What's the Most Valuable Baseball Card in 2022?
When Fanatics bought Topps in January of this year, a lot of people suddenly found a renewed interest in baseball cards. Topps had been the king of the baseball card game for more than 60 years, and all of a sudden found itself swept up and usurped by a newcomer.
But with so many people looking to get into baseball card collecting again, many have asked, "What's the most valuable baseball card today?" Is it even possible to get it, and if not, what are some other valuable cards worth buying? Read on for everything you've ever wanted to know about valuable baseball cards!
What is the Most Valuable Baseball Card Today?
In 2022, the undisputed king of baseball cards is the Honus Wagner T206 card. A copy of this extremely rare card sold last year for more than $6.6 million dollars, making it the most valuable sports card ever sold.
Hearkening back to the years 1909 through 1911, the T206 cards were a series of baseball cards printed by tobacco companies and included with their products. There are an astonishing number of variations of these cards, some of which are nearly as valuable as the famous Honus Wagner. A superstar player who would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936, Wagner's card would have been valuable even if it wasn't so rare.
Although it's still uncertain why, Honus Wagner asked for his card to be pulled from printing. As a result, very few of his T206 card, perhaps even only 50, have been uncovered.
The Honus Wagner T206 is the Holy Grail of baseball cards, but that doesn't mean it's the only valuable card out there! A huge variety of baseball cards old and new have fetched astonishing prices at auctions and card stores throughout the years, and people are still finding new gems every year.
What Makes a Card Valuable?
Several factors go into determining whether a card is valuable or not. Primarily, these are the card's rarity, age, condition, additional features of the card, and the player on the card.
There are plenty of common cards on the market that fetch very little, if anything, when they're sold. During the 1980s and 1990s (particularly the 90s), people started realizing how valuable baseball cards could be. As a result, card companies overprinted lots of cards in order to sell as many as possible, which flooded the market with inexpensive cards.
On the flip side, there are quite a few rarer cards that are sought after. Some cards were short-printed, meaning fewer of them were made that year. When superstar's cards were short-printed, it vastly increased the demand for their cards.
In general, cards of great players are more sought after. In particular, rookie cards or rare variants are quite valuable.
In the modern era of cards, many cards are printed with autographs, relic patches, or rare parallels. These can be quite valuable as well, even though they're not old, and some newer cards have fetched astonishing prices at auctions.
If you're trying to figure out the baseball card value, one thing you have to pay attention to is the condition. Even if you have a 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card, you may not see prices as high as 6 digits if you try to sell it, even though it's sold for that much at auctions. This is because the condition of a card has a heavy influence on how much it's worth.
Two copies of the exact same card can still fetch very different prices because of their condition. That's why you always want to keep your valuable cards in protective sleeves and cases.
Other Valuable Old Cards
Besides the Honus Wagner card, there are plenty of other cards from that era that have fetched six or even seven digits at auctions. Many of these, like the 1952 Micky Mantle card, are also older, rare cards featuring top players. Other top cards have included the 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card, the Ty Cobb T206, the 1951 Willie Mays rookie card, and other great cards from those earlier years of cards.
Although it's difficult to list every single valuable card here, you can always pick up a price guide from your local library, bookstore, or card shop to get a better idea of prices. These books or magazines can give you an idea of which cards are the most valuable, and even highlight some of the biggest auctions in that month or year.
While many of these price guides will only give you the "average" price for a card, it's still a great way to get an idea of which cards in a set are valuable. Even an average-quality version of a valuable card can still be worth tens of thousands of dollars!
Where Can You Get Valuable Baseball Cards?
For valuable, older cards like the Honus Wagner T206, your only real chance of finding them is at an auction. These cards are mostly all in private collections by this point and are only sold on rare occasions.
Although the most expensive baseball cards often create headlines, other valuable cards can be a little easier to find. Your local card shop may even have a few, or some online dealers may have some gems in their collections. Depending on what cards you're looking for, you may be surprised at how many are on the market!
You can also search through places like thrift stores, garage sales, and even local classifieds. You probably won't make six figures, but you can absolutely find some hidden gems if you look long enough. Even better, you might get some of these cards for a fraction of the price you'd pay at a regular store or online!
Besides older cards, there are also quite a few new cards that are worth searching for. The good news for these cards is that you can find them in packs! There's nothing like opening a $10 pack to find a $1000 card, and savvy purchasers can often make great deals this way.
People who want to find valuable cards in modern packs will usually go to the higher end products, like Bowman's Best. These packs offer many exclusive rookie cards, refractors, and autographs for upcoming superstars. Combos of several of these factors can make a card extremely valuable!
Valuable Cards You Can Collect
The good news is that even if you don't have millions of dollars sitting around to buy cards, you can still build a nice, valuable baseball card collection over time. You may not make headlines with your purchases, but you can still get some real gems if you work at it!
If you want to collect valuable baseball cards, it's a good idea to narrow down what kind of cards you're looking for. This will help you plan the best course of action for searching for them, and help you decide when it's time to buy some of them. If you cast too wide a net, you may struggle to put together a good collection!
Older cards, as mentioned earlier, can often be found at card stores and auctions. You can also sometimes find them in thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales, but that happens far less often. Even if you want old cards, which ones are you looking for?
Some people will pick a favorite player or team and build up their collection of those cards over time. Others will pick a year and brand, such as 1952 Topps, and try to build up a complete set. Some will even do a "common" set of old series like the T206, building up a collection of the regular cards without cards like Honus Wagner or Ty Cobb.
If you want to get newer cards, you have a lot more options. The card shop or auction option is always available, but you can also open packs to find good cards.
It's almost always better to buy packs in bulk, which means you should get big hobby boxes or cases. Figure out which kind of cards you want, then buy the packs that have a chance of including them.
Why Should You Collect Valuable Cards?
There are a lot of reasons to collect! For some people, the love of the game and the history makes collecting the cards so great. For others, it's a great investment that's a lot more fun than buying stocks or bonds.
Whatever reason you collect cards, do it for you! It's tough to get into the hobby if you're doing it for other people, and it's also tricky if you're just in it for money.
Don't expect to make millions of dollars overnight! It's possible to make money with card collecting, but you need a lot of patience and knowledge. If you're looking to get into valuable baseball cards, research will be the most valuable tool you can have.
For some people, even without the money and value of the cards, it's a great way to connect with family! The love of baseball card collecting is often passed from one generation to the next, and many people love the hobby because of how it lets them connect with family. Maybe you want to connect with your parents or your kids, and the valuable cards just make a nice bonus!
How to Get Started With Baseball Card Collecting
If you'd like to start collecting baseball cards, there are many ways you can go about it. Some collectors start small and work their way up, while others prefer to buy expensive cards right off the bat. Either way, beginner collectors have a lot to learn, but so many options for what they want to do!
Many people will start out by visiting stores and buying a few boxes or packs of that year's cards. This can be fairly inexpensive and give you a good idea of what to expect and what you want to find. Maybe you'll fall in love with a particular year or insert series and decide to try collecting all of it!
Others will look for bulk sales of cards, often from the 1980s or 90s, to start their collection. These cards are cheap and easy to acquire, which lets them get a lot of cards without much expense. They'll then figure out which series they enjoy collecting and start looking for the more valuable cards in those sets.
Some people start at the top and buy a few of the more expensive cards to start their collection. They may only have a couple of cards at first, but each one is worth thousands of dollars!
There's no right or wrong answer, so find a way to collect that works for you! The best baseball card to get is the one that brings you the most joy.
Pitfalls to Avoid
There are several dangers you'll want to avoid when looking for valuable cards. There are a lot of scams out on the market that can cost you money, so you have to be careful when you're starting out. People make all sorts of mistakes when collecting, and sometimes even quit the hobby because of them!
The internet offers many great tools, advice, and sales for baseball cards that can help a new collector out. However, there is also a huge potential for scams and shady deals. That's why research is so critical!
You should learn about the different kinds of cards and how they were sold. For example, the Honus Wagner T206 card wasn't sold in packs like cards are today, so if you see a "T206 unopened pack" for sale, you know it's a scam!
Likewise, some places will try to oversell you on the value of a particular card. Don't overpay if you're unsure! You can always check a price guide or the sold listings on auction sites to see how much particular cards have sold for.
And when you get your cards, be sure to take care of them! Many a collector has lost money because they kept their cards wrapped in rubber bands inside a shoebox. You need to get the proper equipment to protect your cards and preserve them for years to come!
Build Your Collection Today!
Although you may not be able to get the most valuable baseball card in existence, there are plenty of great cards out there that you can collect. You can pick whatever brand, year, or player you like and go from there!
So if you'd like to learn more about baseball card collecting, or you'd like to order cards to get your collection started, contact us! We're always eager to provide the best cards and service possible, helping you enjoy this amazing hobby the way you want.