10 of the Most Valuable Baseball Cards in the World
If baseball is the national pastime of the United States, then baseball card collecting is a close second. Closets, crawl spaces, and attics all around the country are crammed with baseball cards from every era, from the days of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams to the present day of Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols, and everything in between. However, not all of them will be able to help you pay off your school loans or get you into a new home. Baseball card prices are determined by a variety of criteria, including age, condition, rarity, and the current trends in the collector market.
1. HONUS WAGNER, 1909-1911 ATC T206 // $3.12 MILLION
Those familiar with baseball cards will not be surprised to learn that thisHonus Wagner card sold for a whopping $3.12 million in 2016, breaking the previous record of $2.8 million set in 2007. The value of the card, which is often regarded as the “Holy Grail” of baseball memorabilia, is inextricably linked to the narrative behind it. For a while, it was only available via the American Tobacco Company, and it was included in the packaging of the company’s cigarettes. However, for reasons that are still unclear, Wagner forced the firm to take the card from the market, resulting in just 25 to 200 cards ever being produced—and, more than a century later, the card’s rarity has elevated it to the status of a legendary sports collectable.
2. MICKEY MANTLE, 1952 TOPPS // $1.13 MILLION
Mickey Mantle is the latest member of the more-than-a-million-dollar card club, having joined Wagner earlier this year. More precisely, it was his 1952 Topps Major League Baseball card that sold for $1.13 million at auction in 2016; the card was first issued in 1952. A stunning 8.5 out of 10 from the PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), which grades the condition of a card, makes it one of the most visually appealing Mantle cards available. Even versions with lower ratings, however, have sold for large sums, with grades 6 and 7 often fetching more than $100,000 on the open market.
Its pre-auction estimate is in the neighborhood of $3.5 million or more.
3. BABE RUTH, 1916 SPORTING NEWS // $717,000
An auction of Babe Ruth’s Sporting News card from 1916 (during his pre-Yankee days) brought in $717,000 at the end of 2016. However, it was far from the only auction in which this card of a baby Bambino was offered for sale. In 2017, a card with the same PSA grade as this one sold for around $550,000. Just another example of how selling at the right moment and finding the right buyer can create a six-figure difference in a seller’s net proceeds.
4. PETE ROSE/PEDRO GONZALEZ/KEN MCMULLEN/AL WEIS, 1963 TOPPS // $717,000
So, how did a card like this end up fetching $717,500 at auction in the first place? Despite the fact that it is not quite as ancient as a Ruth card, it sold for roughly the same amount of money. For starters, it contains Pete Rose, and anything that features “The Hit King” is bound to generate some curiosity. Another reason is that it was rated a perfect 10 by the PSA, which is extremely unusual for a card of this age and is a testament to its quality.
It’s the only copy of this exact card ever to receive that rating, which is significant for collectors of the sport. This one, however, will not sell for nearly as much in any other condition, since a 9 grade may only bring roughly $75,000 at an auction.
5. “SHOELESS” JOE JACKSON, 1909 AMERICAN CARAMEL // $667,149
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson was the most well-known baseball figure to be associated with the infamous Black Sox Scandal, but it hasn’t diminished his value on the collectibles market in the least. When a PSA grade 8 copy of what is assumed to be Jackson’s rookie card was auctioned in 2016, the winning bidder received $667,149. A lower graded version of the identical card sold for $86,975 in 2008, demonstrating that the quality of a card may make all the difference.
6. NOLAN RYAN/JERRY KOOSMAN, 1968 TOPPS // $612,359
This Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman combination item, like the Rose rookie card, was scored a perfect 10 and brought in $612,359 at auction, which was far more than it would have if it had been sold separately. The card is the only one to get a perfect score out of the 8000 Ryan/Koosman rookie cards that have been submitted, making it the most valuable. And it was precisely because of its flawless state that it was able to attract such a high price—if you were to grade the identical card at a 9, for example, its worth would drop to roughly $20,000 to $30,000.
7. BABE RUTH, 1914 BALTIMORE NEWS // $575,000
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Babe made it into this list more than one time. This time around, the Sultan of Swat is depicted as a minor league pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, long before his talent with the home run ball was understood by the public. An ungraded PSA 2 copy of the card was auctioned off by Robert Edwards Auctions in 2012 for a whopping $575,000 dollars. And if you’re looking for a rare card, go no further: According to popular consensus, just around ten of these creatures are now in existence.
8. WILLIE MAYS, 1952 TOPPS // $478,000
In 2016, Heritage Auctions sponsored a Sports Collectibles Auction that sold over $11 million in sports memorabilia over the course of three days. The single most valued item sold was a Willie Mays baseball card for $478,000. Even though it was not his rookie card, it was the first Topps card to showcase the renowned centerfielder in any capacity.
9. ROBERTO CLEMENTE, 1955 TOPPS // $478,000
The greatest of all time Rob Clemente, a member of the 3000-hit club and the Baseball Hall of Fame, died tragically in an aircraft accident while his way to Nicaragua to help with earthquake relief in 1972. Clemente had been planning to donate his services to earthquake aid. His 1955 rookie card, which was graded a rare10 by PSA, went for $432,690 at auction in 2012. Although a 1955 Roberto Clemente card graded 9 sold for $478,000 four years later (demonstrating that time may be more important than grade), a similar card graded 8 sold for roughly $30,000 (whereas the identical card graded 9 sells for around $30,000).
10. JOE DOYLE, N.Y. NAT’L, 1909-1911 ATC T206 // $414,750
a legend of the era When Roberto Clemente was tragically killed in a plane accident while on his way to Nicaragua to help with earthquake recovery, it was a member of the 3000-hit club and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His 1955 rookie card, which was graded a rare10 by PSA, went for $432,690 at a public auction in 2012. The sale of a 1955 Roberto Clemente card graded a 9 four years later (demonstrating that time may be more significant than grade) resulted in a $478,000 price tag (although the same card scored an 8 is worth around $30,000).
It’s worth noting that the card was formerly owned by former major leaguer Dmitri Young, who sold a huge section of his remarkable collection at auction in 2012 for a total of $2.4 million.
Baseball Cards Worth Money: Most Valuable Baseball Cards List
Scotttfujita.com is a blog that provides visitors with useful information. Affiliate marketing links are included with the items mentioned in the article. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we may get a small commission. You will not be required to pay any additional costs on our behalf. See our complete disclosures for more information. here Baseball cards serve as a keepsake for baseball enthusiasts around. What about the thrill a youngster gets when he or she discovers his or her favorite card for the first time comes to mind?
Gradually, it gained popularity, and many individuals began to view collecting it as a recreational activity.
If you still have any Hall of Fame or rookie cards, now is the time to locate them.
This post by Scott Fujitawill assist you in better understanding why these sports cards are valuable, as well as pointing out the most valuable baseball card in the world of sports.
Top 10 Baseball Cards Worth Money Of All Time
Many individuals believe that collecting baseball cards is just for recreational purposes. They were completely wrong. On the sports card market, you might discover cards that are highly sought after at exorbitant rates. The widespread use of mass printing in the 1980s and 1990s significantly reduced the value of most cards produced after 1980. Vintage pre- and postwar cards, on the other hand, may be worth a surprising amount of money. Which baseball cards are now worth money? Please see below for the top-ten most expensive baseball cards ever sold in the United States.
More information may be found at: The oldest baseball stadium in the United States
1. T206 White Border Honus Wagner
- Price: $6,606,296 (SGC 3 Example – August 2021)
- Year: 1909-11
- Dimensions: 1-7/16′′ x 2-5/8′′
- Price: $6,606,296 (SGC 3 Example – August 2021)
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card is the most costly in existence. The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card is the Holy Grail of the baseball card market, with only 50 cards produced in total. This card’s value has skyrocketed as a result of its extremely limited distribution. It was the star of the Pittsburgh Pirates – Honus Wagner – who sent the card to the top of the list of the most valuable baseball cards in the world. He forbade the American Tobacco Company from continuing to manufacture the card in the future.
Some speculated that he was attempting to claim further royalties.
The PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) score is the most reliable way to be certain of a result.
Level cards with the number “1” indicate low status, while level cards with the number “10” represent the greatest state (Gem Mint). The higher the value of the card, the better the condition of the card.
2. Topps311 Mickey Mantle
- Price: $5,200,000 (PSA 9 Example – January 2021)
- Year: 1952
- Dimensions: 2-5/8′′ x 3-3/4′′
- Condition: excellent.
Authentic Topps311 Mickey Mantle Baseball CardThe Topps311 Mickey Mantle Baseball Card is one of the most valuable Topps baseball cards available on the market today. It also serves as an indicator of the movement of the price of trading cards. Due to the fact that Topps first entered the sports card market in 1952, the value of this set of cards is extremely high. Regular cards can also be purchased for $1000 if they are in mint condition. It is easy to see that only a small number of Mickey Mantle rookie cards have been produced, given the high sequence number.
There are currently only a few of these cards available on the market.
3. M101-5 and M101-4 Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie Card
- Dimensions: 1-5/8′′ x 3′′
- Price: $1,350,000 (PSA 8 NM-MT)
- Year: 1916
- Condition: excellent
M101-5 Sporting News & Information Babe Ruth’s Rookie Baseball Card The 1916 Babe Ruth baseball card is the next card on the list of the most expensive baseball cards in baseball history. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a legendary rookie card would command such a high premium. Early photographs of Ruth show him dressed in his Boston Red Sox outfit prior to his first appearance with the New York Yankees in 1908.
4. T206 Ty Cobb Tobacco (Ty Cobb Back)
- Price: $1,000,000 (PSA 4.5 VG-EX+)
- Year: 1909-11
- Dimensions: 1-7/16′′ x 2-5/8′′
- Price: $1,000,000 (PSA 4.5 VG-EX+)
T206 Ty Cobb Tobacco Co., Inc. Another factor contributing to its popularity is the large quantity of advertising space on the rear of the T206. There are a total of 16 distinct styles of backs available to choose from. When the front and rear of the models are merged, we have a total of 5,500 different models. At the moment, less than 22 existing cards have been discovered. The T206 Ty Cobb card, which has a PSA grade of only 4.5, is expected to be worth $ 1 million at auction.
5. Baltimore News9 Babe Ruth Pre Rookie Card
- Precise value: $925,000 (PSA 4 VG-EX)
- Year of production: 1914
- Dimensions: 4-1/2′′ x 6′′
The Baltimore Sun has a story on Pre-Rookie Card of Babe Ruth with a yellow backdrop and a star Because there are only 10 copies of Babe Ruth’s “pre rookie” card in existence, it commands an exorbitant premium. Baseball cards with a blue border and a red border are included in this set of collectible baseball cards that are worth money. The Baltimore Orioles’ minor league affiliate, Jack Dunn, signed Ruth to a contract in the spring of 1914. It was the start of his professional baseball career before he joined the Red Sox.
6. T206 White Border Eddie Plank
- Price: $850,000 (PSA 8 NM-MT)
- Year: 1909-11
- Dimensions: 1-7/16′′ x 2-5/8′′
- Condition: excellent.
T206 Eddie Plank with a White Border After that, the Eddie Plank card in the T206 deck is the next card to be looked at in detail. It is also the only one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. According to legend, the card’s scarcity is due to low-quality printing, which resulted in widespread destruction. This is easily distinguished by the fact that it is centered.
7. Bowman253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card
- $1,200,000 (PSA 9 Mint)
- Year: 1951
- Dimensions: 2-1/16′′ x 3-1/8′′
- Price: $700,000 (PSA 9 Mint)
Bowman253 Card of Mickey Mantle as a rookie Mickey Mantle appears on this list once again with the release of his 1952 Topps cards. Because of the stunning visuals on this rookie card, it has piqued the interest of many collectors. The idea of Mantle standing poised with a bat in his hand is really enthralling to contemplate.
Unfortunately, the overall quality of these cards is not very good, as you can see in the images below. It is possible to make a substantial amount of money by owning this rookie card with a high PSA rating.
8. T206 White Border Sherry Magie Error Card
- Price: $660,000 (PSA 8 NM-MT)
- Year: 1909-11
- Dimensions: 1-7/16′′ x 2-5/8′′
- Condition: excellent.
T206 White Border Sherry Magie Error Card (T206 White Border Sherry Magie Error Card) Occasionally, during the production process, certain printing flaws will arise on baseball cards, which will be corrected thereafter. Cards that were issued as a result of the error are referred to as “error cards.” In most cases, the manufacturer will recall them relatively promptly to make the necessary corrections. As a result, there aren’t many different types of error cards available on the market. Collectors are ready to pay a premium for this card in order to own both the pre- and post-edited versions of the card.
For those of you who are familiar with this guy, you will know that his proper last name is Magee.
9. American Caramel E90-1 Joe Jackson Rookie Card
- Price: $600,000 (PSA 8 NM-MT)
- Year: 1909-11
- Dimensions: 1-1/2′′ x 2-3/4′′
- Condition: excellent.
E90-1 American Caramel is a caramel color made in the United States. Joe Jackson’s First Day of School Card It’s a shame that Joe Jackson didn’t make it to the 1919 World Series when his career was at its zenith, since it would have been the crowning achievement. Allegations of involvement in the Black Sox Scandal came close to destroying this player’s career. This also made this Joe Jackson rookie card, which was only printed in restricted quantities, extremely uncommon.
10. T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson
- E90-1 American Caramel is a caramel color produced by the American Caramel Company. Joe Jackson’s First Day of School Photo. It’s a shame that Joe Jackson didn’t make it to the World Series in 1919, when his career was at its zenith. It was practically impossible for this athlete to continue playing after being implicated in the Black Sox Scandal. As a result of this incident, this Joe Jackson rookie card is very rare and just a few hundred copies were printed.
T210 Old Mill (T210) ‘Joe Jackson’ is a fictional character created by author Joe Jackson. There are several different decks on the T210 Old Mill, and this one is one of the most diverse. It has a large number of small players, many of whom you may have never heard of before. Joe Jackson is one of the most well-known people in the world. After the Philadelphia Athletics traded him to the Cleveland Naps in 1910, he was pitted against the Cleveland Naps. That was one of the most egregious decisions in the history of baseball.
How To Tell The Value Of A Baseball Card?
old mill (T210) ‘Joe Jackson’ is a fictional character created by writer Joe Jackson. Aside from the T210 Old Mill deck, there are a number of others that are very interesting. It has a large number of small players, many of whom you may have never heard of before. A well-known name among these is Joe Jackson. After the Philadelphia Athletics traded him to the Cleveland Naps in 1910, he was pitted against them. That was one of the most egregious decisions in the history of professional baseball.
Cards from the National Baseball Hall of Fame or cards from prominent players who have won prizes (such as Gold Glove Awards, the Triple Crown, or the American League MVP) are frequently highly sought for. People still look for the traditional player cards from time to time for sentimental reasons. The rookie card is another significant player card that may be obtained. Fans have a strong desire to see their favorite celebrity in his or her early years. The Nolan Ryan rookie card is my all-time favorite rookie card.
You may learn about the worth and rarity of the cards you intend to sell by consulting the PSA, SGC, and Beckett grading systems, among other sources. A general indication of how rare a card is may be gained by looking at the PSA census and seeing how many levels there are for a certain card type. Regardless of the rarity of a card, the condition of the card is one of the most essential variables influencing its worth. When making a decision on a card, individuals frequently look at the corners, edges, centers, and surfaces of the card.
The reverse of the majority of high-value cards is centered, the corners are crisp, and there are no print faults. If you have any doubts regarding how valuable baseball cards are obtained by organizations, you should watch this video.
Because of the restricted supply of baseball cards manufactured before to 1980, they are extremely valuable now. More often than not, collectors choose to obtain “high number” iconic cards released near the conclusion of a baseball season rather than ordinary cards. “Short prints” are cards that are printed in a shorter amount of time for no purpose, so that others can also enjoy these cards. In addition, numerous factors influence the value of baseball cards, including the year of manufacturing, the number of variants, and the order in which the cards were issued.
Is there any monetary value to baseball cards? Which baseball cards are worth their weight in gold? I hope this post has been of use in answering these issues. Baseball cards are not only important as collectibles, but they also serve as a wonderful reminder of a happy time in our lives. There’s nothing more satisfying than opening a deck of cards and discovering photos of legendary players. Take meticulous care of these baseball cards. They are valuable. They have the potential to be a winning lottery ticket.
9 of the Most Valuable Baseball Cards in History
Baseball cards were not mass-produced until the 1880s, despite the fact that they were first offered to the public in the mid-1860s, not long after the game’s creation and shortly after the popularization of photography. As a result, manufacturers of tobacco goods such as Old Judge and Gypsy Queen began inserting cards inside their products with images of players, primarily to protect the fragile packaging from tearing. Starting in the early 1930s, baseball cards were popular among fans, particularly youngsters, who received a bonus piece of chewing gum with each pack they purchased.
Rare cards in excellent condition have sold for millions of dollars in recent years, and are now considered investments by high-end collectors.
In addition to Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Sportscard Guaranty Company, a number of other businesses grade cards based on their condition (SGC).
Topps was scheduled to be replaced by Fanatics in August 2021, and the company would begin producing legally licensed Major League Baseball cards in 2026.
This list includes nine legendary baseball cards of notable players who have been sold or auctioned for considerable quantities of money, ranging from Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Honus Wagner to Los Angeles Angel Mike Trout.
1. Honus Wagner | Card Sold For: $6,606,000
Baseball cards were not mass-produced until the 1880s, despite the fact that they were first offered to the public in the mid-1860s, not long after the game’s creation and shortly after the widespread use of photography. That’s when cigarette companies like Old Judge and Gypsy Queen began inserting cards into their products that included images of players, mostly to protect the thin packaging from tearing. Since the early 1930s, baseball cards have proven to be a popular collectible among fans, particularly youngsters, who receive a bonus piece of chewing gum in each pack.
Exquisitely preserved rare cards have sold for millions of dollars in recent years, and are now considered investments by high-end collectors.
In addition to Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Sportscard Guaranty Company, a number of other firms assess cards depending on condition (SGC).
After being chosen as a successor to Topps in August 2021, Fanatics is set to begin producing fully licensed Major League Baseball cards in 2026.
2. Mickey Mantle | Card Sold For: $5.2 Million
Mickey Mantle’s rookie card from Topps from 1952. Photograph courtesy of Matt Dirksen/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images Having star power is a good thing. Mantle, who played in the Major Leagues from 1951 to 1968, was a fantastic all-around talent before suffering an injury-plagued decline. He is widely recognized as the finest switch-hitter in the history of the game. If he had not been injured so frequently, he may have challenged Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. Mantle concluded his Major League Baseball career with 536 home runs.
It’s possible that this is the most legendary trading card in sports history, yet it isn’t even Mantle’s first card.
The 1952 Topps Mantle, on the other hand, has something that the card does not: a fascinating past.
However, the late-summer distribution of the goods chilled collectors’ interest in the product, and cases of the product went unsold.
Hundreds of cases of the cards, including Mantle’s now-valuable card, were tossed into the Hudson River by Berger in 1960, according to historical records. the following link: The Epic Battle to Break Babe Ruth’s Home Run Record
3. Babe Ruth | Card Sold For: $4,212,000
The Babe Ruth Goudey baseball card from 1933. Getty Images courtesy of Transcendental Graphics Having star power is a good thing. Ruth was known by several nicknames, including “The Great Bambino,” “The Sultan of Swat,” “The Colossus of Clout,” and simply “The Babe.” Ruth was the first global celebrity in the history of the sport. He, like Wagner, was named to the MLB’s All-Century team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class in 1936. Ruth, who played in the Major Leagues from 1914 to 1935, held the record for the most home runs hit until he was surpassed by Hank Aaron (1974) and Barry Bonds (2007).
The iconic card was a 1933 Goudey53, which sold for $4,212,000 at an auction in July 2021.
However, card No.
This historic card was evaluated in pristine condition by Professional Sport Authenticator, who also graded the rest of the collection.
4. Mike Trout | Card Sold For: $3.9 Million
This one-of-a-kind Topps rookie card of Mike Trout from 2009 features a signature from the Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder. Photograph courtesy of Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images Having star power is a good thing. The future Hall of Famer was named to the All-Star team nine times in his first 11 seasons, and is widely regarded as the finest current player in the game. The outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels has won three American League MVP awards in his career. The most valuable card ever produced was the 2009 Bowman Draft BDPP89 Superfractor, which sold for $3.9 million in August 2020.
Before it was broken numerous times in 2020 and 2021, the Superfractor variant of Trout’s Bowman Draft signed rookie card—a shimmering gold edition that was restricted to only one copy—held the record for the most card sales until it was broken again in 2020.
5. Nolan Ryan | Card Sold For: $600,000
Ryan was one of the game’s most feared power pitchers, and he set an MLB record by striking out 5,714 batters, over 1,000 more than the next-highest-ranking pitcher on the list, Randy Johnson. After pitching for four clubs throughout a 27-year career from 1966 to 1993, before retiring at the age of 46, he was known as “the Ironman.” The most iconic card is the 1968 Topps Rookie Card177 (with fellow Mets pitcher Jerry Koosman), which sold for $600,000 in August 2020 at the New York International Auto Show.
He only played on one World Series winner team, the 1969 New York Mets, and that was in 1969.
He did, however, set a number of world records. Koosman, who received the most attention on the card, was a competent player in his own right. He concluded his career with a total of 222 victories. In great condition, just a few of these cards have been discovered.
6. Jackie Robinson | Card Sold For: $392,400
Star power: Robinson, a Hall of Famer, was the first African-American player to break the Major League Baseball color barrier in 1947, and he went on to become a social justice symbol as a result. He was a fantastic all-around athlete at UCLA, where he competed in four sports (baseball, basketball, football, and track). Robinson, who played for the New York Yankees from 1947 to 1956, was a six-time All-Star in the National League and was awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1949. His uniform number 42 has been retired by all Major League Baseball teams.
The classic 1948 card, which is the most prized of a collection that includes early cards of greats such as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Warren Spahn, and DiMaggio, was graded a PSA 7 by the Professional Standards Organization.
MORE INFO: Jackie Robinson facts, quotations, and statistics
7. Joe DiMaggio | Card Sold For: $218,578
Legendary status: In 1941, Joltin’ Joe was on a 56-game hitting streak that set an MLB record, making him one of the sport’s most remarkable players. Known as a pop culture hero, DiMaggio was a 13-time all-star and nine-time batting champion who married Marilyn Monroe and was honored in a song written by Alan Courtney and Ben Homer in 1941 for the Les Brown Orchestra with lyrics by Alan Courtney and Ben Homer. The most famous card in the world is the 1939 Play Ball26, which sold for $218,578 in July 2021.
On the Play Ball Card, the typically stern actor cracks a grin.
8. Rickey Henderson | Card Sold For: $180,100
A star in the making: Known as “The Man of Steal,” Henderson, who played for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees during the course of his 25-year MLB career, is widely regarded as the finest leadoff hitter in the game’s history. He is the all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored in the majors (2,295). Despite his age, Henderson has accumulated 1,406 career thefts, over 500 more than the second-ranked player on the record, Lou Brock. The most famous card in the set is 1980 Topps482, which sold for $180,100 in February 2021.
It became extremely hard to locate an original Henderson rookie card from the Topps set in pristine condition as a result of this.
Only 25, or 0.1 percent of the total number of units produced, have been designated as mint condition.
9. Ken Griffey Jr. | Card Sold For: $23,100
Star power: “The Kid” possessed a rare combination of talent and athleticism that helped him establish himself as a fan favorite, particularly with his first team, the Seattle Mariners. Griffey, who retired after the 2010 season, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a first-ballot inductee with 99.3 percent of the vote. He was a 13-time all-star and led the American League in home runs four times throughout his career. A total of 630 home runs were hit by him during his professional baseball career.
Griffey’s rookie card from Upper Deck in 1989 became an instant hit with collectors.
Ungraded versions of the collection went for more than $100 shortly after it was released. Griffey went on to prove that he was worth the high asking price by becoming one of the finest players of the 1990s. READ MORE: Who Was the Inventor of Baseball?
30 of the World’s Most Rare and Expensive Baseball Cards (June 2021) – Gold Card Auctions
A unusual combination of skill and athleticism propelled “The Kid” to the top of the baseball world, particularly among fans of his first team, the Seattle Mariners. Known as Griffey, Jr., he was a 13-time all-star and four-time American League home run leader before retiring following the 2010 season. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot with 99.3 percent of the votes cast. A total of 630 home runs were hit by him during his professional playing career. 1989 Upper Deck1 is a legendary card that will be worth $23,100 in March 2021 if it remains in circulation.
After the set’s publication, ungraded copies of the set went for more than $100.
WHAT TO READ NEXT: Who Was the Inventor of Baseball?
30 Most Valuable Baseball Cards To Invest In
Here are 30 of the most valuable baseball cards to invest in, which have been updated to reflect the most recent sales and statistics as of the middle of the year 2021.
1. 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News ($6 million)
The 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News card, which is over a century old, is the most valuable baseball card to own right now, according to ValuePenguin. The best investment was a Babe Ruth rookie card. In June 2021, an SGC 3 graded copy of the card sold for a whopping $6 million, making it the most expensive sports card ever sold in the world. It depicts a 19-year-old Ruth as a minor league pitcher for his hometown Baltimore Orioles, and PSA estimates that there are less than ten known surviving copies of the renowned card remaining in existence today.
2. 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps ($5.2 Million)
The 1914 Babe Ruth Baltimore News card, which is over a century old, is the most valuable baseball card to own right now, according to the experts. Bette Ruth rookie card is the most valuable investment. In June 2021, an SGC 3 graded copy sold for a whopping $6 million, making it the most expensive sports card ever sold and the world’s most valuable sports collectible. It depicts Ruth as a minor league pitcher for his hometown Baltimore Orioles when he was 19 years old, and PSA estimates that there are less than 10 known surviving copies of the renowned card.
3. 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph 1/1 ($3.9 million)
Remember the introduction and the requirements we put out for any premium contemporary card? Recall what we said there. It just so happens that the 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor happens to check off every box. Trending:Best Mike Trout Rookie Cards are available now. A GOAT of the sport is featured in it, and it happens to be an RC as well. In addition to being a one-of-a-kind Superfractor, there is a big auto at the bottom of the screen. The price is decided by the owner, and was last sold for $3.9 million, which was a world record at the time when it was auctioned in the middle of the year 2020.
4. 1909-11 Honus Wagner T206 The Jumbo Wagner ($3.3 million)
Many of the surviving T206 Honus Wagner cards have received low ratings on the PSA scale, which indicates that they are in poor condition. In all, only three variants have gotten a PSA rating of 5 or above, including the ‘Jumbo Wagner,’ which comes in at number three on the ranking.
As the name says, it was miscut, resulting in a Near Mint specimen being practically preserved inside its confines. It’s the same edition that sold for $3.3 million, and it has the potential to smash the record again again.
5. 1909-11 Ty Cobb Tobacco T-206 Ty Cobb Back ($1.1 million)
The number one player on our list of the top baseball cards with value is Ty Cobb. This card, which can also be found in the T206 series, is the sixth to depict the player, and is referred to as the ‘Ty Cobb Back’. Upon first sight, it appears to be a modest variant of the Red Portrait Cobb, with the exception of a glossier finish on the front, which is essentially similar. The back, on the other hand, is inscribed in green ink with the words “TY COBB, KING OF THE SMOKING TOBACCO WORLD.” Only 19 copies have been graded by PSA, with the best copy being a single VG-EX 4 (very good).
6. 1955 Roberto Clemente Topps RC164 ($1.1 million)
Roberto Clemente easily makes it into the top 10 courtesy to an RC that sold for $1.1 million at the auction. It was auctioned as part of Goldin Auctions’ Winter Auction 2021, which took place in January. His sad death in an aircraft crash in 1973, making him the first Latin player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has only added to the aura surrounding the player. The $1.1 million in fees was for a PSA 9 grade, of which there are only 11 in existence. In 2016, a copy of the book sold for $478,000 at an auction.
What do you think it would sell for today?
7. 1969 Reggie Jackson Topps RC260 Dmitri Young Collection ($1 million)
Another RC to make our list of valuable baseball cards is the 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson issue, which came out in 1969. Heritage Auctions’ Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction, which took held in Dallas in February 2020, brought in $1,005,600 for the purchase of the trophy. The one-million-dollar card is the only one to have received a PSA 10 grade, despite the fact that it sold for only $115,242 back in 2012.
8. 1952 Jackie Robinson Topps312 ($984,000)
Jackie Robinson’s 1952 Toppscard may not be a rookie card, but it is an important option because it was double-printed with Mickey Mantle and Bobby Thomson, among others. According to this figure, there are just 11 PSA Mint 9 copies left in existence today, and this is the sole reason why they haven’t yet breached the $1 million barrier. It has a deep red backdrop and a huge smile on Robinson’s face, with a bat scattered over his shoulder. It is just as famous as the Mantle card, considering that it was Robinson’s first-ever Topps issue, and it is just as rare.
9. 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Red Refractor Autograph /5($922,000)
Mike Trout is back, and this time he’s carrying a card with the number five on it. The copy, which sold for $922,000, was part of Goldin Auctions’ Spring 2020 Premium Auction, which took place in March. Even though you’d assume that valuable baseball cards would have to be older, this edition is already ultra-rare, and it received a Gem Mint 9.5 rating from Beckett’s Grading Service. The signature achieved a perfect score of ten.
10. 1909-11 Eddie Plank T206 ($780,000)
Eddie Plank’s portrait card, often considered as the second most popular in the T206 collection, displays a white border and a blue backdrop, in a design that is comparable to the other highly sought-after portrait cards in the set. There is no clear reason as to why it is one of the more unusual T206 configurations, but it is thought that there are only 75 to 100 of these left in the world.
The author, Plank, was a vocal opponent of tobacco use and was never seen smoking. The card almost makes it into the top ten baseball cards in value because of a 2012 sale for $700,000, which is currently worth around $780,000.
11. 1916 Babe Ruth M101-5 Sporting News Blank Back ($773,000)
Another card that will fetch a high price is the Sporting News rookie card of Babe Ruth, which has a blank back and features the baseball legend. Only 30 copies have been graded by PSA, with a population of three PSA 7 grades and three PSA 8 copies among the 30 total. Interestingly, a PSA 7 card is the only one to make the cut, thanks to a collector who paid $717,000 for it in April 2016. After adjusting for inflation, this amounts to around $764,000. The Sports Market Report (SMR) has established a recommended price of $3 million for the eighth grade.
12. 1951 Mickey Mantle Bowman RC ($772,000)
The ’51 Bowman RC is unquestionably one of the best-looking Mantle cards ever created, and it is one of the few instances in which an earlier issue is given a passing grade. It’s common knowledge that collectors favor the 1952 Topps card, but that didn’t stop one collector from spending $750,000 to acquire a PSA 9 copy to their collection during an auction in 2018. It is the only Mint 9 ’51 Mantle known to exist, and it is now valued about $1.2 million on the SMR market. In the near future, don’t be astonished if it surpasses $1 million in sales.
13. 1909 Shoeless Joe Jackson American Caramel ($719,000)
‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson’s 1909 RC is another one that’s worth keeping an eye out for. There are just a few cards that feature the player, and it is one of the most difficult to come across on the list. Between 1908 and 1909, Jackson played 10 games with the Philadelphia Athletics of the Major League Baseball. In all, there are just two PSA 8 copies of the Caramel tobacco card in existence, with one of them selling for $667,149 at SCP’s Mid Summer Classic Auction 2016 in July.
14. 1909 Sherry Magee T206 Error ($680,000)
This iconic card from the T206 collection depicts Sherry Magee, whose name was first spelt wrongly as “Magie” at the bottom of the card, but has since been corrected. The error was swiftly corrected, but not before a few of the ‘Magie’ cards had found their way onto the market and become widely available. It’s unclear how many copies were made in total, but graded copies are extremely hard to come by.
15. 1968 Jerry Koosman / Nolan Ryan Topps ($660,000)
Normally, we don’t care for duo cards, but we’ll make an exception in this case because the card displays the combined abilities of Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan from the 1968 Topps Mets rookie set. Of course, the latter is the major attraction, as evidenced by his selection to the MLB All-Century Team. Ryan RCs were published by Milton Bradley, O-Pee-Chee, and Venezuelan Topps, but none of them are as popular as Ryan RCs in terms of mass appeal. There’s also a single PSA 10 graded copy available, which should be considered an excellent investment opportunity.
16. 1910 Shoeless Joe Jackson Old Mill ($607,000)
Joe Jackson, the ‘Shoeless’ character, appears once more, this time on a rare card that was released in 1910. The uniform of the 1909 American Caramel, as well as the fact that it was produced a year later, can be used to explain why it is considered a little less popular alternative than the 1909 American Caramel.
The number of people who have been counted so far is less than 15, and the surrounding red borders will always be vulnerable to wear and tear. At Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Sports Auction held in February 2019, a VG+ 3.5 rated version of the car sold for $600,000 (USD).
17. 1909-11 Ty Cobb Bat Off ShoulderT206 Sweet Caporal 350($526,000)
Joe Jackson, the ‘Shoeless’ character, appears once more, this time on a rare card from 1910. A year later, in 1910, the uniform of the 1909 American Caramel was introduced, which accounts for its significantly lower popularity as compared to the previous year’s introduction. In the present day, less than 15 have been identified, and the surrounding red borders will always be vulnerable to wear and tear due to the elements. At Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Sports Auction held in February 2019, a VG+ 3.5 rated edition brought $600,000 in sales.
18. 1952 Willie Mays Topps ($515,000)
Willie Mays was a 24-time All-Star who earned two National League MVP awards and helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in 1954. When it was produced as part of the legendary 1952 Topps collection, which was instrumental in modernizing the hobby, Mays’ RC card was released in the “semi-high” series (251-310), which was slightly more scarce than previous issues. However, it is notable because it is not his official rookie card (which was released a year earlier), but it is his first Topps choice, making it a highly sought-after collectible.
19. 1915 Ty Cobb Cracker Jack ($510,000)
Why don’t all of the cards from this era look as nice as they should? With a fantastic illustration of the athlete holding his bat against a deep red background, the Ty Cobb Cracker Jack issue from 1915 is a must-have. Three mint 9 grades have survived to the year 2021, with the most recent selling for little more than $500,000 in 2019.
20. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey53 ($350,000)
When did all of these cards get so dated and faded? With a fantastic illustration of the athlete holding his bat against a deep red backdrop, the Ty Cobb Cracker Jack issue from 1915 is a must-have. Even though a trio of pristine 9 grades have survived until 2021, the most recent one sold for little more over $500,000.
21. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey Sport Kings2 ($350,000)
When it comes to the finest baseball cards with value, Babe Ruth will always be at the top of every list. Although it is not one of the four classic Ruth cards from the 1933 Goudey baseball collection, it is the only Ruth card featured in the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings edition, which was released in 1933. There are only two PSA 9 copies on the registry, each with an SMR price of $400,000 and an SMR price of $600,000. A sale would very certainly result in it being promoted to a higher place on the list.
22. 1948 Jackie Robinson Leaf RC79 ($350,000)
When it comes to the top baseball cards with value, Babe Ruth is always a prominent figure. There is just one Ruth card in the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings issue, despite the fact that it is not one of the four that are considered iconic from the 1933 Goudey baseball collection. With only two PSA 9 copies on the register, the SMR price for each is $400,000, making them the most expensive PSAs available. An increase in sales would very certainly result in it being moved up the rankings.
23. 1953 Mickey Mantle Topps82 ($325,000)
When it comes to the finest baseball cards with value, Babe Ruth will always be at the top of the list. Although this is not one of the four famous Ruth cards from the 1933 Goudey baseball set, it is the only Ruth card found in the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings edition, which was released in 1933.
There are just two PSA 9 copies available for purchase on the register, each with an SMR price of $400,000. A sale would very certainly result in it being moved up to a higher place on the list.
24. 1955 Roberto Clemente Topps RC164 ($325,000)
Because of an RC that sold for $1.1 million, Roberto Clemente easily into the top 10 on the list. It was auctioned as part of Goldin Auctions’ Winter Auction 2021, which took place in January. His sad death in an aircraft crash in 1973, making him the first Latin player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has only added to the aura surrounding the player. The $1.1 million in fees was for a PSA 9 grade, of which there are only 11 in existence. In 2016, a copy of the book sold for $478,000 at an auction.
What do you think it would sell for today?
25. 1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 White Border Bat Off Shoulder ($315,000)
Ty Cobb makes a cameo appearance in yet another vintage T206 edition. Cobb is brought to life in the artwork, with his trusty bat resting just off his shoulder in the foreground. Sweet Caporal variants may be distinguished by looking at the back, which states that the ‘Base Ball Series’ has ‘350 Subjects’ in red print and that the ‘Base Ball Series’ has ‘350 Subjects’ in red print. Others should be on the lookout as well because T206 cards were printed with a total of 16 different backs. Cobb may have used the example of Piedmont cigarettes, which was another prominent cigarette brand at the time.
26. 1902-1911 Ty Cobb W600 Sporting Life Cabinets ($300,000)
The W600 Sporting Life cabinet set was released over a period of nearly a decade, and it was the first of its kind (1902-1911). These oversized cards, which are mounted on heavy cardboard, were originally given away as prizes by a sponsor, whose name can sometimes be found on the reverse of the card. Cobb’s debut year was 1907, which coincidentally coincides with the publication of the Cobb card that made the list. One PSA 2 copy, which depicts the same pose as the popular T206 portrait cards, sold for $300,000 as part of Robert Edward Auctions’ spring 2020 collection.
27. 1932 Babe Ruth U.S. Caramel32 ($300,000)
Another classic baseball card featuring the Bambino, the 1932 United States Caramel depicts the player in the manner in which he is most well remembered by baseball fans. A bright red backdrop frames his name (George “Babe” Ruth) at the top of the poster, which also features other Hall of Fame-caliber athletes including as boxers and golfers. A 2019 Heritage Auctions listing revealed that two PSA 9 grades were available, with one selling for $432,000 following a Heritage Auctions auction.
28. 1933 Lou Gehrig Goudey160 ($300,000)
Lou Gehrig played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, earning every award possible during his 17 seasons with the team. Gehrig is represented by two cards in the 1933 Goudey collection, with numbers 92 and 160, respectively. Many collectors consider them both to be his RC, and they both have the identical design on the front of the car. This is the one we’re concentrating on for the sake of this list because it sold for an eye-watering $576,000 in 2019 when it was the only PSA 9 graded copy available.
29. 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey181 ($300,000)
The Sultan of Swat has returned once more, this time as part of the 1933 Goudey collection. One of the most thorough illustrations of Ruth can be seen on The181, which is an over-the-shoulder shot taken from behind the player’s behind.
A PSA 9 copy of the book was just sold at auction for $430,000 at the June 2021 Memory Lane, Inc. Newman Auction. This has propelled the book to the top of the priority list. There are five more copies in addition to one gem mint copy.
30. 1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 White Border Green Portrait ($300,000)
As a result, a large number of cards on the final list are somewhat interchangeable in the sense that there are others who might potentially take their place in the long run. For the time being, another Ty Cobb T206 card, known as the ‘Green Portrait,’ fills the 30th spot on the trading card board. The name is self-explanatory, since the image is a picture of the player against a deep green background. There is just one NM-MT 8 graded card available, and it has an SMRprice of $350,000.
Most Valuable Baseball Cards To Invest In Summary
As a result, a large number of cards on the final list are relatively interchangeable in the sense that there are others who may potentially replace them in the long run. Another Ty Cobb T206 card, dubbed the ‘Green Portrait’, now occupies the 30th position on the trading card board. Due to the fact that it is a picture of the player against a rich green background, the name is straightforward. With an SMRprice of $350,000, the only NM-MT 8 graded card exists.
Most Valuable Baseball Cards of the 80’s and 90’s (Review & Pricing)
Several of the final cards that make the list are relatively interchangeable in the sense that there are others who may be able to take their place in the future. For the time being, another Ty Cobb T206 card, better known as the ‘Green Portrait,’ occupies the 30th spot. The name is self-explanatory, since it depicts a portrait of the player against a deep green background. The SMRprice of the single NM-MT 8 graded card is $350,000.
Most Valuable Baseball Cards of the 80’s and 90’s:Our Favorites
The Gold Hologram is a hologram made of gold. When it comes to Upper Deck rookie cards from 1993, the Derek Jeter rookie card displayed above is THE CARD TO OWN. There aren’t many of them still in existence, and if you’re one of the happy collectors who happens to hold one, you’ll be able to sell it for a significant sum of money. Derek Jeter, dressed in his pinstriped New York Yankees suit and casually fielding a pop fly, is depicted on the card during spring training. It should have no trouble making you a couple of thousand dollars richer if you chance to have one in fine working order.
He was a 14-time All-Star, a five-time World Series champion, the World Series MVP, and the American League Rookie of the Year throughout his professional baseball career.
There are several reasons why this is unquestionably one of the most valuable baseball cards from the 1980s and 1990s.
1987 Donruss Barry Bonds Error (Check Price)
The Gold Hologram is a hologram made of gold or platinum. When it comes to the Upper Deck collection from 1993, the Derek Jeter rookie card displayed above is THE CARD TO HAVE. The fact that there are so few of them still in existence means that if you’re one of the fortunate collectors who happens to hold one, you’ll be worth a good amount. Derek Jeter, dressed in his pinstriped New York Yankees jersey and casually fielding a pop fly, appears on the card. The card was created during spring training.
As a Yankee, Jeter played his whole career and was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first vote.
Mr. Derek Jeter was the captain of the New York Yankees and one of the most well-liked players in the history of baseball. The fact that this is one of the most valuable baseball cards produced throughout the 1980s and 1990s is due to a variety of factors.
1993 Finest Refractor Ken Griffey (Check Price)
This is an incredible Ken Griffey Jr. baseball card that has been appraised at an astronomical sum. It’s been a whirlwind of activity in the auction houses lately. Griffey Jr. is seen jogging along the baseline in the ultimate 90’s aesthetic on the baseball card. It features the old-school text at the top, and the colors pop off the card like fireworks! In my opinion, this is one of the better-looking cards from the 1990s, and it was sold at auction for more than $7,000. Ken Griffey Jr. was a man who, in a manner, altered the game of baseball.
He embodied a new generation of Major League Baseball players and will go down in history as one of the game’s most beloved players of all time.
He also received ten Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger medals over his career.
1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones (Check Price)
Chipper Jones is considered to be one of the finest players in the history of the Atlanta Braves. Jones spent his whole professional baseball career with the Atlanta Braves (something that has been lost in the modern age of free agency). He was an eight-time All-Star and a World Series champion throughout his baseball career. He was the winner of seven Silver Slugger Awards and was the American League’s home run leader in four separate seasons. All of this contributes to his cards being among the most valued of the 1980s and 1990s.
Chipper is seen on the card posing with the baseball bat resting on his shoulders.
What isn’t so straightforward is the price tag, which might approach $10,000!
1990 Topps Frank Thomas No Name (Check Price)
For whatever reason, mistake cards are quite popular among card collectors. Most likely because there are many less in stock, making them more difficult to come by. People adore them in any case. This 1990 Topps Frank Thomascard is a good find, even if it isn’t as as interesting as the Barry Bonds card with the incorrect photo we discussed previously. When Topps pulled the cards from the printing press, it seems that Frank Thomas’ name was not on any of the cards when they were initially printed.
When the auctioneers go a little crazy, this card has been known to fetch upwards of $20,000.
More than $20,000 was spent.
1988 Craig Biggio (Check Price)
While this card will not appear on many objective rankings of the most valuable baseball cards from the 1980s and 1990s, it will appear on my subjective list, which is the most valuable of them all (huge Biggio fans). Craig Biggio was the underdog who, for the Houston Astros, simply and unapologetically performed above and above. His rookie card is also a wonderful value at a low cost that will satisfy the needs of anybody seeking for a superb trading card.
Due to the limited number of copies in circulation, this Score card, which depicts Biggio at bat in his old Astros clothes, sold for roughly $300 at auction. Roberto Clemente Award winner Craig Biggio is a Hall of Famer who has played in seven All-Star Games and received the Roberto Clemente Award.
1993 SP FOIL Derek Jeter (Check Price)
With just 21 Grade 10 copies in existence, this Derek Jeter rookie card is the most valuable baseball card ever produced during the 1980s and 1990s period. The fact that Jeter is one of the best athletes to ever live was demonstrated by the price that this card brought in at auction. This card was able to be sold for well over $100,000 in a recent auction, which was held just a few weeks ago.
1985 Topps Mark McGwire (Check Price)
With just 21 Grade 10 copies in existence, this Derek Jeter rookie card is the most valuable baseball card produced throughout the 1980s and 1990s era of baseball collecting. The fact that Jeter is one of the best athletes to ever live was demonstrated by the price that this card brought in at the auction house. This card was able to be sold for well over $100,000 in a recent auction, which was held just a few months ago.
Wondering what to do with baseball cards from the 80s and 90s?
This is a decision that only YOU have the authority to make, just like with pretty much everything else in life. Personal aspects to consider include your financial status, the kind of attachment you have to your cards, and the amount of space the cards are taking up in your home. As a result, here are a few alternatives to consider. The sports card market has increased significantly over the previous decade, so selling now will almost surely result in a higher price than you would have gotten ten years ago.
- Hedge your bets in the hopes that the market would rise higher?
- Relax, since there is always a happy medium!
- Hold for the Long Term — See the section below for further information.
- The use of spokes is not recommended by our team at Spokes.
- Play Flip– We know that several of our baby boomer readers used to like this game when they were younger, and we have no doubt that it was a lot of fun for them at the time.
Most Valuable Baseball Cards of the 80’s and 90’s: Investment Strategy
Because none of the players on this list are currently active, there isn’t much that can be done to influence the situation in the short term. Moreover, because they are all already members of the Hall of Fame, you can’t even rely on that value-boosting event to take place. If you are shorting a stock, you are expecting that the broader market will rise. While it is possible that this may occur, larger increases are more likely to occur in the future. 5/10.
Once again, with these cards, you’re placing your faith in the general strength of the market.
Which has been a fantastic thing to put your money on in recent years! The latter end of this investing spectrum is more appealing to us. 7/10
Long Term (5 years plus)
It’s an exhilarating journey down memory lane, whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned collector looking for the most valued baseball cards from the 1980s and 1990s. This is especially true for individuals who began collecting at that time period. Sure, the era was plagued by overproduction concerns, but there are still plenty of cards available that will bring a significant sum of money at auction. It’s only a matter of finding the proper ones. For all of these reasons (not to mention the great players who appear on the cards), the cards listed above should be a valuable addition to your collection for many years to come, and even beyond.