The Best Baseball Card Price Guide
Maybe you’ve been collecting baseball cards for years and now you’re finally thinking of selling them, or maybe you recently stumbled upon the cards you had as a kid buried in an old storage chest while cleaning out your attic.
Regardless of the reason, there are many baseball card price guides available online for valuing your collection. The point of this post is to examine the most popular price guides and help you figure out which one makes the most sense for your needs.
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Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)
PSA claims to be the largest and most trusted third-party trading card authentication and grading company in the world. Founded in 1991, the company has certified over 40 million cards and collectibles to date and is the only grading service to guarantee its services. For a standard fee of $100 per card, PSA will authenticate your collection and give it a certified grade in terms of its condition and quality. It also offers a free price guide to give you a sense of what your card might be worth, while offering a searchable database of the actual prices paid for PSA-graded collectibles at auction and a population report of records for all cards graded by PSA.
Similar to PSA, Beckett is one of the oldest and most well-known authentication and grading companies in the industry. The company first came to prominence in 1979 when Dr. James Beckett published his first Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide. On top of its grading and authentication services, Beckett also offers a number of monthly sports collectibles magazines and a peer-to-peer marketplace where buyers and sellers can connect. Unlike PSA, Beckett’s online pricing guide for baseball cards isn’t free, ranging from $89.99 to $159.99 a month, but it provides a searchable database with the most up-to-date pricing information for more than 2.5 million cards.
Starting out as a print publication in 1984, Tuff Stuff’s Sports Collectors Monthly is an all-sports price guide offering insightful player profiles, in-depth articles, and the latest news affecting sports card and memorabilia collecting. Its baseball price guide publishes regularly updated pricing for thousands of baseball players, including practically every player from Mickey Mantle to Ryan Braun and every manufacturer from Topps to Upper Deck to Fleer, Donruss and more. Though the price guide is completely free and certainly comprehensive, it is not searchable (other than through your PDF reader) nor is it very well organized, making it sometimes difficult to find the specific card you are looking for.
What better way to understand the price of a baseball card than to see exactly how much that card — or ones like it — has sold for recently? That’s the premise behind Mavin, which searches and aggregates historic and real-time listings from eBay to show you how much cards have actually sold for on the Internet’s largest auction site. Mavin basically takes the mystery out of how price estimates are generated by providing actual sales numbers. The Mavin baseball price guide couldn’t be much easier to use: Simply enter the year, brand, player name and card number, and Mavin will automatically deliver the card’s estimated value, price range, and the number of similar cards sold on eBay.
SportsCardPro tracks the prices of current and historic baseball cards by analyzing real-time data from listings on eBay as well as its own sports card marketplace. They then run the data through their proprietary algorithms to determine the current market price based on a variety of factors including the most recent sales prices, median prices, average prices, age weighted average price, and more. The free system shows prices for cards that are ungraded and those that are graded 7 and up by PSA or Beckett Grading Services.
Vintage Card Prices
Vintage Card Prices (VCP) offers prices for more than 60,000 sets and 730,000 mostly vintage baseball cards based on sales data from eBay and 16 of the largest auction houses, so the information comes from a more complete set of inputs than many other price guides. Prices are free to access, but the site offers a $17.99 per month membership that includes some excellent features like enabling you to upload an entire collection at once and providing access to the latest auction values for those cards. VCP only provides prices for cards that have been graded by the four big grading companies, PSA, SGC, GAI and Beckett.
PriceGuide is geared towards collectors. It's a free service (with some paid upgrades available) that provides a unique Portfolio tool that lets users catalog their collection and view card analytics and charts to track values over time. The tool provides free pricing data split by grading company and grade, with customizable analytics, a simple search system, and the option to make your portfolio public so you can share it with others. It even includes a “Box Breaks” feature that gives collectors an expected Return on Investment. All card values are based on actual card sales from the secondary market.
Another price guide designed primarily for serious collectors is Market Movers, by Sports Card Investor. Billing itself as the industry’s “most powerful pricing database and market intelligence platform,” Market Movers provides in-depth price movement charts, sales volume charts, and comparative analysis charts, so you can get an accurate sense of sales data and trend lines. With two subscription tiers (either $24.99 or $49.99 a month), you can get access to price charts for more than half a billion cards, plus a customizable dashboard, the ability to chart sealed wax, and help finding underpriced cards. It’s probably a little too powerful for the average hobbyist, but serious investors will find Market Mover’s platform full of helpful features and functionality.