A Complete Guide to Finding Rare Baseball Cards
Did you know that the most expensive baseball card sold thus far went for a whopping $6,606,000? While it isn't likely that you'll stumble across a baseball card worth quite this much, you can learn how to find other baseball cards that are rare and quite valuable. But what should you look for when looking for rare baseball cards?
Where should you go to buy baseball cards of this kind? What types of cards should you look for and how can you get your hands on the rarest baseball cards of all? Keep reading and learn more about how to track down some rare and valuable baseball cards.
Look for the Printed Year of the Card
If collecting baseball cards is your passion, you should know that some of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards are very old. While there are certainly some rare cards that have been made in the last few decades, the majority of them were printed before World War II. Why might this be, you ask?
World War II occurred almost 80 years ago, and it makes sense that cards from that time and far earlier will not be hard to find. After all, they have been out of print for more than a lifetime. For that reason, there is a very limited supply of baseball cards left from before WWII.
For example, many baseball cards from the 1910s will fetch a pretty penny even if they were common cards back in the day. This is not the case compared to common cards that are still being printed today. Obviously, modern cards are plentiful and still in good condition.
Very old cards will not only be in limited supply due to the fact that they are not being printed anymore but also due to the fact that many of them have gotten lost or ruined over the decades. In the same vein, many cards from this era that have managed to survive until now are often not in great shape.
They will almost always show signs of wear and tear such as fading, tears, discoloration, and so on. To find an old card without any signs of wear is an especially rare thing. If you manage to find such a card, you would be in luck.
Of course, it is difficult to stumble across these cards at a garage sale or your local baseball card store. However, it is not impossible. There are some cases of people discovering very old and rare cards in attics, yard sales, estate sales, and so on.
If you want to get your hands on rare cards, you will need to pay close attention to the year a given card was printed. You can usually get an idea of how old a card is just by looking at it. For example, the player on the card or the design of the card might give you an idea of how old it is.
If you know a card is old but don't know how old, you will have to do a bit of research online. You can always take a picture of the card in question and have Google look for related pictures. If you manage to find a match, you'll be able to learn more about the card and how old it is.
If you manage to stumble upon a very old and rare card, consider yourself lucky. Such cards could easily go for thousands of dollars each. You can either decide to keep the cards for your own collection or you can make a quick buck by selling them.
Try Your Luck at Shopping Online
The internet is a vast place where you can find all sorts of rare and valuable things both on purpose and by accident. Some of the most common places to find rare baseball cards online are eBay, Craigslist, individual baseball card sites, and so on. Of course, you shouldn't expect to find a whole motherload of rare cards as soon as you log onto the internet.
The point of rare cards is that they are hard to find. While it might be somewhat easier to find rare cards online than it is in person, you still shouldn't expect the venture to be easy. It is best to do a bit of research and find some sellers that specialize in selling baseball cards.
You can browse what kind of cards these vendors typically sell. They might usually deal with rookie cards and other common cards, but they might occasionally list a rare or otherwise valuable card. When a rare card becomes available, you shouldn't expect it to stick around for long.
There are sure to be other people who are just as interested in collecting rare cards as you are. For that reason, rare cards will quickly be snatched up on the internet as soon as they become available. For that reason, if you happen to find a rare baseball card online, you should act as fast as you can.
Do Your Research
At the same time, you should save a few moments to do a bit of research. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money on a rare card only to find out that it isn't as rare as you thought or that it isn't in great condition. If you are interested in a rare card, you should make sure that it is as rare as it seems.
Besides that, you should also contact the seller and ask some questions about the card. In particular, you will want to inquire about the quality of the card. While the listing is sure to have a picture of the card, it may be edited to make the card look better than it really is.
For all you know, the card could have small tears or spots on it. If you contact the seller and everything seems to be in order, there won't be anything to stop you from buying whatever rare card you manage to find.
Try Shopping in Person
Hunting for rare baseball cards online is a great idea and you will surely come across some rare cards at some point. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home when shopping online. However, even though there are thousands upon thousands of baseball cards for sale online, there are thousands more that are not listed anywhere on the internet.
Baseball cards have been around for more than 150 years. People have been collecting these cards for generations and have often passed down their collections to their children or other relatives. It only makes sense that there are some collections that are for sale but not online.
Instead, they may be sold at yard sales, estate sales, baseball card shops, and other locations. This is often the case with elderly people who want to sell their baseball card collection but don't know how to list the cards on the internet. They instead sell the cards the old fashion way: in person.
For that reason, you should always be ready to jump into your card or other means of transportation and venture to the nearby baseball card sale. Usually, there won't be sales solely dedicated to baseball cards. Instead, you might find a box of baseball cards being sold at a local garage sale.
Most of the time, these collections only have common baseball cards. However, every once in a while, you will stumble across a rare card in the mix. You'll never have the chance to find those rare cards if you only ever do your baseball card shopping online.
Estate Sales and Shops
Every collection is different, and by going out and finding these collections, you'll have the chance to discover all sorts of cards, even if they don't happen to be very rare or valuable. Besides yard and garage sales, you should try your hand at estate sales as well.
An estate sale often occurs after someone has passed away. Whatever is not inherited by the person's relatives will be sold or auctioned off. Usually, estate sales have all sorts of things from the past decades such as furniture, clothes, decorations, and so on.
If you're lucky, you might even find a significant collection of old and rare baseball cards. Of course, estate sales are not as common as garage or yard sales, so you won't be able to go to them very often. Another place you can search is at local baseball card stores.
While these stores mostly sell modern baseball cards, some may set aside a special section for very rare or old cards. If you drop by every so often, you might find that the store will get a new rare card every once in a while.
Of course, these cards are often very expensive so you might not be able to buy every rare card that you find, but as long as you have a decent budget, you should be able to get your hands on a rare card or two after enough hunting.
Educate Yourself About Rare Cards
When hunting for rare cards, you have to be careful. There are many vendors who try to sell rare baseball cards when the cards are not actually legitimate. Spending a lot of money on a fake rare card is obviously not how you want to spend your time (or money).
For that reason, you will want to spend a little time educating yourself about rare cards. There are ways you can identify rare cards and tell whether or not they're real or fake. Of course, there are some very convincing fakes out there that will require a professional eye to scrutinize.
However, if you can identify the basics, you'll have much better luck finding rare cards that are the real deal. Try spending some time looking at pictures of real rare cards on the internet. Instead of looking at the overall card, focus more on the details.
It is the details that often reveal a card's authenticity. Many fake cards are missing details that the originals have. If you train your eyes to spot these differences, you'll never have to deal with being scammed out of your money for a fake card.
What You Need to Know
Besides training yourself to identify fake cards, you should also spend some time learning about different rare cards. Some may be rare because they're old, others might be rare because they were printed incorrectly, and so on. For example, corrected error cards are often very rare and sell for thousands upon thousands of dollars.
These cards are those that were originally printed with an error but then had that error covered up. There are not very many of these cards in existence and you won't know how rare they are unless you educate yourself about them ahead of time. Knowing a bit about the history of different baseball cards is also helpful.
That way, you can identify baseball cards from several decades ago and if you happen to see them in person, you'll be able to tell whether they're rare or not.
All About Finding Rare Baseball Cards
Finding rare baseball cards can be difficult and it may take a long time, but the endeavor doesn't have to be impossible as long as you follow a few important tips. For example, if you shop both online and in person for rare cards, you're sure to come across one or two eventually. Besides that, you should also educate yourself about different rare cards so you know exactly what you're looking for.
To learn more about baseball cards, contact us here.