Baseball cards have long been a favourite amongst sports memorabilia collectors. They range widely in value, and mainly due to the fact that baseball is the most followed pastime in the United States, there’s no shortage of cards of different players and from different time periods.
Some baseball cards, however, are so rare that they’re worth millions, while others are virtually priceless. These are some of the most valuable baseball cards of all time.
1. Joe Jackson – 1909
As one of the most successful baseball players of his era, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was tied to the infamous Black Box scandal that ultimately saw the end of his career.
Despite this, a rookie card of Joe Jackson was sold in 2008 at an auction for over $600,000. A similar card with a lower grade was also sold, but went for under $100,000.
2. Babe Ruth – 1914
Babe Ruth is often considered the greatest baseball player of all time, and there are two big cards that carry his name in the collection scene. The first, and less valuable, is from his years playing as a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, long before his rise to fame.
The 1914 card was sold at auction for around half a million dollars. Experts believe that there are only around 10 of these cards in existence, making them both exceedingly and increasingly expensive.
3. Pete Rose – 1963
This card is one of a kind, and received a rating of 10 from the PSA, the highest rating that the organisation is able to hand out.
Featuring Pete Rose as part of the 1963 Topps collection, it was able to fetch over $700,000 at an auction; the kind of money that most people only see when winning a bet with the best AFL premiership odds. Even one grade lower can see the value of a card drop dramatically.
4. Babe Ruth – 1916
Another from the legendary home runner, this Babe Ruth Sporting news card can be traced back before he joined the Yankees. During an auction that took place in 2016, it was sold for $717,000 in total.
Just a year later in a new auction, the same card was sold for $200,000 less, meaning that the timing of an auction can have a significant impact on how much the card is ultimately worth to a new buyer.
5. Honus Wagner – 1911
Widely considered as the rarest baseball card of all time, the Honus Wagner card went for a massive $3.12 million during an auction in 2016, making it the highest auction for a baseball card of all time. The card had originally been created by the American Tobacco Company, but was ultimately pulled from the market for unknown reasons.
This means that there are very few of them around, making them virtually priceless, and demanding the extreme prices at auctions. While an actual figure isn’t known, it’s believed that there are less than 200 cards in the world today.