Back in the early 1900s, baseball cards and tobacco were sold together to baseball fans. What initially began as a fun collectors’ item quickly grew into a lucrative hobby for fans to buy and sell. Some cards today are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, while some are worth millions. Here is the breakdown of what makes a baseball card valuable, how to learn about the value, if baseball cards are still worth anything today, and how to sell them!
When Did Baseball Cards Begin in the United States?
During the early 1900s, tobacco companies began selling baseball cards with their products to baseball fans. In 1930, trading cards began adding bubble gum to attract younger fans by having something sweet to chew. In 1951, Topps, a New York-based Company, began creating baseball cards for fans to collect. Topps cards continue to hold some of the most valuable trading cards in practice today. The popularity of trading sports cards took off during the 1970s and 1980s with MLB rookie cards, and continue to hold some of the most valuable cards in worth today.
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.
What Brand of Baseball Cards Has the Most Value?
The most valuable and rarest MLB card is the Honus Wagner card. The Honus Wagner card is a precious card due to the limited number of prints around today. His card was initially part of a cigarette campaign, but Honus did not smoke himself, so he asked for his card to be taken out of the cards’ roster. With the request to remove Honus from production, there was a significant decrease in print runs with his name. The value of a Honus Wagner card is worth millions today, so anyone who partakes in card collecting should look to see if that card is in their pile.
Other valuable trading cards include Willie Mays, the Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr rookie card, Mickey Mantle Card, Babe Ruth, and Pete Rose. Nolan Ryan, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Roberto Clemente are worth thousands of dollars in addition to those playing cards. Most recently, Mike Trout’s Bowman Chrome Rookie Card is on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What Baseball Cards from the ’80s and ’90s is Worth Money?
Individual baseball cards from the 80’s and 90’s hold tremendous memorabilia value if you are considering selling. Most cards gain benefit for a rookie card when that player later becomes part of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Below are some of the most valuable cards from the ’80s and ’90s.
- 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly
- 1984 Fleer Update Roger Clemons
- 1985 Topps Mark McGwire
- 1986 Topps Barry Bonds
- 1989 Fleer Randy Johnson
- 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr
- 1990 Leaf Sammy Sosa
- 1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera
- 1993 Bowman Derek Jeter
Is There Still a Market for Baseball 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.
Will Baseball Cards Go up In Value?
Just like judging the stock market for future value, baseball cards are difficult to predict when the next boom in interest occurs. Major League Baseball cards in the late ’70s to ’80s had many collectors, buyers, and savers entering the trading card gig. You would find plenty of conventions during this time to sell your merchandise to others, which was considered the golden era of baseball card trading.
Now in 2020, there are fewer people actively collecting sports cards for pure enjoyment. While online values like eBay and others help connect sellers and buyers, gone are the old days of conventions and trading in person. However, online trading does allow more savvy customers to find helpful price guides online when evaluating purchasing cards, so the entry to get into selling and buying cards is more accessible to people.
How to Determine Your Vintage Card Value?
Are you interested in learning how baseball cards are graded? The grading system by PSA, SGC, and Beckett can help you understand a card’s value and card prices if you want to sell. Most cards with the most value have sharp edges, backs being centered, and no wear and tear. Even a little bit of fade on a card in the corners will reduce your baseball card value. If you are curious about grading companies and how they determine your worth, you can watch this video below.
Can You Make Money Selling Your Major League Baseball Card Collection?
You can make money selling baseball cards in a few different ways. One way to make money is to buy baseball cards in bulk, try and sell individual cards on a site like eBay, Craigslist, or go into a card shop/card show to negotiate a price. The idea behind this practice is to buy a large number of cards at a low value to strike rich on top cards, hopefully. Cards that always have high margins include Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, All-Star cards, and Topps Mickey Mantle card. Any other card that is a Hall of Famer will have a high price margin vs. a player who does not make the hall.
Another way to make serious money by selling cards is to have the trading cards in mint condition. That means that as a seller, you protect your card collection in a protectable sleeve, and don’t allow any bends, rips, or tears. Keeping cards in a protective case can reduce any discoloring on cards so that the baseball card value will be at the highest level.
Where Can I Sell my Major League Baseball Card Collection?
If you are looking to sell off your baseball card collection, you have a few options. The first option is to visit a card shop if you can find one in your area and sell it directly. The local owners of these card shops will be interested in checking your card collection and seeing what is of value for purchasing. Second, you can go through a site like BaseballCardBuyer.com that offers free quotes if you are looking to sell your cards. Finally, fans can use a platform like eBay or Craigslist for auctioning specific cards to individuals interested in purchasing the cards.
Many people ask are baseball cards worth anything anymore today? While the craze of the ’70s and ’80s is no longer here, some baseball cards are worth a fortune. Trading cards in mint condition and have a hall of fame player can be worth a lot of money today. Check the video above on how baseball cards are graded for more details. Especially if you have the legendary baseball card, Honus Wagner, you could make millions of dollars off that sale.