Baseball card collection remained a passion for people of all ages for over a century now. There have been several notable and valuable baseball cards throughout history, some that have been off the grid but are still worth a great deal, and some modern cards that you might find in your own home. This list will include the greatest pieces in the history of baseball cards. We strongly suggest going through the batter’s box for the chance of finding a fortune. You don’t have to be a card collector or baseball enthusiast to get a kick out of these gems.
Mickey Mantle – 1952 Topps
Mickey Mantle is the most archetypal baseball player known to the baby boomer generation. His 1952 Topps baseball card is just as quintessential as he is. A 9th grade 1952 Mantle was sold for about $3 million, setting the record for all non-Honus Wagner T206 baseball card. Such an esteemed card’s 6 or 7-graded copies can still amount to $700,000
Derek Jeter – 1993 Upper Deck SP Foil
Shortstop and New York Yankees captain, Derek Jeter, is one of the most iconic baseball players for the past 30 years, and he has thousands of cards to show for it. His most valuable card originated from his minor league days in 1993. Like many cards, this Jeter card’s value varies with its condition and related number writing. However, even a mid-grade card is worth about $200-$400. A card in almost mint condition can rack up to $1,000.
Dwight Gooden – 1984 Fleer Update
Dwight Gooden rose to popularity on the baseball stage during the early ’80s. His blazing fastball set rookie records. Well-known for his name, Doctor K, his 1984 rookie season led him to strike out 276 batters and win 17 games. His rookie records were immortalized by the 1985 Fleer Update set, which featured him in his blue and orange Mets uniform. Depending on the condition, such a card can earn you $200.
Roberto Clemente – 1955 Topps
Roberto Clemente was an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates who was admitted into the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, after notching the 3,000th hit of his career, he died in a tragic plane crash. His baseball legacy and devastating death heightened the interest in his memorabilia. In 2012, a mint 1954 Topps rookie of his cost $432,690. Four years later, a graded 9 card amounted to $478,000.
Stan Musial – 1948 Bowman
The oldest card that is still somewhat reasonably priced would be Stan Musial’s 1848 Bowman card. The St. Louis Cardinals icon was immortalized by the set. It’s neither likely nor impossible to find one in your own attic, though it wouldn’t hurt to look since selling one in good condition can earn you more than $1,000.
Babe Ruth – 1914 Baltimore News
In 2012, despite only being graded 2, a copy of the 1914 Babe Ruth card racked up $575,000 in value. The reason it’s expensive is that rumor has it there are only 10 existing copies of such a card.
Roger Clemens – 1984 Fleer Update
We have another card part of the 1984 Fleer Update set, and this time, it’s one of the most valuable rookie cards of Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. He was one of the best pitches from the ’80s to the 2000s. Despite his reputation going downhill after he was accused of steroid usage (which prevented him from being inducted into the Hall of Fame), the value of the card did not decline. If it were in good shape, it can be sold for $200-$400.
Pete Rose/Pedro Gonzalez/Ken McMullen/Al Weis – 1963 Topps
The reason this 4-player rookie card amounted to $70,000 was that it included Pete Rose, the hits record holder. In 2016, a graded 10 copy of the card was priced for $717,700. It’s rare to find a perfect card, especially when it’s become old.
Albert Pujols – 2001 Bowman Autographed
In the early 2000s, Baseball cards had become so common and ubiquitous that none were really considered rare unless they came as a bonus: like being memorabilia cards, having autographs on them, and low-numbered parallel ones. One of the most valuable ones were the Albert Pujols autograph card in the 2001 Bowman set. A card in good condition can earn a price within four figures.
Cal Ripken Jr. – 1982 Topps Traded
There are several valuable 1982 rookie cards, and one of the most prized of them would be the Cal Ricken Jr. card in the Topps Traded expansion set. The Iron Man’s card, if in good condition, can fetch you about $200. The back can chip and flake if not handled carefully, which is why there’s such a big range of grades and prices for it.
Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman – 1968 Topps Rookie
Like the Pete Rose rookie card, a 10th-grade copy of the 1968 Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman of the Mets combo card was auctioned off for $612,359. Out of the 8,000 copies of this card submitted for professional assessment, only one was graded as such. A 9th-grade copy of the card would cost between $20,000-$30,000.
Frank Thomas – 1990 Topps Error
Frank Thomas’s card in the Topps set was the most valuable card during the ‘90s. Though it’s not a regular card, it’s error is what makes it special and worth a lot of money. The card for the Hall of Famer does not have his name on the front. It’s worth a price with four or five figures to it.
Honus Wagner – T206
The Honus Wagner card in the T206 set is known as a legend in card collecting circles as the most valuable and famous baseball card of all time. The 1911 card was made by a tobacco company as a means to increase sales. However, the slugger himself wanted to pull the card from the shelves. Research later revealed that the reason for this had something to do with the royalties. These cards were considered the “Holy Grail” of baseball cards. In 2016, one of them sold for $3.3 million.
Chipper Jones – 1991 Desert Shield
Chipper Joines, best known as the Atlanta Braves’ third baseman, was one of the most famous MLB players in the ‘90s. His most valuable card is linked to an iconic moment of that decade. In 1991, Topps released a special version of the season’s base set that came with “Desert Shield” holograms, which was only made available to soldiers that were involved in Operation Desert Storm. It included Jones’ rookie card. A copy with the hologram can fetch you hundreds of bucks.
Babe Ruth – 1916 Sporting News
At the peak of his career, not only was Babe Ruth a famous slugger, but he was also one of the most famous men in the United States. As a testament to his legacy, people would make a great deal to acquire a copy of his 1916 card from the Sporting News set. In 2019, a copy of the card was sold for $717,000. A year later, another copy amounted to $550,000.
Ken Griffey Jr. – 1989 Upper Deck Rookie
In the ’90s, people believed Ken Griffey Jr’s 1989 rookie card in the Upper Deck would become one of the most expensive cards in history. Despite that belief not becoming a reality, the card remained one of the most iconic cards for the past 30 years. A copy of the card with a good grade can earn $400.
Willie Mays – 1952 Topps
Besides the famous Mantle card, the 1952 Topps featured another valuable card. It starred New York center fielder and Hall of Famer: Willie Mays. Though it’s not as valuable as the Yankee slugger’s card, the Say Hey Kid’s card priced as $478,000 in a 2016 auction.
Kirby Puckett – 1984 Fleer Update
Another one from the 1984 Fleer Update set, this time, it’s the version of Kirby Puckett. The pricing for the Minnesota Twins’ Hall of Famer varies from grade to grade. However, a card in mint condition can cost around $200-$500.
Shoeless Joe Jackson – 1909 American Caramel
Similar to the Honus Wagner card, the 1909 Joe Jackson card was made by American Caramel as a means of increasing the sales of their cigarette brand. Though the slugger was banned for life from the sport due to accusations of being involved in the Chicago Black Sox gambling controversy in 1919, card collectors sought after the card. In 2016, a mint copy was bought for $660,000.
Joe Doyle – 1911 ATC T206
Though many of the players featured on this list are Hall of Famers, Joe Doyle is a notable exception. Though he’s a bygone mediocre player, his tobacco company promotion card is worth $414,750 due to an error. The first print of the card labeled him as a player for the New York’s National League and not the Yankees.
Hank Aaron – 1954 Topps
It’s no surprise that Hank “Homerun King” Aaron has a card that racks in tons of money. His only rookie card is his 1954 Topps card. In that year, cards were in good condition because of the big improvement in printing techniques. In 2012, a mint condition copy of the card amounted to $357,000. We are sure it will be worth more now and in the future.
Ty Cobb – 1909 T206 ‘Bat Off Shoulder’
Cards part of the 1909-1911 T2016 set will certainly be valuable. However, the Ty Cobb card sees to fly under the radar. The “Bat On the Shoulder” variant is a little less valuable compared to the “Batt Off Shoulder” counterpart because more high-quality copies of the latter had emerged. The prices of a card’s copy vary, but it’s expected to cost six figures.
Mickey Mantle – 1951 Bowman
This is the second mention of the Mickey Mantle card, but this time, it’s the 1951 Bowman version, which is not as expensive or famous as his Topps card. This variant is the only official rookie card of Mantle. A mint copy of the card can amount to more than $500,000 because of his popularity among the baby boomers and the younger generation..
Eddie Plank – 1909 T209
Hall of Famer Eddie Plank, the pitcher behind Honus Wagner himself, is considered the second rarest and most valuable card in the deck due to several reasons. OldSportsCards.com said, “The most prevalent theory is that the card suffered from a poor printing plate, resulting in many of the cards being destroyed since they could not pass quality control. Besides, many of the known examples are found with poor centering from top to bottom. The centering can be so severe that it will cut into the text along the bottom.
Cap Anson – 1887 Old Judge
The card in the picture was included in the 1887 Old Judge set of cards and possibly the oldest baseball card on our list. Some experts and collectors believed that the Cap Anson – 1887 Old Judge was the most important 19th-century card because of its wide variety of players and variants. The Cap Anson – 1887 Old Judge, particularly the one in uniform, was the most treasured in the series. It was rare, with only a few copies in existence.
Jackie Robinson – 1948 Leaf
Jackie Robinson was deemed to be the most talented athlete in the United States during the 20th century. Jackie Robinson broke the color line in MLB that had a deep-rooted impact on sports history. The impact was so massive that he had been immortalized with the 1948 Leaf card. It was now a desired item within the collector circles because of the scarcity of its copy. The price of the Jackie Robinson – 1948 Leaf card would still depend on its grade. In the spring of 2019, a copy of grade 8 was sold for around $75,000.
Joe DiMaggio – Goudie 1948
The Joe DiMaggio – Goudie 1948 card was not like the typical baseball card because of its caricature body and cartoony background illustrations. It was what set it different for the earliest cards of the Yankee Clipper payer. The Joltin’ Joe card had been released two years before Joe DiMaggio became a pro, and we could have our copy for a thousand dollars. There was another Joe DiMaggio baseball card in the series that did not include background illustrations. As expected, it was worth less than the Joe DiMaggio – Goudie 1948 card.
Duke Snider – 1949 Bowman
We already talked about some rookie cards for Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, and it was why it was evident that we would soon talk about the Duke of Flatbush. Edwin Duke Snider had been admired as the center fielder for the Boys of Summer team of the Brooklyn Dodgers during the late ’40s and early ’50s. Duke Snider was second to Jackie Robinson when it came to be popular. Like Mickey Mantle, the rookie card was created by Bowman and was first released in the 1949 series.
Andy Pafko – 1952 Topps
Dodgers’ Andy Pafko was not a Hall of Famer, and we would not find any mistakes or abnormalities in the Andy Pafko – 1952 Topps series. We became curious why a grade 10 copy of the Andy Pafko – 1052 Topps card was sold for more than $250,000 last 2016. We found out that it had something to do with numbers because his card was designated as number 1 in the iconic 1952 set. It was why it grew popular among collectors and completionists.
1909 T206 Sherry Magee (Error)
Sherry Magee was the one who led the National League in RBI for more than four instances. And yet, it was not why the 1909 T206 Sherry Magee card sold for around $660,000 last September 2018. It turned out that there was an error in the PSA 8 T206 card. Sherry Magee’s name had been spelled as Magie before being corrected. The corrected version was printed in higher quantities as opposed to the one with the error. The mistake was what made the 1909 T206 Sherry Magee be one of the most celebrated baseball cards in history.
1910 T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson
The Joe Jackson card was one of the few cards that had been created when Joe Jackson was still playing. It had been a century since the Black Sox scandal, and it had already been 30 years since the Field of Dream. And yet, people still adore and were fascinated by Shoeless Joe. It had been reported that the card was sold for a hefty amount of $600,000 last 2019. Although Joe Jackson was featured as a member of a minor league team, the card was still rare and idolized.
1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb
Cracker Jack was an American brand of snack that had molasses-flavored, caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts famous for having a prize of minimal value inside. Cracker Jack had been around just as long as baseball had been. Cracker Jack was immortalized in baseball lore by Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a 1902 song. Ty Cobb managed to drive pitchers crazy for more than 30 years, and ninety years after he retired, his career .366 batting average was still top for all Major League Baseball players.
1948 Leaf Satchel Paige
It was not typical for a 1948 Leaf Satchel Paige rookie card of the 42-year-old pitcher to be unique and in demand. However, Satchel Paige was not your ordinary standard pitcher, and he was even deemed as the most dominant hurler in baseball history. Leroy Satchel Paige did not have the chance to flaunt his charisma in the majors until 1948. Leroy Satchel Paige stepped into the game with no problem and had a 6-1 for the world champion Cleveland Indians. A PSA grade 8 copy of the card sold for $432,000.
1932 U.S. Caramel Babe Ruth
All baseball fans had heard of Babe Ruth, but aside from his fame, the particular 1932 U.S. Caramel Babe Ruth was not that easy to find in good shape. There was a PSA 9 copy of the card that was in mint condition. It got sold for $432,000 last April 2019. We imagined how the cards had been packaged with caramel before, and these cards were easy to get dirty. And in case the cards weren’t stained by caramel, there was a high chance that the sticky-fingered kids would somehow get their hands on the cards.
1909 T206 Ty Cobb (Ty Cobb Back)
There were only four Ty Cobb cards in the landmark T206 set, and yet, this particular variation was unique than the T206 Wagner. Ty Cobb’s red portrait advertised the baseball player’s tobacco brand with a message at the back that said, “Ty Cobb, King of the Smoking Tobacco World.” The card was so rare that there were only 19 variations graded by PSA. It was fewer compared to the 34 cards of Wagner. A PSA that was graded 3.5 T206 Ty Cobb (Ty Cobb Back) was sold for $408,000 last 2018.
1956 Topps Mickey Mantle
The 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle was one of the most famous baseball cards, and we could see Mickey Mantle grinning. There was a reason for his smug face, and that was because it was at that year that Mickey Mantle captured the Triple Crown by leading the league with a .353 batting average and 52 home runs. It was at that moment that he became a baseball superstar. There was a PSA grade 10 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle card sold for around $382,300 last August 2016.
1948 Leaf Stan Musial
The 1948 Leaf Stan Musial baseball card was one of the two most acknowledged rookie cards that featured the legendary batter. The Lead Stan Musial card was honestly a tough one to find and was deemed to be more attractive than the second card because of its color. The makers used a color opposed to the black and white that was typically used before. Stan Musial became a seven-time NL champion and was inaugurated in the Baseball Hall of Fame last 1969. The PSA 9 card was sold for $312,000 in February 2018.
1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig
Goudey Lou Gehrig retired with the baseball record for most consecutive games played. It reached 2,130, and since then, the record was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. A PSA graded 10 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig baseball card somehow received the Gem Mint grade, and it was valued for $33,000. It had been auctioned off for an even higher price of $274,950 last 2007. More than ten years had already passed, and this was still the only 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig card that had been graded PSA 10.
1911 General Baking Ty Cobb
We were now aware that baseball cards had been sold in various things like bread, candy, cigarettes, and gums. The PSA 8 card was one example of a card that had been packaged with loaves of bread. It was sold in September 2008 for a hefty price of $272,980 and was also the highest PSA-graded 1911 General Baking Ty Cobb. The next one was graded a PSA 6 last August 2018, and it would be safe to assume that the card would have made more money if it had been sold today.
1910 E98 Ty Cobb
Most of us would agree that Ty Cobb was the most gifted baseball athlete during the early twentieth century. Ty Cobb was an incredible batter, one of the best base stealers, and a great defense. There would be no doubt he was the dominant player in the American League in the Deadball Era. However, Ty Cobb had an aggressive play style that led to some criticisms. Despite this, the card would always make money, especially when it was in mint condition. The PSA 10 E98 Ty Cobb was sold for $270,600 last May 2019.
1909 T206 Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson was known by the people who loved to watch the game of baseball. He was known for his excellent pitching skills. Christy was a skillful pitcher in which he was one of the first inductees of the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson. We could read on the spot in Hall that “Matty was master of them all.” A person sold PSA 9 1909 T206 with a total of two hundred sixty-four thousand dollars in September 2018.
1939 Play Ball Ted Williams
Ted William was known as the best hitter on the field. The industry created numerous William’s items that we could pick on, including the 1939 Play Ball Ted Williams. However, people would always choose rookie cards over other items. If we talked about the rookie card, we could only think about William. It was made in the ’30s, yet we might consider the object as an average card. A person bought a PSA 9 1939 Play Ball, Ted Williams, with a total of two hundred thirty-nine thousand dollars in November 2016.
1933 Goudey Napoleon Lajoie
1933 Goudey Lajoie was considered a unique card. The industry created only a hundred of them, explaining why the card was not a part of the original set. In 1934, collectors had to buy the card straight from the manufacturer just to get the set. Several of those cards were sent through the mail to the collectors who bought the cards. In the mails, there were paper clips on the item, making an impression on the cards. The PSA 9 1933 Goudey Lajoie was bought in November 2016 with two hundred twenty-eight thousand dollars.
1910 Standard Caramel Honus Wagner
The people recognized Honus Wagner as part of the “First Five” with the players like Ruth, Cobb, Walter Jonson, and Christy Mathewson. Caramel was admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. A PSA 9 19010 Standard Caramel Honus Wagner was bought in September 2018, totaling two hundred eighteen thousand five hundred fifty dollars. Wagner had also earned eight batting titles in his career. We could tell how great this baseball player was.
1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio
The industry had recognized the 1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio card as the “true classic,” and it was Joe’s most well-known card. In 1941, Joe, a.k.a “Joltin” was at his best performance in the game. He won fifty-six straight games, which was memorable in the baseball industry. We could say that his card became famous in April 2019. A PSA 9 1941 Play Ball Joe Dimaggio was bought by an individual for a total amount of two hundred sixteen thousand dollars in an auction. The car was also the key for the 1941 Play Ball Set.
1955 Topps Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax had been unfortunate because of the injuries which ended his career. Topps was admitted to the Baseball of Fame in 1972. He was recognized as the youngest player that was chosen at the age of 36. We could tell that he was a superior left-handed pitcher when he was not yet injured. PSA 9 1955 Topps Koufax card was bought in an auction last August 2018 for a total of two hundred fifteen thousand and one hundred dollars. After it was sold, only three 1955 55 Topps Koufax cards graded PSA 10 were left.
1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson
1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson was a card that was used for a window display in a clothing store, but there were only six of the 1914 Boston Garter Jackson cards that were still existing in the current era. A Sportscard Guaranty 70 1914 Boston Garter Jackson, which was equal to the PSA 5.5, had been bought for two hundred four thousand dollars. We could only think about how much this card would cost today. The Boston Garter card was also a fascinating baseball card that was created.
1954 Bowman Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle was one of the well-known players in sports history, and we would expect that his cards would also be expensive even in the current era. In the year 1998, Bowman became one of the “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players.” It was why his high-grade vintage cards would always be valuable. An example of those cards was the PSA 9 1954 Bowman Mantle card, which was bought by an individual with a total of two hundred four thousand dollars in May 2017.
1914 Boston Garter Ty Cobb
1914 Boston Garter Ty Cobb was a card that almost we could not get our hands on, especially a unique version graded by PSA or SGC. We could say that it was a unique window display series. The Sportscard Guaranty 50 1914 Boston Garter Cobb was equal to the amount of PSA 4, which had a total price of two hundred four thousand dollars in August 2018. Ty Cobb was known as the baseball player who won the first Bronze plaque at the Baseball Hall.