How are the Value of Sports Cards are Determined?

by Ben on January 24, 2012

Everyone has a story about how their mother threw out their collection of old baseball cards but others still have their sports cards lying around in the attic.  Card collecting can be fun and even therapeutic for some.  Some sports cards can bring back memories of attending a game with a love one or remembrance of a specific sporting event like attending a World Series game. One of the most common questions that collectors want to know is what their sports cards are worth.  Knowing how to find this information out can be hard for a novice collector.  Here are some tips and tricks from the pros to help you find out what your sports cards are really worth.

Condition First

Before one can determine what his or her sports cards are worth the condition of the cards must be determined.  The condition of a sports card it determined buy a few factors that add or detract from its value.  Corners, Centering, surface and edges are the most common traits when determining a cards condition.  A card with sharp corners and good centering can sometimes be worth 10-20 times more than one that has been creased or destroyed over time.  The better the condition the more the card sells for.


Older sports cards normally sell for more money than newer ones.  This is mainly due to the fact that older cards are harder to find than newer ones produced only a few years ago.  Cards form the 50’s and 60’s sell for much more money than of the players from the 80’s and 90’s.

Rookie Cards and Autograph Cards

Rookie cards are considered the first regular issued card of a given player.  Rookie cards have always been the most popular cards among collectors.  Investors tend to only purchase rookie cards of popular players hoping to make a profit in future years.  Autographed cards are also very popular with investors.  Signed cards have become so popular over the last few years that card manufacturers like Topps and Upper Deck have included them in packs of cards.

Player Popularity

Player popularity is the final key element to finding out what a card is worth.  Hall of Fame players like Nolan Ryan, Babe Ruth and Walter Payton have cards that are worth much more than common players which only managed to play in a few seasons.  Up and coming prospects can also be considered popular as they are popular with speculators and die-hard fans.

After you have had a chance to sift through your cards and have pulled out the best one’s it is a good idea to protect them from any further possible damage.  Collectors can purchase top loaders or card savers from local hobby shops to help protect their cards.  These holders are very inexpensive and do a  great job for a nominal price.

If you want to find out exactly what your cards are worth, you can also have them evaluated by professi0nal card grading companies. While many grading companies charge high prices (up to $35 per card!) you can actually find reliable companies to do it for under $5 per card so be sure to shop around.

Previous post:

Next post: