If you've ever been kicking around your grandparent's attic and found a dusty shoebox full of baseball cards, you've probably had that jolt of excitement surge through you as you wonder 'how much are my baseball cards are worth.' But don't head for Tahiti just yet. You may have just stumbled upon an early retirement, or you could have a box full of rubbish. How much your baseball cards are worth can vary greatly depending on several factors.
To find out how much your baseball cards are worth, you will need:
- An established baseball card price guide (like Beckett)
- An eBay account
- Rarity. Cards produced before the 1980s are typically much more rare than anything produced after that point. Since fewer of these cards were produced, there is higher demand and thus a greater value placed on them. So if your grandmother's shoebox full of cards are from 1988, chances are likely you aren't looking at as early of a retirement as if they are from 1888.
- Condition. Does it look like grandma's poodle has used the shoebox and cards within as a chew toy for the last ten years? If this is the case, no matter the rarity, the value of your baseball cards is going to be reduced. Everyone wants a pristine card over a frayed and aged card. If the card is extremely old, the baseball card may still be worth quite a bit. Most buyers understand that a card from 1892 very likely will not be in the same condition as it was back then.
- The Player. Is the player pictured on the baseball card a career bench warmer? How much your baseball card is worth will also depend on the demand for the player pictured. If the player rarely saw playing time, he likely won't have a wide fan base of people interested in buying it from you. If you have a rare Alex Rodriguez rookie card, you may have a line of people waiting to make bids on the card.
- Grading. Card grading is a service designed for the buyer of a baseball card. Given the same card, the one that is graded highly by an esteemed grading company can be worth much more than the non-graded card. The grading on the card offers the buyer peace of mind, knowing that they are getting a quality of card that can be quantified by the grade. There is no surprise with the purchase.
- Accurately determining how much your baseball cards are worth depends on what you want to do with them. If you don't care to sell the cards to anyone, and only care about a loose market value, use a guide such as Beckett to value your collection. For a fee, Beckett allows access to their database of card values. The card values are loosely based on market demand at the moment of publication.
- Try eBay. Simply search for the value of the baseball cared on eBay. When results are returned, scroll down and find the completed listings option. You will need to be logged in to see the completed listings, but this will give you a good idea of what people are paying cash for your card. Remember, since eBay is an auction site, if you put it up for auction, you are no guaranteed to get that price.
However much your baseball cards are worth, take some time to appreciate the cards. After all, it's not all about money!