Are baseball cards worth money? It's a common question for anyone interested in getting into the hobby for the first time.
The answer is a resounding oneAnd, but the intrinsic value of baseball cards will vary widely depending on several factors.Who is the player on the map? What was the year of release? Does it have a car or is it a rare one-off?If you're looking for value baseball cards, you've come to the right place.
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30 Most Valuable Baseball Cards to Invest In
We have listed 30 of the mostvaluable baseball cardsto invest below, updated in mid-2022 to reflect latest sales and data.
1. 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News ($6 million)
Nearly a century old, the 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News is the most valuable baseball card to invest in. An SGC 3 rated copy sold for a staggering $6 million in June 2021, making it the most expensive sports card in the world.
It features a 19-year-old Ruth as a minor league pitcher for his hometown Baltimore Orioles, while PSA notes that there are fewer than 10 known surviving copies of the iconic card.
2. 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps ($5.2 million)
The former value record holder,Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps cardis one of the most popular collectibles of all time. More valuable than the 1951 Mantle Bowman RC, it was designed by Woody Gelman and Sy Berger on the kitchen table of Berger's apartment on Alabama Avenue in Brooklyn. Little did they know they were creating a true piece of classic Americana.
3. 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph 1/1 ($3,9 Millionen)
Think back to the intro and requirements we set up for every expensive modern map. The 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor ticks every box.
It features a GOAT of sport and is also an RC. Below is a large car, while being a Superfractor it is also a one-off. The owner can set the price, and it was last sold for $3.9 million, a record when it was auctioned in mid-2020.
4. 1909-11 Honus Wagner T206 The Jumbo Wagner ($3.3 million)
Many of the remainingT206 Honor WagnerCards have achieved low grades on the PSA scale. Only three versions have received a PSA rating of 5 or more, including the "Jumbo Wagner" next on the list. As the name suggests, it was trimmed incorrectly, virtually preserving a near-mint example within its confines. It's the version that sold for $3.3 million that could break the record again.
5. 1909-11 Ty Cobb Tobacco T-206 Ty Cobb Back ($1.1 million)
Our list of valuable baseball cards leads us toTy Cobb.Also included in the T206 set, this is the fifth card featuring the player known as "Ty Cobb Back".At first glance it appears to be a slight variation on the Red Portrait Cobb, being virtually identical on the front save for a shinier coating.However, the back is inscribed in green ink 'TY COBB, KING OF THE SMOKING TOBACCO WORLD'. PSA has only assessed 19 specimens, the highest being a single VG-EX 4.
6. 1955 Roberto Clemente Topps RC #164 ($1.1 million)
Roberto Clemente quickly makes the top ten thanks to an RC that sold for $1.1 million. It was sold at Goldin Auctions Winter 2021 auction. He is theAs the first Latino player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, his tragic death in a plane crash only added to the player's mystique.The $1.1 million charges were for a PSA-9 class, of which only 11 exist. A copy was previously sold in 2016 for $478,000.There's also a gem-quality example that sold for $432,690 in 2012. What price would it sell for today?
7. 1969 Reggie Jackson Topps RC #260 Dmitri Young Collection ($1 Million)
Another RC that makes our list of baseball cards worthwhile is the 1969Reggie JacksonTop release.It was recently sold at Heritage Auctions for $1,005,600 Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction in Dallas im Februar 2020.The $1 million card is the only example to have achieved a PSA rating of 10, while selling for just $115,242 in 2012.
8. 1952 Jackie Robinson Topps Nr. 312 ($984.000)
Jackie Robinsons1952 ToppsMap may not be RC but it is a key option co-printed with Mickey Mantle and double printedBobby Thomson.That means 11 PSA Mint 9 copies have survived to date, and the number is the only reason they haven't broken the $1 million mark yet.
It has a deep red background with Robinson smiling broadly and strewing a bat over his shoulder, and it's just as iconic as the Mantle card since it was his very first Topps release
9. 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Red Refractor Autograph /5 ($800.000 bis $1 Million)
Mike Trout is back again, this time with a number five card. The $922,000 specimen was sold at Goldin Auctions' Spring 2020 Premium Auction.One would think baseball cards of value would be older, but this release is already extremely rare while being awarded a Gem Mint 9.5 rating by Beckett. The signature received a grade of 10.
10. 1909-11 Eddie Plank T206 ($780.000)
Widely regarded as the second most popular in theT206 discontinued, Eddie Plank's card has a white border and blue background, similar to the other coveted portrait cards.There's no real explanation as to why it's one of the rarer T206 options, but it's estimated that only 75 to 100 exist.(Plank was a well-known anti-tobacco advocate and was never seen smoking.)Thanks to a $700,000 sale in 2012 that's worth about $780,000 today, it almost manages to earn a spot in the top ten baseball cards by value.
11. 1916 Babe Ruth M101-5 Sporting News Blank Back ($773,000)
Sporting News' rookie card, featuring Babe Ruth and a blank back, is another one that could sell for serious money.Only 30 versions were evaluated by PSA, with a population of three PSA-7 grades and three PSA-8 copies.Interestingly, a PSA 7 card is the one making a listing after a collector paid $717,000 in April 2016. Approximately $764,000 after inflation.For 8th grade, the Sports Market Report (SMR) has set a suggested price of $3 million.
12. 1951 Mickey Mantle Bowman RC ($772.000)
One of those rare occasions when a previous release isn't accounted for, the '51 Bowman RC is undoubtedly one of the best looking Mantle cards ever printed.The 1952 Topps card is often preferred, but that didn't stop a collector paying $750,000 to add a PSA 9 copy to his portfolio after aAuction 2018.It is the only Mint 9'51 Mantle and has a current SMR price of $1.2 million. Don't be surprised if it breaks the $1 million mark in the future.
13. 1909 Joe Jackson American Caramel No Shoes ($719,000)
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson's 1909 RC is another value to keep an eye on. There are few options with the player and it is one of the rarest cards on the list.Jackson played ten games for the Philadelphia Athletics between 1908 and 1909.There are only two PSA 8 copies of the Caramel tobacco menu, one of whichsold for $667,149in SCP's 2016 Mid Summer Classic Auction.
14. 1909 Sherry Magee T206 Error ($680,000)
This classic from the T206 set features Sherry Magee, although his name was initially misspelled as "Magic" at the bottom of the card.The bug was quickly fixed before some of the "magic" cards were released.It's unclear how many of these were produced, but graded copies are few and far between.
15. 1968 Jerry Koosman / Nolan Ryan Topps ($660.000)
We're not particularly fond of duos cards, but we'll make an exception for the 1968 Topps Mets rookies, which featured the combined talents of Jerry Koosman andNolan Ryan.The latter, of course, is the main attraction that defines the MLB All-Century Team.Milton Bradley, O-Pee-Chee and Venezuelan Topps have all released Ryan RCs, but none are quite as famous in terms of mainstream appeal.There is also a single PSA 10 approved specimen which must be considered a sound investment.
16. 1910 Joe Jackson Old Mill No Shoes ($607,000)
Shoeless Joe Jackson is back in a rare card that came out in 1910. That's typicalConsidered a slightly less popular option compared to the 1909 American Caramel, this can be explained by the uniform and the fact that it was released a year later.Fewer than 15 have been accounted for in the present, while the surrounding red fringes will always be susceptible to attrition.A VG+ 3.5 graded version was sold at Heritage Auctions' Platinum Sports Auction in February 2019 for $600,000.
17. 1909-11 Ty Cobb bat off the shoulderT206 Sweet Caporal 350($526.000)
Ty Cobb returns in another vintage release of the T206.The artwork brings Cobb to life, with his trusty bat held right off his shoulder.Sweet Caporal versions can be identified by the back noting that the "Base Ball Series" had "350 Subjects" printed in red.There are others to keep an eye on as T206 cards were issued with 16 different backs. An example of Cobb would be Piedmont, another famous brand of cigarettes at the time.
18. 1952 Willie Mays Topps (515.000 $)
A 24-time All-Star,Willie Mayswon two NL MVP Awards and was the 1954 World Series Champion.As part of the star1952 Topps-Setthat helped modernize the hobby, May's RC was released in the "semi-high" series (251-310), which was slightly rarer than those previously seen.Interestingly, it's not his official rookie (which came a year earlier), but it's his first Topps option, making it a coveted card for collectors.
19. 1915 Ty Cobb Cracker Jack (510.000 $)
As previously mentioned, all baseball card values lead to Ty Cobb. Why don't all cards from this era look this good?The 1915 edition of Ty Cobb Cracker Jack features a magnificent image of the player holding a bat against a deep red background.A trio of Mint 9 strains have made it to 2021, with the last one just beyond that$500,000 in 2019.
20. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey #53 ($350.000)
The famous 1933 Goudey set borrows heavily from Babe Ruth, featuring the symbol on four cards numbered 53, 144, 149, and 181.Of the quartet, number 53 (or Yellow Ruth) is considered the hardest to find in good condition as of 2021.This was recently confirmed at an auction in June 2021, where the sole PSA 9 example sold for a staggering $910,000.
21. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey Sport Kings #2 ($350.000)
Babe Ruth will always feature prominently when looking at the best value baseball cards.This may not be the iconic four from the 1933 Goudey baseball set, but it is the only Ruth card found in the1933 Goudey Sportkönigerelease.There are only two PSA 9 copies in the registry with an SMR price of $400,000. A sale would result in it gaining a higher position on the list.
22. 1948 Jackie Robinson Leaf RC Nr. 79 (350.000 $)
Anyone who knows the true value of baseball cards will likely recognize Jackie Robinson's 1948 Leaf RC.The only rookie card for a player who helped end 60 years of segregated Negro leagues, its historical significance is unmatched.The PSA Pop report only lists 8 PSA 9 copies, this time with oneSMR price guide set at $800,000.It has to be seen as another one to watch in the future with great potential to climb the list.
23. 1953 Mickey Mantle Topps Nr. 82 ($ 325.000)
We've already seen a '51 Mantle card and thosefamous '52 version, so it makes sense that the 1953 Topps Mantle would make its way onto the list.In many ways it's the prettiest of the trio, featuring a close-up of The Mick with plenty of detail in terms of shading and his overall likeness.Somehow there are two Gem Mint versions while 10 PSA Mint 9 copies have been rated.The last PSA 9 came out in July 2019 for $396,000. Trends suggest that it will be worth much more in the future.
24. 1955 Roberto Clemente Topps RC Nr. 164 (325.000 $)
Roberto Clemente quickly makes the top ten thanks to an RC that sold for $1.1 million. It was sold at Goldin Auctions Winter 2021 auction.As the first Latino player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, his tragic death in a plane crash only added to the player's mystique.The $1.1 million charges were for a PSA-9 class, of which only 11 exist. A copy was previously sold in 2016 for $478,000.There's also a gem-quality example that sold for $432,690 in 2012. What price would it sell for today?
25. 1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 White Border Bat Off Shoulder ($ 315.000)
Ty Cobb returns in another vintage release of the T206.The artwork brings Cobb to life, with his trusty bat held right off his shoulder.Sweet Caporal versions can be identified by the back noting that the "Base Ball Series" had "350 Subjects" printed in red.There are others to keep an eye on as T206 cards were issued with 16 different backs. An example of Cobb would be Piedmont, another popular brand of cigarettes at the time.
26. 1902-1911 Ty Cobb W600 Sporting Life Cabinets ($300.000)
The W600 Sporting Life cabinet set was issued over a period that lasted almost a decade (1902-1911).Mounted on heavy card stock, these oversized cards were initially offered as rewards from a sponsor, which can sometimes be found on the back.The Cobb chart making a list was published in 1907 and happened to be his rookie year.It shares the same pose as the famous T206 portrait cards and a PSA 2 copy that sold for $300,000 as part of Robert Edward Auctions.2020 springCollection.
27. 1932 Babe Ruth U.S. Caramel #32 ($300.000)
Another valuable baseball card featuring the Bambino, the 1932 US Caramel features an image of the player as most fans remember him best.Against a solid red background is his name (George "Babe" Ruth) at the top.and has a Hall of Fame caliber roster that includes boxers and golfers.Two PSA-9 grades are the best, one of which sold for $432,000 after a 2019 listing at Heritage Auctions.
28. 1933 Lou Gehrig Goudey Nr. 160 (300.000 $)
Lou Gehrigspent his entire career with the New York Yankees and won everything imaginable in his 17 seasons with the franchise.The1933 Goudey-Sethas two Gehrig cards numbered #92 and #160. Both are considered his RC by many collectors and share the same design on the front.In this list, we'll focus on the latter since the only PSA-9 rated copy is sold for onea staggering $576,000in 2019.
29. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey #181 ($300.000)
The Sultan of Swat is at it again1933 GoudeyCollection.The #181 features an over-the-shoulder image of the player with the most detailed illustration of Ruth in the set.It moved up the list after a PSA 9 copy was recently sold at Memory Lane, Inc.'s Newman auction in June 2021, eventually fetching $430,000.There are five more, plus a gem quality copy.
30. 1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 White Border Green Portrait ($ 300.000)
Many final cards to make a list are somewhat interchangeable as others might take their place in the long run.The 30th position is occupied for the time being by another Ty Cobb T206 card, better known as "Green Portrait".The name is easy to understand as it is aportraitThe player's shot with a deepGreenBackground.The only NM-MT 8 Graded Card has oneSMRPrice of $350,000.
The Most Valuable Baseball Cards for Investing in Summary
If you couldn't tell, the value of Topps' best baseball cards has skyrocketed over the past two decades.Even the SMR on baseball cards is often low compared to the final retail price.If you look at the high qualities, there are not enough specimens and the demand far exceeds the supply.
With a few notable exceptions, most charts to make a list were released before many of us were born.It shows that when you're looking for valuable baseball cards, it's 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 add to his legacy.We recommend sticking with graded versions, especially given the number of fake sellers who will try to impersonate the real deal.You'll have a better idea of the overall value and potential ROI that may be seen in the future.
What baseball cards will be worth money in the future? ›
These are the five sports cards that deserve a spot in your investment portfolio: 2019 Lionel Messi Topps Living Champions League Card. 2021 Bowman Draft Marcelo Mayer Card. 2018 Juan Soto Topps Update Baseball Card.What are the best baseball cards to buy in 2022? ›
- 2022 Bowman Baseball. Bowman is a big name when it comes to baseball cards, and their 2022 collection is in high demand. ...
- 2022 Topps Heritage. ...
- 2022 Topps Inception. ...
- 2022 Bowman First Edition. ...
- 2022 Topps Gypsy Queen. ...
- 2022 Topps Series 1. ...
- 2022 Topps Opening Day.
- 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 1 Dead Centered Yankees HOF ICONIC. ...
- 2022 Topps Chrome JULIO RODRIGUEZ BLUE Refractor Auto 138/150 Rookie RC PSA 9. ...
- 2022 Bowman Chrome #CDAJW JORDAN WALKER 1st Bowman Rookie Auto PSA 10 Gem Mint.
- Mickey Mantle cards. Chart tracking price of assets similar to SGC 7 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle card. ...
- Honus Wagner cards. ...
- Luka Dončić rookie cards. ...
- Mike Trout cards. ...
- Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Best Overall: Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps Rookie Card.
- Best Rookie Card: Luka Doncic.
- Best NFL Card: Tom Brady Optic Base.
- Best Classic Movie Cards: Star Wars.
- Best Comic Cards: Pokemon.
The most valuable brand of baseball card can vary depending on the specific card, however Topps is generally the most constantly valuable baseball card brand. Topps is considered the leader of the industry, and rookie cards produced by Topps are often very highly sought after.What time of year is best to buy baseball cards? ›
For collectors and investors alike, the best times to buy baseball cards are during the offseason and Spring Training.What baseball cards are sold for millions? ›
An expert explains. U.S. (NEXSTAR) – A mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball card recently sold for $12.6 million, becoming the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia on record. It broke the previous record set in early August during a private sale when a Honus Wagner card went for $7.25 million.How to find rare baseball cards? ›
Some of the most common places to find rare baseball cards online are eBay, Craigslist, individual baseball card sites, and so on.What are the rarest Ken Griffey Jr cards? ›
rookie card is the most valuable. The 1989 Topps Heads Up Ken Griffey Jr. #5 Test is a valuable collectible. The 1989 Upper Deck #1 Star Rookie card is the most highly sought after.
What is the top selling trading card? ›
1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 ($12,600,000) Pictured above is the first trading card to sell for eight figures. Mickey Mantle's 1952 Topps rookie card has cemented itself as a pivotal piece of Americana.What are the most desired sports cards? ›
1961-62 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain BVG 8: Sold in April 2022 on eBay for $23,601. 1984-85 1984 Star Michael Jordan Rookie Card SCD 8.5: Sold in March 2022 on eBay for $20,200.99. 2016-17 Panini Impeccable State 81 Kobe Bryant HOF PSA 8 (Autographed): Sold in May 2022 on eBay for $20,100.Which sports cards hold the most value? ›
This is a list of the highest known prices paid for sports cards. The current record price is the US$12.6 million paid for a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card (Topps; #311) on August 28, 2022, breaking all previous records.Is it a good time to sell sports cards? ›
This is why selling and buying sports cards is challenging but also fun. For example, the best time to sell NFL football cards is during the months of September through January the next year. Then, best time to sell your MLB cards would be starting with April and up to October.Where is the best place to sell baseball cards? ›
eBay is one of the best places to sell baseball cards, boasting a massive collection of listings from thousands of sellers. While known for allowing people from around the world the opportunity to buy collectibles from other people around the world, eBay also provides local pickup options.Will 90s baseball cards be worth anything? ›
If you're looking to sell your late-80s and early-90s cards, you're not alone. The cards are worthless because nobody's buying. Don't blame the card shop owner for not wanting them. They won't be able to sell them, so if they take them off your hands, they're merely adding to a potential fire hazard.Do baseball cards go up in value over time? ›
Modern cards can go up in value depending on the career of the player. Vintage cards can have good value because you already know about the player's success. There are different grading companies, and who graded the card can affect the value.Are baseball cards still increasing in value? ›
The price of the Mantle card suggests the market for baseball cards is quite healthy and will likely remain so well into the future. "The old vintage items are going to continue to increase in price and value and some of the new superstars that are going to come up in value,” said Gonzales.Is it smart to invest in baseball cards? ›
Are sports cards a good investment? Sports cards can be a good investment, but the majority of your investments should be in traditional vehicles like the stock market. Investing in sports cards can be a way to monetize your hobby.Are Mark McGwire cards worth anything? ›
But in terms of modern cards it was way up there alongside the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. McGwire was one of the most popular players playing for one of the most powerful teams in baseball. They aren't worth as much as they used to be, but in top condition they can still go for hundreds of dollars.
Which Ken Griffey Jr cards are worth money? ›
See which cards are in high demand and learn how you can add a Griffey card to your collection.
- 1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. ...
- 1989 Topps Heads Up Ken Griffey Jr. ...
- 1989 Upper Deck #1 Star Rookie card.
You can get card sleeves at different levels of thickness to customize your protection. For cards that are extremely valuable, get the thickest sleeves possible for maximum durability. Thinner sleeves may be better for less valuable cards or cards that aren't handled that much.Should I throw away baseball cards? ›
One of the mistakes that card collectors make when they retire is that they throw away their old cards. Instead of doing this, you and other collectors can benefit if you decide to sell baseball cards rather than throw them away.Is it a good time to sell baseball cards? ›
This is why selling and buying sports cards is challenging but also fun. For example, the best time to sell NFL football cards is during the months of September through January the next year. Then, best time to sell your MLB cards would be starting with April and up to October.Do baseball cards lose value over time? ›
During periods of high inflation, sports cards have either held their value or offered an annual growth rate as high as 95%. Over the last 5 years, sports cards have increased in value by 218%, outperforming nearly every other asset aside from cryptocurrency.How hard is it to sell baseball cards? ›
Another major downside is that it can be very difficult to find a dealer or shop owner that you trust. Some will offer around 50-60% of market value for your cards but others will aim for much lower. I've heard countless stories of people getting ripped off.What are the most profitable trading cards? ›
|1. Mickey Mantle||1952 Topps SGC 9.5||$12.6 million|
|2. Honus Wagner||T206 SGC 2||$7.25 million|
|3. Honus Wagner||T206 SGC 3||$6.6 million|
|T4. Mickey Mantle||1952 Topps PSA 9||$5.2 million|