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Collecting baseball cards is fun especially when you get your favorite players. Check out our list of the most expensive baseball cards.
(Photo : Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
While baseball is the face of America besides football when it comes to popularity, collecting baseball cards is not left behind. From the golden days of Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter to Roberto Clemente, the expensive baseball cards in our cabinets, basements, and other storages will make a big difference in auctions.
The value of a baseball card will depend on its rarity, age, condition, and demand in the market. Let’s take a glimpse at the top 10 most expensive cards of all time that we overlook sometimes.
Top 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards
10. JOE DOYLE, N.Y. NAT’L, 1909-1911 ATC T206 // $414,750
Joe Doyle, also known as “Slow Joe” played as a pitcher from 1906 to 1910. He may not be a famous player but his card took this throne to recognition. Doyle’s card is living for 100 hundred years already. One noticeable change in the card is the printing error where Doyle is playing for New York’s National League team, instead of the American League Team.
Joe’s card became an auction staple for the hardcore collectors, with its price ranging from $64,099 to a whopping $414,750.
9. ROBERTO CLEMENTE, 1955 TOPPS // $478,000
Puerto Rican prodigy Roberto Clemente is a Hall of Famer who belongs to the 3,000-hit club. He died in 1972 when the plane of their charity team crashed on its way to Nicaragua.
His 1955 rookie card was sold for $432,690 in 2012. In 2016, it was even sold to a higher price of $478,000.
8. WILLIE MAYS, 1952 TOPPS // $478,000
Old fans will remember Mays’ days as a centerfielder of San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. In a sports items auction in 2016, Mays’ card was sold for $478,000. After three days, the auction sold $11 million worth of sports memorabilia.
7. BABE RUTH, 1914 BALTIMORE NEWS // $575,000
The Sultan of Swat is still hitting home runs in the fantasy baseball cards. Besides being an excellent hitter, his left-handed pitches are the greatest pitches during his time. In 2012, a PSA 2 graded copy of Ruth’s card was sold for a staggering $575,000 by Robert Edwards Auctions. It’s an ultra-rare card, with only 10 known to be existing.
6. NOLAN RYAN/JERRY KOOSMAN, 1968 TOPPS // $612,359
The combo card of Ryan and Koosman as rookies in Mets was sold for $612,359. There 8,000 Ryan-Koosman cards in the market, but this Topps edition caught the attention of the auctioneers and bidders. What makes it expensive is it pristine condition graded at 10. When this card’s condition deteriorates even in grade 9, its value could only move between $20,000 and $30,000.
5. “SHOELESS” JOE JACKSON, 1909 AMERICAN CARAMEL // $667,149
Black Sox Scandal, the biggest gambling scandal in baseball history tells a lot about Jackson. However, the bad reputation of Shoeless did not affect his value in baseball cards. In 2008, a slightly poor condition only yield an $86,975 market value for Jackson’s 1909 card. Eight years after, a better-graded card was sold for $667,149 in an auction.
A card’s good condition truly makes its value worthwhile.
4. PETE ROSE/PEDRO GONZALEZ/KEN MCMULLEN/AL WEIS, 1963 TOPPS // $717,000
In some instances, an older card will not equate to a higher value. That’s the case of this rookie card of Rose, Gonzales, McMullen, and Weis. “The Hit King” made it a valuable collectible card that got the highest rating among its kind. It was sold in an auction at $717,000 for an A+ grade card. If its grade decreases even for a single value, it could be bargained for around $70,000.
3. BABE RUTH, 1916 SPORTING NEWS // $717,000
Another Babe Ruth card on the list is the 1916 Sporting News. In 2016, Ruth’s card was sold for a shocking $717,000. At that time, it was the only auction that accented the said version. A year later, another card was sold for $550,000.
It’s easy to say the condition of the card, without thinking that the ideal selling time will be an upper hand during the auction.
2. HONUS WAGNER, 1909-1911 ATC T206 // $3.12 MILLION
Wagner’s card was sold for $3.2 million in 2016, marking it as the “holy grail” of all baseball cards that are existing. Previously, it was sold for $2.7 million in 2007. It became famous through its connection to the American Tobacco company, where the Wagner card was attached.
Upon knowing his involvement, Wagner ordered the tobacco firm to stop producing the cards. A hundred years later, only a few cards around 20 to 200 exist, making it one of the rarest baseball cards.
1. MICKEY MANTLE, 1952 TOPPS // $ 5.2 MILLION
The Mick and The Commerce Comet – or whatever you call him was a solid New York Yankee central midfielder and first baseman. In 2016, his 1952 Topps was bought for $1.13 million. Its PSA grade is around 8.5 to 10, with several copies with lower grades of 6 to 7, which is worth $100,000. In April 2018, its value went even higher at around $3.5 million.
On January 15, 2021, Mickey’s card became the highest-valued baseball card of all time, breaking its past records at a surprising $5.2 million.
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