How Much Is My Card Worth?
That’s probably the question that brought you here. Hopefully, this free site will help you determine the retail value of your card(s).
If your card is not listed in the pricelists, click the link at the right called “Setting A Price”. This is a tool you can use to get a ballpark value on any sport or non-sport card, from any era.
If you need the values of mass-production cards created after 1981, this site isn’t going to be as helpful. The reason is that after 1981, some very bad things happened to the baseball card industry. First, the baby-boomer generation came along, and each of them had 2.3 kids. They all wanted to get their kids started collecting baseball cards before they were even potty-trained. Even kids who hated sports had huge baseball card collections.
Too many cards were printed, making 99% of all cards issued after 1981 not even worth the recycled value of the pasteboard they were printed on. Also, rather than printing the exact same number of cards for each player, some manufacturers started printing extra cards of the big stars. This diluted their value. Since nearly all of these cards are worth as close to zero as you can get, the only intelligent way to assign a value to them would be to estimate them at so much per pound.
It wasn’t just the numbers printed that make these cards so undesirable. The card companies changed the way cards were designed, and they became boring. The old cards had great biographical write-ups on the backs, often featuring cartoons, quizzes, and what hobbies the player enjoyed. For some reason, this changed into an entire back filled with mostly statistics. Not that stats are bad, but why do I care how often the guy grounds out against lefties in night games? That’s too much information.
Of course, in the midst of all of this printing, some valuable cards did get made. Any rookie card of a future or present Hall Of Famer is worth something. Ripken’s rookie cards came out in 1982. But most cards issued after 1981 sell on eBay and other shops for about one-tenth of their book values, even in Near Mint or better condition. This indicates that the book values assigned to these cards is largely fictitious.
Since most of the post-1981 cards are worthless, and since the book values have little relation to what they actually sell for, a price guide for those cards isn’t going to be worth much either.
The best strategy for pricing those cards is to see what others are selling the card for. Don’t worry, it’s very easy to find someone who is selling ANY card made after 1981 on eBay, checkoutmycards.com, and many other sites. Essentially, post-1981 cards are worth whatever you can get for them.
There are notable exceptions that were produced during the era before and after 1981. These include: Cramer (which later became Pacific); Miller Press; SSPC’s colorful Baseball Immortals; ; Superior; the quirky Hygrade Meats All Time Greats; Swell Baseball Greats; and strange little sets like Bob Lemke’s home-made “BOBBS”, Dave Stewarts, Klecktors, and the Infinite Card Set – among others.
Because these sets were printed in lesser quantities (in some cases less than 5 of each card), they have more intrinsic collectible value, and so we have created price guides for some of them, and continue to add more as time permits.
Also, Topps has started to produce interesting cards again. The Topps Heritage cards are an excellent set to collect. Their product line has improved tenfold during the past 3-4 years. However, they are still “borrowing” designs heavily from their old sets of the 50s and 60s.
How do the prices in this guide differ from other “book value” price guides? They are based on what people actually pay for the cards, rather than arcane mathematical formulas.
For example, a 1964 Topps Berra, Bob Gibson, Bill Mazeroski, and Luis Aparicio all have the same “official” Beckett book value. But ask any card dealer, and he will tell you that Berra and Gibson are worth more than Luis or Maz. Why? Because Berra was a Yankee and players in larger markets have more fans. Because Gibson was a Cardinal (the Cardinals won the World Series that year), and World Champions have more fans. More fans mean more collectors, more buyers, and greater demand. In this price guide, you will see a difference in value between these cards, reflecting the real-world value.
So this price guide is designed to help you intelligently set an actual retail price, rather than to provide a statistical abstract that has little meaning in the real world of card collecting and selling.
If you are deeply involved in the business of selling and buying cards, you probably ought to join a paid site, like Beckett, because they are a valuable resource and reference, well worth a few bucks a month.
For the occasional seller or buyer, and for the average collector, we hope this little site can be of some help to you.