The Essential Sports Card Pricing Guide

Here’s everything you need to know about pricing, buying, selling, and collecting sports cards online and in stores in 2022.
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Collecting sports cards is an entertaining hobby, and it can be a financially rewarding one too. With more than a century’s worth to collect and minor details affecting a card’s price, even experienced collectors need resources to check in on from time to time. This handbook will serve as a comprehensive sports card pricing guide for collectors of every level in 2022.

 

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The art of appraising sports cards

The best place to sell sports cards locally

The best place to sell sports cards online

The best place to buy sports cards online and locally

Rare sports cards to look for

The ultimate sports card price guide

 

The art of appraising sports cards

One of the first things collectors should do when they think they’ve struck cardstock gold is to appraise their relevant cards. There are typically two steps in this process.

Grading cards

 

Grading provides an answer to the question “what sports cards are worth money?” During this process, a team of experts will evaluate the quality of a card. If you have a rare card, the grade will have a drastic effect on its value. Even a single point can change its final valuation by thousands of dollars. Most card grading companies will appoint a grade between 1-10, 1 being the lowest grade and 10 being the highest. Crispness, image quality, and many other metrics will affect a card’s final grade.

 

Valuing cards

 

Next is the money-making part. Or, at least, the part of the process in which you’ll learn how much money you (ideally) stand to make. The valuation process is fairly straightforward, as there are tons of online resources that can tell you how much a card is worth once it’s been graded. In some cases, specifically for high-value cards, it’s worth investing in a formal appraisal.

 

Free sports card price guide information

 

Most online guides will offer a place to buy, sell, and trade sports cards online, as well as a comprehensive price guide. A few outlets have earned positive reputations for offering these services, such as Beckett and PSA. PSA is generally considered to be the gold standard for pricing and appraising information. You could also get an idea of price ranges by searching eBay, or simply walking into a local sports card shop to determine your card’s or collection’s value.

 

For more information on card values, check out our guide “The Art & Science of Appraising Sports Cards.”


 

The best places to sell sports cards locally

Local shops

 

Local shops are some of the most convenient locations to buy, sell and trade sports cards. Keep in mind that shops will be looking to sell your cards for a profit, so you may end up making less than by selling directly to a buyer.

 

Facebook and Craigslist

 

Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist have more or less taken the place of classified ads, with collectors frequently posting offers to buy and sell cards on the websites. They’re a valuable tool if you prefer to keep your deals face-to-face, but always proceed with caution when meeting up with strangers in person.

 

Conventions, swap meets, and yard sales

 

If there’s an old-fashioned way to buy and sell sports cards locally, it’s by attending conventions, swap meets, and yard sales. For conventions and swap meets, most collectors will be aware of how valuable their cards are, though it’s possible to find some hidden gems at yard sales. Not only do these locations offer dedicated venues to trade cards, but they also surround you with other people that are interested in the hobby. That can be valuable for future card trades, or even just making some friends.

For more information, check out our blog “The 7 Best Ways to Sell Sports Cards Locally.”


The best places to sell sports cards online

It’s never been easier to buy and sell sports cards from the comfort of your own home. Here’s how.

Dibbs

Dibbs’ blockchain-powered marketplace allows users to sell digital fragments of a sports card, with the original physical card stored in a secure vault facility. Users can then buy and sell these fragments like a stock, watching the value change with time. While a physical card can only be sold once, Dibbs lets you hold onto a piece of your card even while putting it out on the market.

 
Beckett

On top of their grading services, Beckett offers a marketplace where users can buy and sell sports cards. If you know the specific card you’re after and don’t want to risk losing it during an auction, Beckett is a great choice.

 
eBay

eBay is a staple for selling and trading any collectible commodity, including selling sports cards online. The platform is synonymous with online auctions, a reputation that has earned the title of the de-facto place for casual private sellers — though it’ll also host some high-ticket auctions. If you’re after a particular card of a particular grade, eBay is the best place to check.

For more information, check out our guide “How to Sell Sports Cards Online” or “11 Ways To Buy and Sell Sports Cards Online.”


The best places to buy sports cards online and locally

Buying sports cards requires a keen eye and a solid understanding of the current market. With those tools, you’ll be ready to journey out — or stay in — to buy cards.

Flea markets

 

You never know what you’ll find at a humble flea market, as some stands will be custom-tailored to sports cards while others just have a miscellaneous assortment of collectibles. That makes them a potentially lucrative place to find hidden gems, as long as you know what to keep an eye out for. It’s unlikely that you’ll find anything graded at an unexpectedly low price, but you might stumble onto a card or two worth having appraised.

 

OfferUp

 

OfferUp lists sports cards from local sellers. Its hybrid online/offline nature, which allows users to meet in person or use shipping, makes it an ideal place to buy sports cards regardless of how you want to receive them.

 
Dibbs

On top of being a stellar place to sell cards, Dibbs is also a great place to buy sports cards. Your fractional ownership has the potential to increase in value, which allows you to then invest in other cards. If you want to approach sports card ownership in a new way, Dibbs is the place to do it.

For more information, check out our guide “The 14 Easiest Ways to Buy Sports Cards.”


Rare sports cards to look for

When athletes become legends, their cards become precious. These rare sports cards feature some of the greatest players the world has ever seen, and their rarity reflects that.

Kobe Bryant, 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems - Green

 

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players of all time, influencing both the sport and pop culture during his 20-year career. It makes sense that his cards would be valuable, which is the case with his 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems card, one of which sold for $2 million in February 2022.

 

Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Autograph #144

 

He might not be universally loved, but there’s no denying Tom Brady’s fame and accolades. The quarterback has garnered an astonishing seven Super Bowl wins, the highest of all time. It’s no surprise an autographed copy of Brady’s rookie card sold for a record $3.1 million in Lelands’ Mid-Spring Classic 2021 auction.

 

Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18

 

Wayne Gretzky is the defining name of Hockey, being synonymous with the sport. Retiring in 1999, Gretzky held 61 NHL records by the end of his career, even scoring more than 200 points in a single season four separate times. He can also claim being printed on the most valuable hockey card of all time: the Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18. A GEM MT 10 version of the card fetched $3.75 million in 2021.

For a longer list of cards to watch for, check out our guide “The 10 Most Valuable Sports Cards Missing From Your Collection.


The ultimate sports card price guides

These cards are the epitome of rarity and value. If you’ve got any of these in your collection, then you’re likely either lucky, an extreme collector, or just knew what to hang on to.

Baseball

 

1909-1911 T206 Honus Wagner SGC 3: Sold in August 2021 on Robert Edward Auctions for $6,606,296.40.

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Mike Trout Superfractors Rookie Card BGS 9 (Autographed):
 Sold in August 2020 on Goldin Auctions for $3,840,000.


1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card PSA 8:
 Sold in March 2021 on Goldin Auctions for $615,000.


1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookies Jerry Koosman / Nolan RyanPSA 10:
 Sold in August 2020 on Goldin Auctions for $600,000.


2016 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Rookie BGS 10 (Autographed): 
Sold in April 2022 on PWCC for $552,000.


Football

 

2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie RC #144 PSA 10 (Autographed): Sold in August 2021 on PWCC for $2,880,000.

2017 Panini Prizm Gold Patrick Mahomes II Rookie RC #269 PSA 10:
 Sold in August 2021 on PWCC for $528,000.


1971 Topps #156 Terry Bradshaw Rookie Card PSA 10:
 Sold in October 2021 on Goldin Auctions for $430,500.


1958 Topps Football #62 Jim Brown Rookie PSA 8.5:
 Sold in April 2022 on Robert Edward Auctions for $288,000.


1965 Topps Joe Namath Rookie #122 PSA 8.5:
 Sold in February 2021 on Heritage Auctions for $198,000.


Golf

 

2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods Rookie #45 PSA 10 (Autographed): Sold in March 2022 on PWCC for $240,000.

1932 U.S. Caramel Bobby Jones #3 PSA 9: 
Sold in May 2021 on Heritage Auctions for $105,000.

1933 Sport Kings #38 Bobby Jones PSA 8.5: 
Sold in December 2021 on Memory Lane for $32,781.60.

1973 Panini Campioni Dello Sport Jack Nicklaus #375 PSA 9: 
Sold in February 2021 on eBay for $12,000.

2001 Upper Deck Tiger Woods PSA 10 (Autographed):
 Sold in May 2022 on eBay for $10,976.52.


Hockey

 

1979 OPC Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18 PSA 10: Sold in December 2020 on Heritage Auctions for $1,290,000.

1951-52 Parkhurst #66 Gordie Howe Rookie Card PSA 8.5:
 Sold in May 2021 on Goldin Auctions for $210,330.

1966 Topps #35 Bobby Orr Rookie Card PSA 8:
 Sold in December 2020 on Goldin Auctions for $87,330.

1958 Topps Bobby Hull Rookie #55 PSA 8:
 Sold in February 2021 on Heritage Auctions for $87,000.

1951 Parkhurst Terry Sawchuk #61 PSA 8:
 Sold in July 2021 on Heritage Auctions for $24,000.


Soccer

 

1958 Alifabolaget Pele Rookie RC #635 PSA 8: Sold in March 2021 on PWCC for $340,100.

2003 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie RC #137 PSA 10: 
Sold in October 2021 on PWCC for $250,000.

2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Lionel Messi #12 PSA 9:
 Sold in January 2022 on PWCC for $204,000.

2002 Panini Futebol Portugal Stickers Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie #306 PSA 10:
 Sold in December 2021 on PWCC for $138,000.

2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi Rookie RC #71 PSA 10:
 Sold in September 2020 on PWCC for $116,988.


Boxing

 

1960 Hemmets Journal Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali Rookie Card PSA 9: Sold in January 2022 on PWCC for $114,000.

1997 Brown’s Boxing #51 Floyd Mayweather Jr. Rookie Card PSA 10:
 Sold in January 2021 on Goldin Auctions for $36,900.

1986 Panini Supersport Mike Tyson Rookie RC #153 BGS 9.5:
 Sold in January 2021 on PWCC for $35,001.

1999 World Boxing Magazine Manny Pacquiao Rookie #143 PSA 9:
 Sold in March 2021 on eBay for $20,200.

1987 A Question Of Sport Mike Tyson Rookie RC #224 PSA 10:
 Sold in January 2021 on PWCC for $12,844.

For more card prices, check out our guide “The Top 100 Most Valuable Sports Cards.


With this sports card price guide, you’re equipped to take your collecting to the next level. If you’re still not sure where to start, try Dibbs. Sign up and you’ll get a free frac pack, kicking off your digital collection with fractionals of at least three graded assets. Get a head start without spending a penny today.