How Much Are My Baseball Cards Worth?

Baseball cards can be valuable if you understand what to buy and how to preserve them. This article covers the basics of determining a card's value.

What is the first step in determining a baseball card's value?

First, look up the specific card in a sports card price guide, such as Beckett. Cards are listed by year, set and number. The "set" would be listed as "Topps Gold Label" or "Fleer Ultra." The year is listed either on the front near the brand label, or on the bottom of the back side.

When you locate your specific card in the price guide, it may have an arrow pointing up or down. The arrow pointing up means that the card went up in value since the last edition of the price guide. The arrow pointing down means that the card went down in value since the last edition of the price guide. No arrow indicates that the value did not change.

In Beckett, there will be two numbers listed as the value, a lower number and a higher number. This range of prices signifies the lowest and highest value of the card. It can be worth anywhere within that range.

What if a specific baseball card is not listed in a common price guide?

Price guides, such as Beckett, often go back decades, as early as the 1940's. However, not every card is listed. The cards may be included in these categories: "Unlisted Stars," "Semi Stars" or "Minor Stars" or "Common Cards." If you know what category your card fits into, you can determine its value through these listings.

Where can baseball cards be sold?

Cards can be traded or sold at specialty card shops or card shows. Card shows are held in most cities and towns throughout the United States.

Is full value paid for baseball cards?

It is common for card dealers to offer half of book value, although this depends on the card. It is your decision whether or not to sell.

How are card shows advertised?

The card shows are advertised in the back section of the price guides.

Which baseball cards have the most value?

There are two kinds of card packs -- "Retail" and "Hobby." Retail packs are sold at large stores, such as Toys R Us or Target, or sometimes at card shows. The word "Retail" or the letter "R" is usually at the top of the package label.

What is the difference between Hobby and Retail packs?

Retail packs usually cost less, and the better cards are more rare than in Hobby packs. However, there are "Retail Exclusive" cards as well as "Hobby Exclusive" cards.

Hobby packs have the word "Hobby" or the letter "H" on the label.

Which packs have a better chance of containing a rare card or good insert?

Look on the back of the pack for the odds. In most cases, there is a greater chance of getting a more rare card in a Hobby pack.

What is an insert card?

An insert is a card that is rare, but is not part of the basic set or sub-set. Most sets of cards contain special insert cards in some packs. The odds of getting an insert card are listed on the outside of the pack.

What is a sub-set?

A sub-set is part of a set, and includes special cards like Rookie Cards. It is rare, and only included in certain packs.

What is a sequentially numbered baseball card?

This is a card where the entire print run is limited, and the card is assigned a number in that print run. For example, if there are 500 cards printed, you may get number 128 out of 500.

Usually number 1 is worth more, and the player's number is worth more. For example, if you had a Derek Jeter sequentially numbered card, and you had number 2 out of 25 it would be worth more since Derek Jeter's jersey number is 2.

What is a graded card?

A graded card is a card that has been graded by a professional. Some grading standards are: PSA 1-10, or BCG 1-10 with half-grades (.5), SGC 1-100.

Graded cards are often available for sale at card shows and specialty card shops.

How should baseball cards be preserved?

They will stay in the best condition if they are placed in a plastic sleeve and then in a top-loader. Storage containers are available at card shows and at specialty card shops.

Cards can also be displayed in notebooks with special plastic sheets.

If you think you have a valuable card, it is worth preserving it properly.

© High Speed Ventures 2011