What are my baseball cards worth?

How can I sell my baseball cards if I don’t know what they’re worth? What are my baseball cards worth? These are both seemingly simple questions with no so simple answers! Once you familiarize yourself with graded cards and grading in general it is easy to see that like the real estate mantra of “location, location, location” the baseball card world is full of “condition, condition, condition”.

Normally the first and last cards in a set would suffer damage from rubberbands. Generally, these cards command a premium price because of it. How much difference does condition make? Well, a 1952 Topps set boasts a common player in Andy Pafko at the #1 spot.  Now a GOOD condition Pafko can be picked up for $100 or less with ease. This is a PSA 1 or PSA 2. In 2007, Memory Lane negotiated a private sale of a graded PSA 10 GEM MINT Pafko for $250,000! This is a quarter of a million dollars for a common ballplayer! This just shows how important condition is. PSA 8 cards of Pafko which are NEAR MINT will fetch $80,000+ with ease.

1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie

The key point is to evaluate the cards using a 2010 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards to get a ballpark figure on pricing (or a Beckett Monthly). If you have a card that books for several hundred dollars in mint condition it may be worth the effort to get it graded. As you become familiar with grading and graded cards it will be easy for you to judge a card as roughly PSA 3 or SGC 60, etc. Then it is easy to go on eBay and try to find a sold example for that same grade.

There are also companies like VintageCardPrices.com that will show you what graded examples have brought at auction in the past. VCP has a monthly fee or you can buy a 24 hour pass. This is one of the best ways to establish card values since it is based on real sales.

For lesser value or off-condition cards, the Standard Catalog will give you a good price estimate on those, too. The real trick is to not pay to get a card graded that doesn’t warrant it. Many newbies to the baseball card market have trouble determining grade. What the guidebooks call GOOD and VERY GOOD really means neither to collectors! Most collectors look at these as filler grade with a few exceptions.

If you want to see just how crazy prices can get then check out the Top 10 Most Valuable Baseball Cards of All Time! Many of these can be had at a fraction of the listed price in the article, but again, condition means everything and some deep-pocketed collectors were willing to shell out big money for the top grades on some rare cards.