Australian rules football card

Australian rules football card
1906 Dungey Ralph Sweet Nell cigarette card featuring Port Adelaide player Sinclair Dickson
Other namesFooty card
TypeTrading card
CompanySelect Australia
Team Coach
FeaturesAustralian rules football

An Australian rules football card (colloquially referred to as a Footy card) is a type of trading card relating to Australian rules football, usually printed on cardboard, silk, or plastic. These cards feature one or more Australian rules football players. Cards are almost exclusively found in Australia as no top-level leagues are present outside the country. Prices for Australian rules football cards can be very high. This is illustrated for both vintage and modern cards such as an 1894 American Tobacco Company card featuring Essendon player Will Crebbin which sold for $10,110 in 2018 and a 2004 Select AFL Conquest Triple Brownlow Medallist signature card featuring Nathan Buckley, Adam Goodes and Mark Ricciuto which was valued at $3,000 in 2018.[1][2]

History of Australian rules football cards


The first Australian rules football cards were produced in conjunction with Goodwin & Co's Old Judge Cigarettes in the late 1880s.[3] Early Australian rules football cards are distinguished from Carte de visite portrait photograph cards as the former were for mass commercial dissemination whilst the latter were often for personal use.[4] The Goodwin & Co's Old Judge set included Australian rules footballers from Victoria and South Australia.[5] The Old Judge cards are hard to find due to the photographs on the cards fading substantially over time.[6]

Another set from this period was produced by the American Tobacco Company 'celebrities' from 1894.[1] The celebrities set included famous Australians.[1] An original copy of a card from this set featured Essendon player Bill Crebbin which sold for $10,110 in 2018.[1]


Other companies that issued earlier football cards were W.D. & H.O. Wills in 1905,[7] and Sniders & Abrahams (featuring scenes of matches in 1908 and then releasing other sets with portraits of football players in the 1910s, all in full colour).

W.D. & H.O. Wills also released illustrated sets displaying clubs flags and colours (1908 and 1913) through the Capstan brand.


In the 1920s one of the most distinctive sets was the 1922 McIntyre Bros cards that featured a tartan design.[8]


In the 1930s, the Australian division of British Godfrey Phillips Co. released a set of football cards. By the same time, Hoadleys, a local confectionery company, released a set of illustrated cards. Another confectionery company, Clarke-Ellis, also released its own set of cards.[9]

Other companies that launched cards sets in the 1930s were Pals Periodical, Plaistowe & Co., Carreras (two illustrated sets in 1933, the first of them with footballers caricatures by Bob Miram), Giant Licorice Cigarettes, MacRobertson's and W.D. & H.O. Wills, among others.[9]


During this period it was common for Australian rules football cards to be sold with confectionary, specifically bubble gum. The most popular set of Australian rules football cards is usually considered to be the 1963 Scanlens card set.[8] The most valuable card from the 1963 Scanlens set is that of Graham "Polly" Farmer due to its rarity caused by a printing defect seeing many of that card discarded at production.[10] A 1963 Scanlens Graham "Polly" Farmer card has been recorded selling for $7,200 on eBay.[11]

It is not uncommon for single Scanlens cards to sell for more than $1,000.[12]

A South Australian set produced by AMSCOL featured die-cut cards of SANFL players under the lids of the company's large ice cream tins. Due to poor promotion, many people never knew that the cards were included and most were thrown away with the packaging.[6]


Beginning in the 1990s, packets of Australian rules football cards started to include special inserts such as signature cards. In 1991, the Stimorol set was the last issue of Australian rules football cards to come with chewing gum.[13]

In 1994, Select issued a set called Cazaly Classics, after Roy Cazaly, that focused on spectacular marks.[8]

To coincide with the 100th season of the VFL/AFL competition, Select created a Hall of Fame set which is credited with causing a boom in the collecting of Australian rules football cards.[8]

In 2019, a premium set of Select cards featured an insert card featuring signatures from David Parkin, Leigh Matthews, Kevin Sheedy, and Ron Barassi, all four-time VFL/AFL premiership coaches.[14] This card has been valued at $10,000.[14]

During 2020, "box breaks" or "group breaks" exploded in popularity for Australian rules football cards, often involving people online buying a 1/18th share of a box, usually aligned to an AFL club.[15]

As a result of better awareness of the hobby due to social media, there has been an increase in the popularity of Australian rules football cards.[16][17]

Buying cards online has negatively impacted physical card stores.[18]


Licenced Producers of Cards

  • Select Australia: The present oldest producer of Australian rules football (AFL) collector cards.[19]
  • AFL Team Coach: AFL Team Coach cards are part of an annual set with numbers allocated to each card for games. They are not a collector card. These cards are often targeted specifically to kids.[20]


Record public sales

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (November 2020)
Date Price (AUD) Card Ref
1 2022, February 2 $50,000 2021, Select Supremacy 1000+ Goalkicker Quad Signature
(Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall, Doug Wade, Gary Ablett).
2 2018, April 17 $10,110 1894, American Tobacco Company, Bill Crebbin, Essendon. [22][1]
3 2021, August 22 $9,500 2019, Select Supremacy Quad Coach Signature
(David Parkin, Ron Barassi, Leigh Matthews, Kevin Sheedy).
4 2014, June 12 $7,200 1963, Scanlens Gum, Graham Farmer, Geelong. [24]


Australian rules football cards
  • Clover
  • Fred Phillips
    Fred Phillips
  • George Collard
    George Collard
  • Horrie Clover
    Horrie Clover
  • Horrie Clover
    Horrie Clover
  • R. Harris
    R. Harris
  • Ron Cooper
    Ron Cooper
  • Bill Busbridge
    Bill Busbridge


  1. ^ a b c d e f Milne, Rick (2018). Rick's Rarity (Round 8): Will Crebbin. Melbourne: AFL Record. p. 70.
  2. ^ Randall, Michael (20 August 2018). "Gary Ablett Snr and Jr team up with signature trading card as collecting experiences renaissance". Herald Sun.
  3. ^ "Is this football's oldest footy card? -". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Footy card mystery solved?". 22 August 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  5. ^ Green, Damien (28 March 2018). "Goodwin & Co (Old Judge Cigarettes) Celebrity Series".
  6. ^ a b "Footy List: Rare collector cards". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  7. ^ "The History of Football Cigarette Cards". by John Simkin, on Spartacus Educational, September 1997
  8. ^ a b c d "Footy Cards: Flashbacks". 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b "List of Australian football cards manufacturers, 1931–940".
  10. ^ "Graham 'Polly' Farmer's football treasures to go to auction". 4 July 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Collecting cards". ManSpace Magazine. 12 February 2020. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Are you sitting on a footy card fortune?". 24 June 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Footy Cards: Flashbacks". 2 May 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  14. ^ a b Randall, Michael (18 September 2019). "David Parkin, Leigh Matthews, Kevin Sheedy, Ron Barassi feature on high priced AFL trading card". Herald Sun.
  15. ^ Bingotheme. "Group Breaks - Are you Ready to Join the Revolution?". Select Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  16. ^ "'Gas in it yet': Trading cards hot again as '90s kids return to the game". 20 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Toys and collecting items like footy cards are doing a roaring trade during COVID-19 | The Courier | Ballarat, VIC". 24 June 2020.
  18. ^ Gliddon, Greg (25 June 2020). "Everything old is new again as big kids spend up on toys and collecting". The Courier. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Select Cards – Select Australia".
  20. ^ "TeamCoach - AFL Trading Card games where you are the coach".
  21. ^ "Footy card mania hits Australia as AFL card fetches record price". Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  22. ^ "AFL Football Card sells for $A10,110 on eBay. - Postage Stamp Chat Board & Stamp Forum". Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  23. ^ Footy Card Guide (24 August 2021). "2019 Select Supremacy Quad Coach Signature". Instagram. Archived from the original on 24 December 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Graham 'Polly' Farmer '63 Scanlens sells for whopping $7,200 - Hobby Talk". Gimko Forum. Retrieved 2 November 2020.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Australian rules football cards.


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