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The Role of Race in Football Card Prices


  • *Direct correspondence to Robert Regoli, University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Sociology, Ketchum 219, Boulder, CO 80309-0327 〈〉. We thank the reviewers and editor for helpful comments. Data and coding information will be provided upon request for those wishing to replicate the study.


Objective. Several studies have examined the impact of race and the value of baseball cards, but few have investigated the role of race on football card values.

Methods. Data were derived from 1,279 black and white football players who were selected to participate in at least one Pro Bowl and who started their careers between 1946, the year professional football in the United States became racially integrated when Kenny Washington played in a game for the Los Angeles Rams, and 1988, the last year of Topps' monopoly in the football card market. Data for each player's race, value of their rookie card, card availability, card vintage, performance, Hall of Fame status, and position were obtained.

Results. When controlling for other factors, race has no effect on the value of players' rookie cards, whereas card vintage exerted the most influence on the value of players' cards.

Conclusions. Football card values are largely driven by objective markers, supporting the conclusion that the market performs pretty much as expected for a collector market. Speculations on the absence of race effect, limitations related to the study, and suggestions for future research are offered.