Sports cards have value!
However, it's important to remember that for a collector, it may not be all about the money.
Baseball cards have value for different reasons to different people. That being said, the money factor is important to many collectors, or people just looking to sell cards they may have inherited. When it comes to money, a baseball card is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Two of the most popular baseball card price guides are Beckett and Tuffstuff. A tricky thing about different price guides is that they may have different values for the same card! At this time Beckett is the most commonly used guide. Some collectors love Beckett and some hate it, but the bottom line is that Beckett is the resource that most collectors use.
Price guides give a high and low book value (BV) for any particular card. We like the online price guide offered by Beckett. You can subscribe to their site for a low monthly fee and have access to all of their current baseball card listings. Beckett makes it very easy to search their site for the cards you want to look up. Beckett also puts out a monthly magazine with the same price information. TuffStuff magazine also has online version of their price guides located at their website. A nice benefit to using this guide is that it is free! Learn more about the price guides .
These price guides are helpful but don’t rush out to sell your cards just yet.
CAUTION the listed prices in the guides do not mean you’ll be able to go and sell your cards for those prices! Remember that a card is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it; with this in mind you must visit auction sites to see what your card is actually selling for. After you visit the auction sites like ebay, you will notice that baseball cards often sell for much less than even the low end BV (book value) of the price guide range. As with any type of investment, we recommend you do your homework before investing in baseball cards.
Where we find the price guides to be particularly helpful is with trading baseball cards. Since there is no money exchanging hands when trading, collectors tend to rely more on what the price guides list; often card collectors will trade book value for book value!
One way to increase or maintain the $$ value of your baseball card is to have it graded. Learn more about getting your sports cards graded. If you're looking for a way to sell your baseball cards you'll want to learn more about the various ways you can turn your sports cards into cash!
A Mickey Mantle from this same 1952 Topps set is currently valued between $12,000 and $20, 000! More often than not, the older the cards the more likely they will have value, this is especially the case with cards from the pre 1970's. On the flip side, sports cards were vastly over produced in the 1990's, many cards from those years have very little value. It all gets back to supply and demand. The more that there are of a card the less value it's going to have.
Back in the 50's kids would actually play with their baseball cards, flipping them, putting them in the spokes of their bicycle tires, etc. These cards often received a lot of hard (well loved) use, wear and tear, and often were damage beyond repair, diminishing the supply and increasing the demand (value).
The notion of a card becoming an investment dominated the late 80's and 90's. Kids were no longer playing with the cards, but were instead encouraged to not touch them, and put them in protective cases, binders, etc. The thought of jamming a card into the spoke of your bike tire became almost unimaginable! Combine this lack of use with card manufacturers making more and more cards, and the end result is a glut of cards not worth very much. That being said, we feel that even with cards from the 1980's and 90's, it is worth your time to see what you have and what it currently is selling for on sites like Ebay!
A Valuable Baseball Card
By Rob Harris (Sportscardfun.com guest author)
Last spring, I went to a game in Fenway Park for the first time. As I was flying out of Chicago, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. He was a Cubs fan, too, and the conversation we had--one longtime fan to another--made the flight into Philadelphia (I wasn't flying direct, obviously) seem like it lasted about ten minutes.
As we were deplaning in Philadelphia, to catch the connecting flight into Boston, I realized that I had an old Lance Johnson baseball card in my pocket. I had taken it into work one day, in order to prove the accuracy of some bit of trivia that the card contained on the back (and if anyone asks you who's the only major leaguer to lead both leagues in hits for a season, the answer is Lance Johnson. You can thank me later).
I offered the Lance Johnson card to my traveling companion, and he gladly accepted it. He indicated that he was a baseball card collector as well, and this made be doubly pleased to have offered it to him. He then asked me what the most valuable baseball card I have is, and the answer I gave him made him skip a beat.
If I had said it was an Ernie Banks commemorative patch card, or an autographed Billy Williams card, or a baseball card with Lou Brock in a Cubs uniform, he would have probably accepted any of those answers. And I have all of those things, too, but I don’t consider them to be inherently valuable. At least not as much as my Keith Comstock card.
I got a quizzical look at that response. "I've never heard of Keith Comstock," was his reply. I figured he hadn't, and so I proceeded to explain what I meant.
Keith Comstock never pitched for the Cubs. In the 1991 Topps baseball card set, which ironically enough was his last year in the majors, he pitched for the Seattle Mariners. The Topps employee whose job it was to identify the players on the cards somehow looked at the blue uniform Comstock is wearing and labeled him as a Cub. Thus, even though Comstock played as many innings for the Cubs as I did, he has a place in my collection alongside the Andre Dawsons, Ryne Sandbergs, Keith Morelands, and all of the others.
The error that Topps made with the Comstock card did raise the monetary value of it somewhat, and there are collectors who gather up these sorts of error cards. But I wouldn't sell mine, or trade it either. The value in the card comes from the lesson it teaches me, or at least reminds me of.
These baseball cards are made by human beings just like you and me. As long as that's the case, cards like these will be made and sent out for the world to see. I've worked as an editor for over a decade now, and I've caught literally thousands of things that needed to be fixed. But a mistake or two is bound to happen, despite my very best errors to the contrary. That's life.
That Topps employee, whoever it was, had a fantastic job working with baseball cards all day long. And 99% and more of the work he or she did turned out error-free. But just as big leaguers will drop an easy pop fly from time to time, so too will editors let one through. There are many reasons why this happens, but after the fact, those reasons only sound like excuses.
With that, I had explained why a flawed Keith Comstock card has more value to me, as an editor and as a person, than any regular card could ever have. He liked that explanation, and he wished me well as we boarded the next flight (our seats for that flight weren't near each other, or else the conversation would have continued on into Boston). And even though the game in Fenway didn't end like I wanted it to, I think I'll remember Keith Comstock as much as anything I saw on the field that day.
Save Money, Buy Wisely!
by Jennifer Shook (Sportscardfun.com guest author)
When it comes to collecting sports cards, there never seems to be enough money for us to spend on our collections to make them as complete as we want them to be. With the cost of individual packs on the rise and availability becoming an issue, collectors are left wondering how to collect more effectively.
The first rule of effective collecting is to spend your money wisely. Evaluate the products you buy. How many cards in a pack? How many packs in a box? Are you guaranteed hits like autographs or memorabilia cards? What company produced the cards? Are the cards new product, older product, or a mix of newer and old products? Are the cards packaged in original wrappers or are they loose?
Knowing what you are buying helps you maintain your bottom line. If you like a particular team or player; consider this: You may spend $65 on a box of product. Once opened, your "promised hit" may be an autograph from the Left Fielder of the Altoona Turkeys. You may get the base card of the player you wanted as well as a few other players from your favorite team, but no inserts of players you really wanted.
So, how about taking that $65 and buying direct. Online auction sites provide you with an opportunity to purchase your favorite player's base card, insert or parallel cards, and team set for a fraction of what you would pay for the box. By spending in a more specific way, you are able to add key cards to your collection for less money.
Perhaps your collecting passion is building sets. If this is the case, you can quickly get discouraged by the amount of
money you spend on product only to find the collation is bad and you are nowhere near finishing the set. Again, online action sites can be a thrifty solution if you buy "lots". But what about all the extras you have and inserts you don't need? You could try to re-sell the cards online to make some money. However, listing fees and payment/ transaction fees can make selling cards for profit unrealistic.
Another option for extra cards is trading. Trading cards helps you financially by allowing you to get the most out of the money you spend. When you network with other collectors, you can get "book price" for cards you trade. This works well if you buy a $65 box and get cards that collectively book for $300. The downside to trading cards is that the cards you get in trade will also be "book price". So, you may trade away $50 in cards to get a single $50 card that you could have paid $10 in cash for at an online auction site. Trading cards can also be problematic because traders generally want the newest products which also cost more to purchase.
Whoever you choose to collect and however you choose to buy cards, the bottom line for collectors is knowledge. Know what you want to collect and stay focused. Know what your budget is and stay within the limits. Know the hot teams and players and know what manufacturers produce the best quality products. Stay away from generic products that promise pulls that are "too good to be true".
Price vs. Value
by Jennifer Shook (Sportscardfun.com guest author)
Any collector of sports cards can tell you, the most fun you can have besides tearing open packs (or getting free cards!) is sitting down and pricing your collection. Finding prices for your cards is different from determining value. Wait, aren't values and prices the same you ask? They are not the same and here is what makes them different.
Prices are tangible. You can look them up in a book or magazine. You can find them online. Prices are fixed amounts that you can associate with a particular card. Base cards, commons, inserts, parallels, etc. all have a definite fixed price. Maybe you feel the price is too high based on the number of cards produced. Maybe you think the price is too low because you opened a ton of product and that particular card was hard to pull.
In these instances we are no longer talking price, we are talking baseball card value. As soon as you include subjective things like feelings or opinions, you are determining value. A base or common card may be priced at .30. If it is the last card you need to finish your set and you REALLY want it, it no longer becomes a .30 card. (It becomes a mission!) As the last card you need, it has greater value to you and you are apt to pay more money or trade higher priced cards to get it. Thus the card has greater value than price.
As collectors, we want the most return from our investment. However, as anyone who has ever tried to sell something will tell you, an item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If you have a card that is priced at $100, but there is only one person who wants it and they will only give you $50 for it, then you may conclude that even though the price is $100, the value is only $50.
When pricing our sports cards, we hope to realize prices that are higher individually than what we paid for the product collectively. When everyone uses the same pricing source, we have a base-line of what we can reasonably expect to get for our cards. This is helpful for selling purposes, insurance purposes, and trading purposes. Prices are a leveling element for our playing field.
By looking up a price, we learn about the cards we have. (This is the fun part!) What year is the card? Who is the manufacturer? What is the proper description? Accurate identification is not only part of discovering price, but also gaining knowledge as a collector. Once we properly identify a card, we can then catalogue it in our own collection or list it accurately for sale or trade.
Prices and values can both be flexible. Is your baseball card really worth $20 if you can't get $20 for it? Probably not. Price can also change through negotiation. If a buyer wants a card REALLY bad, the seller may sense it and stick to the listed price. If the condition of a card is a factor, a seller may settle for a lower price.
Buying and reselling baseball cards for profit
by MoneySniffer (Sportscardfun.com guest author)
Many traders and online sellers are aware of the term “flipping”, but just in case you aren’t…Flipping is the act of buying something for a low price and selling it for higher than what you initially paid. I know many people think this is a risky way of making a little money to fund your collection, but let’s be honest it’s better than taking a gamble on a minor league prospect.
Hanging around on the message boards for most of my teenage years taught me the value of baseball cards. Many traders often asked me how a 14 year old (at the time) had Babe Ruth jersey cards. Everyone thought I was just another kid using daddy’s credit card to fund my collection, nope. I was the kind of kid sitting at the counter of the local card shop trying to swing a deal on the latest hot cards. (which I then would sell on eBay for a profit)
For me, baseball cards were about 2 things, having fun and making money (so I could buy more cards). I was determined as a young teenager to be able to buy the occasional $100 card, or the new bowman chrome packs. This all was made possible because I knew the value of baseball cards and knew how to flip.
For my personal experiences I can honestly say that for the majority of my childhood (from ages 12-17), I learned how to buy and resell baseball cards using the internet. Doing this for many years, I learned valuable skills like; how to negotiate, how to find good deals, and how to value baseball cards. Flipping cards helped me fund my collection when I was younger and recently allowed me to buy my first car ($2400).
However, not only did I buy and resell. I would sometimes take a card that was valued at a high book value (let’s say BV $50) that I knew only sold for $6. I would then take this card and trade it for a different card worth a book value of $50…EXCEPT this card sells for $22. Both trade parties are satisfied and I now get to flip this card, nearly tripling my cash.
I’m not saying flipping items is an easy thing to do, but with experience it can be a great way to make a couple hundred dollars a month if you are committed and knowledgeable to whatever item you choose to flip.
My best flip was a baseball card I bought for $9.50 and sold for $168 only 1 week after I bought it, I ended up selling this card for nearly 17 times what i originally paid for it (not bad eh?). I bought this card on naxcom.com only 23 minutes after it was listed!
A closer look at the values of baseball cards
Let's take a look at the different values of baseball cards (and other sports cards as well). We'll pick a baseball card and look up its Beckett book value. We might also use the TuffStuff guide as well. Then, we'll look at what the card is actually selling for on sites like Ebay, Beckett, and Naxcom. Our experience tells us that most of the time we'll find that cards sell for quite a bit less than their high book values, often coming it at around 50% of high book. Occasionally there will be cards that sell for around book value, and in some instances we'll find cards that sell for more than their listed book values! Such was the case with the recent media induced phenomena involving the 2007 Topps #40 baseball card featuring Derek Jeter, President Bush and Mickey Mantle. Clearly what happened with this card was extremely rare and it's unlikely we'll find many (if any) examples of this type of sky-rocketing over book value situation, but you never know! Maybe you have a card that you'd like us to throw into the mix? No promises, and we're not professional graders, but if you send us the year and number of your card we'll see what we can find out. For the most part we're just going to assume that the cards we evaluate are near mint to mint condition.
The date we post a card is the date we check the book value, so it's possible that the book value may have changed if you're looking at an older post. When a card has sold for more than it's high book value we'll give it a *
2012 BOWMAN CHROME #214 BRYCE HARPER Rookie Card
Beckett lists this baseball cards value at: $3.00 low book and $8.00 high book
A recently completed Ebay auction for one of these cards sold for $4.75 (59% of high book value)
2011 Bowman Chrome #175 Mike Trout RC
Beckett lists this baseball cards value at: $10.00 low book and $25.00 high book
A recently completed Ebay auction for one of these cards sold for $16.00 (64% of high book value)
2000 Topps Chrome Traded #T40 Miguel Cabrera RC
Beckett lists this baseball cards value at: $40.00 low book and $80.00 high book
A recently completed Ebay auction for one of these cards sold for $37.50 (47% of high book value)
Beckett lists this baseball cards value at: $5.00 low book and $12.00 high book
Beckett lists this baseball cards value at: $.75 low book and $2.00 high book