The Best Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Cards: Values and Collectability in 2023

tua tagovailoa rookie cards
Credit: CBS Sports

Tua Tagovailoa is currently making waves as the Miami Dolphins quarterback, coming back from a set of concussions that scared the whole NFL community. As he continues to pull in wins for my favorite team, his rookie cards are also pulling in a good amount of money. Check out our top choices for Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards, and see if you can grab one for yourself.

Fun Fact: Tua’s actual legal first name is Tuaniigamanuolepola, but is shortened to Tua for the media. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa was born on March 2, 1998 in ‘Ewa Beach Hawaii as the oldest of four in a Samoan family. He grew up with an intense interest in football, to the point where he would sleep with a football under his arm every night as a child.

Attending St. Louis High School, Tagovailoa continued his impressive streak, setting records at the same school that Marcus Mariota attended. At the end of his senior year, he had seventeen offers to play on a college football scholarship before eventually choosing the University of Alabama in January 2017.

His family followed him to the states, and as a true freshman Tagovailoa was the backup to sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts (now at the Philadelphia Eagles) throughout the 2017 season. He did however get an adequate amount of playing time due to a couple of blowouts, and of course the championship game as he was put in for Hurts due to his ineffective play. Throwing the game winning touchdown, Tagovailoa cemented himself as a contender and started several seasons after.

As his senior year was well underway, Tagovailoa would not play his senior year due to a hip injury in a previous game, and instead would enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Finishing with numerous NCAA career records, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies in August 2020. In the Draft, Tagovailoa would become the fifth pick to the Miami Dolphins, and was the first left-handed quarterback to be drafted since Tim Tebow in 2010.

Tagovailoa’s 2020 and 2021 seasons were a range of highs and lows, starting as the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick and having troubles with then-coach Brian Flores. After Flores was fired, Mike McDaniel was hired and a true connection began between coach and quarterback in 2022. Though Tagovailoa had some big scares with concussions, the season went relatively well and the Dolphins made it into the playoffs, but got eliminated in the first round.

In 2023, we have already seen a strong power behind the healed quarterback, and can only watch to see what will happen with the Dolphins later in the season. As for me, I would like to see them go far.

Fun Fact: Tua can sing and play the ukulele. 

Are Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Cards Valuable?

It really depends on what type of card you have and what variation. Some variations may be quite accessible to any collector, but others are more exclusive and thus are more expensive. For instance, some gem mint rookie cards will cost thousands of dollars to have. The best way to figure out whether your card is valuable or not is by looking and comparing your card to others on sites like eBay or a trusted collectors site.

Tua Tagovailoa Football Trading Card Variations

Variations come in two different forms other than different companies producing the cards. A Panini Mystic card for instance can have the same picture of Tagovailoa on the front, but can possess different accent colors. These accent colors will increase or decrease the value of the card.

This is the same for the other variation, which is the different images used on the card. For instance a rookie card could have a picture from the player’s college team, or just different snapshots of them playing. The most common for Tagovailoa is one with a ball in his hand, as he is the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins.

Variations can be the deciding factor on how valuable a card is, so always make sure what variation you have and how the reflects on the value.

Fun Fact: Even though Tagovailoa is predominantly right-handed, his father trained him to throw the ball with his left hand as a child, because he wanted a left-handed son. He is the only starting left-handed quarterback currently in the NFL. 

CHECK OUT: 8 Most Valuable Brett Favre Cards: Including Rookie Cards and Rare Collectibles

Most Valuable Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Cards

Check out our top five most valuable Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards:

5. Select #345 Field, $400

Credit: eBay

The highest Panini Select option, the #345 Field shows Tagovailoa against a sharp background with holographic touches. The field is present in the background, faded to let Tagovailoa stand out. Though it is not my favorite background compared to all of the other Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards, I still like the sharp border.

4. One #2, $700

Credit: eBay

Though this is not a trading card, a piece of Tagovailoa’s jersey is still quite valuable, and that is why it made it on our Tua Tagovailoa rookie card list. The pieces of the jersey varies depending on which one you buy, giving a unique collectible to anyone who enjoys pieces of their player’s jersey. This collectible is also signed, bumping up the value a little bit more.

3. Contenders #103, $900

Credit: eBay

I kinda like this card because it looks so different from the other Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards, especially with a fictional “ticket” to the left of the player. This is specific to the rookie contenders cards, and gives almost a video-game quality to the player. I wish there was a little more to the background of the card, but all-in-all it is quite sharp.

2. Absolute Kaboom! #KTT1, $2,000

Credit: eBay

Now the Panini Absolute Kaboom definitely has that cartoon quality, but in the best way possible. The next two cards will hold this cartoon-style and will increase the price a good amount, and for good reason. The card itself is quite sharp with a holographic background highlighting a “drawing” of Tagovailoa in the middle, just like he is a superhero in a comic book. If you are willing to spend money, you might want to see out this Tua Tagovailoa rookie card.

1. Donruss Downtown! #D-TT, $2,300

Credit: eBay

This is my favorite card out of the fourteen others, just because of the detail in the background and the style of how Tagovailoa is portrayed in the Panini Donruss Downtown. The dolphins and Samoan warriors hint both to his heritage, where he is from, and his current team in a cohesive background that highlights the player in the middle even more. And to top it all off, the card is holographic. The only downside is how expensive this card can become, especially as it is a more unique card.

Fun Fact: Both Marcus Mariota and Tua attended Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii when they were younger. They even got to meet each other at one point, and were both college stars. 

Most Popular Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Cards

Check out our top five most popular Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards:

5. Optic #152, $100

Credit: eBay

Though this design is quite simple, the #152 Optic really makes a hit as one of the popular Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards. Tagovailoa gets a little lost in all the turquoise between the background and the jersey, but the silver outline around his form really pops him off the card.

READ MORE: 5 Most Valuable Football Cards 1990s From Manning to Favre

4. Mosaic #203, $150

Credit: eBay

This is another one of those cards where the background really sells it for me. This is the reactive green variant of the #203 Mosaic card, and it really complements the color of the jersey. The reflectiveness of the design also helps the card’s appeal. If you want a stand-out Tua Tagovailoa rookie card, try to see if you can find this one for a reasonable price.

3. Absolute #194, $170

Credit: eBay

The Absolute #194 is next in our list with a sharp, yet simple background. The darker blue and green allow Tagovailoa to pop off the card and the white detailing is quite sharp. My favorite part about the card though is the team logo peaking out on the top right, just clearly showing which team Tagovailoa is a part of.

2. Prizm Draft Picks #101, $240

Credit: eBay

If you enjoy rookie cards that show the player’s college uniform, then you should try finding the Prizm Draft Picks #101 Tua Tagovailoa rookie card. The card highlights Tagovailoa’s career at the University of Alabama, with a holographic background to complement the red and white detailing. Though a little more expensive, if you are a true Tua fan, you might want to snag this card.

1. Obsidian #103, $250

Credit: eBay

The most expensive card in our popular list goes to the #103 Obsidian card, that is specifically in the purple variation. I think this card is super sharp with the holographic and purple detailing on a black background. The background design is a little busy, but it really shows the focus of the card – Tagovailoa. The only thing I wish the card had was the logo of the team Tua plays for, as it would bring the whole thing together.

Fun Fact: Tua’s younger brother Taulia also plays football and is one of the quarterbacks at Alabama, and two of their cousins also play, with cousin Myron a defensive lineman at Notre Dame and Adam an offensive lineman at Navy. 

Cheapest Tua Tagovailoa Rookie Cards

Check out our top five cheapest Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards:

5. Phoenix #102, $50

Credit: eBay

Man, this card is sharp. I think this might be a close second for my favorite Tua Tagovailoa rookie card, as the color balance combined with the details really sell the Phoenix #102 Color Burst. The orange and purple complement the turqoise, and the design is really interesting. If you want a stylish card that will turn heads, try out this collectible card.

4. Donruss #302, $60

Credit: eBay

Though similar to a previous card, there are specific details that make the Donruss #302 stand out, such as the silver detailing. I think this card is perfect for the budding collector that wants a clean card to add to their collection, and it’s not that expensive.

CHECK OUT: 9 Most Expensive Rookie Cards Ever: NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL

3. Prizm #339, $60

Credit: eBay

Another fun card is the #339 Prizm that is full of holographic detailing, highlighting Tagovailoa in the middle. This Tua Tagovailoa rookie card is unique in the fact that it has a bold orange border that is a window into the field and the player. Though it is a little more expensive than the other cards on our cheaper list, it is worth the extra money for the design.

2. Select #45 Concourse, $65

Credit: eBay

Second to last on our Tua Tagovailoa rookie card list is the #45 Select Concourse card. This reminds me of Mardi Gras in the fact that there is lots of golden detailing all surrounding Tagovailoa. Though this is not my favorite card due to the excessive background detailing, I still think it is a fun card to add to your budding collection.

1. Mosaic #262, $80

Credit: eBay

Last, but certainly not least on our Tua Tagovailoa rookie card list is the #262 Mosaic piece. This holographic rainbow background really sells the card to me, and is a fun change from the stereotypical field background. I also really enjoy the action photo of Tua, and it fits the card really well. This Tua Tagovailoa rookie card could be a perfect centerpiece to your collection.

Tua Tagovailoa Cards Investment Potential

There is always potential in investing in rookie cards, especially with players that hold a lot of potential from the first moment they hit the field. This is true for Tua Tagovailoa, because even though he struggled with injuries the first two seasons, he was able to come back and is leading his team to victory after victory. Tua Tagovailoa rookie cards could become quite valuable as the years continue, so make sure you grab some of these favorites.

Alexandria is a News Editor, writer, and reader of all things literature. She graduated from the State University of... More about Alexandria Wyckoff