Is There Still A Market For Modern Cards
There still is a market today for baseball cards, but it is nowhere near the level it was in the 80s and 90s. Before the 90s, Topps was the only official supplier of baseball cards, so the value per card was much. After the 90s, Bleacher, Donruss, Fleer, and other brands began producing collectible cards, so the value per card began diminishing.
Worth A Fortune: Roy Halladay 1997 Bowman
The untimely passing of a famous person can sometimes send memorabilia skyrocketing in value. Roy Halladay’s story is no different. Although his non autographed rookie Bowman card is worth $80 in mint condition, his autographed Bowman from the same year is currently worth $750. Although Halladay was a great pitcher, it’s doubtful that his card would be worth this much if he were still with us today. If you happen to own this one, you will probably do very well if you ever trade it in.
How Much Money To Expect When Selling Your Baseball Card Collection
When the time for collectors, or relatives of collectors, to sell a vintage card collection, most have no idea of its true value or how much money they should expect to receive. Some sellers who inherited collections and are not familiar with the hobby end up being taken advantage of by dealers trying to buy their cards at the lowest possible price, while others expect unrealistic returns for their collections. Hopefully, this article can help clear up some of the confusion and make you a more knowledgeable seller.
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Surprisingly Cheap: 1985 Mark Mcgwire Topps
Placing Mark McGwire’s 1985 Topps card in this category may seem a little unfair considering its current $650 price tag. However, regardless of what you might think of his legacy, it’s surprising that this particular card isn’t worth a little more. Although this one isn’t worth as much as it might have been at the height of his career, this is one card that might be worth holding onto if you have it. If popular opinion changes in the future, this card could shoot up in value again.
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If you’re looking to sell your collection, this resource guide will provide everything you need to know, ranging from organizing your cards, identifying your cards, whether or not to get your cards graded and the best places to sell your cards.
Thus, data, has led to a hobby with much less friction and more accuracy. Data has made it easier for collectors to purchase or sell cards online or in person, with a lot less variability in pricing as compared to years past.
This lower friction and ease of doing business has also led to a significant increase in prices for cards.
Below we can see that an index of PWCC cards has massively outperformed the S& P 500 over the past several years.
High demand vintage cards and newer cards with the fancy 1/1 designations and/or limited supply have been very hot collectibles.
PWCC chart showing returns of its 500 Index versus the S& P 500
This uniformity of the hobby via better data has led to a more structured marketplace. This has helped comfort collectors in knowing that they might have an option to sell a recently acquired card at a price close to what they paid.
This has also led to some taking on card purchases they might not have a decade ago, due to the reliability on the system itself.
This has given the hobby a bit of a ‘stock marketplace’ sort of feel, which for good or for bad, has likely led to the increase in card values in recent years.
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Most Valuable Baseball Cards To Invest In Summary
If you couldnt tell, the value of the g reatest Topps Baseball Cards has increased rapidly over the past two decades.
Many times, even the SMR value on baseball cards is low compared to the final sale price.
There just arent enough copies when looking at high grades, and demand far exceeds supply.
Aside from a couple of notable exceptions, the majority of the cards to make the list were released before many of us were born.
It goes to show, if youre looking for baseball cards with value, its probably best to stick with GOATs or true legends of the sport like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.
However, Trout is still going strong, and could yet add to his legacy.
Wed advise sticking with graded versions, especially given the number of fakes that sellers will attempt to pass off as the real deal.
Youll have a better idea of the overall value, as well as the potential ROI that could be seen in the future.
What Baseball Cards Do You Have
This is the key issue, of course. Just to show how crazy the valuations can be, here are five of the most valuable baseball cards. Just check out these numbers, put together in 2018 by Mental Floss. All these numbers come from sales in 2016.
- 1909-1911 American Tobacco Company Honus Wagner $3.12 million
- 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle $1.3 million
- 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth $717,000
- 1909 American Caramel Shoeless Joe Jackson $667,149
- 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman $612,359
Now, you dont have the Wagner card because there are less than 60 in the world . But, here are some values of cards based on this report from a decade ago that shows the estimated values of some cards.
- 1951 Bowman Yogi Berra $400
- 1954 Topps Ted Williams $800
- 1966 Topps Willie Mays $250
- 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly $25
- 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. $40
Those were picked more or less at random in terms of names, but the values are indicative of what cards go for from different eras. You probably dont have a fortune but you may have a pretty good stack of cash depending on how many cards you own.
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Mickey Mantle Topps #82
Weve already seen a 51 Mantle card, and the famous 52 version, so it makes sense that the 1953 Topps Mantle manages to find its way onto the list.
In many ways, its the best looking of the trio, with a close-up image of The Mick with lots of detail in terms of the shading and his overall likeness.
Somehow there are two gem mint versions, while 10 PSA Mint 9 copies have been graded.
The last PSA 9 to hit the market went for $396,000 in July 2019. Trends would suggest that itll be worth far more in the future.
Quickly Examine The Condition Of The Cards
When identifying the most valuable sports cards, you might find that some of the cards aren’t in good shape. If that’s the case, you can probably skip right past the rest of these steps. Vintage cards can be held to a lower standard, but if you’re seeing a lot of creases, bent corners and the like, you’re not looking at something worth much money. Even the most desirable cards of the hottest players are no good if they’re in poor condition.
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What Is The Best Way To Sell A Sports Card Collection
eBay is the easiest place to sell your cards, but unfortunately there are fees involved. eBay allows you list 50 items for free per month, but there is a 10% charge on the final value for selling your baseball cards. In addition, there is cut that you have to pay PayPal along with any shipping costs that aren’t covered by the buyer. The fees can add up quickly.
There are many active Facebook groups that allow for selling and trading cards. If you search for a particular sport and era, you’ll likely find a big group engaging in card trading. Selling in Facebook groups can be done with no fees involved, but you need to make sure that you are dealing with an honest buyer/seller. Most groups will vouch for anyone in question, and a quick search of a person’s name in the group can provide some further information into their past posts/dealings.
I’ve never done it but some collectors will sell cards at a Pawn Shop. I’d probably advise against this unless you’re in a really desperate situation.
Might sound crazy, but vintage baseball cards have outperformed the S& P 500 over the past 30+ Years. If you have a high quality collection and aren’t in need of immediate cash, it might be worth considering!
Fortune: Nolan Ryan 1993 #211 Pacific
Nolan Ryan, also known as “The Ryan Express,” is a former MLB pitcher who pitched for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. Ryan is also the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven .
Despite the fact Ryan pitched seven no-hitters in his career, Ryan was never the winning pitcher of a perfect game nor ever won the Cy Young for his efforts on the mound.
Still, Ryan’s 1991 #211 Pacific card is worth $1,150 plus $20 shipping and handling in PSA 9 condition today.
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Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph 1/1
Think back to the intro, and the prerequisites we laid out for any expensive modern card.
The 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor just so happens to tick every box.
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It features a GOAT of the sport, and its also an RC. Theres a large auto at the bottom, while as a Superfractor, its also a one-of-one.
The owner gets to set the price, and it last sold for $3.9m, which was a record at the time when it was auctioned midway through 2020.
Prices Depend On Condition
The hardest part about placing a value on a sports card, especially older ones, is determining a card’s condition, or grade. Since most cards were originally bought and handled by kids, a very low percentage of the cards remain in high-quality condition. Most of the cards from my childhood collection would be graded FAIR, GOOD, or VERY GOOD at best, which is only 1.5, 2, and 3 on the 10-point grading scale! Sports cards in these conditions typically sell for 5% to 25% of the same card in pristine condition.
There are dozens of minor details that go into evaluating the condition of vintage sports cards. Grading takes years to perfect, but learn more by checking out this page: Deans Cards Guide to Grading Vintage Baseball Cards.
Basing your expectations on the prices of similar sports cards listed online is tricky due to varying grading standards among collectors. Most cards listed on eBay are “graded” by the seller, and the experience of eBay sellers ranges widely from amateur to expert. We find that cards listed on eBay are often over graded by two or three grades! Even Professionally graded cards vary greatlyfrom card-to-card based on when they were graded and who submitted them for grading.
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What Makes A Baseball Card Valuable
Typically speaking, old baseball cards are worth more money than new cards. The primary reason old baseball cards are more valuable is the limited quantity that the 1950s and 1960s produced. Ways that a baseball card holds more value include sharp edges, no discoloration, picture in the center, and more.
Position In Set Sequence
As odd as it seems, a baseball card value can be influenced by its position in the set sequence, as that would determine its print and handling process.
A card that is first in a set would be located in the top left corner of the sheet, vulnerable to damages such as wear when the sheet is stacked.
A perfect example of this is the 1953 Topps #1 Andy Pafko card, which is rare to find in mint condition, thus increasing its value.
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Baseball Cards Of Hall Of Famers
Back in the early-to-mid 1980s before speculation ran rampant in the hobby, we were most interested in making long-term investments.
In the vernacular of the day, that meant buying into the cards of players who we thought would be causing some sort of stir, preferably over and over, for decades to come.
That kind of long-lived popularity generally only comes through one route enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And, while even the cards of Cooperstown denizens have felt the strain of massive supply over the last 30 years, the truth is there is always some sort of market for HOF cardboard.
While its true there are some downright bargains for Big Jims early-career issues, youll also find mass-produced specimens like 1984 Topps and 1986 Donruss bringing a buck or more on occasion.
Worth A Fortune: Roger Clemens 1984 Fleer
Roger Clemens is another steroid era player with a baffling rookie card price tag. However, somehow his card seems to actually be worth a lot more than many of his other counterparts.
This card currently has a $550 price tag despite public opinion of his legacy.
If Roger Clemens ever manages to defy the odds and get into the Hall Of Fame, this card’s value could potentially be one of the most valuable among players of his era. The current pricing on this one makes it a good card to hold onto if you own it.
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Where Can You Sell Baseball Cards
The biggest part of learning how to make money selling baseball cards is learning the best places and times to sell different types of cards.
There are some basic rules of thumb that make a huge difference on whether you lose money, make money, or just break even as you learn the ropes when selling off your baseball collection.
And mastering this knowledge is critical for your success!
Once you have these down you can move to advanced strategies. Seeing what options are available to you, what opportunities.
But even understanding the basics of how card collecting works will make a huge difference.
So now you have the cards. Where should you sell them?
Surprisingly Cheap: Sammy Sosa 1990 Leaf
Sammy Sosa is yet another example of how a tarnished legacy has affected the baseball card industry. He might have tallied some outstanding numbers, but baseball purists are still shying away from placing significant value on his cards. Despite being printed by Leaf, this particular card is only worth $20. Much like some of the other players from his era on this list, don’t give up hope if you happen to own this one. If attitudes about Sosa’s legacy ever change, this one could go for a lot of money in the future.
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Why Invest In Baseball Cards
This answer will vary depending on what your goals are.
For me, first and foremost, collecting baseball cards is a hobby and it’s a lot of fun. Some of my best memories as a kid are going to the local card shop with my dad and brother, frequently coming home with packs to open and bonding over finding some of our favorite players. It’s important to remember that while some cards can be extremely valuable, at the end of the day, the goal should be to have fun, make memories and enjoy your collection.
For others, it’s a business. Whether you want to open up your own local card shop, buy and sell cards on eBay, or be one of those people who wait on line overnight at Target and Walmart hoping to score retail boxes to flip for a profit, with the proper amount of education and knowledge, you can make a lot of money in this space.
However, I can not stress enough how important it is to be educated BEFORE buying or selling anything. If you attempt to enter the hobby without understanding which cards and products sell, why they sell, and how to sell them, you are almost guaranteed to lose money.
The best advice I can give on how to get educated is to read a lot of articles , follow all of the big sports cards accounts on social media, consume their content daily, and watch the big card breaking pages Instagram live streams. When you are in the streams, ask questions and interact with people. Making friends and connections is key.
Graded Versus Ungraded Cards
A graded card is a baseball card that has been judged by a professional grader on the condition and authenticity. Collectors tend to pay more for graded cards versus ungraded cards, as it indicates that the card being sold is authentic.
Cards are scored on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being poor and 10 being almost perfect. Baseball cards that are ungraded make it more difficult for buyers and sellers to agree on a fair price based on the supposed condition.
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