As Australians, we do have a tendency to blindly adopt all things American – and as Tim Watson might say – “The Fish Rots from the Head!” But jokes aside, lets look at “Rookie cards” for a moment here, and most importantly, define what constitutes a “Rookie card” in our local market.

“Rookie” is an American term to identify a first year player. In relation to Sports cards, it was adapted slightly to refer to a player’s first published card.

The concept of a “Rookie card” is that the term is generally only applied to a player of long standing in his sport, who not only is a recognised champion, but has been featured over many years of card releases.

There have been a few auction site sellers throwing the “rookie card” tag onto every player’s first (and sometimes only) card, but in the Australian market, there are very few players cards that fit this criteria for two reasons:

1) Gum cards have only been produced since 1963, which for many champions of the game, was at the end or in the middle of their careers (eg Whitten, Barassi)

2) Due to comparatively smaller set sizes, only a handful of players are featured each year – US sports sets feature every player of every team, every year, almost without exception.

So when as a buyer, you see the word “rookie” applied to a card, be skeptical!

Remember if your not looking at Gary Ablett, Leigh Matthews, Royce Hart, Kevin Bartlett, Alex Jesaulenko, Tony Lockett etc, your not really looking at a “Rookie Card”, its just a card!

Spot the “Rookie Card”!

Graeme Tulloch happened to be at Training early on the right night. in 1976 – and appears here in his first (and only) football card (which ironically featured a photo of Cameron Clayton!)
Hawk Champion Leigh Matthew’s first card – the 1973 “Orange” series. He would later feature in many others.

If you chose B), you are correct! If you chose A), read the article again!



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