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The Top 10 USWNT Soccer Cards to Look Out For

With the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are finally set to kick-off on July 23, 2021, putting the world’s top athletes on the grandest stage.

For me, the Olympics are such a fascinating event because sports that I would never normally watch get to be front-and-center, turning medal-winners into household names throughout the world. When I think of athletes like Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Simone Biles, Carl Lewis, and Michael Phelps, I can remember where I was when I watched them dominate in their events. I also remember the sense of patriotism and pride I had watching as they stood on the podium to receive their medals alongside the American flag.

In the sports card hobby, an event like this presents an interesting opportunity. I always like to talk about “relevancy” when discussing which cards I typically invest in. A good example was in January, when I was at the Dallas Card Show and saw a tweet from Adam Schefter that Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was about to be traded. I immediately bought up every Matthew Stafford rookie card that I could find, knowing that once the trade went down, Stafford would be in the public spotlight, likely sending the value of his cards soaring. Sure enough, he was traded that night and within a week I sold all of the Stafford cards I purchased, tripling my money.

Soccer is the most popular sport throughout the world, and while the United States men’s national team (USMNT) failed to qualify this year (for the third consecutive time), the women’s team (USWNT) is absolutely dominant, winning the gold medal in 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012 before losing in the quarterfinals to Sweden in 2016.

After the game, there was a lot of tough talk from USWNT goalie Hope Solo calling the Swedish team “cowards” because of their style of play and saying the the “better team lost.” Amazingly, they won’t have to wait long for payback, as they drew Sweden in the first game of this year’s Olympics.

Megan Rapinoe

“We have very high standards for the team, which is championship or total failure, so we felt like total failures. It definitely left, I wouldn’t say a bad taste. I think it left a fire under people to never let that happen again.”

Needless to say, there will be a lot of juice behind the USWNT’s attempt to recapture the gold medal, and in my opinion, that attention will have collectors in full buying mode.

This list of 12 cards includes some USWNT current players, as well as former players whose legacies will be discussed at length in the coming months.

1. Mia Hamm Sports 1992 Illustrated for Kids PSA 9 ($3749)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/402753865718?hash=item5dc60047f6%3Ag%3AUAgAAOSw-MpgUmAi&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

With only (1) PSA 10, (25) PSA 9s and (25) PSA 8s in the population, it comes as no surprise that this Mia Hamm Sports Illustrated for Kids card is the “Holy Grail” of women’s soccer cards. Simply put, Mia Hamm is the greatest women’s soccer player in the history of the sport, and this is her most coveted card.

Obviously with a card this rare, they will not be easy to come by. It will be interesting to see what happens to the value of the ones that are already graded as the stories of her greatness are told repeatedly during the games, reminding the world just how dominant she was.

If you head over to eBay, there are plenty of raw examples for sale, but these cards are perforated and torn off of a full sheet, making them very difficult to grade.

2. Mia Hamm 1994 Upper Deck World Cup PSA 10 ($1000)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/333940158291?hash=item4dc0626f53%3Ag%3AhukAAOSwCbBgYy-L&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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There are actually two versions of this card in the 1994 Upper Deck World Cup set, the standard one and the English/Spanish variation. There are only (35) PSA 10’s of the standard card in the population, with only (8) of the English/Spanish one receiving PSA’s top grade. If you can’t find a 10, PSA 9s might be the play here, as there are only (66) in the population and sell for around $200. I really like the combination on this card of relevance, rarity and GOAT status.

3. Alex Morgan 2011 Upper Deck MLS PSA 10 ($721.08)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/393245071038?hash=item5b8f3b96be%3Ag%3AVq8AAOSwwCpgddsO&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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Alex Morgan is the first current player to hit this list, and for good reason. She is the most mainstream, with endorsement deals ranging from Nike, Panasonic, AT&T, McDonalds, P&G, Mondelez Int’l and Coca-Cola. She was on one of three covers of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the other two being models Tyra Banks and Camille Kostek. Needless to say, she will be a huge star in this upcoming Olympics, and the value of her cards should see a nice bump because of it.

This particular card came as a part of the 2011 Upper Deck MLS set, which mixed in women’s soccer stars. There are 220 of these cards graded by PSA with (157) of them receiving a PSA 10. With such a low number of the face of the team’s rookie card, this could be an absolute steal. If you want to gamble, you can buy the card raw and send it off to be graded, or even get a box of the sealed wax and have some fun ripping open the packs!

4. Alex Morgan 2011 Panini Women’s W/C Sticker ($149)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/143998965098?hash=item218701d56a%3Ag%3AUSYAAOSwcJxgaxRG&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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This set is absolutely fascinating. Panini has been printing soccer stickers for over 50 years, but this 2011 World Cup set was the first time they ever produced Women’s World Cup soccer stickers. Operating under the assumption that there would be little interest in the product, they only released it in the host country of Germany in small quantities.

Because of the rarity of this set, there are only 10 graded examples (4) PSA 10s and (4) PSA 9s of Alex Morgan’s true rookie sticker. Finding a sealed box (or packs) is near impossible, and while raw examples do pop up on eBay, they typically come from Europe.

One of the PSA 9s recently sold for $800, and I can’t stress enough how good I feel about the idea of getting these stickers any time they come up for sale, especially if you can grade them in time for the Olympics. This is my favorite play on this list, considering the rarity and cost-of-entry, and you will be seeing it again on this list shortly!

5. Abby Wambach 2010 Upper Deck ($100)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/373454973375?hash=item56f3a6a9bf%3Ag%3AjB8AAOSwu2dgI02a&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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Only seven of these cards have ever been graded with six of them receiving a PSA 10, so this is another card that won’t be easy to find. Wambach ranks as the highest all-time goal scorer as a forward for the USWNT, so much like Mia Hamm, we will likely be seeing and hearing a lot about her dominance on the pitch in the coming months.

6. Megan Rapinoe 2011 Panini Women’s W/C Sticker ($97)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/294135423836?hash=item447bd6635c%3Ag%3AAtgAAOSwLRdggDg%7E&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

As the USWNT’s outspoken leader, you can be sure that you will be seeing a lot of Megan Rapinoe in the mainstream media, not just because of her fantastic play on the pitch, but also because of her ongoing battle for equal pay.

In a recent trip to the White House, Rapinoe (while on stage with President Biden) declared, “I have been devalued, I’ve been disrespected and dismissed because I am a woman,” going on to say, “Despite all of the wins, I am still paid less than men who do the same job that I do. For each trophy— of which there are many—for each win, each tie and for each time that we play, it’s less.”

This will certainly be a storyline throughout the Olympics. If Rapinoe can help the USWNT recapture the gold, the focus of the world will be on her. I already spoke about the rarity of these 2011 Panini World Cup stickers, but that set also includes Rapinoe’s rookie sticker with a PSA 10 population of just two and only (7) PSA 9s backing it up.

There are a few of these available raw on eBay but you better move fast if you want one.

7. Hope Solo 2012 Topps USA Olympics Silver PSA 10 ($97)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/402753873347?hash=item5dc60065c3%3Ag%3AhjMAAOSwx1dgUmFt&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

How often did we hear about Hope Solo’s post-game comments about the Swedish National Team after the 2016 loss? Will Sweden use it as motivation to prove that 2016 was no fluke? Will the USWNT prove that Solo was correct in her assertion that the “better team lost” on that day?

Either way, Solo is considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time, with two gold medals, a World Cup and was named U.S. Female Athlete of the Year in 2009. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this particular card, there are some really cool Hope Solo numbered autos on eBay, and she is also in the 2011 Panini World Cup sticker set that I love so much.

8. Carli Lloyd 2011 Panini Women’s W/C Stickers ($90)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/294090437929?hash=item447927f529%3Ag%3AIFQAAOSwkAFgYPRm&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

Lloyd will be suiting back up for the USWNT in the Olympics at 38 years-old and is most well-known for scoring a hat-trick in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against Japan, the first woman to ever pull off that feat in a final game.

You can pretty much copy everything I keep saying about this 2011 Panini World Cup sticker set and paste it in here. In order to avoid being redundant, I will also point out that Carli Lloyd has some other rare and fun cards on eBay. I especially like the 2019-20 Panini Gold Standard cards of hers, as well as the 2019-20 Panini Obsidians.

9. Kristine Lilly 1994 Upper Deck World Cup ($80)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/313389160898?hash=item48f77319c2%3Ag%3AlfgAAOSw1V9gCO14&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557 
eBay

Lilly played for the USWNT for 23 years (1987-2010) and is third on their list of all-time goals scored (130) behind Mia Hamm (158) and Abby Wambach (184). She has two Olympic gold medals (1996 & 2004), one World Cup (1999) and was inducted in to the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015.

Her rookie card can be found in the same 1994 Upper Deck World Cup set as the Mia Hamm rookie, presenting nice consolation prize potential to somebody who buys a few packs searching for the Mia Hamm card.

10. Rose Lavelle 2020 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Auto ($80)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/154415628172?hash=item23f3e37f8c%3Ag%3AaSAAAOSwPLlgd5Vd&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

At just 25 years-old, Rose Lavelle is one of the up-and-coming stars on this year’s Olympic squad. This is her first Olympics with the USWNT, but she played on the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup, scoring three goals in five games and helping the team to their second straight CONCACAF championship.

She started all six games in the 2019 World Cup in France, scoring three goals and was awarded the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament.

I like this 2020 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions card because it has beautiful eye-appeal, and she doesn’t have many autos out there currently. I also love her 2019 Panini World Cup stickers, especially due to the cost-of-entry on some raw ones.

There is a very good chance that Lavelle becomes the new face of the USWNT, and if she does, what do you think will happen to the value of her cards? I’m a buyer on all things Rose Lavelle.

Others to Look Out For
Crystal Dunn 2017-18 Select Signatures Auto ($25)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/313042316673?hash=item48e2c6ad81%3Ag%3ApQsAAOSwOHhf41XO&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

To shop for more Crystal Dunn cards, click here

Samantha Mewis 2017-18 Select ($15)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/133713828242?hash=item1f21f71992%3Ag%3AJzYAAOSwUkVgaNmL&nma=true&si=OWfOuQCW6Pv3GW9EaIeyD3IyFZw%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
eBay

To shop for more Samantha Mewis cards, click here

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Scary Movies On Hulu to Watch Right Now

Although Netflix was at one point the dominating force in streaming for all genres, their horror selection as of late has been a bit lackluster. Services like Shudder have filled in some gaps with an overwhelming selection of indie and foreign films, while HBO Max has a substantial list of classics. Hulu’s selection is pretty varied: the streaming service has a collection of under-appreciated arthouse movies alongside Oscar-winning thrillers.

Just ‘cause it’s almost summer doesn’t mean the spirit of Halloween is waning for real horror junkies, so we’ve curated a list of the 20 best scary movies we could find on Hulu. From sci-fi dystopias to home invasion to postmodern thrillers, here are 20 films that’ll keep your blood curdled.

20. ’28 Days Later’

Although needlessly gritty revampings of previously campy genres have become so totally overdone, Danny Boyle’s reinvention of the zombie sub-genre in 28 Days Later is absolutely astounding. Shockingly artistic and with breathtaking cinematography, this film is one of the best zombie movies ever made. Don’t expect slapstick humor or silly misadventures a la Return of the Living Dead, the Oscar-winning director’s clever take on post-apocalyptic terror remains a dark standout in a genre otherwise beaten to death.   

19. ’28 Weeks Later’

Danny Boyle did not return for the sequel to 28 Days Later, but director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo did a fantastic job of holding up the previous film’s aesthetic and tone. 28 Weeks Later is a post-post-apocalypse — it tells the story of what happens months after the world ends, and how humanity’s last survivors have since reshaped a rudimentary form of society. It’s equally as gritty and artistic as its predecessor, and about as violent. There are a few clever twists on the zombie mythos in here too.

18. ‘Blair Witch’ (2016)

At least one reviewer had described Blair Witch as “the worst of any 2016 release.” It’s definitely not — and figuring out why there’s such antipathy for this film is difficult. Perhaps critics are still angry they were duped by the avant-garde viral marketing of the original Blair Witch? In this reboot of the franchise which began in 1999, there are some pretty clever plot devices introduced to the Blair Witch cinematic universe: apparently, the entity commonly known as The Blair Witch can manipulate time! Either way, Blair Witch (2016) certainly doesn’t measure up to the pure terror of the first movie, but it’s a clever twist on the now-infamous urban legend nonetheless.

17. ‘Bug’ (2006)

Bug flopped big at box offices upon its release in 2006, partially because it was advertised as a traditional horror movie instead of what it actually is: an artsy and melancholic thriller about severe mental illness. But even though Bug is lacking in obvious scares, it’s one of the most frightening — and emotionally devastating — movies ever made. Based on the play by Tracy Letts and directed by horror master William Friedkin (best known for helming the original Exorcist film in 1973), Bug tells the story of two depressed drug addicts whose utter loneliness draws them into mutual madness and shared delusions of government conspiracies. It’s oddly prescient in the age of QAnon, and the human story — about a mother’s loss and longing — is extremely touching. Excellent acting from Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon would make this an Oscar-worthy film — if the Oscars weren’t so averse to anything resembling horror. (Note: there’s another, entirely unrelated horror movie also titled Bug on Hulu that is absolutely not worth watching.)

16. ‘Cabin in the Woods’

A post-modern love letter to the horror genre, Cabin in the Woods is a Scream-adjacent deconstruction of obvious horror tropes. Like Scream, the movie has a pretty good sense of humor that doesn’t take away from the more serious scares. We won’t get too much into the plot — there are too many twists and turns to reveal — but it also means that re-watches are equally as rewarding as first-time viewings. Writer Drew Goddard, who was behind some of the best episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, provides excellently witty dialogue throughout. 

15. ‘Children of the Corn’ (1984)

A24’s Midsommar was hailed as a highly original horror masterpiece shortly before the pandemic, but more casual moviegoers might not be aware there’s an entire sub-genre of harvest horror. An early example of this is Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, an occultic tale of rural terror. The movie itself is appropriately unnerving — lots of creepy children worshipping a mysterious agricultural deity — but the bombastic finale is pure silliness. 

14. ‘The Descent’

It’s hard to imagine straight-up monster movies could still be scary in the new millennium, but director Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic nightmare actually delivers. In The Descent, an all-female crew of cave explorers encounters a cannibalistic species of underground humanoids, as they’re picked off by the creatures one by one. It sounds pretty corny, but the amazing acting and use of darkness and shadow help this movie transcend its pretty simplistic concept. There’s also a shocking amount of emotional depth to the movie, too.

13. ‘The Haunting’ (1999)

The Haunting (1999) is based on the iconic horror film of the same name from 1963, which itself is based on the 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (confusingly, none of these are actually related to The House on Haunted Hill movies). This Y2K era movie has a star-studded cast and shockingly good special effects considering the year it was released. The acting is all absurdly over-the-top — as is the violence — but it’s a supernatural joyride filled with campy pleasures. Like a carnival ride in Hell.

12. ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’

Although the sequel to Hellraiser is pretty incomprehensible without knowledge of the first film (which, itself, is pretty incomprehensible without reading the Clive Barker novel on which both are based), the special effects and insane character design of the perverse world of the Cenobites is undeniably enthralling. In Hellraiser, demonic entities who pursue pleasure and pain to their absolute limits enter our dimension to find new victims. An extended metaphor for forbidden, queer desires, Hellraiser 2’s surreal and gruesome imagery is hard to forget.

11. ‘The Host’ (2006)

Casual cinema-goers finally recognized the immense talent of director Boon Joon-ho when he won a much-deserved Oscar in 2020. Horror fans have been aware of him for a while, partially thanks to his beloved monster movie, The Host. Laden with social commentary about the hyper-competitiveness of post-war South Korean capitalism, this movie is a sympathetic story of survival, featuring much more three-dimensional characters than you normally see in Western cinema.

10. ‘Hollow Man’

Director Paul Verhoeven is known for both ultra-violent social commentary in movies like Robocop and Starship Troopers — and for sleazy sensuality, as in Showgirls. Hollow Man was a particularly salacious and sexually nasty movie, especially for the year 2000. In it, rogue scientists discover a chemical that can turn people invisible. But when the lead researcher realizes he can’t return himself back to normal, he begins going insane. The special effects are impressive to this day, and the story’s damning statement on masculinity’s corruptibility is starkly pessimistic.

9. ‘Little Joe’

Little Joe is a slow-paced, psychological sci-fi/horror film about scientists who genetically modify a plant so that its scent cures depression — but everyone who smells the flower starts acting really strange. Are they being driven to propagate the plant through its olfactory mind control, or are the protagonists becoming increasingly paranoid? Think Little Shop of Horrors, but taken totally seriously. Ben Wishaw and Emily Beecham star as the lead researchers in this Jessica Hausner-directed slow burn.

8. ‘My Friend Dahmer’

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Derf Backderf, this film adaptation explores the childhood and adolescence of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Backderf was, in real life, a classmate of Dahmer’s and had a unique insight into his lonely life. Although the film depicts no actual violence whatsoever, the build-up to Dahmer taking his first victim is intense — and quite emotionally complex. My Friend Dahmer was criticized for glamorizing serial killers, but perhaps the film is a test of our capacity for empathy more than anything else. 

7. ‘The Omen’

Often put in a pantheon of classic horror alongside Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, The Omen is a Hitchcockian suspense movie about a creepy child who may or may not be the Antichrist. The devil is afoot as a diplomat and his wife try to solve some unexplained deaths in the area — and begin to fear their own child is to blame. It’s all for you, Damien!

6. ‘Pandorum’

In this extremely well made 2009, German/British, sci-fi/horror movie, humanity has built an interstellar ark to carry 60,000 people on a 123-year trip to colonize an inhabitable plane. Some time into the mission, flight crew members awaken from their hypersleep chambers, leaving them with partial amnesia, while possibly suffering from Pandorum — a space-related sickness that causes psychosis when under emotional duress. With seemingly no one else on board, and no memory of their mission, it quickly becomes clear that they’re not alone. While searching the massive ship, the space cadets encounter an alien race of hunters, as well as other crew members who’d thawed from their sleep too soon. But have they encountered a terrible future or are they all going totally insane?

5. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite was so good that even the Academy had to overcome their statistically-proven racism to give it proper accolades. Although it’s not as conventionally scary as most of the films on this list, the movie’s chilling commentary on the cruelty of capitalism — and some actually stunningly violent twists in the film — make it far more impactful than your standard horror fare. 

4. ‘Possessor’

Although it’s probably unfair to compare Brandon Cronenberg to his father, David Cronenberg, the pair’s movies — at least so far — have a lot of thematic similarities. Exploring body horror, psychedelia, postmodernism, and the implications of technology on identity, Possessor tells the story of a near-future spy agency that can insert an agent’s consciousness into another person’s mind. It’s a deliriously deranged movie with a devastatingly original aesthetic.

3. ‘Predators’

Adrien Brody plays an unexpectedly buff action hero in this reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise which began in 1987. Although Predator is often remembered for its stylized 80’s aesthetic and iconically excessive performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger — this reimagining is deadly serious. The action scenes are well choreographed and the plot is pretty engaging considering the not-so-sophisticated subject matter.

2. ‘XX’

Horror movies directed by women are rare gems, thanks to the misogyny of Hollywood — and they’re are usually considerably better than the mediocrity produced by most men. Celebrating horror from a female perspective, this collection of four short films is hyper-stylized and varying in subject matter and brutality. “The Box,” directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, is the most disturbing of the tetralogy and deals with trauma and anorexia — but Annie Clark (better known as Saint Vincent) also showcases a dark quirkiness with her entry, “The Birthday Party.” 

1. ‘You’re Next’

It’s unclear what was happening in pop culture around 2010 such that home invasion horror had such a moment, but You’re Next is one of the standout entries in the sub-genre that became oddly popular at that time. The movie is deeply nihilistic — it’s never exactly revealed why the murderous masked individuals are so bloodthirsty — but the clever violence throughout is darkly humorous while still staying pretty scary. There’s a story of family dysfunction buried under a thick layer of blood.

Categories
Culture Music

Lil Polo Tee Is A Unique Artist Building Buzz

This week’s Monday to Monday episode hosted by Mike Boyd welcomes rapper Lil Polo Tee aka Polo Perks. A unique artist with a speciality for rapping over indie samples, Polo has been steadily building buzz over these past couple months as he continues to gain followers and build his fan base. On the heels of releasing the music video for his latest single ‘YeahYeahYeah,’ the artist is having a pretty good 2021 so far, and tapped in with Boyd to talk about Surf Gang (a group of New York based rappers and producers), his approach to music, and what he has been up to recently. 

Boyd and Polo started their interview discussing the New York music scene, and how Polo is carving a lane for himself in that space. “Everything is going pretty well right now! Places are opening back up in the city, and Surf Gang is taking over everyday. Most of us are based out of New York, but we are really all over the place when you think about it. We just got back from doing a sold out show in L.A., which was crazy. There were about 600 to 700 people, and it was my first show there, so that was dope to experience.”

Pivoting the conversation, Boyd asks Polo about his EP Punk Goes Drill, and what it took behind the scenes to craft the project. “You know it’s funny because I listened to Punk and Drill music growing up, and it’s cool to see people’s reactions,” he tells Boyd. “That type of music is easily forgotten about a lot of times, and not a lot of people appreciate it. I was really just trying to make a drip project that was in the sound of Drill, but still something to set me apart from the rest. I wasn’t influenced by any of the old school samples—these are all up-to-date 2000s samples. Everything is from the early 2000s, and it’s really for the people of my time.”

Ben Oleynik
Lil Polo Tee

As their convo continues, Boyd and Polo talk about Polo’s favorite tracks on the project, working with his go-to producer Goner, and his growing influence in the skating community, which in turn leads Boyd to ask what song Polo would recommend new fans listen to for an introduction to his music “I feel like there isn’t really a song—I’m one of the most organic people doing this,” he says before listeners a rundown of his artistry. “Before you tap in and listen—you can really listen to any song you want to, you just have to know that my sound is going to be my sound. My flow is going to be my flow. So you have to get comfortable with it!”

For more on Polo, be sure to check out the full interview above. You can also keep up with the artist and his future releases on both Instagram and Twitter.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ Playlist Is All You Need to Listen to Today

First things first, May the Fourth be with You all.

May 4th is Star Wars Day, the annual day in which fans celebrate all things related to the franchise set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Whether you’re watching the movies, shows, celebrating with Baby Yoda, or all the above, you’re also going to need a great soundtrack to go along with it. And there’s no better soundtrack to throw on than Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ playlist.

As expected, streams of John Williams’ legendary score, as well as the tracks that appeared in other movies and shows, such as Ludwig Göransson’s songs created for The Mandalorian, skyrocket on May the 4th. Don’t believe us? Spotify has the numbers to prove it.

Per Spotify’s official stats: “On this day last year (May 4, 2020), [Spotify] saw more than a 530 percent increase globally in streams for the “Best of Star Wars” playlist, with a 729 percent increase in the U.S. alone.”

Not only that, the streaming service reported that “global Spotify users have created more than 613,000 Star Wars playlists, 78,000 “Yoda” playlists, and 30,000 Mandalorian playlists.”

Spotify

The top-streamed Star Wars tracks should really come as a surprise to no one, as they are arguably the most famous entries in the franchise’s score.

The main theme sets the tone for any Star Wars-related marathon; the Imperial March lets you know that shit is about to go DOWN, and the Duel of Fates is the perfect addition to any sort of competitive atmosphere you’re trying to set.

Also, it plays during, in our opinion, the best lightsaber fight in the whole saga.

Observe:

Yes, we know that it might come from one of the worst Star Wars movies, but this fight is the GOAT, bar none.

At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing us ramble on about how great the playlist is, so put those headphones on (or blast it throughout the house, we won’t judge), crank the volume up, and hit the lightspeed button.

Categories
Culture News

ONE37pm Talks With TroopzAFC of Barstool Sports About All Things Super League

What happens when two proper football super fans get together and chop it up about all things soccer? A great conversation that’s what.

On the latest episode of Huh?!, ONE37pm’s Tyler Schmitt sat down with Barstool Sports’ resident Arsenal fanatic and soccer expert, TroopAFC to talk through the week’s news football news including the Super League formation and ultimate break down before it even began.

They break down why they both think the Super League was attempted in the first place, and how much money was involved in the decision by these major clubs. Was it greed? Was it a desire for better competition? Or was it some combination of the two?

“Do you think there are just shit clubs because they’re in debt?” Tyler asks. “Nah they’re just greedy and the owners want more. How can you be in debt when you’re a billionaire? Come on man, make it make sense.” Troopz fires back.

Their conversation occured before this past weekend’s protests by Manchester United fans, who stormed the pitch at the Old Trafford, forcing the cancelation of Man U’s match against Liverpool. Much like Troopz, fans are upset with the team’s owners, the Glazer family (who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers), over their perceived greed involving the super league.

Since he’s a major trading card head (he does have a pretty successful podcast after all), Tyler gets Troopz’s thoughts on the card industry.

Needless to say, the trading card business hasn’t caught on in England as it has in the United States. “$15,000 for a trading card, are you mad?!” Troopz shares.

The entire conversation that the two football fans have is a great one, so be sure to check out the interview and follow Troopz on Instagram and Twitter.

In addition, check out the podcast Back Again with Troopz on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Categories
Culture Music

The 50 Best Hip-Hop Albums of All Time

As a musical genre, hip-hop has morphed into a mainstream force that impacts everything from the way we dress to the way we speak.

From the rough & tumble streets of the Bronx in the 70s right up until the current day, masterful wordsmiths have taken to the mic to put their lyrical art on full display. Rap/hip-hop aficionados all over the globe have been treated to some of the finest pieces of work in all of music from mega-popular acts and underground legends. While there are hundreds of recommendable albums worth mentioning here, we decided to come up with a definitive list of 50 hip-hop albums that will always stand the test of time due to their unbridled musical excellence and relevant social commentary.

The LPs scattered all over this list should implore you to dig into the digital crates and unearth the lyrical gems each GOAT-tier MC provides.

1. ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ – Lauryn Hill

Queen Hill arrived on the scene as a member of the legendary trio The Fugees (more on that group later). When she decided to step out on her own and deliver her first solo LP, the world got treated to an all-time classic. This LP props up black women as a whole and speaks on the issues that plague them on a daily basis (dealing with one’s sexuality and sense of identity, for instance). Lauryn Hill mashed up a number of genres and came away with an amazing hodgepodge of songs that inspired an entire generation of women to pursue their musical dreams.

2. ‘Criminal Minded’ – Boogie Down Productions

The debut LP from the collective trio of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock is an East Coast gem that still knocks to this very day. The clever amalgamation of rap/hip-hop, rock & roll, and reggae influences played the background perfectly while KRS-One released a flood of hard-hitting bars. Songs like “South Bronx” and “The Bridge is Over” are monumental hits off of this monumental LP. Thankfully, the rest of the songs on offer here are just as phenomenal as those undisputed hip-hop gems.

3. ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx…’ – Raekwon

Mafioso rap sounds so legit whenever Raekwon the Chef and Ghostface Killah deliver it. Both of these Wu-Tang affiliates mastered that art and inspired a generation of fellow MCs to follow in their footsteps thanks to this certified classic. The production is ace, the skits are actually worth listening to, and the songs themselves are top-tier 36 Chambers material. From front to back, Only Built for Cuban Linx… provides listeners with a rugged trip through a life filled with gangland activities and unmatched machismo.

4. ‘Liquid Swords’ – GZA

GZA is truly “The Genius.” He put his proficiency for intelligent raps on full display on his debut LP, Liquid Swords. RZA truly got in his production bag and blessed this LP with some of the finest beats he’s ever created. And thankfully, GZA’s flows perfectly stayed in the pocket for each banger as he broke down the trials and tribulations of a hood upbringing. When the opening notes to “4th Chamber” kick in, every rap head in the vicinity has no choice but to rock an ugly scowl while they bump their head in place.

5. ‘Raising Hell’ – Run DMC

Run DMC’s unmatched synergy can be dissected in full just by listening to this seminal LP. Run and DMC go back and forth like the fast & furious tandem they are over masterful beats/cuts from Jam Master Jay. “Peter Piper,” “It’s Tricky,” and “My Adidas” are peak Run DMC. And one can’t forget the mega hip-hop/rock & roll crossover hit that is “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith. Raising Hell is required homework for any modern-day MC that wants a lesson or two about mastering the art of rap.

6. ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ – 50 Cent

As soon as that quarter drops, everyone knows what’s coming next. 50 Cent’s blockbuster album starts off with a bang and doesn’t slow down the whole way through. The man known as Curtis Jackson caused a bootlegging frenzy upon release and broke into the mainstream consciousness due to the greatness of this LP. “In da Club” is just one of the many solidified bangers that have pushed this album to legendary status and signified Fif’ as one of the best to ever do it.

7. ‘The Infamous’ – Mobb Deep

Queensbridge’s very own Havoc and Prodigy (RIP, King!) catapulted themselves to a higher level of hip-hop excellence once their second album offering hit the streets. The Infamous offers gritty descriptions of two young men making their way through a life filled with plenty of turmoil. Both MCs brought furious young energy to each track and did it all while dropping street knowledge on the back of classic beats. “Shook One, Pt. II,” “Survival of the Fittest,” and “Give Up the Goods” are just three of the reasons why this album will always stay in rotation.

8. ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ – De La Soul

Noted producer Prince Paul helped form the soundscape for De La Soul’s debut album. It was released during a time where gangsta rap was all the rage, yet it still managed to garner plenty of attention and praise thanks to a deviation in theme and sound. The colorful cover itself is iconic and so are the songs that match that image’s super cool vibe. Posdnuos, Trugoy, and Maseo have always been a winning trio – jamming to joints like “The Magic Number” and “Me, Myself, and I” do a good job of convincing everyone of that undisputed fact.

9. ‘The Marshal Mathers LP’ – Eminem

Detroit’s premier wordsmith built up a strong catalog of songs with his first two albums. But things truly took a turn for the better once Eminem released The Marshal Mathers LP. Em’s slick wordplay and outlandish disses for the world at large are in fine form here. Songs like “Stan” showcase a version of Em that’s willing to delve into the sorts of topics that are rarely mentioned within hip-hop. The rest of The Marshal Mathers LP hits all the high notes that fans have come to champion about one of rap’s certified GOATs.

10. ‘Reasonable Doubt’ – Jay-Z

The Jigga Man arrived on the scene in full mafioso garb and had the lyrics to match all that bravado with Reasonable Doubt. The very best luxury raps are littered all over this magnificent debut LP. It says a lot about an album when you can play the first five seconds of every song on it and most folks recognize it without too much effort. Listening to this album is a worthwhile experience since it successfully mirrors the high stakes that come with organized crimes and other risky endeavors.

11. ‘Hard Core’ – Lil’ Kim

The “Queen B” kept it all the way real and raunchy when she stepped into a hip-hop arena that tends to be dominated by the opposite sex. With Hard Core, Lil’ Kim threw all caution to the wind as she spits with the best of ‘em. While there aren’t a ton of features on this one, the guests that do appear do a great job of further strengthening Kim’s repertoire of provocative (in a good way) songs. “Big Momma Thang,” “No Time,” “Crush on You,” and “Drugs” are held up as some of Kim’s greatest songs. And as luck would have it, they all appear on this album.

12. ‘The Blueprint’ – Jay-Z

The Blueprint is practically a how-to guide on how to put together an album that simply can’t be denied. With a nice mix of Kanye West and Just Blaze beats to support him, Jay-Z floats all over each track with ease and exudes his best qualities as an MC. He goes for the jugular on “Takeover,” gets super celebratory with “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” throws lyrical bouquets at the ladies with “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and goes toe to toe with Eminem on “Renegade.” This is the album that laid the foundation for some of your favorite rappers, so all praises due to The Blueprint.

13. ‘Paid in Full’ – Eric B & Rakim

Rakim is referred to as the God MC for good reason – his furious flow and penchant for crafting bars that hit you right in the soul have afforded him the right to accept that moniker. With DJ Eric B by his side, Rakim changed the rap game in a dramatic fashion with this incredible LP. The cover itself evokes dreams of making it big through one’s undefeatable hustle – thankfully, Rakim reflects that hunger for greatness through his kingly bars and delivery. Paid in Full inspired a whole generation of 90s babies to step to the mic and it’s easy to see/hear why. Never forget – “MC means move the crowd.”

14. ‘It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot’ – DMX

Darkman X’s yin and yang qualities made millions of fans flock to him. Even though he may have found himself in the worst situations imaginable, his faith and undeniable passion inspired others to remain strong just like he did. DMX’s magnum opus It’s Dark and Hell is Hot showcases the Ruff Ryder representative’s many trials and tribulations through some of the hardest rap songs ever laid on wax. “Get at Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy,” and “The Convo” are just a sample of the headbangers that make this album an unforgettable trip with the Darkman himself. 

15. ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ – Public Enemy

Chuck D’s socially conscious lyrics, Flavor Flav’s magnetic persona, Terminator X’s intense scratches, and The Bomb Squad’s boomin’ beats were a winning combo back in the day. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back masterfully combined all of those elements while producing an album with an unapologetic message that remains relevant to this day. “Fight the Power” and “Bring the Noise” are clear examples of the heavy hitters that define this bodacious hip-hop classic.

16. ‘Ready to Die’ – The Notorious B.I.G.

Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. left an indelible mark on the world of hip-hop. Even though he only left the world before he could really get going, his two solo projects produced a discography full of tracks that Golden Era rap fans swear by. Biggie’s hard-hitting lyrics and flow delve into a wide range of hood tales all over his amazing debut album, Ready to Die. This classic album features songs that describe the daily lives of stick-up kids (“Gimme the Loot”), achieving one’s lofty dreams (“Juicy”), and staying ahead of those that simply want to stick you for your paper (“Warning”). Ready to Die is an autobiographical listen that perfectly encapsulates the rough and tumble upbringing of Bad Boy’s greatest MC.

17. ‘Illmatic’ – Nas

The world truly sat in the hands of a young Nas when he arrived with his debut LP, Illmatic. He managed to meet the overwhelming hype attached to his name and did it with only 10 tracks. Nas’s production dream team at the time (DJ Premier, Large Professor, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, and L.E.S.) created a strong array of soundscapes that allowed the Queensbridge MC to lyrically prosper. Nas’s aptitude for storytelling and smooth flows can be heard through songs like “N.Y. State of Mind,” “The World is Yours,” “Represent,” and “One Love.”

18. ‘Doggystyle’ – Snoop Doggy Dogg

Doggystyle is practically a West Coast party that bangs through your speakers every time you throw it on. Young Snoop tapped into the sounds of the region that raised him as he took listeners on a wild ride through the streets of L.A. Doggystyle remains an easy listen to this day thanks to a number of factors, which includes top-notch beats from Dr. Dre, raunchy lyrics that always elicit a few laughs every time they’re heard, and a collection of L.A. MCs that ruled the 90s. Snoop Dogg came into the game like a force of nature – his continued relevance is due in part to this hard-edged album debut.

19. ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ – Wu-Tang Clan

Never forget – Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin to ‘eff with. That statement will always ring true no matter the time we live in. Every member of the Wu-Tang got together like Voltron to give hip-hop heads across the globe one of the grittiest records of all time. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) can get a flood of fans to flip into mosh pit mode, which should tell you just how monumental everything on that LP is. The posse cuts are out of this world and helped define the best qualities of each Wu-Tang member. “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Method Man,” “Protect Ya Neck,” and “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” are essential listening if you ever want to consider yourself a true rap aficionado.

20. ‘The Score’ – The Fugees

New Jersey’s own Fugees camp ascended from their underground origins to a level of mainstream superstardom thanks to this album. All three parts of the mega trio brought their signature traits together and managed to craft undeniable jams in the process. The East Coast vibes knock extra hard on this one, as evidenced by “How Many Mics,” “Ready or Not,” “Fu-Gee-La,” and “The Score.” “Killing Me Softly With His Song” put Lauryn Hill’s heavenly vocals front and center, which is one of the many gifts The Score gave to the world.

21. ‘Midnight Marauders’ – A Tribe Called Quest’

A Tribe Called Quest mastered the art of jazzy samples and boom-bap instrumentals when it released its third album. Hip-hop stables don’t get any better than the trio of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White. Their incredible synergy can be heard throughout each and every part of this album (special shout out to Tribe’s long list of friends that agreed to appear on the cover, too). Backpackers everywhere live by songs like “Award Tour,” “Electric Relaxation,” and “Lyrics to Go.” Midnight Marauders is a whole vibe that’s super chill and worth experiencing on more than one occasion.

22. ‘Aquemini’ – Outkast

This pick also falls into the category of “amazing third release from an illustrious hip-hop group.” Outkast already built up an amazing track record with Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and ATLiens – once they released Aquemini, it was quite evident that their superstar status had reached another level. This LP featured those signature Andre 300 and Big Boi traits that we’ve all come to appreciate, such as southern bounce, tongue-twisting flows, and thought-provoking lyrics. “Rosa Parks,” “both parts of “Da Art of Storytellin’,” and “Aquemini” all lift this project to the high heavens where only the greatest hip-hop albums reside.

23. ‘All Eyez on Me’ – 2Pac

Once 2Pac’s prison sentence came to an end, he aligned himself with Death Row and emerged from its studios with the album most people hold in high regard. 2Pac’s frustrations and triumphs were told in equal parts across this two-disc LP. Most double albums feel bloated and full of filler, yet All Eyez on Me stands apart from the pack thanks to a mix of strong singles and underrated B-Side cuts. “Ambitionz Az a Ridah,” “How Do You Want It,” “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” and “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” are just a few of the bangers that define the greatness of this album.

24. ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ – Pete Rock & CL Smooth

This album is one of those ultimate knockers that cause necks to break everywhere due to excessive head bobbing. Pete Rock laid the audio groundwork for his man’s CL Smooth to lay down his most memorable rhymes. Mecca and the Soul Brother describes the everyday life of an urban NYC denizen thanks to CL Smooth’s vivid wordplay. “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” still stands tall as one of the greatest song tributes of all time. The rest of this LP exposes those who don’t know to the incredible production of Pete Rock and the slick bars that come courtesy of CL Smooth.

25. ‘The Chronic’ – Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre is a noted perfectionist. Whenever he drops an album, it’s an event that brings everything to a standstill. That’s because it rarely happens due to the fact that Dre works his sound until it matches the high quality established by his debut album. The G-Funk established by The Chronic inspired an army of West Coast MCs to follow in Dre’s footsteps, which should clue you in to just how monumental it was. “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Let Me Ride,” and “F**k wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” are the type of songs that simply can’t be denied. The Chronic is GOAT album material, no matter the coastal region.

Honorable Mentions
26. ‘Black on Both Sides’ – Mos Def

27. ‘The Low End Theory’ – A Tribe Called Quest

28. ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ – Kendrick Lamar

29. ‘Efil4zaggin’ – N.W.A.

30. ‘Madvillainy’ – Madvillain

31. ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ – Kanye West

32. ‘Fantastic, Vol. 2’ – Slum Village

33. ‘Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101’ – Young Jeezy

34. ‘Tha Carter III’ – Lil Wayne

35. ‘The Minstrel Show’ – Little Brother

36. ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’ – Kendrick Lamar

37. ‘Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde’ – The Pharcyde

38. ‘The College Dropout’ – Kanye West

39. ‘Paul’s Boutique’ – Beastie Boys

40. ‘Supa Dupa Fly’ – Missy Elliot

41. ‘Critical Beatdown’ – Ultramagnetic MCs

42. ‘2001’ – Dr. Dre

43. ‘Trap Muzik’ – T.I.

44. ‘Supreme Clientele’ – Ghostface Killah

45. ‘Death Certificate’ – Ice Cube

46. ‘The Renaissance’ – Q-Tip

47. ‘The Black Album’ – Jay-Z

48. ‘ELE (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Event’ – Busta Rhymes

49. ‘EVE’ – Rapsody

50. ‘AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted’ by Ice Cube

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

20 of the Most Popular (and Valuable) Modern Sports Cards

Sports cards are no longer a thing of the past. With an increase in overall sports viewership and with the instant ability to access an ever-growing base of popular athletes, it only makes sense that sports cards would find their rightful place back in the United States. 

Being a shop owner over these past years has given me an interesting and unique look at what collectors, investors, and flippers are making popular. Grading companies, eBay, the increase in the use of mobile payment services, and, of course, the rapid growth in social media has only fueled the rise. In all of the recent attention, a few cards have definitely emerged to the top. Popularity and value seem to intertwine in the hobby community and the following list of modern sports cards should help you navigate the modern scene.

Now, before I get to this list, let’s qualify a few things:

  • Modern cards are considered to be cards that are not “vintage” cards, and depending on what circles you vibe in, vintage cards typically mark their way backward from sometime in the ’70s. In contrast, modern cards would be considered everything else until now.
  • There are different tiers of value: low, mid, high, really high, and then crazy high end. For purposes of this article, we will focus on the low to the mid/high end, you know, what most people can afford. No 2000 Tom Brady Contenders autographs or 2003-04 Lebron Exquisite RPAs showing up on this list. (RPA = rookie patch autograph… I told you this would be a “modern” list!)
  • This list takes on football, baseball and basketball only. Sorry, you hockey and soccer nuts!
1. 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James (PSA 10) $23,990
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 2,068

LeBron’s Topps Chrome rookie is a staple in the card collecting community. I can’t tell you how many “baseball-only” or “football-only” folks have one of these LeBron’s stashed away. Is it the staple step-back jump shot on the front that makes it so popular? Maybe the classic, youthful 19-year-old image on the back? Or is it just that this is THE Topps Chrome brand rookie card of this current generation’s Michael Jordan? Probably the latter, but it’s an interesting card value-wise. Since LeBron’s move to LA, the PSA 10 copies of this card have nearly doubled in value. The card is known to be typically well off-center, so it’s not an easy grade for the PSA/BGS savvy types. This specific card has versions as a standard refractor, black refractor (#/500), xfractor (#/220) and the highly sought after gold refractor (#/50).

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=sNfLc6Iqbu0GBmHAWDaO

Sports cards are no longer a thing of the past. With an increase in overall sports viewership and with the instant ability to access an ever-growing base of popular athletes, it only makes sense that sports cards would find their rightful place back in the United States. 

Being a shop owner over these past years has given me an interesting and unique look at what collectors, investors, and flippers are making popular. Grading companies, eBay, the increase in the use of mobile payment services, and, of course, the rapid growth in social media has only fueled the rise. In all of the recent attention, a few cards have definitely emerged to the top. Popularity and value seem to intertwine in the hobby community and the following list of modern sports cards should help you navigate the modern scene.

Now, before I get to this list, let’s qualify a few things:

  • Modern cards are considered to be cards that are not “vintage” cards, and depending on what circles you vibe in, vintage cards typically mark their way backward from sometime in the ’70s. In contrast, modern cards would be considered everything else until now.
  • There are different tiers of value: low, mid, high, really high, and then crazy high end. For purposes of this article, we will focus on the low to the mid/high end, you know, what most people can afford. No 2000 Tom Brady Contenders autographs or 2003-04 Lebron Exquisite RPAs showing up on this list. (RPA = rookie patch autograph… I told you this would be a “modern” list!)

This list takes on football, baseball, and basketball only. Sorry, you hockey and soccer nuts!

2. 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. (PSA 10) $2,578
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 3,903

Ask any ‘80s to ‘90s card collector about this card, and I’m sure they all can identify it as the most popular card of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s junk era. The funny thing is this card is far from junk. With a PSA 10 POP report of 3,903, this card’s value on the secondary market continues to remain solid, and Griffey continues to be wildly popular with baseball collectors. With his recent Hall of Fame induction (2016) and popularity that crosses multiple generational lines, the Griffey Star Rookie has cemented its place as one of the most collectible and popular cards. It’s quite easily the most recognizable baseball card of the current generation.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=QBWAiMZPAbef6gZAW9r2
3. 2018-19 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic (PSA 10) $1083
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 15,639

What we have seen from LeBron James in the Topps Chrome Brand, we also see in Panini’s version of Prizm. Prizm, a brand released in 2012 by Panini, has taken the reins as the marquee chrome-like brand that collectors love. Now add in the enormous domestic and international buzz from Doncic to an already crazed basketball-collecting community, and you have a worldwide phenomenon modern rookie card. I would venture to say that this card has single-handedly brought tens of thousands of new eyes to the world of cards.

The PSA POP report at the time of this article was 15.639 for graded Gem Mint 10s. The craze is real, and Luka has become the new prince of the NBA (move over King?). Looking for a PSA 10 Gem mint copy? You’ll have to fork over a cool $1500+, but who knows how high the ceiling for this card could be. You can also find this card in a variety of parallels, including the ever-favorite Silver Prizm.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=mHsQAJqL2NnFrSt4kcXB
4. 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady (PSA 10) $18,510
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 1,058

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. Well, that name doesn’t exactly appear on this 2000 card, but the standard eight-letter “Tom Brady” sequence does. While I will leave the four-letter GOAT conversation alone, there is no argument that Brady’s rookies have become legendary in the hobby. The 14-time Pro Bowler and winner of six Super Bowls rings (or “chips,” if I’m going for cool points) sure does bring a lot of attention to his rookie cards. The Bowman brand, a brand that is now more synonymous with baseball prospects than anything, would be seen as one of the staples for Brady in 2000. There are many sought-after rookie cards from his rookie year (Upper Deck SP Authentic #118, Playoff Contenders Autograph, etc.). Still, the Bowman Chrome is by far the most preferred for anyone trying to own a small piece of the sixth-rounder out of Michigan. Similar to the 2003 Topps Chrome, centering can be an issue on these cards, and PSA 9s and BGS 9s seem to carry a little bit more of an uptick in value as compared to a raw Mint copy. There is no 2000 Topps Chrome rookie card, hence why the Bowman Chrome has become so collectible.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=wCUA3as2Vtqx5bRGwJOx
5. 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout (PSA 10) $4,500
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 5,178

One of the most influential Topps rookie cards of the past decade has been the #US175 Update Mike Trout. The modern-day Griffey Star Rookie, this Trout rookie has seen a healthy rise in value and grading submissions in the past five years. Known by many in hobby circles as simply the “Trout Update,” the card may not woo you at first glance. It’s quite basic and made relatively cheap—thin card stock, simple design, paper base, minimal foil—no bells and whistles. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this card isn’t a powerhouse. PSA 10 Gem Mint copies of this card are selling at an all-time high. Quite impressive from a card in which the print runs of the 2011 Topps Update set were never released. That’s something to be said for how beloved Trout’s game is and how he carries himself on and off the field. From a strictly subjective perspective, customers always talk Trout. They talk about his play demeanor and cards. Trout has fans young and old. Many see him as the modern-day Mickey Mantle. How do you see him? Or better yet, how do you see his rookie card?

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=NEZ8k1qFnFm6wvJVxYLu
6. 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan (PSA 10) $375,100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 316

If I were ranking this list, it would be shocking not to have this card at the top. What is not to love about the iconic MJ Fleer rookie card? [delete two extra spaces] The card captures his iconic flight en route to a one-handed dunk, all while the tongue is flapping in the wind. How about the red/blue/white and yellow inner border that screams ‘80s warm-up suit? It doesn’t get any more classic than this. Another critical component to this card’s popularity is that the run is so simple: #57 is the only base set version of the card, and there is only one subset card—the sticker rookie card. That’s it. Less is more. It’s easily the most recognizable basketball card of all time, and unfortunately it’s also one of the most faked/reprinted cards. The MJ fleer rookie can be seen as a significant “key date” for you coin collectors. MJ, across the board, has only seen an overall increase in value in almost all of his cards, highlighted even more so with this 1986 sample. (To briefly touch on the authentic element and looking at our shop records for 2019—the count is up to eight—as in eight is the number of people who have brought in a “valuable MJ rookie” to sell to us, resulting in the unfortunate fake news. Additionally, a search on eBay will allow you to buy a “reprinted” version of this card for a few bucks.)

Please be careful when looking into purchasing this card, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Buying an already graded version of the MJ Fleer rookie will save you a lot of headaches. Just like his game, the MJ rookie IS the GOAT. Don’t @ me!

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=a81mteoQzRV9WTNHdxg9
7. 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter Foil (PSA 10) $468,000
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 21

0.14 percent—this is the magic number. This 0.14 refers to the percent of the 1993 Upper Deck SP FOIL that have received the unicorn-level grade of PSA 10. It puts things into perspective when the registry has the Jeter Foil at a whopping 15,683 total cards graded. To give some perspective in terms of value, in May 2018, a PSA 10 off eBay sold for $99,100. Fast-forward to December a year later to find a purchase of $138,000 (including the buyer premium). As one of the most popular ‘90s baseball cards (and one with significant value), the 1993 SP FOIL Jeter has only seen an uptick in recent months and years. What’s unique about this card is that foil element makes the surface of the card extremely delicate to scratching, and the dark corners highlight any imperfections to almost a higher degree than other cards of this era. It is widely known that this card could be damaged simply by friction in the wax packs—a very tough grade. In terms of mass production popularity, the Jeter Foil and Griffey Star Rookie sit in their thrones atop the ‘80s/’90s junk era.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=AHo1BMa7djTQZYp4oOJ0
8. 2018 Topps Update Ronald Acuna (PSA 10) $252
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 16,749

Probably one of the most under-the-radar cards in the last two years, the Acuna Update (At-Bat in Blue Jersey) has seen a tremendous rise in value for one of MLB’s most promising young talents in just the past year. This specific card has multiple variations, including the “Bat Down” pose and the highly coveted “White Jersey” SSP, all of which carry the #US250 numbering. The Topps Update version has become synonymous with many players as the player’s “true” rookie card, and Acuna is no exception. In the shop, the card never really peaked over $8 to $10 for a non-graded mint copy during the 2018 season, but the 2019 season brought the rain. PSA 10 copies of the base “At-Bat in Blue Jersey” card began selling $125 to $150 consistently on eBay, and the loyal Atlanta fan base seemed to be gobbling these cards faster than we could keep in stock.

On top of that, when you can find multiple parallels, including (but not limited to) the Gold (#/2018), Mother’s Day Pink (#/50), Father’s Day Blue (#/50), Camo (#/25), Clear (#/10) and coveted Platinum #1/1, it only adds to the craze. These parallels and short prints, for the most part, seemed to almost fuel the fandom for this card in a way that I haven’t seen from a base Topps Baseball Card in a long time. Values have cooled down a bit, but the Acuna Update is a rookie card that has revitalized those standard Topps wax packs!

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=LLFUY9ur665vWVPnvaYR
9. 2017 Panini Prizm Patrick Mahomes (PSA 10) $10,700
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA 10 Population: 852

Football cards can be a tricky bunch. When comparing the three major U.S. sports, it’s a common theme to see basketball and baseball carry more predictably than football. Maybe it’s because the NFL season is only 17 weeks/16 games, and players are quick to injure? Things can change so quickly with the pigskin. Lately, that rule seems to also apply to hot quarterback rookie cards as well. (See Lamar Jackson 2018 Prizm #212 for some homework.) Many savvy investors would have said the Patrick Mahomes base Panini Prizm rookie (which is silver) had already reached its peak at the beginning of the 2019 season. PSA 10 Gem Mint copies at that time could be had for roughly $200 to $300 and non-graded versions for around $60 to $90 depending on condition and eye appeal. Who knew that PSA 10 versions of this simple shiny base rookie card would skyrocket to $10,700? Never have we seen such a quick spike for such a basic football rookie card. I believe, one, this further solidifies the Panini Prizm brand as the new Topps Chrome and standard collectible rookie card, and two, that the element of branding, combined with hype, is fueling a new age of collecting. Let’s give credit where credit is due though—Mahomes, in his way, is reinventing the game as well with a massive arm, no-look passes, school-boy flip tosses, Madden covers and ketchup infatuations—all while appearing to have fun playing football. Keep an eye on this card for years to come as Mahomes is leading the changing of the guard with staples like Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Rivers and more coming to the end of their careers.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=TrTwmEF7LmxrHP9NHWc8
10. 1986 Topps Jerry Rice (PSA 10) $91,080
Heritage Auctions

This iconic card of arguably the greatest football player of all-time comes from the 1986 Topps set. Due to their borders which were known for chipping along the edges as well as the poor centering of cards that this set is notorious for, there are only (59) PSA 10s in the entire population.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=JPKy9AxMMATmQYBPesLO
11. 2009 Topps Stephen Curry (PSA 10) $11.070
eBay

There are currently only (354) of these PSA 10s on record. There is also a Topps Chrome rookie that was numbered to /999 which currently sells for $50,100 but the population on that card is (60).

Steph has been absolutely on fire of late, breaking the record in April for hitting the most three-pointers in a calendar month in NBA history. Can the Warriors make a little run as a play-in game participant in this year’s playoffs? That would certainly do wonders for the price of this card.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=2o6Kr9JoqCRuCoND0B3u
12. 1985 O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux (PSA 10) $55,900
eBay

Another card with an extremely low PSA population (47), this rare Mario Lemieux rookie has actually seen a bit of a dip over the last few months as it was selling for around $80,000 just a few short months ago. Will it rebound, as many in the trading card hobby speculate that the entire hockey market could be on the rise in the coming months and years? Only time will tell, but next to Gretzky, Lemieux is about as safe a hockey play as they come.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=BqQxBfgm4ZTvZt0KVp9O
13. 2005 Upper Deck Sydney Crosby (PSA 10) $4,088
eBay

The first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft came with quite a bit of hype. He entered the league with multiple nicknames, including “The Next One”, referencing the nickname of Wayne Gretzky “The Great One”.

His Upper Deck “Young Guns” rookie card has a PSA population of (766) and has remained fairly steady at that price.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=M3VvQP3akKEyadW6oWDJ
14. 1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant (PSA 10) $22,140
eBay

Kobe’s Topps Chrome rookie card reached a high of $49,100 on February 21, 2021 before quickly seeing it’s price run down over 50% in just 2 short months.

With a PSA population of only (830), combined with the fact that Bryant is one of the most beloved players in the history of the sport, this card feels very safe long term.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=ndajAwy74pcyxu2EFAGN
15. 2020 Panini Prizm Justin Herbert (PSA 10) $905
eBay

While I love Justin Herbert and think he has all the tools to be a top quarterback in the NFL, I am a little scared of the current prices for this card. With the logjam over at PSA holding up submissions, the population of these cards is only (834) currently, but that number will absolutely explode once they work their way through the backlog. What happens to the value if there are 8000 of them in the population instead of 800?

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=dyv3t0sepqQ2xupsNcbd
16. 2019 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson (PSA 10) $634
eBay

This card is another one that scares me a bit, as the PSA population is already astronomically high (16,782) and you can be sure that number will go way up once everybody receives their submissions back that are stuck in the backlog.

Zion is a beast and has all the makings of a mega-star, but will the value of this card hold up long-term with so many of them out there?

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=SLHIYTZZsE03H5uRFB1P
17. 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Kylian Mbappe (PSA 10) $1097
eBay

This Mbappe rookie has seen an interesting run over the last three months, selling for $741 back in January, and almost doubling that price by the start of April ($1437). It has come back down a bit since, but as the soccer market continues to heat up, I feel good about the relatively low PSA population (2,614) combined with Mbappe’s worldwide popularity. It should be enough to continue to see this card rise in the coming months. Now might be a good time to pick one up on the dip.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=VHxBgUKCeMFJiDLGbDv3
18. 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi (PSA 10) $15,740
eBay

With a population of just (148) of one of soccer’s GOAT’s, it’s no surprise that this Messi rookie card commands a $15,740 price tag if you want to purchase one. That said, this card has seen quite a roller coaster ride over the last 3 months, selling for just $5,500 at the end of January and running up to $27,500 less than two weeks later, before settling in at it’s current price.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=sy7wDu8GFsTud4janfdX
19. 2019 Topps Chrome Fernando Tatis Jr. (PSA 10) $427
eBay

Fernando Tatis Jr. has been on an absolute tear to start the 2021 baseball season, clocking 7 home runs in his first 15 games, and flexing on pitchers as he circles the bases.

It looks as if he has a real shot to win an MVP and become one of the biggest stars in the game for a very long time, so now might be the time to invest in him before prices go crazy.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=lgi8Nj75fD7irrLqNTEX
20. 1992 Upper Deck Shaquille O’Neal (PSA 10) $4162
eBay

This card was just so iconic when it came out, as Upper Deck superimposed three photos in one showing off a Shaq dunking the ball in a creative, unique way, especially for the time.

With Shaq’s seemingly never-ending string of endorsements, his larger-than-life personality on the NBA on TNT, his Hollywood appearances and popular culture references, you never really have to worry about him staying relevant. The all-black background makes it hard to find this card in mint condition, so the population is only (318). With a relatively small price tag, I think that this card has a lot of upward potential long-term.

Click here for up to date value!
https://www.cardladder.com/card?id=THan5rfmc5Rm0RkMBux7
Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Baseball Card Guide: How To Tell If Your Baseball Cards Are Worth Money

When I was growing up in the 1980s, baseball cards were my life. When birthdays were approaching, my parents never asked me what I wanted for my present because they knew what I wanted. Sitting down in my room and tearing open packs was the best part of every birthday. The thrill of the chase, whether I was trying to find a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie, a Mark McGwire 1985 Topps USA Baseball Team rookie, or later, a Billy Ripken 1991 Fleer card with a 4-letter-word written on the knob of the bat, was about as much fun as a kid could have. The reward for uncovering one of those chase cards felt like millions of dollars to my 8-10 year old self.

As I became a teenager and then a young adult, I stopped collecting. The cards that were my carefully protected, top-loaded treasures were stacked in boxes in a closet in my parent’s house. They sat there throughout college, and then for years after as I moved around from state to state. I didn’t really think about them much, but figured that eventually I would grab them and see if they had any value.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and I had a life changing moment, when I decided to make a $20 purchase, the first card I had bought since my childhood.

You may have a similar story, with boxes of cards sitting in some closet or storage facility that you haven’t looked at in years. You have been seeing all the news reports about the resurgence of the sports card market, but you have no clue if your cards have any value or how to appraise them.

In this article, I will attempt to help you understand the modern day hobby, how to find the value of your cards, and answer some of the questions that I know I needed some clarification and guidance on when I first got back in to the hobby.

1. Why invest in Baseball Cards?
Getty Images

This answer will vary depending on what your goals are.

For me, first and foremost, collecting baseball cards is a hobby and it’s a lot of fun. Some of my best memories as a kid are going to the local card shop with my dad and brother, frequently coming home with packs to open and bonding over finding some of our favorite players. It’s important to remember that while some cards can be extremely valuable, at the end of the day, the goal should be to have fun, make memories and enjoy your collection.

For others, it’s a business. Whether you want to open up your own local card shop, buy and sell cards on eBay, or be one of those people who wait on line overnight at Target and Walmart hoping to score retail boxes to flip for a profit, with the proper amount of education and knowledge, you can make a lot of money in this space.

However, I can not stress enough how important it is to be educated BEFORE buying or selling anything. If you attempt to enter the hobby without understanding which cards and products sell, why they sell, and how to sell them, you are almost guaranteed to lose money.

The best advice I can give on how to get educated is to read a lot of articles (like this one), follow all of the big sports cards accounts on social media, consume their content daily, and watch the big card breaking pages Instagram live streams. When you are in the streams, ask questions and interact with people. Making friends and connections is key.

When you decide it’s time to start buying and selling, you will make mistakes. Making mistakes on less expensive products is much more palatable than on big ticket items. You need the reps, so you might as well start small and work your way up.

2. What Makes a Baseball Card Valuable?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The most important determining factor of how much your cards are worth will come down to condition. There are condition issues that you have complete control over, and others that are totally out of your hands.

To start, it is extremely important that you store your cards properly. This will include first placing your cards in to protective penny sleeves. These will ensure that the surface of the card does not get scratched or damaged. The next step is to place the cards in to a rigid plastic top-loader. Once you have done this, your cards should be fairly well protected from the elements.

However, it is important to note that even if you have your cards stored properly, they often come with condition issues straight from the factory. Some cards will come out of packs with surface scratches, print defects, dinged corners, and they may even be mis-cut and off-centered. In order to have a true mint conditioned card with perfect edges, corners, surface and centering, there is a lot of luck involved.

If you have cards that are well protected and in great shape, the main determining factor of value will come down to getting your cards authenticated and graded, which is a process in which an independent company will assign a score from 1-10 based on how good the condition of your card is. For more on grading, check out this article.

The final determining factor for value is simply supply and demand. What led to the crash of the sports card industry in the 1990s (commonly referred to as the “Junk Wax Era”) was a mass overproduction of cards. Nowadays, many of the most valuable cards are serial numbered, which ensures that supply stays low. Studying the PSA population report to see how many of each grade for any particular card exist will give you an idea of just how rare your card is.

3. How To Find the Value of Your Baseball Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The two websites that I use to find the value of my cards are eBay and CardLadder. Both are fairly easy to navigate.

To appraise your card on eBay, there are a couple of steps that you must take:

  1. Figure out exactly what card you have: There will often be small print on the back of your card that tells you the manufacturer, what year the card was produced, as well as a set number. In the pic above, you will see that this is a “1985 Topps Mark McGwire #401”. If you type that card in to the search bar on eBay, you will be able to see what people are asking for the card.
  2. Filter your search: If you want to see what the card is actually selling for, all you have to do is filter the results of your search by clicking “sold items” in the “show only” tab. It is important to remember that appraising your card is much easier when it is graded. If your card is raw (ungraded), your best bet would be to zoom in on photos of other raw cards that sold and try to match the condition to that of yours.

CardLadder is an amazing website that will give you all sorts of analytics, PSA population reports, market caps and charts. It is an extremely valuable tool, but they don’t have anywhere near as many cards in their database as eBay does. For a beginner in the hobby, or a person who is just getting back in to it, I would stick with eBay at first. However, as you get more comfortable in the hobby and are buying and selling, they should absolutely be on your radar.

4. Rare Cards to Look Out For
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You may have seen news over the last 12-18 months about record breaking sales in the sports card hobby. Back in January, the hobby’s most iconic card–the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie–sold for an eye-popping $5,200,000 to entrepreneur Rob Gough. It was one of only six that received a PSA 9 grade, making it one of the finest examples of that card on the planet.

However, news of cards that have been selling for six-figures seems to be dropping weekly, and I wrote this article to keep track of all of the most expensive sales.

If you have ungraded versions of any of the cards on this list, it is important to remember that you must get them graded for them to have a chance of being worth anywhere near what those cards sold for. For instance, a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson PSA 10 is worth $100,000+. A raw, poorly conditioned version of that exact same card sells for as low as $2.25.

5. What Are My Baseball Cards Worth Today?
1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. ($110 – $2405)
Current Value (PSA 10) $4,101
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=ken%20griffey%20jr%201989%20upper%20deck
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You may have noticed that the number of PSA graded cards takes a significant dip as the grades go lower than a PSA 8. That’s due to the fact that it simply isn’t worth it to have a card graded that won’t bring back at least a PSA 8. Check out PSA’s Grading Standards to give you an idea of where your card may grade out and what PSA looks for.

Total Graded by PSA: 74,811

PSA 10: 3,839 ($2405)

PSA 9: 24,533 ($303)

PSA 8: 31,001 ($110)

1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas ($116 – $2552)
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Only 15,000 1990 Topps Tiffany sets were produced, and they were only made available through hobby dealers, making this Frank Thomas card ultra-rare.

Total Graded by PSA: 896

PSA 10: 101 ($2552)

PSA 9: 414 ($352)

PSA 8: 310 ($116)

1985 Donruss Roger Clemens ($26 – $406)
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Although Roger Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for well over a decade, he is one of the most polarizing athletes in modern history due to his connection to steroids. He has maintained a strong collectors market due to his large market appeal, playing for both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. If Clemens finally makes the Hall of Fame one of these days, this card could see a spike in value. However, the black border on the card makes any damage pop and makes bringing back a PSA 10 very unlikely. 

Total Graded by PSA: 8548

PSA 10: 519 ($406)

PSA 9: 2197 ($61)

PSA 8: 2851 ($26)

1980 Topps Rickey Henderson ($152 – $180,100)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1980%20Topps%20Rickey%20Henderson
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Only .1 percent of these Rickey Henderson rookie cards grade out to be a PSA 10, making it one of the rarest cards on the market today. There are no sold PSA 10 listings currently on eBay. 

“The blue ink backs and the white gloss front almost highlight corner and edge wear. But even cards that have been locked away untouched in packs or boxes are victims of the factory,” says Beckett Senior Vintage Grader, Andy Broome. “Centering plagues this set when it comes to condition. Whether it is diamond cut cards or just-off side-to-side, finding a card with gem mint or better centering is extremely tough. It’s that perfect storm of condition that is required for a perfect card.”

Total Graded by PSA: 20,866

PSA 10: 24 ($180,100)

PSA 9: 1986 ($6877)

PSA 8: 9680 ($1225)

PSA 7: 5123 ($152)

1993 Topps Gold Derek Jeter ($165 – $5900)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1993%20Topps%20Gold%20Derek%20Jeter
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Derek Jeter, the “Captain” of the New York Yankees, is about as collectible as they come. A superstar who played his entire career under the big lights of New York City. Jeter was a 14-time All-Star and always seemed to play his best baseball in the most clutch spots on the biggest stage. Combine these facts with a total population of only 379 total PSA 10s, and you can see why the most recent one sold on eBay went for $3,000. However, if you have one of them sitting in a box somewhere, the odds are very low that it will grade out as a PSA 10. 

Total Graded by PSA: 5934

PSA 10: 379 ($5900)

PSA 9: 2923 ($410)

PSA 8: 1985 ($165)

1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera ($127.50 – $730)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1992%20Bowman%20Mariano%20Rivera
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You can copy and paste everything written about Derek Jeter and fill it in for Rivera. The best relief pitcher of all time, doing it on the biggest stage and thriving in the biggest moments. PSA has graded only 6297 of these cards, however, 1398 of them (22 percent) have come back as PSA 10s. This is by far the highest percentage of any of the six cards listed in this article. 

Total Graded by PSA: 6297

PSA 10: 1398 ($730)

PSA 9: 3337 ($188.50)

PSA 8: 1150 ($127.50)

6. What’s Next for The Baseball Card Market?
Getty Images

One of the most fun aspects of collecting baseball cards centers around prospecting and trying to stay ahead of the hobby by buying cards of players that you think will be break out stars.

I recently wrote this list of my favorite ten MLB prospects and why I think their cards are good investments. You will notice in this article that cards have changed dramatically since the 80s and 90s. Most of the valuable modern cards are typically shiny, colorful and sometimes chrome. Some of them come autographed, with serial numbers and all sorts of variations and refractors.

If you are looking to keep things basic, Topps still produces their standard sets without all of the bells and whistles. Their most current basic set is Topps Baseball 2021 Series 1. Panini also makes baseball cards, however, you will notice that they do not have an MLB license to use the team logos or uniforms, making Topps and Bowman the top dogs in the baseball card space.

I realize that we have covered quite a few topics in this article and that it may seem overwhelming at first with so much to learn. However, if you take the time to learn the products and consume enough content, you can get up speed relatively quickly.

If you have any questions, I would be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to @cardtalkpod on instagram or twitter anytime!

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Baseball Card Guide: How To Tell If Your Baseball Cards Are Worth Money – copy

When I was growing up in the 1980’s, baseball cards were my life. When birthdays were approaching, my parents never asked me what I wanted for my present because they knew what I wanted. Sitting down in my room and tearing open packs was the best part of every birthday. The thrill of the chase, whether I was trying to find a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie, a Mark McGwire 1985 Topps USA Baseball Team rookie, or later, a Billy Ripken 1991 Fleer card with a 4-letter-word written on the knob of the bat, was about as much fun as a kid could have. The reward for uncovering one of those chase cards felt like millions of dollars to my 8-10 year old self.

As I became a teenager and then a young adult, I stopped collecting. The cards that were my carefully protected, top-loaded treasures were stacked in boxes in a closet in my parent’s house. They sat there throughout college, and then for years after as I moved around from state to state. I didn’t really think about them much, but figured that eventually I would grab them and see if they had any value.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and I had a life changing moment, when I decided to make a $20 purchase, the first card I had bought since my childhood.

You may have a similar story, with boxes of cards sitting in some closet or storage facility that you haven’t looked at in years. You have been seeing all the news reports about the resurgence of the sports card market, but you have no clue if your cards have any value or how to appraise them.

In this article, I will attempt to help you understand the modern day hobby, how to find the value of your cards, and answer some of the questions that I know I needed some clarification and guidance on when I first got back in to the hobby.

1. Why invest in Baseball Cards?
Getty Images

This answer will vary depending on what your goals are.

For me, first and foremost, collecting baseball cards is a hobby and it’s a lot of fun. Some of my best memories as a kid are going to the local card shop with my dad and brother, frequently coming home with packs to open and bonding over finding some of our favorite players. It’s important to remember that while some cards can be extremely valuable, at the end of the goal should be to have fun, make memories and enjoy your collection.

For others, it’s a business. Whether you want to open up your own local card shop, buy and sell cards on eBay, or be one of those people who wait on line overnight at Target and Walmart hoping to score retail boxes to flip for a profit, with the proper amount of education and knowledge, you can make a lot of money in this space.

However, I can not stress enough how important it is to be educated BEFORE buying or selling anything. If you attempt to enter the hobby without understanding which cards and products sell, why they sell, and how to sell them, you are almost guaranteed to lose money.

The best advice I can give on how to get educated is to read a lot of articles (like this one), follow all of the big sports cards accounts on social media, consume their content daily, and watch the big card breaking pages Instagram live streams. When you are in the streams, ask questions and interact with people. Making friends and connections is key.

When you decide it’s time to start buying and selling, you will make mistakes. Making mistakes on less expensive products is much more palatable than on big ticket items. You need the reps, so you might as well start small and work your way up.

2. What Makes a Baseball Card Valuable?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The most important determining factor of how much your cards are worth will come down to condition. There are condition issues that you have complete control over, and others that are totally out of your hands.

To start, it is extremely important that you store your cards properly. This will include first placing your cards in to protective penny sleeves. These will ensure that the surface of the card does not get scratched or damaged. The next step is to place the cards in to a rigid plastic top-loader. Once you have done this, your cards should be fairly well protected from the elements.

However, it is important to note that even if you have your cards stored properly, they often come with condition issues straight from the factory. Some cards will come out of packs with surface scratches, print defects, dinged corners, and they may even be mis-cut and off-centered. In order to have a true mint conditioned card with perfect edges, corners, surface and centering, there is a lot of luck involved.

If you have cards that are well protected and in great shape, the main determining factor of value will come down to getting your cards authenticated and graded, which is a process in which an independent company will assign a score from 1-10 based on how good the condition of your card is. For more on grading, check out this article.

The final determining factor for value is simply supply and demand. What led to the crash of the sports card industry in the 1990’s (commonly referred to as the “Junk Wax Era”) was a mass overproduction of cards. Nowadays, many of the most valuable cards are serial numbered, which ensures that supply stays low. Studying the PSA population report to see how many of each grade for any particular card exist will give you an idea of just how rare your card is.

3. How To Find the Value of Your Baseball Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

There two websites that I use to find the value of my cards are eBay and CardLadder. Both are fairly easy to navigate.

To appraise your card on eBay, there are a couple of steps that you must take:

  1. Figure out exactly what card you have: There will often be small print on the back of your card that tells you the manufacturer, what year the card was produced, as well as a set number. In the pic above, you will see that this is a “1985 Topps Mark McGwire #401”. If you type that card in to the search bar on eBay, you will be able to see what people are asking for the card.
  2. Filter your search: If you want to see what the card is actually selling for, all you have to do is filter the results of your search by clicking “sold items” in the “show only” tab. It is important to remember that appraising your card is much easier when it is graded. If your card is raw (ungraded), your best bet would be to zoom in on photos of other raw cards that sold and try to match the condition to that of yours.

CardLadder is an amazing website that will give you all sorts of analytics, PSA population reports, market caps and charts. It is an extremely valuable tool, but they don’t have anywhere near as many cards in their database as eBay does. For a beginner in the hobby, or a person who is just getting back in to it, I would stick with eBay at first. However, as you get more comfortable in the hobby and are buying and selling, they should absolutely be on your radar.

4. Rare Cards to Look Out For
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You may have seen news over the last 12-18 months about record breaking sales in the sports card hobby. Back in January, the hobby’s most iconic card–the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie–sold for an eye-popping $5,200,000 to entrepreneur Rob Gough. It was one of only six that received a PSA 9 grade, making it one of the finest examples of that card on the planet.

However, news of cards that have been selling for six-figures seems to be dropping weekly, and I wrote this article to keep track of all of the most expensive sales.

If you have ungraded versions of any of the cards on this list, it is important to remember that you must get them graded for them to have a chance of being worth anywhere near what those cards sold for. For instance, a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson PSA 10 is worth $100,000+. A raw, poorly conditioned version of that exact same card sells for as low as $2.25.

5. What Are My Baseball Cards Worth Today?
1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. ($110 – $2405)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=ken%20griffey%20jr%201989%20upper%20deck
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You may have noticed that the number of PSA graded cards takes a significant dip as the grades go lower than a PSA 8. That’s due to the fact that it simply isn’t worth it to have a card graded that won’t bring back at least a PSA 8. Check out PSA’s Grading Standards to give you an idea of where your card may grade out and what PSA looks for.

Total Graded by PSA: 74,811

PSA 10: 3,839 ($2405)

PSA 9: 24,533 ($303)

PSA 8: 31,001 ($110)

1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas ($116 – $2552)
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Only 15,000 1990 Topps Tiffany sets were produced, and they were only made available through hobby dealers, making this Frank Thomas card ultra-rare.

Total Graded by PSA: 896

PSA 10: 101 ($2552)

PSA 9: 414 ($352)

PSA 8: 310 ($116)

1985 Donruss Roger Clemens ($26 – $406)
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Although Roger Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball for well over a decade, he is one of the most polarizing athletes in modern history due to his connection to steroids. He has maintained a strong collectors market due to his large market appeal, playing for both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. If Clemens finally makes the Hall of Fame one of these days, this card could see a spike in value. However, the black border on the card makes any damage pop and makes bringing back a PSA 10 very unlikely. 

Total Graded by PSA: 8548

PSA 10: 519 ($406)

PSA 9: 2197 ($61)

PSA 8: 2851 ($26)

1980 Topps Rickey Henderson ($152 – $180,100)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1980%20Topps%20Rickey%20Henderson
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Only .1 percent of these Rickey Henderson rookie cards grade out to be a PSA 10, making it one of the rarest cards on the market today. There are no sold PSA 10 listings currently on eBay. 

“The blue ink backs and the white gloss front almost highlight corner and edge wear. But even cards that have been locked away untouched in packs or boxes are victims of the factory,” says Beckett Senior Vintage Grader, Andy Broome. “Centering plagues this set when it comes to condition. Whether it is diamond cut cards or just-off side-to-side, finding a card with gem mint or better centering is extremely tough. It’s that perfect storm of condition that is required for a perfect card.”

Total Graded by PSA: 20,866

PSA 10: 24 ($180,100)

PSA 9: 1986 ($6877)

PSA 8: 9680 ($1225)

PSA 7: 5123 ($152)

1993 Topps Gold Derek Jeter ($165 – $5900)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1993%20Topps%20Gold%20Derek%20Jeter
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Derek Jeter, the “Captain” of the New York Yankees, is about as collectible as they come. A superstar who played his entire career under the big lights of New York City. Jeter was a 14-time All-Star and always seemed to play his best baseball in the most clutch spots on the biggest stage. Combine these facts with a total population of only 379 total PSA 10’s, and you can see why the most recent one sold on eBay went for $3,000. However, if you have one of them sitting in a box somewhere, the odds are very long that it will grade out as a PSA 10. 

Total Graded by PSA: 5934

PSA 10: 379 ($5900)

PSA 9: 2923 ($410)

PSA 8: 1985 ($165)

1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera ($127.50 – $730)
https://www.cardladder.com/search?q=1992%20Bowman%20Mariano%20Rivera
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You can copy and paste everything written about Derek Jeter and fill it in for Rivera. The best relief pitcher of all time, doing it on the biggest stage and thriving in the biggest moments. PSA has graded only 6297 of these cards, however, 1398 of them (22 percent) have come back as PSA 10’s. This is by far the highest percentage of any of the six cards listed in this article. 

Total Graded by PSA: 6297

PSA 10: 1398 ($730)

PSA 9: 3337 ($188.50)

PSA 8: 1150 ($127.50)

6. What’s Next for The Baseball Card Market?
Getty Images

One of the most fun aspects of collecting baseball cards centers around prospecting and trying to stay ahead of the hobby by buying cards of players that you think will be break out stars.

I recently wrote this list of my favorite ten MLB prospects and why I think their cards are good investments. You will notice in this article that cards have changed dramatically since the 80’s and 90’s. Most of the valuable modern cards are typically shiny, colorful and sometimes chrome. Some of them come autographed, with serial numbers and all sorts of variations and refractors.

If you are looking to keep things basic, Topps still produces their standard sets without all of the bells and whistles. Their most current basic set is Topps Baseball 2021 Series 1. Panini also makes baseball cards, however, you will notice that they do not have an MLB license to use the team logos or uniforms, making Topps and Bowman the top dogs in the baseball card space.

I realize that we have covered quite a few topics in this article and that it may seem overwhelming at first with so much to learn. However, if you take the time to learn the products and consume enough content, you can get up speed relatively quickly.

If you have any questions, I would be happy to help. Feel free to reach out to jason.koeppel@one37pm.com anytime!

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: “I’m Captain America”

I just don’t know what it is about the MCU that really brings the fan out of this cold blooded investor’s heart. Whether it was Sam’s declaration of his new title, making me audibly shout “Let’s Go!” in my apartment at 3 am, the poignant speech Cap gave the world leaders about the power of perspective that made me want to see a Captain America like that in our real world, or the swelling of emotion that culminated in the scene with Isiah Bradley at the museum (no, you’re crying!) finally getting some much deserved recognition as an American hero, it all just got me. The best part is, just a few hours after the show was live on streaming, reports hit mainstream media about a Captain America 4 feature film with Sam Wilson at the helm. That is one film I will be stoked to see.

I thought this may be a good time to look at the performance of some key books that I previously highlighted in my March 12th column and see how they performed. The chart below shows six key books previously mentioned and their trading performance.

Jack DeMayo

The results aren’t truly surprising when you really go back and look at the show. Maybe the most surprising is the lack of movement of Captain America #6 (2005) in 9.8. This I would attribute to two main factors. The first: there was a big run up on this book in the months before the series hit Disney+ with prices near doubling already. Second, and importantly, while the series was called Falcon and Winter Soldier, the story focus was really on Sam Wilson and John Walker. 

The short term results showed as much with Sam’s 1st appearance raising $550 in an 8.0 and his 1st as Cap jumping from $350 to $550 in just 6 weeks. Meanwhile the play may have been raw Captain America #25’s (2012) as they showed a 3x return. 

Zemo had his moments, including an epic viral dance video, but fans were left wanting more. A moderate 25% gain is respectable and most expect we will see Zemo again in some form or another. Speculation surrounds him joining a popular comic book faction with either The Thunderbolts or The Dark Avengers. 

Finally, one of the most hated MCU characters in memory, John Walker, saw excellent returns during the series. While his 1st as Captain America in Captain America #323 only made a small jump, this is to be expected as any comic fan knew his turn with the mantle would be brief. The best exit strategy would have been to sell during Episode #1-3 before he lost the title. The series concluded with John Walker exclaiming “I’m back!” as he donned his new suit and moniker: US Agent. Novice comic fans may not have realized that exclamation mirrored the one on the cover of Captain America #354, the 1st John Walker as US Agent appearance. With Walker seemingly a new fixture in the MCU as US Agent, buyers have been grabbing this one with anticipation of continued returns. Either way, if you bought in on 3/12 you have seen the value of your #354 stash double in price.

Something is Killing the Children Update
Something is Killing the Children #1 / Boom! Studios

Last week, the feature of this column was indie sensation Something Is Killing The Children and my speculation that the IP is destined to be a monster (no pun intended) television series whenever it goes that route. While we have no confirmation, the popular comic book market app Key Collector reports that inside sources tell them that the property has been optioned for a television series. When a ” Key Alert” is sent out by the App, breaking news hits tens of thousands of phones instantly. 

This sparked excitement in the market among investors as well as some doubt amongst the detractors as these reports are unsubstantiated at this time. It’s important to note though that the Key Collector App has reported info early in the past and my gut tells me this info is solid. As I mentioned last week, the book was $650 in a 9.8 the first time we talked about this IP here and $900 last week. This week we have seen the floor raise to $995 and a couple of sales in the $1100 range. That small gain just from an unconfirmed report as well as the heat behind the recently released (this past Wednesday) 8th print tells me we are in for a major return when an official announcement inevitably hits.

Netflix Is All In on Comic Book IP
Jupiter’s Legacy #1 / Image Comics

While the publisher of Something Is Killing The Children, Boom! Studios, has a first look deal with Netflix, which could see the IP land there, the streamer is not banking on any one comic book IP to find success in the space and instead readying several for release. The last few years have seen Netflix adapt Dark Horse’s Umbrella Academy, IDW’s Locke and Key, October Faction, and V-Wars, Image’s Old Guard, Oni Press’ Ciudad, better known to Netflix users as Extraction. We also already know Netflix is set to develop Masters of The Universe with Dark Horse and Kevin Smith, in addition to Brzrkr with Boom! and Keanu Reeves.

All of that and we have two more comic book IPs that have Netflix series trailers on the market making a buzz. The first is from Image Comics and creator Mark Millar. Millar has had the Hollywood touch with several of his properties like Kingsman, Wanted, and Kick Ass being past successes. Now Millar has sold the majority stake in his publishing company Millarwarld to the streamer and together they are set to release both new comics and develop series from the old ones—and new as well I would presume.

Millar’s next big release will be Jupiter’s Legacy, which debuts May 7th. The Josh Duhamel led show looks promising and will really be the litmus test for this relationship going forward. Copies of issue #1 in a 9.8 can be had for $200 with the occasional copy going far lower. The 1:25 incentive is a great option right now while being short printed is only trading for $250 in a 9.8. You never know how these indie series will be received by the mainstream, but The Boys and Invincible tell me that the market is currently receptive to super hero stories outside the Big 2. 

Sweet Tooth #1 / DC / Vertigo Comics

Finally, from DC Comics beloved but now defunct Vertigo imprint comes Sweet Tooth from creator Jeff Lemire. The show just debuted a trailer this week and the Robert Downey Jr. produced show had seen series buzz in the industry. Lemire is a master storyteller with a lot of IP with Hollywood potential so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Sweet Tooth #1 is selling for $400 in a 9.8 to date with the last copy selling for $545 as soon as the trailer dropped. This is one book I will be keeping my eye on as there truly isn’t a plethora on the market at this time and it wouldn’t take much for this one to run up in price. 

I hope you are getting some value and adding some great pieces to your alternative investment portfolio as well as some great comics to your personal collections. Join me next week when we look for more opportunity for ROI in the comic market.