Baseball Cards

What factors affect baseball card values?

If you have a collection of baseball cards, you may be wondering what it's worth. Most people collect baseball cards for fun, but it's a serious investment for some. Either way, you may own some valuable cards and not even know it.

A number of factors influence baseball cards value, including:

  • Condition. This is perhaps the most important factor in determining what a card is worth. Value drops drastically when a card is damaged. Appraisers look for cards that are glossy on the front, have clear and not faded text on the back and have sharp corners. Just like comic books, sports card condition is rated on a scale from poor to mint, with mint being "like new" condition.
  • Manufacturer. Quite simply, some card makers produce cards that are worth more than others.
  • The player. The man on the card is a big factor in determining what it's worth. Baseball rookie cards for players who went on to become big stars are generally worth a lot more than those of players who never amounted to much in the major leagues. Sometimes, a card that's in poor condition may be worth more than a card that's in mind condition simply because of who is on the front.
  • Age. Generally, the old baseball cards are worth more than new ones, particularly if they are very old. As with antiques, there's a special mystique that surrounds very old things.
  • Scarcity. It's a simple economic principle – the more demand there is for an item, the more you'll have to pay to obtain it. Rare baseball cards are heavily sought by collectors looking to complete their collections, and this drives prices up.
  • Unique characteristics. Certain cards are worth more because they are unlike most other cards. For example, some cards are printed with a picture of the wrong player or a spelling error. Card companies may try to recall erroneous cards, but some are released to the marketplace and they often become a hot commodity for collectors because of how rare they are.

What Are My Baseball Cards Worth?

If you want to figure out the exact value of your collection, your best bet is to talk to a professional. Take your collection in to a sports memorabilia store and have it appraised. Other options include ordering a baseball cards price guide magazine or looking at online price guides (but keep in mind that these can quickly become out of date if they aren't maintained).

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