The beginning of baseball cards has been humble. But now it is one of the most exotic hobbies turned money-making industry.
In the early days, baseball cards used to be present in the cigarette packets. The reason for such insertion was to support the flimsy packaging, leaving the cigarettes intact. It was the 1880s, and people from that era know it. Later in the 1930s, baseball cards became a hit, especially among the kids. A bonus piece of bubble gums used to be in the pack.
It was however 1980s when the value of baseball cards reached unbelievable heights. All thanks to the interest of the public in nostalgic Major League Baseball players. Ask your parents and grandparents to look for those cards. Maybe their collection has rare and ultra-legend cards. You can sell them and become a millionaire. You heard it right! Baseball cards are now a billion-dollar industry.
Not convinced? Let’s check some of the best baseball cards that are rare, super valuable, and of exceptional price.
The Best Baseball Cards and Their Value
Before checking out the top baseball cards collection, it’s vital to understand some jargon. PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) will be used to determine the grading of each baseball card. Then it would be graded on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates poor condition and 10 means gem mint status of the card. The prices mentioned revealing the rate at which the card was sold in the respective year.
1969 Topps Reggie Jackson
Reginald Martinez Jackson, a former baseball right fielder is still a popular MLB player. His 1969 card was sold for $155,242 in 2012. This PSA 10 baseball card is still in prestigious condition with no sign of aging.
Reggie Jackson is the recipient of the Babe Ruth Award awarded in 1977. The Hall of Fame player had a tremendous record of 563 home runs. To date, many baseball lovers remember Jackson as a booming batter and as “Mr. October”. He was given this nickname due to his clutch hitting with the Athletics and the Yankees.
The 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson card was last sold in 2012 and is still in gem mint condition. Just think about the value of the card in 2022 when the baseball sports card industry is at new heights.
1909 T206 Honus Wagner
Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner was an exceptional baseball shortstop. His 1909 card was a part of the 1911 American Tobacco Company, more likely to support the cigarette packaging. Being one of the rarest cards, the PSA 2 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card was sold for $6.6 million in 2021. This marks the most expensive baseball card sale.
Throughout his career, Honus Wagner had 3,420 hits with 723 stolen bases. He was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” due to his impressive speed and German heritage. Honus Wagner was among the first five who got inducted into the Baseball Hall of the Fame.
The 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card is rare as the American Tobacco Company pulled out the production of it way earlier. The majority of the cards are either torn or in the worst condition. It’s vital to note that the card was previously sold for $3.2 million in 2016 as well.
1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb
The PSA 8 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb card was sold for $516,000 in 2022. It’s a beautiful card with a striking red background, glorifying the legendary baseball player’s presence. Cracker Jack issued the card in 1914 as well as in 1915. Since 1914 the card was sold in crackerjack boxes, that’s why they are rare and hard to find.
Tyrus Raymond Cobb was an MLB outfielder. With 4,189 hits and 892 stolen bases, Ty Cobb has been one of the favorite and top baseball players. Cobb received the highest votes on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. In 1999, Ty Cobb was included in “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players” list.
Since 1914 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb card is still in pristine condition, it is speculated that the price of the card will go much higher in near future.
1954 Topps Hank Aaron
Being the only rookie card of Hank Aaron, the 1954 Topps Hank Aaron baseball card is in demand. This rare card is available in PSA 9 condition, sold recently for $500,000. To date, Hank Aaron is popular among his fans where many still consider him the true and undefeated home run king.
Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron was an incredible baseball right fielder. He was nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank” due to his smashing career. With a record hit of 755 home runs and 3,771 hits, Henry Aaron was part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Being a three-time Golden Glove winner, Aaron made an undisputed name in the MLB.
It is speculated that sooner or later, the card will reach the worth of $1 million as the baseball cards industry is booming, and it’s Hank Aaron card we are talking about!
1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie
The PSA 9 condition card of 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie has been sold for $350,000. It’s the first sports card carefully packaged with bubble gum in every pack. With a beautifully classic look, the 1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie is one of the rarest cards.
Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie was a professional baseball second baseman. He was nicknamed “Larry Lajoie” or “The Frenchman”. With 3,252 hits and 1,599 runs batted in, Lajoie was one of the top baseball players of his time. Napoleon Lajoie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of the Fame in 1937.
Initially, Lajoie was not part of the set but after the exceptional demand of the fans, Goudey had to add him. Since then, Napoleon Lajoie’s card has been in demand.
1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth
Baltimore News published this pre-rookie card in 1914, making it one of the first appearances of Babe Ruth in MLB cards. There are only ten cards left making it a pretty rare one. The 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card is a PSA 2 which was last sold for $575,000 in 2012.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. was a professional MLB player who was both, an outfielder and a pitcher. He was nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”. He was among the first five baseball players who got elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ruth had 714 home runs, 2,873 hits, and 94 wins in his name.
Babe Ruth is one of the legendary names in the baseball world. Since there are not many options left, even the PSA 2 rating card holds the potential to sell for nearly $1 million in such an era where baseball cards are in extreme demand.
1968 Topps Nolan Ryan
The 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan baseball card is still available in PSA 9 condition. Due to exceptional mint condition, the card possesses greater value. In 2020, the card was sold for $600,000 making it a great sale during the pandemic era.
Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr. is a former American MLB player. He was one of the most feared pitchers due to the power he possessed in the game. Ryan has a great record of 5,714 strikeouts and 324 wins. Nolan Ryan is among the top five baseballers who got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with more strikeouts than innings pitched.
The 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan baseball card holds extreme potential due to its excellent condition. It’s expected that in near future the card can cross a whopping amount of $1 million.
2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Autograph
The PSA 10 shiny 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout autograph was sold for $186,580 in 2019. Usually, vintage cards go for such a great price, but the Mike Trout autograph card is special. Trout’s exceptional career and unique gameplay make him a favorite for all.
Michael Nelson Trout is a professional center fielder in MLB. He is nine times winner of MLB All-Star, three times recognized for Most Valuable Player, and eight times winner of Silver Slugger award. Till now, he has 1,419 hits and 203 stolen bases in his name. For this tremendous success, Mike Trout’s draft baseball card has a high demand.
Due to the demand and phenomenal condition of the card, it is expected that soon the card will cross the benchmark of $500,000.
1951 Bowman Willie Mays
Some sports cards reach extreme heights, while others take some time to cross millions. The 1951 Bowman Willie Mays baseball sports cards are one of them. The PSA 8 condition card was recently auctioned in 2022 for an amount of $221,758. It is predicted that the value will increase in near future.
With 660 home runs, 3,283 hits, and 338 stolen bases, Willie Howard Mays Jr. played as a center fielder. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. Mays ranked second in “List of 100 Greatest Baseball Players”, behind Babe Ruth. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.
The PSA 9 condition card got sold for $65,725 back in 2009. For the past 13 years, no one has seen the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays sports cards. The fans of Willie Mays are excited about the PSA 9 card, and whenever it will re-appear for sale, it’s expected to make new auction records.
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle
The second most expensive sports card ever sold was the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card. The first was Honus Wagner, and the second is Mickey Mantle. Both are fortunately baseball sports cards. No other sportsmen in other games received such recognition.
Mickey Charles Mantle was a phenomenal Center Fielder with 536 home runs, 2,415 hits, and 1,509 RBIs. He got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Being the greatest offensive threat to his rivals, Mickey Mantle was believed an unstoppable force of the game.
The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball sports card sold for a whopping amount of $5.2 million after the pandemic. The card was bought by the famous actor, Rob Gough. The actor is a devoted fan of Mickey Mantle.
1909 T204 Ramly Walter Johnson
The 1909 T204 Ramly Walter Johnson baseball card has PSA 8 as the highest condition card. The reason for PSA 10 and PSA 9 being missing is the time period the card was introduced. If was part of flimsy cigarette packaging, supporting the cigs from falling apart!
The PSA 8 1909 T204 Ramly Walter Johnson sports card was auctioned in 2021 for $252,000. It was the second time the PSA 8 card was sold. Before, the first time Walter Johnson Ramly card appeared on the auction list was back in 2018. It sold for $132,000 only.
Walter Perry Johnson nicknamed “The Big Train” and “Barney” was a phenomenal Pitcher in baseball. With 3,508 strikeouts and 110 shutouts, Walter Johnson became part of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. He was a recipient of Pitched a No-Hitter in 1920 for his exceptional performance.
1954 Topps Ernie Banks
“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks was one of the most respected baseball players in MLB history. His 1954 Topps Ernie Banks sports card was a hit and fans loved it with all their heart. The last and the only time Ernie Banks 1954 Topps card was auctioned was in 2012 for $142,836.
Ernest Banks nicknamed “Mr. Sunshine” and “Mr. Cub” was a shortstop and first baseman in his team. With 512 home runs, 2,583 hits, and 1,636 RBIs, Banks was known to be the finest player of all. He got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
1954 Topps Ernie Banks baseball sports card is in PSA 10 condition. The card has never been available for auction again in all these years. It last appeared in 2012. It’s more than 10 years now. Just imagine the power the card holds! It is worth millions now!
1948 Leaf Warren Spahn
Warren Spahn was a nightmare for batters in baseball. He was a tremendous pitcher, with the ability to pitch perfectly. The 1948 Leaf Warren Spahn baseball sports card with PSA 10 condition was sold in 2021 for $252,000.
Warren Edward Spahn was a professional pitcher, who got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. He had a 2,583 strikeout record, smashing players with confidence. The “Warren Spahn Award” is given annually to the exceptional pitcher in baseball, made in honor of Warren Spahn.
The price of the card is not exceptional. What makes it unique is that the card was auctioned for the first time. It has never been sold before. This gives it a superior hand, a chance to be resold at a higher price later.
1948 Bowman Yogi Berra
The 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra baseball card was auctioned in 2017 for a PSA 10 condition card. The baseball sports card was sold for a price of $192,000. It’s important to note that the 1948 Bowman Yogi Berra card was auctioned in 2017, before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the pandemic that took the sports cards industry by storm, and the valuation of the sector reached new heights.
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was a catcher in his team. With 358 home runs, 1,430 RBIs, and 173 shutouts, Berra was believed to be one of the top players in MLB. He served in the Military for 3 years as a gunner’s mate. Later, he followed his passion and joined baseball. Major League Baseball welcomed him and he proved his worth. Former President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
1909 – 11 American Caramel Joe Jackson
The only available card for 1909 – 11 American Caramel Joe Jackson is in PSA 8 condition. It’s an old card which probably sold in cigarette packaging. In 2019, 1909 – 11 American Caramel Joe Jackson card was auctioned for $667,189.
Joseph Jefferson Jackson was an outfielder in Major League Baseball. With 1,772 hits, 54 home runs, and 785 RBIs, Joe Jackson was a great MLB player. He ranks 33rd in the “All-Time list for non-Pitchers”. His devoted fans voted him as the 12th best outfielder of all time.
The card was sold below the mark of $1 million. But it’s important to note that the card was sold before the pandemic, which was the rising time for the industry. For this reason, it is believed the card can now be sold for a million dollars easily. Let us see, when will be the 1909 – 11 American Caramel Joe Jackson card would be available for auction again.
1963 Topps Pete Rose Rookie Card
In 1963, Topps Company produced a phenomenal rookie card, covering all four major and special baseball players. The 1963 Topps Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, Pete Rose, Al Weis card auctioned in 2016 for $717,000. Before it, the card sold for $157,366 in 2012.
Pedro González Olivares was the second baseman, with 70 RBIs and 8 home runs. Kenneth Lee McMullen is a former third baseman with 156 home runs and 606 RBIs. Peter Edward Rose Sr. is a veteran outfielder and infielder with 160 home runs, 1,314 RBIs, and 4,256 hits. Albert John Weis is a former second baseman and shortstop, with 7 home runs and 115 RBIs.
It is vital to understand the worth of this card. It features four exceptional players together. This makes it a valuable worthful rookie card for the fans. Since it was last sold in 2016, the 1963 Topps Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, Pete Rose, Al Weis baseball sports card has the chance to sell for more than $2 million easily.
1955 Topps Sandy Koufax
The career of Sandy Koufax suffered a lot due to injuries. However, he was a celebrated MLB player. The PSA 9 condition 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax baseball sports card sold for $384,000 in 2021. The same card was sold at the start of 2021 for $369,000, giving a profit of $15,000 in just a few months.
Sanford Koufax was a fascinating left-handed Major League Baseball pitcher. He was the youngest player to get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, at the age of 36. With 2,396 strikeouts, Sandy Koufax won several accolades and awards throughout his career.
1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio
It is an old card!
The 1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio card is old; however, it is still preserved in exceptional condition. The PSA 10 condition card was sold in 2020 for $750,000 for the first time. Before it, PSA 9 was sold for $216,000 in 2019.
Joseph Paul DiMaggio was a center fielder in Major League Baseball. He was nicknamed “Joe D.”, “The Yankee Clipper”, and “Joltin Joe”. With 361 home runs, 1,537 RBIs, and 2,214 hits, Joe DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak is to date undefeated and unchallenged! Apart from being known for baseball, Joe DiMaggio is also famous for marrying the celebrated Marilyn Monroe.
Joe DiMaggio’s 1941 Play Ball baseball sports card is loved by all his fans. With high demand, the selling price of the card is also great. The PSA 10 card proved that in 2022 and later, 1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio’s card can be sold for more than $1.5 million easily.
What Are The Best Baseball Cards For Your Collection?
These are some famous and best baseball cards sold at phenomenal rates. The fans are still in search of these cards and willing to get their hands on them at any price. Die heart fans of baseball don’t care about the condition of the card, as they understand its worth. Undoubtedly, it was the pandemic that created an exceptional surge in the sales of the cards.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were stuck at home with nothing to do. In such a time, many people realized their lost hobby and started collecting rare and legendary baseball cards again. Could these cards sell much higher? The time will prove it soon!