Baseball Cards

In the early to mid 1980s sports cards were an overlooked asset. Very few persons were aware these cards could have any discernible value. In the late 80s and early 90s there was a major interest in these items, particularly cards issued prior to 1970. By the mid 90s the market was saturated with cards and the values bottomed out or declined. The residue of the "boom" remained, however, and a weird inversion took place, with a generalized consciousness that all cards, particularly old cards, must be valuable.

Indeed, older "classic" cards, particularly of famous players, can be valuable, but the value is very dependent upon condition. Moreover, price guides are often misleading and "moving" cards can be tough. For example, the most valuable card of the 1950s is a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (considered his rookie" card), listed in a 2001 Price Guide at $ 15,000. However the price listed is for a card in "near mint" condition (very few of such cards exist) and, in the same publication, 1952 Mantle cards in a more typical condition are offered for sale in the $ 1,800 to $ 6,000 range.

Moreover, these cards are offered at these prices by a dealer, most always higher than an individual sale. An individual attempting to sell the cards expeditiously would likely have to accept half of these values, unless the item(s) were quite unusual and demanded. For most cards issued after 1980, with the exception of star, rookie cards, (Clemens, McGuire) there is limited or no value.

If an individual has a potentially "serious" collection, as with all other collectibles, it makes sense to employ someone familiar with the trade in order to find a realistic sense of value. Of course, this kind of collection can always be divided in kind.

Many cards are now sold on e-bay. This may allow one to gauge some sense of the market value of the cards in question.

The more recent evolution in cards is the "grading" of certain valuable or rare items by services paid to place the card on a quality scale. Graded cards may retain values above the book value listed in various publications but, in any event, are easier to place a value on by tracking Internet sales.