We put together a list of the best Downtown Rookie Cards you can get when ripping Donruss Optic or searching at card shops or online.
This variation of cards is high-end, and the value can be extremely high, providing a return on investment if you pull the card from a pack.
Additionally, we go in depth on How To Start Collecting Cards for Beginners (2023) which is a good read before diving into downtown cards. Also, here’s some more resources for new collectors around 8 Creative Ways to Manage Your Common Sports Cards.
Why Donruss Downtown Rookie Cards Are Valuable
Downtown cards, with their visually appealing holographic background, don’t just showcase players — they tell stories. Donruss downtown cards have a holographic background and often include urban settings related to the city or location on which a player’s team is. Like autograph cards, they are highly sought after and desirable, often selling for over $100 when raw.
What makes downtown cards unique is how they depict a specific story and feature a famous player. For example, football downtown cards often are of quarterbacks. The intrinsic value of these cards doesn’t just lie in their aesthetics; their resell value can be sky-high.
Similarly, the background usually relates to milestones or memorable moments of a player. For example, Joe Namath’s downtown card has airplanes in the back to symbolize Jet because he played on the New York Jets team. Collectors often look for these cards and get them graded by PSA. The value can soar into thousands, with PSA 10s or 9s hitting the jackpot.
When you grade Donruss downtown cards, you can see their value increase significantly; for example, initially going for $200, it can now go for anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on if you get a PSA 10 or PSA 9. ‘
Here’s our top downtown cards for football card collectors:
|Patrick Mahomes||Kansas City Chiefs||Arrows and spears design amd known for agility with accuracy||Collector’s dream card|
|Josh Allen||Buffalo Bills||Niagara Falls backdrop and celebrates leadership||Guides team yearly|
|Trevor Lawrence||Jacksonville Jaguars||Reflects Jacksonville spirit a rising star the collegiate successes at Clemson||Hot for collectors|
|Justin Herbert||Los Angeles Chargers||Griffith Observatory backdrop which celebrates records and perseverance||Popular among fans|
|Mac Jones||New England Patriots||Lobster signifies Patriots captures rookie year spectrum with highs and lows depicted||New collector’s addition|
|Ja’Marr Chase||Cincinnati bengals||Bengal team backdrop highlighted 2022 season catches||Became a collector’s asset|
|Trey Lance||San Fransico 49ers||Golden Gate Bridge design short college season noted||High Potential|
Let’s dive in further.
Which Donruss Downtown Cards Are Worth Hundreds of Dollars
Let’s delve into the top Downtown Cards that every collector would want in their arsenal:
1. Patrick Mahomes Downtown Card
In this card’s background are arrows and spears because Patrick Mahomes plays on the Chiefs team. Patty Mahomes is a beast of a player who has high potential to become a hall-of-fame player due to his performance on the field. He’s been MVP and continues to prove his worth as the franchise quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, finished the 2020 NFL season with 4,740 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also scored a touchdown while running. That year, the Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl but fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nevertheless, Mahomes was voted the Super Bowl MVP despite the defeat.
Even after Patrick Mahomes was injured during their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022 to get into the AFC Championship game, he was able to pull through and score massive points.
2. Josh Allen Downtown Card
In the background of this card, there’s Niagara Falls because Josh Allen plays on the Chiefs team. Josh Allen continues to lead his team to the playoffs year after year. However, he always needs to catch up on the final games leading to the Superbowl.
Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills quarterback in the 2020 NFL season, finished with 4,544 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. In addition, he scored eight touchdowns while running. The Bills were guided to the playoffs by Allen, but the Kansas City Chiefs defeated them in the divisional round. In 2020, Allen got invited to the Pro Bowl and the Second Team All-Pro.
In the 2022 NFL season, he’s expanded his gameplay by starting to run and use his legs to get the first down. After building some muscle in the offseason, he’s now taking on running backs and safeties like no other.
3. Travor Lawarence Downtown Card
In the background of this card, there’s Jacksonville Landing with Jaguar and Animals because Travor Lawerance plays on Jaguar’s team.
Despite the Clemson University football team not playing as many games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, quarterback Trevor Lawrence had a solid season.
He completed 67.6% of his throws for 2,753 yards, 24 touchdowns, and four interceptions in the eight games. Additionally, he ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns. The Jacksonville Jaguars made the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft with Lawrence, regarded as one of the top prospects.
In the 2022 NFL Season, Trevor took his team into the playoffs after a massive comeback where they were down three scores for the majority of the game.
4. Justin Herbert Downtown Card
Griffith Observatory is in the background of this card because Justin Herbert plays on the Chargers team.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert finished the 2020 NFL season with 4,336 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. He also scored three touchdowns while running. Herbert was voted the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after breaking the rookie record for touchdown throws. With 31 touchdown passes, he also broke Baker Mayfield’s previous mark of 26 for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in a season.
In the 2022 NFL Season, Justin had to fight through an injury to the ribs he got earlier in the season when playing the Kanas City Chiefs. But he didn’t let that stop him and kept going, even making it into the playoffs.
5. Mac Jones Downtown Card
Lobster is in the background of this card because Mac Jones plays on the Patriot’s team.
Mac Jones, the quarterback for the University of Alabama, had a successful campaign in the 2020 college football season. He threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and four interceptions on 77.4% of his attempts. In the National Championship game, which they lost to Ohio State, he led the Crimson Tide.
As a result, the New England Patriots chose Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, ranking him as one of the top quarterback prospects.
His rookie year in the 2022 NFL season didn’t pan out as much would expect since he had to deal with injuries and poor performance. He was losing the majority of the games and needing to win a wild-card game against the buffalo bills to get into the playoffs.
After this season, his card value decreased to 40% compared to what they were selling beforehand. There was a lot of hype and interest as he would be a better replacement for the Patriots ever since losing Tom Brady.
6. Ja’Marr Chase Downtown Card
The Tigers are in the background of this card because Ja’Marr Chass plays on the Bengal team.
In the 2020 college football season, Ja’Marr Chase, a wide receiver for Louisiana State University (LSU), had a solid performance. He played in only eight games due to the COVID-19 pandemic but still managed to have 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Ja’Marr won the Fred Biletnikoff award for the best receiver in the country and was a consensus All-American.
He had a strong performance in the National Championship game, where LSU defeated Clemson.
As a result, Cincinnati Bengals declared Ja’Marr Chase for the 2021 NFL draft and 5th overall.
In the 2022 NFL Season, Ja’Marr outperformed expectations and caught more targets than he ever had before, giving his card value an increase as well.
7. Trey Lance Downtown Card
In the background of this card, there’s the Gold Gate Bridge in San Francisco because Trey Lance plays on the 49ers team.
In the 2020 college football season, Trey Lance, the quarterback for North Dakota State University, had an impressive performance. He played in only one game due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in that game, he completed 14 of 18 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
MVP of the FCS Championship Game and they also were considered one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft and were selected 3rd overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
In the 2022 NFL Season, Trevor had a season-ending injury to his ankle. He must figure out if he’ll have the starting job next season. His card values also took a hit due to this injury.
Best Reason Downtown Cards Are Good Investments
The number one reason Downtown cards are high value has to do with the story and shine they have to offer. Also, they are ‘super rare’ since a low print of them. We also go in depth on How Valuable Are Press Proof Rated Rookie Cards? for a potential investment as well.
Also, like ‘Kaboom’ cards, Downtown rookie cards will always have the market and be quick to liquidate if needed.
What Packs Do Downtown Cards Come In?
Optic Donruss retail packs are popular to have downtown cards. There are numerous years of this product such as 2021 Optic Donruss retail and 2022 which just came out.
Especially when you pick up cards of players like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, and Mac Jones, the value of the cards can increase significantly after grading, with PSA 10s and 9s fetching thousands of dollars.
In fact, most of these types of cards can also come from hobby boxes. We wrote about Why Are Sports Card Hobby Boxes So Expensive? and that’s largely due to the high chance of hitting downtowns.
Their ability to narrate a player’s journey, combined with their rarity, makes them invaluable. If you’re looking to diversify your collection or invest, Downtown Rookie Cards are a great choice. Just remember, like any investment, the market can be unpredictable.
So, for example, if one of those players retires and they make it into the hall of fame, the value will instantly increase.
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Sports card hobby enthusiast (originally from New York) who can’t resist ripping cards and eating donuts on the weekends. Passionate about all collecting, have been collecting football cards and other memorabilia for half a decade. Enjoys going to card shows, visiting card shops and getting to know other collectors. Owner of NOWCollectibles a collectible e-commerce business – online card shop for buying affordable cards helping connect sports fans with their favorite teams and players. Follow my personal IG to see PC: @NowCollects See my latest articles here: NowCollectibles Articles (thinksportscards.com)