Colllecting Baseball Cards

Baseball cards have been the first love of many a young boy. Over the years, with a die-hard dedication to their favorite team, boys have collected and traded to get their favorite cards. Just looking at cards today may bring back to you memories of going to the ballpark and seeing your favorite player hit a home run or pitch a no hitter. With nostalgia and the love of memorabilia items on the rise, it only makes sense that baseball cards are desired items in today’s market.

Back in the old days, you would see cards on bike spokes, but now, most children treat their cards with much greater care. That is because in recent years, the baseball card frenzy has grown and with that growth, card values have risen. A 1911 T206 Piedmont Honus Wagner recently sold for over $1,000,000 because of its rarity. Wagner felt his image on a tobacco card would result in children using tobacco, so he demanded his image be removed from the card. But not before several were printed and released into circulation. Today, while there are many different Wagner cards out there at more reasonable prices, there are only two know Piedmont cards with the his image – thus creating the price hysteria.

If you have an old baseball card collection, you might want to dig it out and dust it off to see exactly what you have. There are several important factors that determine a baseball card’s worth. One is the player himself. Two classic players whose cards are very valuable are Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. While fans adored the fun-loving Ruth, they generally despised Cobb because of his aggressive play and overall bad attitude. However, both were titans of their time and usually great play over a long period of time will make a player’s card more desirable. Players from the fifties and sixties like Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle are also great players who were looked up to by many young boys. Their greatness combined with childhood hero worship helped elevate the value of their cards. Rookie cards of the greats are usually worth more. Then, unexplainably, some cards of great players are not as valuable as others. Cy Young, a baseball Hall of Famer who pitched the first perfect game in American League history, has a pitching award named after him that is awarded to the best pitcher of each season. Yet, his 1911 Piedmont card books for between $1,200 and $2,000 while Ty Cobb’s card from the same set and year runs between $3,000 and $5,000.

There are other things that affect the value of your cards. Condition in baseball cards is a great factor in determining the price. Any damage, such as holes, rounded corners, and creases will lower the value of your card. Professional businesses like Beckett can help you determine the monetary value of your cards. You can look up a card to find the estimated value for free at their web site ( or subscribe to their monthly price guide. But if the card is of a certain value, you will probably want to get Beckett to look at your card and grade it for you. Grading is a somewhat new phenomenon that involves professionals evaluating the card for condition. While this can be somewhat expensive, the cost will most likely be regained if you decide to sell your cards in the future. People buying cards today like to know the grading and that the card was graded by a reputable source such as Beckett.

Another thing that may change is the card’s lasting value. Some cards, because of an error or a player having an exceptional season, are initially valuable. But, if the market gets saturated with the error card or the player has a bad season, the value can fall just as quickly. Take the recent baseball steroids scandal for example. Although it has not been proven they used steroids, just the mention of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire’s names has lowered the value of both their rookie cards substantially.

If you think you have a valuable card, you want to take good care of it. At the very least, get a folder with plastic sheets and put the card in there to protect it. If it is a very valuable card, you will want to get a hard plastic cardholder. These provide the best protection for cards and can usually be found at a hobby shop (if they sell baseball cards) or toy store. If you get your card graded, the grader usually provides a cardholder for the card.

If you have a card collection, you can keep it for your own enjoyment, save it for grandkids or think about selling it. Regardless, it is a good idea to know what you have and have a good idea of the value of your collection.

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