Who Makes Baseball Cards

MLB will end 70-year baseball card deal with Topps for exclusive deal with Michael Rubin’s Fanatics

Topps, the market leader in baseball cards for more than 70 years, will soon lose the rights to make cards for the Major League Baseball season, according to the company. This week, the league and the players’ union reached an agreement with Fanatics Inc., which will see the firm become the sole manufacturer of Major League Baseball trading cards. Topps began printing baseball cards in 1951 and has maintained an exclusive licensing agreement with Major League Baseball since 2010. That agreement will expire after 2025, and MLB’s agreement with Fanatics, according to a source, will begin in 2026.

Michael Rubin, a millionaire entrepreneur from Montgomery County who also owns a minority share in the Philadelphia 76ers, is the owner of Fanatics.

In the sports apparel industry, Fanatics is the top e-commerce company, and it is also the official online retailer for five major American professional sports organizations.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: It is past time to alter the statistics that appear on Topps baseball cards.

  1. Clay Luraschi, the firm’s vice president of product development, stated earlier this year that the corporation has a responsibility to teach the game of baseball to young baseball enthusiasts.
  2. During the pandemic, the trading card market had a resurgence as collectors rediscovered the pastime or delved even deeper into it while the rest of the world was shut down.
  3. Packs and boxes became so difficult to come by that collectors were able to resell them for twice or three times the original selling price.
  4. Knuckleball Sports Cards in Horsham, owned by Steve MacKenzie, described the experience as “absolutely overwhelming.” My sales have more than quadrupled since last July, when I relaunched my business, compared to the period prior to COVID.
  5. Nine out of ten times, I either didn’t make any money or lost some money.
  6. Last year, I was able to make money.

As a result, the market is really strong right now, and I believe that many individuals are returning home, giving you the opportunity to say things like, “I suppose I have my old cards someplace in my attic.” You dig them out, and then you’re back in the thick of things.” » MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: He was concerned that the epidemic would destroy his modest business.

  1. Having to discontinue production of baseball cards is a significant setback for Topps, which stated Friday that it will stay private despite previously announcing plans to go public later this year.
  2. MLB and Major League Soccer are the only two American sports leagues for whom Topps continues to make trading cards.
  3. In recent years, the trading-card business has been characterized by exclusive arrangements, and Topps has prioritized baseball cards as its primary focus.
  4. Currently, Panini has a contract with the Major League Baseball Players Association to create cards that do not include club logos; however, that contract will be transferred to Fanatics and will become an exclusive arrangement.

Donruss is owned by Panini, Bowman is owned by Topps, and Fleer is owned by Upper Deck. Fanatics is causing havoc in a sector where the same corporations have been producing the same things over several generations.

MLB will end 70-year deal with trading card company Topps

Major League Baseball will terminate its partnership with Topps as its trading card partner, bringing an end to a connection that has existed since 1952. According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Fanatics, a business that manufactures sports gear, is set to receive the trading card contract instead of Hasbro. Both Fanatics and Major League Baseball declined to comment. MLB extended its agreement with Topps in 2018, and the current agreement will expire in 2025. Because the MLB Players Association’s contract is aligned with the league’s, the MLBPA’s contract would be terminated as well.

  • Matt Dirksen |
  • Getty Images Sports |
  • Colorado Rockies |
  • Because Topps declared last April that it would go public, the departure of baseball represents a blow to the company.
  • II, which is traded on the Nasdaq, resulting in a $1.3 billion valuation for the trading card manufacturer.
  • Since its founding in 1938, the firm has been well-known for its distribution of trading cards, which includes the 1952 Mickey Mantle card that sold for $5.2 million in January last year.
  • Meanwhile, Major League Baseball will enlist the help of Fanatics to make tangible trading cards in some manner.
  • MLB already has a stake in Fanatics, and it just transferred its NFT rights to Candy Digital, which is controlled by Fanatics.
  • Fanatics said earlier this month that it had raised $325 million in funding to grow, putting the company’s market capitalization at $18 billion.

Trading Card Manufacturers

To view the products of any of the Trading Card Manufacturers listed below, simply click on their respective logos:


Topps has grown from its modest origins in New York City during the early twentieth century to become a multi-million dollar business behemoth with global reach.

Upper Deck

Back in 1989, when Upper Deck made its debut on the baseball card market, they ignited a fervor in the industry that had never been witnessed before.


Panini is a relatively recent name on the hobby scene for collectors in North America, having only been in operation for a few short years before that.

However, the legacy of Panini truly begins with Donruss, a long-time industry staple who founded the company in 1905.

In The Game

Even a tiny firm may have a significant influence on the sports card collecting pastime. The company In The Game has been demonstrating this for more than a decade, fusing creativity and innovation with a deep understanding of hockey history to create goods that continue to delight hockey aficionados.

Press Pass

Press Pass is a newer company than the most of the other sports card producers, but it has managed to carve out a solid niche for itself by experimenting with new ideas and avoiding the pitfalls of competing with other firms for licenses in the most popular professional sports.


The sports card branch of TRISTAR is responsible for the production of Minor League Baseball and Wrestling cards.


Founded in 2010 by Razor owner Brian Gray, the Leaf brand offers products that are very similar to those produced by the now-defunct baseball company.


SAGE is a company that is only involved in the football card market, with a focus on the pre-season rookie niche.

Baseball Card Brands & Companies

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate connections to eBay, Amazon, and other platforms throughout the text, as well as in the sidebar advertisements and in other places of the site. Because I am a member of the eBay Partner Network and other affiliate programs, I will get a compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my affiliate links. In the same way, as an Amazon Associate, I receive commissions from qualifying sales. For those fortunate enough to know where to buy baseball cards these days (because, let’s face it, local card stores are few and few between), and who have recently returned from a trip, the experience is vastly different, don’t you think?

Sure, there are lots of other alternatives.

I’d much rather have the option to choose from a small number of brands who are providing me with their core offerings; their best lineup of a few standard products, rather than two brands who are now being forced to constantly introduce new product lines in order to maintain interest in their existing product lines.

It’s actually fairly excellent, and I like collecting; however, I believe that additional diversity would make it even better.

I’ve digressed, and that’s sufficient.

List of Top Baseball Card Brands

Let’s be honest about this. Topps is the baseball card company, and it is the king of the hill. The original entrant and provider of the finest baseball cards in history, the survivor of the great cardboard collapse of the 1990s, and the exclusive owner of MLB rights and logos, Topps is today the world’s largest sports brand. When you think about your favorite player, the most valued card they have is almost always one from Topps Collection. When you think about your father’s favorite player, the most valued card in his collection is almost certainly a Topps card.

What it was yesterday: Topps has always been and will continue to be the classic baseball card brand, and it will continue to be worshipped as a result of the fact that some of the greatest players in baseball history had their careers memorialized on Topps cardboard.

It also has an exclusive MLB license, which it will keep for a few more years.

Give me the name of a Hall of Famer and I’ll show you a few of his or her Topps autograph cards.

If you had to pick only a handful, what would they be? Topps Trading Cards from 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan RC,1952 Nolan Ryan RC 2012 Mike Trout, 2011 Mickey Mantle RC Among many others, Topps Update RC is one among them.

Upper Deck

Is it possible that this is the first baseball card company called after a real baseball word of feature? But honestly, while Upper Deck’s baseball stint was brief, the company managed to capture one of the most famous cards in trading card history, and it did it with the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. set, which was the company’s very first set. The most recent licensed Upper Deck release occurred in 2010. In 1989, Upper Deck made a big splash by introducing higher-quality photos and card stock than was previously available on the market, as well as its flashy trademark hologram on the back of each card.

What it is today: Despite the fact that Upper Deck’s last full-feature licensed baseball card release occurred all the way back in 2010, Upper Deck baseball cards can still be found in its Goodwin sets.

Signature Cards: As previously stated, the Ken Griffey Jr.

Other notable cards include the 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter RC, as well as actual signature cards like as the 1994 Upper Deck dual autograph card of Ken Griffey Jr.


Okay, I suppose I lied since “scoring” may also be a baseball feature, and hence, like Upper Deck, is a brand of baseball cards that is properly called for its product. Anyway, when you think Score, you think bright colors, or at least that’s what I think of when I remember back to their debut release in 1988, which had purples, oranges, and other vibrant hues. Pinnacle, the firm that owned Score, went out of business in 1998, ending the company’s long run as a baseball card manufacturer. What it was like yesterday: I’d characterize it as more of a “younger brother” to Pinnacle.

What it is today: Is it essentially the same?

If you really need a fix, you can head over to Football and get a few cards.

It’s possible that you recall a shirtless Jose Canseco, who was also black and white, from the 1991 Score Dream Team subgroup. The 1994 Score Boys of Summerinsert set was a lot of fun to hunt out, especially when you were attempting to find a young Mike Piazza.


Pinnacle is a place I miss. I’m also a sucker for sparkly cards, and Pinnacle delivered the glitz and glam. The company wasn’t active for very long, having launched with its initial item in 1992 (remember the Team 2000 set?) and closing its doors the following year. Pinnacle took chances by providing cards in non-traditional packaging, such as those sold in cans with Pinnacle Inside and those sold in metal containers with Donruss Preferred, in order to capitalize on the limited time frame (after acquiring Donruss in 1996).

  1. A few “lift back the curtain” events in the history of baseball cards occurred with Artists’ Proofs and Printing Plates.
  2. Pinnacle was sold to Playoff, which later changed its name to Donruss Playoff, and baseball cards were no longer produced by the company.
  3. For me, the Museum Collection variants seemed like they completely transformed the game, and it was the first time I had a “wow” experience with cards since I was a kid.
  4. Despite the fact that the Ripken EPIX was my first “big draw” as a youngster, the 1998 EPIX was very stunning with its purples, oranges, and emeralds.
See also:  What Is The Most Expensive Baseball Bat


Bowman’s popularity with baseball cards began to grow in the 1940s, and the company continued to create cards until it was bought by Topps in 1956. The Bowman name was subsequently abandoned until 1989, when Topps brought the brand back to life with the introduction of larger-than-average cards showcasing hot rookie Ken Griffey Jr. What happened yesterday was as follows: In the years following its re-entry into the market just in time to produce a rookie card of one of the most electrifying players – both at bat and on the field – to ever play the game, the Bowman brand became almost synonymous with the term “rookie” or “first year card,” dedicating the majority of its sets to showcasing up-and-comers.

Bowman Chrome, Draft, and Best are all packed with young players, providing collectors with the opportunity to not only chase big-name prospects, but also to pick up cards of players who aren’t yet on anyone’s radar but who turn out to be part of tomorrow’s cream of the crop (which happens every year!).

The trouble is, there will be a new crop of fresh stars in the next year, and their automobiles will be the next hot item to chase.

For the purpose of this blog post’s efficiency, I’ll exclude the previous five years’ worth of cards from consideration. The 1951 Bowman Willie Mays RC is a classic. In addition, a 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols RC car that sticks out from the rest of the collection.


Leaf would have to be the winner of the oddest baseball card brand journey, wouldn’t you think? If you mention Leaf to a group of collectors, you’ll receive drastically divergent responses and recollections, to put it mildly. You have the classic 1948 entry, which has Jackie Robinson on a brilliant yellow backdrop and is printed at a baseball card size that is far smaller than what we are accustomed to seeing nowadays. Then there’s the 1990 Leaf set, which included a slew of rookies and, like Upper Deck at the time, offered something a little different than what collectors were used to.

  • Leaf was “relaunched” in 2010 and has since gone in a completely different route than its previous initiatives would have you believe.
  • Another similarity to Upper Deck was that the card stock had a different appearance and feel than the previous Upper Deck goods.
  • The Studio series, which consists of “portrait”-style images that are featured on cards rather than the customary action or in-game shots, is also the work of Leaf.
  • In addition to providing the flashy and shiny that no other card brand can match, Leaf Metal, Flash and Valiant sets provide collectors with the opportunity to own an autograph of some of today’s most promising young stars at a significant discount from the normal market price.
  • Signature Cards: The Leaf Gold Rookies were a rare set, and the Leaf Limited set was also a stunning collection of cards.
  • The most iconic card of all time has to be the1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC, but we also have to mention the1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC, which was released in 1990.


As was the case with Leaf, many people forget that Fleer was a pioneer in the baseball card trading game, having entered the market as early as 1923. It is best known for its 80-card 1959 set featuring Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter, and then sets in both 1960 and 1961 from their ” Baseball Greats ” series. Fleer began making baseball cards again in 1981, following many years of arguments and legal battles to regain the right to do so due to Topps’ exclusive license agreement. What happened yesterday was as follows: Fleer returned to baseball cards just in time to issue rookie cards of Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, and other Hall of Famers, and was the only company to release a rookie card of Roger Clemens in 1984, despite missing Rickey Henderson’s rookie season.

As of today, Upper Deck has bought the name rights to Fleer and has continued to market Fleer-branded items up to and including 2007.

While not a baseball card, probably the most sought after rookie card of all time, in any sport, will be talked about for as long as people continue to collect cards, and that is, of course, Michael Jordan’s rookie card from the NBA’s 1984-85 season.

While the details of the card’s absurdity are best left for another time and place, thankfullyBeckettand a number of other outlets have written articles about its absurdity, the gist of the story is that this $.10 card, for whatever reason, has been appearing on eBay and other platforms and selling for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

Another bizarre card story, although this one has some substance to it.

A number of rectified copies of the card were produced as a result of this, but the original profanity-laced inscription is the most collectible.


If you’ve ever made the mistake of conflating Donruss with Fleer at any time in your collecting career, you’d have a solid cause to do so. Donruss, like Fleer, returned to the baseball card business with its 1981 issue, and, like Fleer, was able to get the right to create licensed baseball cards owing to a loophole in the Topps contract that allowed them to operate as long as they weren’t selling cards with gum (Fleer would sell their cards with stickers, and Donruss with puzzles). After all is said and done, you’ve most likely confused Donruss with Leaf in the mid-80s, and for good reason: Donruss and Leaf merged in 1983, and while Donruss produced identical cards in the United States under the Donruss name, identical cards were produced under the Leaf name in Canada from 1985 to 1988.

Donruss Playoff was bought by Panini in 2009, and the firm was renamed Panini America.

What it is now: It is still in existence!

The difference isn’t good or bad, and everyone has their own set of tastes; it’s simply different.

Signature Cards (also known as “signature cards” or “signature cards”): As far as I know, the Donruss Elite Series insert set was the first insert set to be manufactured with any type of rarity, making them very sought after and valuable back in the day, and they are still worth a considerable sum now, even by 1990s card standards.


I began with Topps and will conclude with Panini since, in many ways, the timelines of our respective brands of baseball cards have paralleled each other throughout the years. It all started with Topps – kind of – and then a slew of other brands followed, and today Panini is the only remaining brand other than Topps in existence. What happened yesterday was as follows: Panini purchased the Donruss Playoff brand in 2009 and began producing baseball cards as a result of the acquisition. There is no such thing as a “yesterday.” With that stated, Panini hasn’t been hesitant to resuscitate history, as seen by the redesigning and re-releasing of numerous vintage Donruss card designs, as previously discussed.

There is an obvious distinction between Topps and Panini in that Topps operates under MLB license while Panini does not, which means Panini cards are made without team names or insignia.

Signature Cards: To be honest, it’s probably too soon to declare any Panini release or card as the company’s “signature card,” or the card that comes to mind first when you think of the company or its products.

What does the future hold?

Some collectors wish for greater diversity, while others like things to remain as they are. As indicated by appreciating card values, popular digital content streams, celebrity believers, and other factors, the business appears to be in excellent form.

Top Baseball Card Brands 2021 (Buyer’s Guide & Review)

In terms of getting your hands on the best baseball card brands for 2021, there are two names that immediately spring to mind: Upper Deck and Topps. Topps and Bowman are two of the most popular trading card brands. Although these names currently dominate the business, this was not always the case. As soon as possible, we’ll bring you the top three collections from these industry leaders. Let’s take a closer look at how they grew to be the dominant force in the baseball card collecting market.

Early Baseball Card Brands and the Emergence of ToppsBowman

Goodwin Tobacco issued the first baseball collection in 1886, which was titled “Baseball.” While the business had its start in the United States, it quickly spread to other nations, including Japan in 1897, Cuba in 1909, and even Canada in 1912. The first baseball cards in the United States were mostly created by tobacco and confectionery companies in the early 1900s. Although it took some time, other firms like as the American Caramel Company were quick to come on board the bandwagon as well.

  • The Goudey collection, which was released in 1933, was one of the most famous collections to come out at the time.
  • The collection had 239 cards, each of which featured player images that had been hand-colored in vibrant and strong tones that truly stood out.
  • Bowman was one of the first prominent card manufacturers, with the Topps name following shortly after.
  • Topps, on the other hand, would relaunch the “Bowman” name in the late 1980s, and the two brands have since merged to create the top two brands in the business.

Top Baseball Card Brands 2021: 2 Iconsa Newcomer

With regard to prospects, Bowman Chrome is the number one baseball card brand in the world, and the company has had a successful run over the previous decade or two. While youthful players will be the primary emphasis of this set, 2021 Bowman Chrome will feature a wonderful mix of rookies, prospects, and superstars, as well as a slew of fascinating parallels, inserts, and signed card alternatives to keep collectors interested. Expect to discover two small boxes containing six packets each in each of the hobby boxes you get.

Card to Target: Blaze Jordan (Check Price)

No disrespect meant, but many analysts believe that this child will set the league aBLAZE at some time in the not-too-distant future. He followed in the footsteps of Bryce Harper, graduating from high school early in order to begin his professional career as soon as possible.

And thus far, his professional career has been outstanding, with six home runs and a.324 batting average in his debut season. It’s an investment that screams “can’t miss” because of the excitement, the ability, and the huge stage in Boston.

Sleeper Card to Target: Shalin Polanco

International Prospects in the Top 30 It’s safe to say that Shalin Polancowill be one of the most sought-after cards to come out of the Bowman Chrome Collection in 2021. Keep a watch out for this ultra-talented 17-year-old outfielder as you tear through those packs of baseball cards!

2021 Topps Chrome (Check Price)

The Topps Chrome Hobby Box for the year 2021 showcases two young players that you may have heard of before. Luis Robert and Ronald Acuna Jr. are two of the most talented athletes in the world. It’s not a terrible way to get the party started! On the other hand, each box has 24 packs, with four cards in each of the packs. In addition, each box will contain two signed cards.

See also:  Why Do Baseball Players Make So Much Money

Card to Avoid: Ke’Bryan Hayes

Despite having a disastrous season at the bat in 2021, the previous National League Rookie of the Year front runner’s cards are still the most expensive rookie cards in this collection. Bizarre! Aside from a hot stretch following his call-up to the 2020 roster, Hayes has done little to inspire confidence that he will be a dominant force in the future. In fact, his 5 home runs and.254 average in 295 at-bats in 2021 are far closer to his whole minor league performance than his 5 home runs and.376 average in 85 at-bats in 2020, which was a far cry from his overall minor league performance.

Now that we’ve determined which companies will produce the best baseball cards in 2021.

Top Baseball Card Brands 2021: Coming Soon

The return of one of Bowman’s most profitable collections after a few years on the shelf was welcomed by the company. Bowman Inceptionstands apart from the crowd thanks to its beautiful design, which can be observed on each and every one of its cards. The artwork screams “high quality” since it is filled with vibrant images that helps to bring each card to life. When it comes to hobby boxes, you may expect only one pack with a total of seven cards. While your odds are slim, this is a great “all killer, no filler” set that is worth your time.

  • Marcelo Mayer is the recipient of this card.
  • Despite the fact that he was selected FOURTH!
  • MLB Pipeline has already placed him in the top ten of their top prospects list.
  • $$$$.

Topps will sell its sports card business to Fanatics, a rival.

Business|Topps will sell its sports card business to Fanatics, a competitor, in order to reduce costs.

Fanatics has acquired Topps’ license relationship with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, which Topps had previously lost to them. Credit. The New York Times’ Benjamin Norman contributed to this report.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Topps is now a part of a rapidly expanding sports memorabilia conglomerate that was on the verge of displacing Topps from the baseball card market. Earlier this week, Topps revealed that it had sold its sports card business to Fanatics, a 10-year-old firm with a licensing business centered on sports fanaticism, technology, and networking. According to persons with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information is secret, the agreement values Topps’ sports and entertainment division at little more than $500 million.

  • However, in August, the firm was caught off guard when it lost its license arrangement with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to Fanatics, casting question on the company’s long-term viability.
  • “Topps is synonymous with card collecting — it’s the primary brand that people think of when they think of baseball cards and sports cards,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions for Heritage Auctions.
  • With the announcement of the agreement on Tuesday, Fanatics demonstrated the variety of companies it has established to serve professional sports industry’s ambition to expand beyond tickets and broadcasting, both of which are tough to scale quickly.
  • It is possible that the Topps playing card industry may not undergo an instant transformation under its new management.
  • The company’s longer-term goal, though, is to bring the digital agility that has helped revolutionize its licensed apparel business, which is set up to react swiftly when the popularity of a particular athlete fluctuates.
  • Earlier this year, the company raised $350 million in a transaction that valued the company at more than $10 billion.

(The initial agreement between Fanatics and Major League Baseball and the players’ union called for the team to debut in 2026.) Fanatics’ chief executive, Michael Rubin, described trading cards and collectibles as “a crucial pillar” in the firm’s aspirations to become a “dominant digital sports platform,” according to the company.

  • Rubin, whose network of friends includes Jay-Z and baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, has built a licensing and manufacturing corporation worth $18 billion in the previous decade.
  • Because of the pandemic-driven desire in memorabilia, the company’s gamble on trading cards comes at a time when nostalgia-driven investors have found themselves flush with cash.
  • A Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $6.6 million in August.
  • With that in mind, Topps has rode the tide to record sales of $567 million in 2020, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.
  • A century-old company, Topps, has been through both phases.
  • The company began packaging its gum with “Magic Photo Cards,” which depicted Babe Ruth, Cy Young, and other baseball legends a little more than a decade after that.
  • For $385 million, Topps was purchased by Tornante, an investment business created by Michael Eisner, the former chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, as well as private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners in 2007.
  • It also begun to sell its cards as non-financial transactions (NFTs).
  • Eisner said in a statement on Tuesday, will distinguish Topps as “a gem in the Fanatics portfolio.” Topps’ intention to go public had valued the company’s whole operation at around $1.3 billion.
  • According to an investor presentation produced for the acquisition, Topps’ confectionery and gift card segment accounted for one-third of the company’s total revenues in fiscal year 2017.

As part of its Topps licensing agreement, Tornante retains the rights to produce films and television shows based on the company’s brands, which include the video game franchise MechWarrior/BattleTech and the Garbage Pail Kids, a series of sticker trading cards first released in 1985 as a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids.

Kevin Draper and Katherine Rosman both contributed to this story.

MLB to replace Topps with Fanatics in shake-up of trading card industry

MLB has opted to terminate their license arrangement with Topps after 2025, causing significant disruption in the trading card business. MLB and its players’ union will collaborate on the creation of the new official trading card firm, which will be handled by Fanatics, the sports-merchandise powerhouse. Topps has been a partner of Major League Baseball for more than seven decades and is a household name in the sports-collectibles industry. Being unable to compete in baseball may be devastating to the New York-based firm, which revealed in April that it planned to merge with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp II and go public in a transaction that would value the combined enterprise at $1.3 billion, if it did not win the World Series.

  • Panini America has license deals with both the basketball and football groups, according to the company.
  • According to a source familiar with the talks, Topps was unable to come close to matching the offer from Fanatics in the negotiations.
  • The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils are both owned by Michael Rubin, the company’s chairman and CEO.
  • Topps, which is headed by former Walt Disney Co.
  • Separate agreements are required to license both the logos and other branding marks of a specific sports league as well as the names and likenesses of the players from their respective unions.
  • When a rare 1952 Topps card showing New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle sold for $5.2 million in January, it broke the previous record of $2.2 million established in 2018.

What Brand of Sports Cards are the Most Valuable

The sports card market is dominated by three major corporations.

Panini, Topps, and Upper Deck are three of the most well-known sports card companies. Each has a monopoly in a particular sporting activity. Several leagues and/or players’ associations have exclusive relationships with these organizations. Let’s take a look at each of their respective backgrounds.


Year the company was established: 1961 Donruss is a trademark owned by the company. Basketball, football, soccer, baseball (unlicensed), and hockey are the most popular sports (Unlicensed) Panini is the largest brand in the sports card market, with over a hundred years of history. Previously, Topps was the company in charge, but in recent years, Panini has taken up the mantle. It is the sole contract holder in the sports of basketball and football. Topps used to be the dominant player in these markets.


Year the company was established: 1938 AllenGinterBowman is a trademark owned by AllenGinterBowman. Baseball is the primary sport. Until Panini came along, Topps was the undisputed ruler of the sports card world. In truth, they possessed a monopoly on the industry in question. From the 1950s until the 1980s, Topps created a large number of great cards. Things that come to mind when we hear someone mention sports cards. For example, the typical 52 mantle Topps is currently exclusively present in the baseball market.

Upper Deck

Year the company was established: 1988 O-Pee-CheeFleer is a trademark owned by the company. Hockey is the primary sport. A legendary baseball set from Upper Deck’s 89 collection launched their career in baseball card collecting. After including Ken Griffey Jr. as the first card in the set, they were able to garner a significant amount of attention through good fortune and clever branding. It’s the most recognizable Upper Deck baseball card ever produced. Over time, the focus has shifted more and more toward hockey.


Panini is the undisputed leader in the basketball market. They have a plethora of brands available on the market that people are wild about. Paper, chrome, signature cards, and rookie cards are all valuable collectibles that may sell for thousands of dollars. When evaluated by PSA or BGS, this is especially true.

National Treasure

Identify and recruit the proper rookie out of a national treasure box, and you may expect to earn six figures in a single day. In fact, a Zion rookie card was the subject of a $500,000 prize on its discovery. Autographs on the card, sick patches, and beautiful designs are just some of the reasons why this product is so popular.


Prizm is the greatest product that you can get from a retail store (if you can beat the flippers) There are a ton of parallelsautos available to draw from the cards in the set, and the design of the cards is fantastic. Prizm rookies tend to do significantly better than rookies from all other retail basketball brands. It is considered to be Panini’s flagship product.


Donruss Optic is considered to be one of the top brands for Panini and basketball in general, and this is no exception.

It has a large number of parallels and signature cards, just as prizm. The most significant distinction is that it is a Donruss brand rather than a major Panini brand.


I have a preference for certain types of cards. They are a collection of chrome cards, similar to optic and prizm. While the cards don’t have the same resale value as prizm, they do have signatures and parallels that are worth something. And these highly sought-after cards continue to fetch a hefty sum of money.

Other Top Brands

Despite the fact that Panini produces some excellent baseball cards, many collectors ignore them in the sport. I collect both, although some collectors are wary of unauthorized stuff, which I understand. So, with that in mind, I’ll solely be addressing Topps items when it comes to baseball.

Topps Chrome

Sapphire is one of the most costly brands available. Part of it has to do with the Phil Pulls hype and the fact that the cards are gorgeous. Another factor is that the boxes are pricey and the resale value of singles is high.


Chrome update is a collection of cards that are only available at Target. Flippers have been snatching them up and reselling them for exorbitant amounts on sites such as eBay and Facebook. Making it nearly hard to locate these packs at their regular retail price. Add to that the fact that it has a disproportionate number of valuable rookies. As shown in the 2018 set with AcunaSotoIt is undeniable that the cost of the Chrome upgrade continues to climb.

See also:  How To Pick A Baseball Bat Size


In comparison to the Topps flagship cards, the chrome cards are slightly more in demand. The growing drive for chrome across the whole hobby has fueled interest in chrome collecting among enthusiasts. Rookies, parallels, and signature cards are also available. In addition to the flagship brand, chrome base rookie cards are now worth more than the flagship brand. Topps Standard Series 1, 2, and Update are all available. In terms of purchasing rookies or counterparts of a player, the normal Topps rookie is the most secure option available.

And as Topps continues to make more cards, I expect this trend to continue to climb.

Bowman Chrome

Bowman chrome cards might be in high demand, but they are not on the same level as topps chrome cards. The only exception is if you can find a 1st bowman card, in which case you should do so. Topps chrome does not have any prospects on its list, but Bowman’s list is brimming with potential players.

Diamond Icons

Topps’ version of National Treasures is shown here. Booklets, patches, and dual autos that are out of this world are available on card. The cards that are contained within the merchandise are always pricey.

Other Top Brands

  • Triple threads, Five Star, Museum, Tribute, and Transcendent are just a few of the options available.


Panini is the market leader in the football market. Despite the fact that Topps has manufactured a large number of cards in the past, they no longer have the right to do so. As a result, for the sake of this piece, we shall exclusively cover Panini football cards. The most popular football brands are those that are following the latest basketball fashions. As a result, understanding the fundamentals of one market may be applied to the other.

National Treasure

If you get the proper card in a National Treasure break, you may expect to win a lot of money, much as in basketball.

The rookie patch signatures have sparked a craze among collectors and investors (RPA). They are known to spend between 5 and 6 figures on their favorite athletes.


Prizm is Panini’s most recognizable chrome brand. As a result, it stands to reason that the same rules that apply to basketball apply to football. Prizm is a highly sought-after brand because of its Autographs, colored refractors, and top rookies. This is supported by the resale market. Prizm has been ranked as the top Football rookie in recent years.

Donruss Optic

Optic is a close second to Prizm in terms of attractiveness. However, it suffers from the same issue as bowman chrome. It is not the company’s top-selling chrome product. Prizm is preferred by those who like to spend a lot of money.


Another chrome brand to add to the list alongside Optic and Prizm. Select has a large number of parallels and automatics.

Other Top Brands

  • Contenders, Flawless, Majestic, Crown Royale, and Immaculate are all words that come to mind.


Upper Deck is the brand to look for when it comes to hockey cards. There is no competition from panini or topps, and they have complete control of the market.

The Cup

This is Upper Deck’s National Treasure, according to the company. Expect to see sick patches, on-card signatures, and other items during the show.


Similarly to Topps baseball cards, the basic upper deck cards tend to fetch a high price on the secondary market. Young Gun rookies are a hot commodity among collectors. And the costs have continued to rise over the past many years.


As a brand, O-Pee-Chee has had a quite colorful history. It has transitioned from being an independent to being a topps and now to being an Upper Deck. Unlike the Cup or the ordinary upper deck cards, it is not as sought after as the other cards. However, it is a historic brand that collectors continue to purchase.

Other Top Brands

Panini is the owner of the more desired soccer leagues on the market. As a result, their cards are far more valuable than those of Topps. Here is a list of the things that both parties currently own. Topps: Bundesliga, Champions League, and Europa League are just a few of the competitions available. Panini’s portfolio includes the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, European Championships, and the World Cup. At some point in the future, I can see Topps and Panini slugging it out for complete control of the sport.

Panini Prizm

At this point in time, the market has determined that Prizm is the brand to wear for soccer. The pricing of Prizm Football and Basketball are entirely to blame for this situation. However, the cards retail for far more money than the Topps Chrome or Panini Select cards.

Panini Select

Another product in the same vein as Panini Chrome. Select is a sub-brand of Prizm, yet it is still a coveted one.

Topps Chrome

Topps’ most well-known chrome product Chrome cards are similar to prizm in appearance. They have a plethora of parallels and cars of prominent sportsmen on display. When compared to the Panini items, the leagues aren’t as appealing.

Other Top Brands

Each year, Topps, Panini, and Upper Deck introduce new brands to the market. The following characteristics should be looked for in a good brand when making an investment.

On Card Autos

Sticker automobiles are no longer used for this.

A player must genuinely sign his or her name on a card. Many collectors are averse to or dislike sticker autos, so seek for a brand that has on card branding.


Having the top rookies for the season is essential for a set to be considered worthwhile. Rookie cards are constantly in demand, therefore it helps a brand maintain their worth for the year in which they are issued.

Jumbo Patches

The quality of the patches might assist you in determining whether or not a brand is valued. Chrome cards are frequently found to be unpatched and so remain valuable. Look for large patches with vibrant colors, stitching, tags, and other eye-catching designs and patterns. The more distinctive the patch, the higher the price at which a card is likely to sell.


Producing booklet cards is significantly more expensive than producing a standard card. They usually have an insane auto patch or a twin auto patch installed in them. They are rare in lower-end items, while they can occasionally be found one per box in higher-end products.

Limited Production

The 1990s were plagued by an overabundance of playing cards. When purchasing a box or singles from a certain brand, look for the number of units produced. Generally speaking, the more limited something is on a high-end card, the better it tends to be. Boxes and cards, on the other hand, are significantly more costly.

Final Thoughts

Many companies were left out of this guide, and there are many more to discover. This does not imply that they are unimportant. In fact, some of the most popular items from these businesses are quite pricey. If you have any questions, please join us in our Discord channel. You will receive assistance from a member of our community.

Hoornstra: What’s in a brand? Fans of Topps baseball cards are about to find out

Baseball cards, for such a small piece of cardboard, have a remarkable ability to emulate the professional baseball business on which they are based. For example, there are several entrance ways into the hobby of collecting baseball cards. I have no recollection of how I got to own my first pair; they were already in the house when my developing brain began to be. My first recollections of the 1986 Topps baseball cards, which had the club name in large block characters against a black backdrop, stretch back to before I even played or attended a baseball game.

  • When I closed my eyes and thought “baseball,” the first thing that came to me was a rectangle measuring 212 by 312 inches.
  • Traditions come and go, but the ritual of opening a new pack of baseball cards has stayed fairly consistent over the years.
  • Because of this, news of Topps’ projected fall in the baseball card industry came as a complete surprise to many people.
  • Since 1951, Topps has been manufacturing baseball cards on a constant basis.

In the opinion of Nick Vossbrink, a card collector who co-chairs the baseball card committee of the Society for American Baseball Research with Jason Schwartz, “I believe there are a surprising number of folks for whom Topps is the only brand that matters.” “It was a complete surprise to me when it happened.

It would be the equivalent of Disney ceasing to exist.

If Amazon were to take over Disneyland, the experience would be very different.

For example, there are collectors my age who purchase the factory set each year since they already have every Topps set produced since, say, 1966 on their shelves.

Vossbrink began collecting a few years later, in 1987, and hasn’t stopped since.

Many of the companies that would become well-known by 1987 – Donruss, Fleer, Upper Deck, and Score – were not making baseball cards when the first set was released in 1978.

15, 1980, United Stated District Judge Clarence C.

As a result, the so-called “junk wax” age of card collecting came into being.

The cards themselves were of limited worth since there were so few of them that were truly scarce, but collecting as a pastime grew in popularity like never before.

Baseball’s appeal among card collectors was damaged as a result of the 1994 strike, which was a case in point of art imitating life.

After the 1994 strike, Vossbrink personally decided to quit collecting.

“It’s gotten to be a lot of options.” Okay, three to five sets are OK.

Let us fast forward to 2009.

That is the case now.

Vossbrink asserted that the alteration was never implemented.

“The price of these items never went down.

Additionally, they are not available for purchase online, which makes it difficult for children.” The irony of the reaction to the Topps-Fanatics handoff may be seen in this statement.

The only way to get your hands on your favorite player is to buy them off the street.

So many of those issues may be resolved, at the very least, if the company is under new ownership and leadership.

Now, if Fanatics did something similar, you could buy your T-shirt from your favorite club and receive a discount of five percent off your pack of cards, I’d have no problems.

They are devoted to their team.

Their squad has now disbanded — kind of.

After all, people continue to purchase Donruss trading cards.

They’re simply about the same every year.

They have a squad of maybe six men on their checklist.

The communication was not answered, and the agreement has not yet been made public, according to the company.

They will soon become the only game in town, similar to Topps.

They have the freedom to experiment with or maintain the card-collecting tradition as they see proper.

‘It serves as a historical record of the players’ names, who was significant, and what baseball was worth at the time.’ Despite the fact that it’s a bit ridiculous that everything should be associated with a single brand, there is something to the fact that we all sort of expected it would last forever, even though we knew it wouldn’t.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.