Super Bowl XLVII Match-Up Set: Collecting the San Francisco 49ers

A San Francisco 49ers team-signed helmet. It’s best to have 22 offensive and defensive starters, as well as the coach, to sign the ball to be considered a “team-signed.”

In a recent article we talked about collecting Super Bowl memorabilia that commemorates the actual event itself. However, now that the teams to face-off in the big game have been determined, let’s examine some of the available collectibles from the San Francisco 49ers and their star players.

The San Francisco 49ers are making their sixth Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. They have the distinction of having won in every previous Super Bowl in which they have played. Led by their tough-nosed coach Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback himself, he made the decision to name back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick as his starting quarterback after Alex Smith went down with an injury. Smith had led the team to the NFC Championship game last year before losing to the New York Giants. Kaepernick becomes the first back-up quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl since Jake Delhomme did it with the Carolina Panthers in 2003.

The San Francisco 49ers are a well-balanced team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. The offense, led by the aforementioned Kaepernick, features a strong passing attack, led by wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, as well as tight end Vernon Davis. Frank Gore, at running back, provides a punishing ground assault, particularly in the Red Zone, where he is dominating. The team’s defense co-exists as a cohesive unit lacking the big-name stars but is built around consistent, talented players. Here is a look at some of the 49ers star players’ rookie cards:

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s (29) rookie cards were released in 2011 products and come from a wide variety of manufactures and brands ranging in price from $1 to $3,000. We’ll highlight a few of the more popular ones at each collectible level.

Colin Kaepernick’s Bowman Sterling Rookie Card with a swatch of his jersey.

Colin Kaepernick’s Topps Platinum Rookie Card.

Colin Kaepernick’s National Treasures Rookie Card with autograph and a swatch of jersey.

Entry-level: Prestige #220; Score #320; Topps #413; Topps Platinum #59;
Mid-range: Bowman Sterling #BSRCK Jersey; Donruss Elite #120 #/999; Topps Finest #52;
High-end: Panini Totally Certified #210 Autographed Jersey #/399; Playoff National Treasures #327 Autographed Patch #/99; Topps Five Star #181 Autographed Patch #/65.

Veteran wide receiver Randy Moss’ several dozen rookie cards were released in 1999 products and range in value from $1 to $400 and in some cases more for high-grade examples.

Randy Moss’ Black Diamond Rookie Card.

Randy Moss’ SP Authentic Rookie Card with autograph.

Randy Moss’ Bowman 1988 Autograph Rookie Card.

Entry-level: Score #235, Bowman #198; Topps Chrome #35; Bowman Chrome #135;
Mid-range: Upper Deck Black Diamond Double Red #97; Flair Showcase #5; Bowman’s Best #BP5;
High-end: Bowman # 7 Autographed; SP Authentic #RM Autographed.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree also has dozens of rookie cards that were released in 2009 products and range in value from $1 to $300.

Michael Crabtree’s Exquisite Rookie Card.

Michael Crabtree’s Exquisite Rookie Card with autograph and jersey swatch.

A higher-value Michael Crabtree’s Exquisite Rookie Card with autograph and jersey swatch.

Entry-level: Topps Chrome #135; Upper Deck #20;
Mid-range: Topps Chrome #200 Autographed; Certified #227 Autographed/Jersey #/249; Playoff Contenders #107 Autographed #/539;
High-end: Exquisite Autographed/Patch #/25; SP Authentic Autographed/Jersey #/25; National Treasures Autographed/Jersey #/99.

The San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore has (40) rookie cards and debuted in 2005 and range in price from $1 to $500.

Frank Gore’s Exquisite Rookie Card with a photo of him playing at the University of Miami.

Frank Gore’s mid-range Exquisite Rookie Card.

A high-value Frank Gore Exquisite Rookie Card, this one with autograph and jersey swatch..

Entry-level: Bowman #130, Prestige #180; Upper Deck #221;
Mid-range: Bowman’s Best #111 Jersey #/799; Absolute Memorabilia #217 Jersey #/750; Elite #148 #/499;
High-end: Bowman Chrome #259 Autograph; Leaf Limited #212 Autographed Jersey #/100; Upper Deck Exquisite #93 Autographed Dual Jersey #/199; Upper Deck Ultimate Collection #216 Autograph #/225.

A San Francisco 49ers team-signed football featuring the five logos of the Super Bowls the franchise has won. This season, the team is in its “Quest for Six.”

When it comes to team signed memorabilia, full-size helmets and official footballs are the preferred collectible of choice. To be considered a “team-signed” item, it needs to have all starting roster players and the head coach Jim Harbaugh. While that equation defines the ideal, signed pieces with fewer names are still desirable from a collectability standpoint. However, it is important that all the key players be present to maximize the pieces value. The must have names would be: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Randy Moss, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, David Akers, Charles Rogers, Patrick Willis, Mario Manningham, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Jim Harbaugh . While only being 14 signatures, a team-signed item with these players would represent all the key stars on both sides of the ball.

When it comes to any autographed memorabilia item, proof of authenticity is a must. The increased demand for Super Bowl team signed items creates the ideal marketplace for forgers. Items issued directly from the team or the NFL will be accompanied with their own tamper-proof certificates and are the strongest form of authentication. Third-party authenticators like PSA/DNA are acceptable alternatives, but even third-party companies make mistakes. As with everything collectible, buyer-beware.

See see what the 49ers’ opponent in the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens, and which items are worth collecting, read Super Bowl XLVII Match-Up Set: Collecting the Baltimore Ravens.

Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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