Baseball Card Values: The Essential Guide for 2022
A hobby well over 100 years old, baseball card trading is both a fun pastime and a lucrative way to earn some extra cash. However, it can also be intimidating to sort through cards and pay attention to factors that affect a card’s valuation. Here’s what you need to know about baseball card values in 2022, whether you’re just starting out or have an impressive collection already.
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Buying and Selling Baseball Cards in 2022
Before you set out on your baseball card trading journey, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the card appraisal process. Baseball card values can change dramatically based on market conditions, the quality of individual cards, and player performance, so there’s a lot to look out for on top of a card’s condition.
Different appraisers will have quirks. While one might specialize in entire collections, another might focus on appraising single, high-value cards. Have an idea of what should be sent where when checking baseball card values. This guide will help you if you’re not sure where to start.
How to Appraise Baseball Cards Online
|Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)||If you’ve been interested in baseball card trading for a while, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of PSA. Considered the gold standard of appraisers, PSA offers comprehensive price guides for thousands of cards. PSA-appraised cards can also sell for more than cards appraised by their competitors.||PSA’s services vary based on the declared value of a card, so you will need to estimate the value of a card beforehand. For long-time traders, that might not be an issue. Newer baseball card enthusiasts may want to explore local options first.|
|Beckett||Beckett’s services are great for baseball card traders with individual, signed cards. They offer certifications, certificates of authenticity, and grading/encasing services across multiple price points.||Card traders looking to have their entire collections graded will want to look elsewhere.|
|Just Collect||One of the easiest ways for card traders to sell their entire collections. Just Collect will appraise cards and make an offer on them all at once, which speeds up the appraisal process. Plus, their appraisals are free, and they’ll ship back your collection free of charge if you don’t accept their offer.||If you’re looking to have a rare card appraised, it’s probably better to use Beckett or PSA. Just Collect doesn’t offer certificates or grading, so it’s best used for collections that don’t necessarily hold massive amounts of value.|
How to Appraise Baseball Cards Offline
|Local Shops||Most local shops will offer some sort of appraisal service for your card collection, and it’s nice to support the baseball card trading scene in your local area. You never know what you’ll find going into a local shop.||While most shops offer appraisals, some won’t. Call ahead to make sure that you aren’t wasting your time before lugging in your collection. On the bright side, there’s a good chance that the shop can point you in the right direction for getting your collection appraised even if they don’t offer the service.|
|Trade Shows||There are trade shows for collectors all over the US, and they’ll have appraisal reps on the show floor a lot of the time. It’s a decent option for collectors that don’t want to risk losing their cards in the mail.||While trade shows are common, folks in rural areas and small towns may end up having to travel if they want to visit one. For hobbyist collectors, the trip may not be worth the investment.|
To learn more about appraising baseball cards locally and online, click "How to Get Your Baseball Cards Appraised Locally & Online."
Baseball Card Grades: What Do They Mean?
Different appraisers will have some variations across their grades, but PSA’s rating system is the standard. This table breaks down what PSA’s card grades mean.
|Gem Mint 10 (GEM-MT 10)||Gem Mint 10 cards are the highest possible grade that PSA gives. These cards have perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus, full gloss, and are free of staining. There are some slight allowances for misprints if they don’t ruin the appeal of the card, though Gem Mint 10 cards are essentially as fine as the day they were printed.|
|Mint 9||A Mint 9 card is in superb condition but may have some minor wax staining and imperfections. Mint 9 cards must have 60/40 or 60/35 centering on the front and at least 90/10 centering on the reverse.|
|Near Mint-Mint (NM-MT 8)||NM-MT 8 cards will look like Mint 9 cards at first glance but have some defects that drag down their status. Those sorts of imperfections include very minor wax stains on the reverse, slight fraying at one or two corners, minor printing imperfections, and off-white borders.|
|Near Mint (NM 7)||An NM 7 card has slight surface wear visible after close inspection. Most of the original gloss has been retained, and a minor printing blemish is acceptable.|
|Excellent-Mint (EX-MT 6)||EX-MT 6 cards can have surface defects and stains that don’t detract from their appeal. The corners may have some light fraying, and it shows some lost gloss.|
|Excellent (EX 5)||An EX 5 card will have more visible surface wear. Rounding of the corners may also be evident. The picture’s focus might be slightly out of register, and there may be several scratches on the surface of the card upon close inspection.|
|Very Good-Excellent (VG-EX 4)||VG-EX 4 cards may be slightly rounded with modest surface wear. The borders may be off white, though some surface gloss will be maintained.|
|Very Good (VG 3)||Some surface wear will be present on VG 3 cards along with some scratches, though the issues won’t be severe. The edges will exhibit some wear, and most – but not all – of the gloss may be lost. Printing defects are possible, and there may be slight stains.|
|Good (Good 2)||A Good 2 card will have accelerated rounding on the corners and surface wear that’s beginning to become obvious. There may be scratches and scuffs, light staining, and several creases. The original gloss may be missing.|
|Fair 1.5 (FR 1.5)||An FR 1.5 card will show extreme wear on the corners, which may affect the framing of the picture. It may show advanced stages of wear, scuffing, and scratches and have heavy creases. However, the card must be fully intact to achieve this grade.|
|Poor (PR 1)||A PR 1 card will have many of the same quality issues as an FR 1.5 card, but may have issues that cause its appeal to have vanished entirely. It may be missing one or two small pieces, have major creases that expose cardboard, or major discoloration.|
To learn more about baseball card values and their grades, be sure to read "How to Value Baseball Cards in 2022."
Where to Buy and Sell Baseball Cards Online
|Website||How Does It Work?|
|Dibbs||Collectors looking to sell their cards without necessarily getting rid of them entirely may want to try Dibbs. Dibbs allows collectors to sell fractions of their cards like a stock, tucking them away in a secure vault in the meantime. Dibbs operates as a third-party custodian for collectors that sell through their website.|
|Beckett||Just as it grades cards, so too does Beckett sell them. If you’re looking to buy a card, Beckett is a good place to check. Not only will it connect you with sellers, but it will give you stats about how many cards they’ve sold, how many of those cards were unique, and so on.|
|eBay||eBay is a useful tool for those looking to sell off a single card or entire lots. It acts as a mediator if a dispute arises between the buyer and the seller, taking a fee from the sale price as compensation. It’s best suited for collectors that are willing to gamble on the auction price rather than finding a firm value for their cards.|
|StockX||StockX has been a hub for all sorts of collectors, whether that’s for baseball cards, shoes, or anything else that comes to mind. While it doesn’t have the best reputation due to in-demand consumer electronics being sold there for exorbitant prices, there’s a bustling scene for connecting buyers with baseball cards. It offers a chart for collectors looking at the latest pricing trends and shows the lowest asking price for a card instead of multiple listings.|
|Facebook Marketplace||Facebook Marketplace has become a hub for buying and selling baseball cards. Similar to eBay, the Facebook Marketplace will connect card buyers and sellers, though there are some things to be aware of. Watch out for any potential scams like fake cards. If you’re not comfortable spotting fakes, it’s better to go somewhere more reliable.|
To learn more about selling baseball cards online, check out our article, "What's the Best Way to Sell Baseball Cards?"
Selling Baseball Cards Offline: Who Buys Baseball Cards Near Me?
|Seller||How Does It Work?|
|Flea Markets and Farmers Markets||Apprehension about selling cards online is normal, and local alternatives are a great way to circumvent those fears. If you’re looking to sell cards without mailing them off, consider heading to a flea market or farmers market. Flea markets will attract lots of buyers and sellers, and you’ll be able to open an entire stand dedicated to sports card trading for a fee. Meanwhile, you might not get as much interest from a farmers market, but there are more than 8,000 in the US according to the USDA. That’s a lot of potential foot traffic if you have a few farmers markets in your area, so it’s worth looking into fees to open a stand.|
|Local Shops||A staple of collecting baseball cards, local sports card shops will often buy cards from collectors. Keep in mind, however, that you might not get the best possible price from a local shop, as they are going to try and sell it for a profit. If you have the right card, though, you can still make a pretty penny off of a sale. Plus, it takes away a lot of the hassle of finding an individual collector to sell a card to.|
|Facebook can be a valuable tool for connecting you with local baseball card trading groups or using the Marketplace to sell directly. After that, you can meet with buyers to swap cash for cards. Just keep in mind the usual safety precautions of meeting strangers for an exchange of goods.|
|Yard Sales||People love a good yard sale, which can be a good way to whittle down your collection of cards. Yard/tag/trunk sales tend to attract folks with a collector mentality, and it’s a chance to clear out some of the stuff you might have hanging around in your attic. It’s unwise to leave especially rare and valuable cards out in the open as strangers pick through your belongings, though, so reserve yard sales for cards of lesser value.|
|Craigslist||Much like Facebook, Craigslist is a good way to connect with local buyers through online ads. If you have a good idea of your baseball card values, you can create firmly priced listings and avoid mailing off cards. It does, however, carry the same risks that come from meeting strangers in parking lots as Facebook. Bring a friend if you want added security, and make the exchanges in well-lit, well-traveled public spaces.|
To learn more about selling baseball cards locally, check out "The 7 Best Ways to Sell Baseball Cards To Buyers Near You."
Highest Baseball Card Values in 2022
If you manage to find one of these cards in your collection, you’re in luck. You just shaved a few years off the time until you can retire.
|Honus Wagner||T206 White Border Honus Wagner||$6.6 Million - Sold August 2021|
|Mickey Mantle||Topps #311 Mickey Mantle||$5.2 Million - Sold January 2021|
|Babe Ruth||1933 Goudey||$4.2 Million - Sold July 2021|
|Mike Trout||Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph||$3.9 Million - Sold August 2020|
|Roberto Clemente||Topps Rookie Card #164||$1.1 Million - Sold March 2021|
To learn more about baseball card values, check out our recap, "10 of the Most Valuable Baseball Cards of All Time."
Baseball card collecting is an incredible, rewarding hobby. The sheer number of cards, eras, grades, and players makes it difficult to narrow down if you have cardboard gold or a piece of junk on your hands, but the hunt is fun nonetheless. Don’t get so caught up in baseball card values that you neglect the reason to collect in the first place. Cards, especially older ones, are relics of their era, and it’s amazing that any have lasted as long as they have – through World Wars, man’s first steps on the moon, and much more.
If you’re looking to change the way you approach collecting cards, contact Dibbs and join countless others looking to change how we think about baseball card ownership!