diamond Relics (three total per box) that could include autographs, ball markers, and/or dirt and sand from Ponte Vedra Beach’s Sawgrass Stadium Course.

It’s safe to say that these new Upper Deck releases will be wildly popular, and I predict that it will spark further interest into what is already a hot vintage golf market. 

This list below shows ten of the most rare and collectible cards currently on the market of some of the best golfers of all time:

10. Sam Snead 1951 Wheaties (SGC 98) - $1,495

snead
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 6

PSA 9: 12

PSA 8: 3

Snead won 82 PGA Tour events in his storied career including seven majors. Jack Nicklaus was just one of many golfers who called Snead’s swing “perfect”. 

This “card” is actually hand-cut from the back of a 1951 Wheaties box, which obviously–like the Sports Illustrated for Kids cards–creates grading issues. With such a low population, if the golf market does run up, these cards could see a big run up. The sky’s the limit with cards this rare.

9. Gary Player 1971 Barratt Famous Sportsmen BVG 9.5 - $1,600

player
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 0

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 128

In 1971, Barratt & Co. Ltd. released a 50-card set of Goldflake Famous Sportsmen cards. These cards were “plagued with centering issues” according to PSA’s website, which is why there are no PSA 10s in the population. With only four PSA 9s, this BGS 9.5 would seem to be the highest graded on record.

Gary Player won nine majors, is well-known as a golf course architect, with over 400 courses throughout the world, and has written 36 golf books. 

The rarity of this card in such a high grade, combined with Player’s on-course accomplishments, as well as his off-the-course significance, makes this card very interesting. I would not be surprised to see this card sell for significantly higher the next time it goes up for auction. 

8. Rory McIlroy 2014 Exquisite Silver Auto Patch /25 BGS 9.5 - $3,500

mcilroy
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 2

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 1

Rory McIlroy is one of only three golfers in history to win four majors before the age of 25. He has spent over 100 weeks in his career ranked as the number one player in the world, and is the youngest player to ever reach $10,000,000 in career earnings at the age of 22.  

In 2013, SportsPro rated him as the world’s third most-marketable athlete after Neymar and Lionel Messi, and has an EA Sports video game named after him “Rory McIlroy PGA Tour Golf”

This card is from the last year that there was an official PGA Tour card set, and it is extremely rare. The seller was asking for $10,000, but settled with the buyer for $3,500. 

7. Arnold Palmer 1965 Bancroft Tiddlers Giants Of Sport PSA 8 - $4,495

palmer
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 0

PSA 9: 10

PSA 8: 15

I love the artwork on this card. With no PSA 10s and only ten PSA 9s in the population, this card is almost impossible to find in a high grade. However, since many consider this to be Arnold Palmer’s true rookie card and you can find some lower graded copies like this one, it makes for a very interesting play. Arnold Palmer is easily a top five golfer of all-time, and invented the greatest soft-drink of all-time (random note that had to be thrown in).  

6. Phil Mickelson 2002 SP Authentic Extra Limited Gold Auto BGS 9.5 - $4,500

mickelson
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 1

PSA 9: 2

Phil Mickelson has won 44 PGA Tour events, including five majors. He is also one of only 12 players to win three out of the four majors, with the U.S. Open being the only he has not won yet. 


He is one of the most popular golfers of the modern era, and is nicknamed “Lefty” after his left handed swing–even though he is actually right handed. 

This gold auto is amongst the rarest on the market, with only three graded as a PSA 9 or higher (this particular sale was a BGS graded 9.5/10). The seller was originally asking for $25,000 but took a “best offer” of $4,500 for this card. My gut tells me that he might regret this sale as this market heats up. 

5. Jack Nicklaus 1981 Donruss Golf PSA 10 - $5,125

nicklaus2
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 168

PSA 9: 930

This card is considered Jack Nicklaus’ true rookie card, since the 1981 Donruss set was the first officially licensed PGA Tour cards. It is not as rare as the Panini Campioni Dello Sport sticker that I will discuss later in this list, but with only 168 PSA 10s in the population–about half as many as there are Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 10s–there seems to be plenty of meat on the bone here. I love this card and fully expect it to have a big run in the coming years. 

4. Dustin Johnson 2012 SP Authentic Auto /299 BGS 9.5 - $5,495

dustin
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 2

PSA 9: 4

PSA 8: 3

Dustin Johnson is one of only three golfers to win a PGA tour title in each of his first 13 seasons, joining Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Known for his longball, Johnson has been ranked in the top 10 in driving distance for the past 12 years. Off the course, Johnson is married to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of Wayne Gretzky. 

This card is numbered to /299, but there are only nine copies in the PSA population that are graded an 8 or better. This particular card was graded by BGS and got a 9.5/10. With Johnson’s popularity combined with the rarity of this card, this is another card that I expect to do significantly better the next time it comes up for auction. 

3. Tiger Woods 1996 S.I. for Kids PSA 10 - $35,000

woods2
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 26

PSA 9: 189

PSA 8: 598

Sports Illustrated For Kids is historically a sneaky play in the card collecting community. This card came on uncut sheets with eight other cards for free inside of the magazine, and they were perforated so that kids could tear them apart. This is why there are only 26 PSA 10s in existence, and the value of this card is so great. 

It breaks my heart that I had a subscription to SI for Kids when I was growing up and used to stick the cards on my wall with thumbtacks. Tiger Woods isn’t the only card worth thousands of dollars that came out of the magazine. Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk and Serena Williams are some other examples. 

2. Jack Nicklaus 1973 Panini Campioni Dello Sport #375 PSA 10 - $39,999

nicklaus1
eBay

PSA Population

PSA 10: 4

PSA 9: 6

Widely considered to be the greatest golfer of all-time, the “Golden Bear” actually has two rookie cards. This one, and a 1981 Donruss card that was previously mentioned. 

This Campioni Dello Sport card is actually a sticker, and it is extremely rare–as illustrated by the PSA population report numbers above. Some might be shocked that a sticker sold for $39,999, but with only 4 PSA 10s in existence of this GOAT, I actually think that the buyer got a relative bargain. I expect this card to skyrocket in value in the coming years. 

1. Tiger Woods 2001 SP Authentic Golf Auto /900 - $85,101

woods1
eBay

PSA Population 

PSA 10: 144

PSA 9: 105

This card is the standard Tiger Woods 2001 SP Authentic Rookie Auto /900. There is also a gold version that is numbered to /100 with a PSA 10 population of 16. While there are a couple of the gold autos currently listed for sale on eBay, the $85,101 price of the most recently sold standard auto shows what a grail card that this Tiger Woods rookie has become.