Top Ten Most Expensive Soccer Cards

From the 1958 Alifabolaget Pele #635 to the 2004 Panini Mega Cracks Messi #71, prices of the most expensive soccer trading cards featuring star players are climbing.

Updated Aug 15, 2023

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Soccer cards are loved worldwide, especially cards of famous players like Pele, Maradona, Messi, and Ronaldo. This article reveals the top ten most expensive soccer cards.

A 1958 Alifabolaget Pele Rookie Card sold for a record-breaking $1.33 million in February 2022.

We'll also uncover why these cards are worth ridiculous amounts and how you can win big in the soccer card-collecting arena. Soccer card collecting is a fun mix of sports love and collecting hobby that, with a solid gameplan, could be lucrative investments.

Why are soccer trading cards so valuable?

Soccer card values hinge on rarity, condition, player fame, and brand. Cards of Legendary players like Pele or Maradona can cost a lot. Old, well-kept cards fetch high prices, too.

Cards from top brands like Panini and Topps are also worth more. Scarcity boosts value, so a rare Messi or Ronaldo rookie card could be a goldmine.

What are the most expensive soccer cards?

The priciest soccer cards include treasures like the 1958 Alifabolaget Pele and the 1979 Panini Calciatori Diego Maradona #312. We’ll also look at cards that ushered in legendary careers like the 2004 Panini Mega Cracks Messi #71 and the 2003 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo rookie card #137.

These rare and coveted soccer cards make for exciting finds that'll probably boost the value your collection.

1. 1957 A Americana Balas Futebol Pele #11 RC

  • Highest Sale Price: $486,000
  • Total Supply: Unknown
  • Brand: Balas Futebol

The rare SGC 2 1957 Pele #11 rookie card is worth $486,000.
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The 1957 A Americana Balas Futebol Pele #11 rookie card is super rare because it was intended as a redemption sticker, not a card. Many were stuck and eventually damaged, but this one—graded SGC 2—stayed in pristine condition. It's one of the only ones left in the world and it's worth $486,000.

2. 2019 Topps Chrome Erling Halland Bundesliga Autographs Superfractor #72

  • Price Range: $432,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $442,000
  • Supply: 1
  • Brand: Topps

The Erling Haaland 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Superfractor card is a unique treasure in the sports card realm. With only one in existence, it's prized for its rarity and Haaland’s striking autograph.

The card previously held the record for the most expensive soccer trading card ever sold when a BGS 9.5 copy fetched $442,800 in a June 2021 Goldin auction. It captures the early promise of Haaland, now a superstar at Manchester City, known for his awe-inspiring goal streaks. As Erling’s career progresses, the card's value could be worth even more.

3. 2002 Panini Futebol Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Stickers #306

  • Price Range: $540 to $110,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $98,400
  • PSA 10 Supply: 23
  • Brand: Panini

The rare 2002 Christiano Ronaldo Panini Futebol card #306 is his debut rookie card, valued between $540 and $110,000.
Image source: PSA

The 2002 Panini Futebol Christiano Ronaldo card is a collector's gem. With only 23 PSA 10s, its scarcity boosts its value—asking prices range from $540 to $110,000. This card depicts Ronaldo in his debut year for the Portuguese club Sporting CP, making it his unofficial rookie card.

Encased within a white border, the card displays a sharp picture of Ronaldo donning the green-striped kit. Known for his record-setting feat of over 100 goals for Portugal, Christian Ronaldo was pivotal in securing the nation's first major Euro tournament win in 2016.

4. 2003 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo RC #137

  • Price Range: $1,665 to $180,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $312,000
  • PSA 10 Supply: 38
  • Brand: Panini

A PSA gem mint 2003 Panini Sports Christiano Ronaldo Mega Craqus #137 rookie card fetched $312,000 in a 2021 auction.
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The 2003 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo #137 rookie card is a sports card collectors' gem. This card captures Ronaldo's professional debut in Sporting Lisbon attire, showing him deftly handling the ball. 

Its rarity stems from limited soccer card production during that period and the Portuguese league's less prominent status. Ronaldo's stellar start at Sporting CP adds value to this card. A PSA gem mint 2003 Panini Ronaldo card could be an attractive investment for hardcore fans since one fetched $312,000 in October 2021.

5. 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi Rookie Card #71

  • Price Range: $710 to $280,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $336,000
  • PSA 10 Supply: 19
  • Brand: Panini

The 2004 Panini Sports Lionel Messi Mega Cracks card #71 is scarce and valuable,  with only 19 PSA 10 examples on record.
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The 2004 Panini Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #71 is an eye-catching soccer rookie card with a bright background. It doesn't just look good, its value is sky-high, worth between $710 and $280,000 depending on its condition. 

Initially hidden in regular Panini packs, this Messi card a rare gem with only 19 cards in mint condition according to PSA. Since Messi has elevated to GOAT status in soccer, this card could be a winner. 

6. 1977 Futbol Diego Maradona Argentina Juniors #11 RC (DISCS)

  • Price Range: $1,230 to $350,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $161,000 
  • PSA 8 Supply: 2 
  • Brand: Crack Futbol Campeonato

This 1977 Maradona card with only two near-mint copies is valued at up to $350,000. 
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The 1977 Futbol Diego Maradona #11 card featuring a young Maradona mid-play is a rare find from Crack Futbol Campeonato. With only two PSA near-mint copies, this card holds immense value due to the 1986 World Cup winner's legacy.

With no PSA 10s among 72 graded examples, its worth continues to grow as a bona fide piece of soccer history. A PSA 7 card fetched an impressive high of $161,000 at Goldin Auctions in March 2021.

7. 1959 Heinerle Pele

  • Price Range: $740 to $24,000 
  • Highest Sale Price: $34,440
  • PSA 8 Supply: 1
  • Brand: Heinerle

The 1959 Heinerle Pelé card depicting him in the 53rd minute of the 1958 World Cup Final between Brazil and Sweden is immensely valuable.
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The 1959 Heinerle Pelé card is more than a trading card. It depicts Pelé at the 1958 World Cup match between Brazil and Sweden with an infamous action shot of the soccer legend mid-flight. It's a rarity among vintage football cards, making it highly sought after. 

Coupled with a detailed backstory in German, it sparks interest beyond its aesthetic appeal. The card's desirability and rarity contribute to its value, and it’s greatly appreciated by collectors.

8. 1979 Panini Calciatori Diego Maradona #312

  • Price Range: $300 to $24,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $555,960 
  • PSA 10 Supply: 1
  • Brand: Panini

A rare PSA gem mint 1979 Panini Calciatori Maradona rookie card auctioned for $555,960 in April 2021 at Goldin Auction.
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The 1979 Panini Calciatori Diego Maradona #312 is super scarce, with only one graded PSA 10. But what pumps its value? Well, it's Maradona's rookie card and it features him in his iconic Argentina kit.

This mega card, fetching over half a million at a 2021 auction, is a solid bet given Maradona's everlasting contribution to soccer.

9. 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Lionel Messi #12 (Gold Prizm)

  • Highest Sale Price: $522,000
  • PSA 10 Supply: 2
  • Brand: Panini

A PSA gem mint 2014 Panini Prizm Lionel Messi World Cup (Gold Prizm) card fetched $522,000 in an April 2022 auction.
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The 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Lionel Messi #12 (Gold Prizm) is among the most expensive soccer trading cards in the world. Dressed in Argentinian colors, Messi shines in this exquisite gold card, limited to just ten copies. 

It's super rare—only three cards are graded by PSA. This soccer card proved its worth in April 2022 when it sold for $522,000—solidifying it as the second-most expensive soccer card sold to date.

10. 1958 Alifabolaget Pele Rookie Card #635

  • Price Range: $8,500 to $340,000
  • Highest Sale Price: $1.3 million
  • PSA 9 Supply: 6
  • Brand: Alifabolaget 

The 1958 Alifabolaget Pele #635 rookie card is the most expensive soccer card on record, selling for $1.3 million in February 2021.
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The 1958 Alifabolaget Pele Rookie Card features a young Pele donning the iconic Brazilian team jersey on a pristine surface with sharp corners. This rare card is a serious collector's dream.

Only six cards have the highest PSA 9 grade. Rally listed a PSA 9-graded 1958 Alifabolaget Pele card in January 2021 for $315,000 before selling it for a record-breaking $1.33 million in February 2022—a 422% return for investors.

Earlier, a PSA 8 Alifabolaget Pele sold for $340,100 on PWCC Marketplace in March 2021. This rare card is more than a collector's item—it's an investment in soccer’s global history through an unforgettable keepsake.

Are soccer cards a good investment?

Soccer cards can be lucrative assets for years to come. Produced by brands like the reputable Topps company, sports cards are coveted pieces of memorabilia that can increase significantly in value over time.

If you’re looking for more detailed information on which cards to invest in, visit the PSA site or other reputable sites dedicated to card grading or collecting. Pay special attention to the condition and rarity of the cards—older UEFA cards that are still in mint condition can fetch high prices.

So stay informed, look out for good deals, and if the price is right, don’t hesitate to click that ‘buy’ button. Collecting is just like being a forward in soccer: it’s all about timing your shot.

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