Joe Namath’s Type I photo used for his legendary 1965 Topps rookie card will be auctioned by Huggins & Scott Auctions through August 3. Interested bidders may participate in the auction online.
PSA/DNA Photo Authenticator Henry Yee wrote after appraising the photo, “It is without question the single most important football photograph to ever be offered in a public auction.”
The Type I photo was used for Namath’s 1965 Topps rookie card. A Type I photograph is issued from the original negative within two years of being shot. Legendary photographer Bob Olen took the famous pose of Namath. Olen was the official photographer for the Yankees and Jets. He also was believed to have taken the photo for Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card.
The 1965 Topps Namath card has much in common with the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, as both are considered to be the premier cards of the Postwar era in their respective sports. In 2011, Namath went on the Late Show with David Letterman to tell the story behind the photo shoot and how his image ended up on the iconic tall stockboard card. Joe Willie said, “I had my first knee operation at Lenox Hill Hospital. I’d lost 27 pounds, I was in bed for 8 days and our media director came into the room carrying shoulder pads and a jersey and the football. He said, ‘Joe, the show must go on.’ They took me out of bed on crutches. I went out in the hall, leaned up against the wall and we took that picture.” A video clip of Letterman holding the card while Namath tells his story can be viewed here.
Type I photos have increased in value over the past five years. Photos from Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman and 1952 Topps card have sold for $72,000 and $60,000, while a 1933 Lou Gehrig Goudey was purchased for $60,000.