To answer this question, we need to define what “old means in the baseball trading card business. Essentially, “old” means years prior to 1970. So, do people still buy old baseball cards? Yes, certainly they do!
A number of dealers purchase them regularly, and individuals purchase them if they find the card they want or if they spot a real value.
Three factors influence the value of any baseball card: the player on the card, the condition of the card, and the year the card was produced. For example, Hall of Fame player cards are generally worth more than those not in the hall. Also, the older the card, the more value it will have on the market due to limited supply.
Card condition is graded according to a defined ranking from 10 (gem mint condition) to 1 (fair condition). The key areas of concern are the corners, edges, and surface condition, along with the centering of the picture on the card.
It should be noted that there are two values associated with baseball cards. The first value is the book value, which is easily discovered using the internet. These values are published by specialists according to producer of the card, year of the card, and player.
The second and probably most important value is the market value. This value may be similar to the book value or it may vary greatly above or below the book value. It depends on the desire of the buyer to purchase the card, of course.
Where can you find the best estimate of the market value? EBay and online baseball card auctions more accurately reflect today’s market price. So, if you want to know the value of a card, first check out the book price and then do some research to discover the current market value.
Highest Value Cards
Baseball cards produced prior to World War II, the really old cards, are the most valuable on the market today. The main reason why this is true is due to limited supply. Pre-1969 cards are the next most valuable set, then cards produced in the 1970s.
Cards produced after 1979 have little to no value, regardless of condition. There were just too many of them produced.
If you research this topic, you will find numerous stories on the internet of individuals who diligently saved their baseball cards in the 80s and 90s with expectations of selling them for great return as an adult. Unfortunately, these stories all end the same. The person is terribly disappointed and their dream of making a boatload of money has disappeared.
Sellers of Older Baseball Cards
There apparently are two main reasons why people sell a treasured set of baseball cards. One key reason is that the person has reached the time in life where a special event is approaching and money is needed. Such special events could include a wedding (personal or a child’s wedding, for example), sending someone off to college (again, often a child), or simply paying off debt.
A second key reason for selling off a set of cards is that a family member has inherited the cards and does not want to keep them. Perhaps the cards have little meaning to the inheritor or they recognize the value of them and simply would rather have the money.
Perhaps they also feel there is value to the community in general if they share the cards. The following video shares such a story from Ohio:
You have several choices if you desire to sell old baseball cards. One obvious choice is to sell them yourself on eBay or some other type of auction site.
If you choose to sell in this manner, you must do some work up front. First of all, you need to do the research to discover the value of the cards you want to sell.
Most importantly, you should have the cards graded by a professional card grading company. This will give credence to any claims of the condition of the cards that you make on the auction site. Several of the most well-known and reputable companies in the business of grading baseball cards include Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Professional Sports Authority (PSA), Global Authority, and Sportscard Guaranty (SGC).
Old Baseball Card Buyers
Cardboard Connection provides a list of twelve potential buyers. Among these are two “featured” buyers on their list called Just Collect and Trophy Box Cards.
Dean’s Cards, founded in 2001, is an online-only buyer and seller of sports cards. They claim to be the #1 seller of cards online, currently showing more than one million cards online. They also continue to buy hundreds of sports card collections each year. In the video that follows, Dean talks about How to Sell Baseball Cards:
As you can see, there are reasons why people sell old baseball cards. As long as the market exists, there will be those who buy these old cards. Though the market for baseball cards decreased in the 1990s, it has leveled off and is still a thriving market.
If you have had an experience selling baseball cards or are looking to sell, I would love to hear from you. Please share your experience using the reply area that follows or by clicking on “leave a comment” at the top of this post. Thanks in advance for sharing!