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Christian McCaffrey’s rookie cards are among the hottest in the NFL. He is one of the best backs the league has ever seen. Before reaching the NFL, McCaffrey was one of the most significant prospects in college football. He spent three years at Stanford before entering the NFL Draft in 2017.

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, but several positions impact winning. Notably, running back is a crucial position for every football. It is so important that the San Francisco 49ers recently traded for Christian McCaffrey.

College Career

McCaffrey performed well as a freshman in college but broke out in his sophomore season. He smashed the NCAA record for all-purpose yards and ranked second in the nation for rushing yards. He was a consensus All-American and finished second in Heisman Voting behind Derrick Henry from the University of Alabama.

After his 2016 college season, McCaffrey announced that he would not return to college for his senior year and would declare for the NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers drafted McCaffrey 8th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Christian McCaffrey quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league. He was a first-team all-pro 2019 and made the second team in 2018. Additionally, McCaffrey holds several records from the NFL and Carolina Panthers. Notably, he is one of three players to record 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. He achieved this feat in 2019.

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Unfortunately, injuries derailed McCaffrey’s 2020 and 2021 seasons, but he looks healthy in 2022. He was traded to San Francisco on October 20th, 2022.

I don’t understand how a human can run like that.

As one of the premier NFL running backs, it makes sense for investors to be interested in his cards. Here, we will look at the best options for you to purchase as investments.

While there are plenty of Christian McCaffrey cards to be interested in, rookie cards are the most popular. Autographs also add to the value of sports trading cards, so we wanted to add that qualification.

Let’s examine the top 10 Christian McCaffrey autographed rookie cards.

2017 Christian McCaffrey National Treasures RPA /99 #181

Christian McCaffrey RPA national treasure

The first card we want to look at is one from the National Treasures collection, which is anticipated yearly. The design is unique, and investors look to collect several companies in the annual rookie collection.

2017 was a strong year for rookies, and Christian McCaffrey was among the best players. This card stands out because of its horizontal design. On the left side, an image of McCaffrey can be seen. He is wearing his black Panthers uniform with light blue stripes. His number 22 is also easily viewable, and he is wearing grey gloves.

In the image, McCaffrey is carrying the ball in his right arm. He is glancing to his right to avoid the oncoming defense.

Below the image of McCaffrey is his autograph, which is written in blue. The right side of the card features a Jersey patch, which will look different from card to card.

The background of this card is mostly white, but it has a few light blue sections. There is a vertical Panthers label on the left, and a vertical National Treasures label on the right. His name is written below the autograph, and next to his head is a label that tells you which card out of 99 it is.

This card is an appealing investment option because it includes an autograph and a jersey patch. Only 99 copies were printed, so the value of mint-condition cards increased. A recent copy sold for $317.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Flawless RC #RP-CM

Christian McCaffrey Flawless rookie signed

Panini is one of the biggest brands in the world of sports trading cards, so it should be no surprise to see them high on our list. Here, we have a Christian McCaffrey rookie card from the Flawless collection. Like the last card, it has a white background but goes back to the traditional vertical design.

The image of McCaffrey is on the right side of the card. He is carrying the ball upfield in his right arm, and you can see a determined look on his face as he runs closer to the endzone. He is wearing his black Panthers jersey and pants. The jersey features light blue accents on the shoulders, and his socks are also blue.

You can see a Jersey patch on the left side of the card. A blue border surrounds the patch, but the patch will look different from card to card. Above the Patch, it says Flawless in cursive writing.

The bottom of the card features McCaffrey’s autograph in blue ink. His name is printed on the card below. Finally, on the left of the autograph is a label that shows which of the 10 copies your card is.

Unfortunately, this card is difficult to come across because only 10 copies exist. However, if you can get your hands on one, you can sell it for a decent amount. Recent listings have a price of around $360 to $400.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Prizm Auto #RA-CM

Christian McCaffrey auto prizm

Prizm cards are always popular among collectors because of their flashy designs. This card is no different as it has a beautiful Prizm border. However, there are iterations with varying colors.

While the previous two cards cropped out the background in the image of McCaffrey, this card does not. You can see blurred fans in the background. As for the image, McCaffrey is striking a familiar pose. He is carrying the ball in his right hand as he looks downfield. Additionally, he is wearing his black Panthers uniform.

Below the image of McCaffrey is his autograph, written in blue ink. Below that is McCaffrey’s name and team written on the card.

This card recently sold for $380 on eBay, but the price is lower than the previous month. The $380 sale is a 31.58% decrease in price from sales 30 days prior.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket Auto RC #351

Although not everyone loves them, collectors usually like rookie tickets because they are all unique. This card goes back to a non-traditional horizontal design with the ticket on the left.

In ticket takes up roughly one-third of the card and reads Rookie Ticket at the top, followed by the team and name below it. The ticket will have a different seat for each card. A recent sale was for section 205, row 60, and seat 22. Below the seat label, it reads Running Back before you can see a Panini Contenders logo on the bottom.

The right side of the card features the image of Christian McCaffrey. The background is blue, in contrast to the rest of the card, which is white. McCaffrey is wearing the same black uniform as he is wearing in all the other cards we have looked at so far. He is also carrying the ball in his right arm and looking up the field.

The biggest difference here is the picture was taken from McCaffrey’s left side. So, you have a good view of the arm not carrying the ball. Finally, his autograph is below the image in black ink.

Not many copies of this card have sold recently. Current listings have the card for sale for $175.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Donruss Optic #168 Christian McCaffrey RC Rookie AUTO

The Rated Rookie collection is another one that collectors anticipate every year. This one features Christian McCaffrey in a unique image. He is not actively participating in a game. Instead, he is waiting for the game to begin.

The image features McCaffrey standing straight up. He is wearing his black Panthers uniform, but his helmet is not on. He is holding his helmet in his left hand, and a football in his right. It appears he is standing for the national anthem. You can see fans in the background of the image.

The card’s border features blue and pink stripes, and logos are in two corners. A Rated Rookie logo is in the top left, and an Optic logo is in the bottom right. Finally, the card reads Christian McCaffrey and Carolina Panthers across the bottom.

This card is a solid investment option because it is still very cheap. You can buy it on eBay for just $1.25.


2017 Christian McCaffrey Select Tie Die Auto RC #RC-CM

Unfortunately, most sports trading cards look fairly similar. Their designs are similar, so it is difficult to differentiate many of them at first glance. Fortunately, the Select Tie Die collection stands apart from the rest.

The signature aspect of this tie-die card is its background. It has a rainbow or tie-die background, with hints of all colors in the rainbow. There is also a small jersey patch on the left side of the card with a black border. Above the Patch is a Panthers logo and a Select logo.

You can see a small image of McCaffrey on the right side of the card. It is not terribly small, but it is not as big as pictures on most trading cards. The image features McCaffrey in his white Panthers uniform. It has light blue accents around the shoulders and color.

In the image, McCaffrey is running up the field and looking to his right. Interestingly, he is carrying the ball in his left arm which is a change from other images.

Finally, McCaffrey’s autograph is on the bottom of the card in blue ink in front of a white background.

The value of this card is quite high. You can buy it on eBay for $750.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Panini Contenders Championship Ticket Rookie Auto RC #351

Here we have another rookie ticket, and we are back in a horizontal design. This card reads Championship Ticket across the top and Carolina Panthers below it. Below that it features McCaffrey’s name before listing the section, row, and seat of the card. Below the seat is McCaffrey’s position and a Panini Contenders logo. The ticket takes up roughly a third of the card.

The right side features an image of McCaffrey in the top half. It has a blue background to contrast the white in the rest of the card. The image, taken from McCaffrey’s left side, features him cradling the ball in his right arm as he runs upfield. He is wearing a familiar black Panthers uniform and a grey helmet.

Below the image of McCaffrey is his autograph. It is written in black ink, and McCaffrey included a 1/1 label.

This card is unique and tremendously valuable. It can be bought on eBay for $4222.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Origins RC #RACM

The Origins collection is not one of the most well-known collections, but it is a good one. This card features an image of McCaffrey in his white Panthers uniform. He is carrying the ball in his right arm, and his left arm is his left hand as he pivots.

The background is white at the bottom and around the borders, but behind McCaffrey, it is a little different. You can see blue and white images of clouds. These colors match the sky and the Carolina Panthers’ colors.

McCaffrey’s autograph can be seen in blue ink at the bottom of the card. Below it is McCaffrey’s name and team written on the card. Finally, and Origins logo is at the top of the card.

If you want to purchase this card, you can do so when it goes up on eBay. Recent copies were sold for $300, but none are currently available.

2017 Christian McCaffrey Panini Select Prizm RC #74

The second last card we want to look at today is from the Panini Select collection. It features a blue border with an arc on the right. The left side of the card features an image of McCaffrey with fans in the background.

In the image, McCaffrey is cradling the ball in his left arm as he runs toward the right side of the card. The image was taken from an angle. It is not quite side-facing, but it is not directly in front of McCaffrey either.

You can see McCaffrey wearing a light blue uniform from head to toe. He is running with his left leg on the ground. McCaffrey was likely pivoting as the image was taken because his right arm is vertical rather than bent.

There are logos or writing in all four corners of the card. The top of the card features a Select logo on the left and an RC logo on the right, whereas the bottom features McCaffrey’s name on the left, and a Panthers logo on the right.

If you want to purchase this card, it is available on eBay for $200.

2017 Panini Limited RPA Variations RC #107

The final card we will look at today is from the Panini Limited Football collection. This card features a large Panthers jersey patch in the center, surrounded by a gold border. Outside of the patch, the background is mostly white with some blue at the top.

A Limited logo is in the top left, and McCaffrey’s name and team are written across the bottom of the card. His autograph is written in blue ink below the jersey patch.

The image of McCaffrey is hugging the right side of the card. It is so far to the right that his left arm is cut off a little bit. In the image, McCaffrey assesses the defense as he pulls back and shuffles to get a better position.

He is wearing his black Panthers uniform, and he is carrying the ball in his right arm. However, the football is barely visible as most of it is cut off by the jersey patch.

If you want to purchase this card, you will need to wait. There are currently no copies for sale on eBay.

Rising Investment?

There are several factors to consider when investing in a card. Every factor contributes to whether you think the card will increase in value.

The most important thing to consider is the age of the player. Younger players are more likely to have their cards increase in value as they improve.

Christian McCaffrey is 26, which is around the prime of most running backs. However, it is the beginning of his prime, and he had two shortened seasons from injuries. So, there is still a chance that McCaffrey could improve.

That being said, McCaffrey is already a great player, so he doesn’t need to improve for his cards to rise in value.

Another thing to consider is the chances of a championship. Team and individual hardware are the two biggest things that contribute to a player’s legacy. If their legacy increases, so will the value of their cards.

McCaffrey had zero chance of winning a Super Bowl on the Carolina Panthers in the next few years. However, his chances are higher now that he is on the San Francisco 49ers. While they are not title favorites, they should make the playoffs and have an opportunity to go on a run.

With those things in mind, we like investing in Christian McCaffrey rookie cards. The value of many of his cards is still low compared to the caliber of player he is. If he stays on his current trajectory, we expect almost all of his cards to rise in value over the next five years.

Ownership Disclosure: None
Rating:  christian mccaffrey auto card rating
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About the Author

Cardboard Vice

I'm always buying: 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update, Ty Cobb T206, and 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Star Rookie. PSA 10 only. I also enjoy no limit poker and horse racing.

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