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Culture Trading Cards

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
eBay

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
eBay

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
eBay

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
eBay

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 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 Trading Cards

Pokemon Card Values: How Much Are Your Cards Worth?

The explosive recent rise in the value of Pokemon cards has opened the eyes of investors and former collectors looking to get back in the game. The original Pokemon base set (1999 1st Edition Shadowless) is the most collectible, with record breaking single card sales happening almost daily on eBay.

“Every generation defines what is nostalgic to them,” says Collectors Universe President Joe Orlando. “Pokémon started its rise in the U.S. during the late 1990s. Today, the young people who were playing the classic game then are now well into adulthood. As a result, the game has enjoyed a kind of rebirth in the hobby.”      

This list of 10 cards from the iconic original set breaks down the total population of each card graded by PSA, as well as their most recent sales to illustrate their current value.

What Makes a Pokemon Card Valuable?
Identify type and assess rarity
eBay

The first step to identify if a card is potentially worth anything substantial is to check its type and rarity. In other words, how likely the card is to come across from any given booster pack or special event, and if it has any special characteristics, such as card material or Pokemon types.

There are a few indicators of rarity on any given card, though they’re quite subject to change depending on when said card was printed. A marker near the bottom of the card or near its name will indicate rarity: a circle means the card is common, a diamond means it’s less common, and stars mean it’s rare. More stars or with combinations of letters or symbols mean extra rare, including if those symbols are in the name or elsewhere on the card. Other characteristics that can up the rarity include: a higher printed number than there should be in a given printed set (e.g., 66/65); holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic; artwork that takes up the full card; artwork wherein the creature doesn’t cast a shadow; and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.

There are also special types of cards, like the aforementioned special events that sometimes award cards to tournament winners. For example, one of the most coveted cards, the Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card, was only given out to competition winners in Japan and is so rare that it is considered priceless due to the lack of sellers. And a Pikachu Illustrator card, awarded for a Pokemon award competition, allegedly sold for a cool $90,000 USD.

While rarity isn’t the only factor in appraising value, it’s certainly a major factor: Some of the highest-selling cards worth tens of thousands of dollars, or considered “priceless” from lack of supply, are only so because of small rarities like misprints or typos.

As for the more common cards that don’t match any of these characteristics, the consensus advice online is to sell those in bulk. Though the individual cards may only be worth a few dollars at most, a complete collection of them can likely fetch a little higher of a price. That’s not a terrible idea for someone wanting to get rid of a bunch of common cards and turn a profit.

How do I Find the Value of My Cards?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Taking your old cards out of the closet and researching to find their current value is the most common way people are getting back into Pokémon. When trying to figure out a card’s value, make sure to follow these steps:

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Step 1. Find the year of the card. Check the bottom year(s) of the card.

Step 2. Find the set the card belongs to. If there is no logo on the right side, it’s Base. Every other set has an indicator. 

Step 3. Identify the card with the name and number in the set. 

1st Edition Base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • The grail set, Charizard is on fire with a recent sale topping $350,000.00.
     
  • The graded population on this set is low, and the demand has become astronomical.
     
  • The last sealed box auction ended at $408,000.00.  
Shadowless Base Set
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • Identical to the 1st Edition cards except they don’t have the 1st Edition Stamp. 
     
  • The Shadowless set is just as rare / more rare than the 1st Edition set.
     
  • Gem Mint Charizard has a much lower population and the price hovers around $80,000.00. 
     
  • Shadowless is the only other set with the Red Cheek Pikachu Error card.
Base Unlimited
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • The Unlimited Set Boxes are over $35,000.00.
     
  • Gem Mint Charizard is around $30,000.00.
     
  • This set had 6-8 times the print runs compared to 1 print run each for 1st Edition and Shadowless.
Jungle Set
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • 2nd Expansion set
     
  • 1st Edition Boxes worth over $25,000.00
     
  • Each Holographic card has a non-holographic version
     
  • Only expansion set where every holographic card has a no symbol version. 
Fossil Set
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • 3rd Expansion Set
     
  • 1st Edition Boxes Over $20,000.00
     
  • Each Holographic card has a non-holographic version.
Base Set 2
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • Combination of Base & Jungle sets.
     
  • Boxes over $20,000.00
     
  • PSA 10 Charizard valued over $8,000.00
     
  • Having the original Charizard artwork will always keep this set in demand. 
Team Rocket
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • The 5th set, Team Rocket pays homage to the villains of Pokémon: Jesse, James & Meowth.
     
  • 1st Edition Boxes over $20,000.00
     
  • 1st Expansion set to have Charizard
     
  • After Base Set, Team Rocket is arguably the hottest Gen. 1 set to collect. 
Gym Heroes
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • Focuses on 1st 4 Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge & Erika
     
  • 1st Edition Boxes are at $15,000.00
     
  • PSA 10 1st Edition Moltres is valued over $4,500.00
Gym Challenge
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm
  • Focuses on Final 4 Gym Leaders: Sabrina, Koga, Blaine & Giovanni
     
  • 1st Edition Boxes are valued over $20,000.00 
     
  • PSA 10 Charizard is valued over $7,000.00 
Promo Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Pokémon had numerous promo cards: E3 promos, Black Star Promos and Prerelease promos. They were available at events, in magazines, by mail request and one was available with a VHS film. Due to scarcity, some have skyrocketed and the demand is increasing rapidly.  You can read more about Black Star Promos in this article.

What Are My Pokemon 1st Edition Base Set Cards Worth?

If you own any of the cards listed below, condition is the biggest factor in figuring out what your cards are worth. The prices below illustrate what these cards are worth after grading in mint condition as PSA 9’s & 10’s. It is very unlikely that your cards will grade this high if they have been played with. If you have these cards laying around in less than mint condition, it still may be worth getting them graded as long as they are in pretty good shape. 

1. Squirtle First Edition $500 – $2400
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Squirtle is the first evolution of Blastoise and carries the 2nd most value of any of the big three pre-evolutions. Although grading has slowed down drastically, prices have dipped in the Pokemon market. That said, Squirtle is one of the essential characters of the show and is a must have for any collector.  Be sure to assemble your Squirtle-Squad by acquiring his English Rookie card.

PSA Pop: 1418 – (10) 600 – (9) 633

Current Value: PSA 10 $2400 PSA 9 $500

2. Charmander 1st Edition $610 – $1825
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Charmander’s value has been all over the place in the last 12 months. After the 2020 summer of record sale after record sale, baby Zard’s value has taken a dip recently, but don’t be surprised if Charmander rebounds due to the power Charizard yields on the market. 

PSA Pop: 1521 – (10) 652 – (9) 661

Current Value: PSA 10 $1825 PSA 9 $610

3. Bulbasaur 1st Edition $530 – $2931
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

One of the most popular Pokemon, Bulbasaur delivers long term. Previously third in the pecking order for PSA 9’s, Bulbasaur is currently higher than Squirtle and Charmander. With low populations, be sure to make Bulbasaur a top priority. 

PSA Pop: 783 – (10) 237 – (9) 416

Current Value: PSA 10 $2931 PSA 9 $530

4. Pikachu

Pikachu is the most well known Pokemon out there and considered to be a mascot of sorts. There are two versions of Pikachu in this set – with a red cheeked and a yellow cheeked variant. The red cheek is the more rare and valuable of the two, while both have similar population reports. Pikachu Prices have dropped drastically, which is great for collectors looking to acquire the grail non holo. 

Pikachu Red Cheeks $1000 – $9000
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA Pop: 890 – (10) 215 – (9) 545

Current Value: PSA 10 $9000 PSA 9 $1000

Pikachu Yellow Cheeks $600 – $4800
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

PSA Pop: 886 – (10) 338 – (9) 361

Current Value: PSA 10 $4800 PSA 9 $600

5. Onix 1st Edition $140 – $500
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Onix was introduced in the TV show as Brock’s main Pokemon when Battling Ash. The massive Rock Snake, Onix, is deserving of more attention due to this, and with card prices steadily climbing, Onix’s english Rookie card is a solid addition to any collection.

PSA Pop: 923 – (10) 376 – (9) 433

Current Value: PSA 10 $500 PSA 9 $140

6. Blastoise Holo 1st Edition $7450 – $31.975
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Blastoise is the final evolution of Squirtle. The 2nd most valuable card in the set, Blastoise is also the most powerful card in the game. When looking at the price difference between Charizard and Blastoise, and knowing they are both going to be 1 & 2 moving forward, Blastoise will be undervalued until investors decide the 2nd most valuable card is worth much more than 10-15% of the top card, while having a lower graded population.

PSA Pop: 1484 – (10) 98 – (9) 507

Current Value: PSA 10 $31,975 PSA 9 $7450

7. Charizard Holo 1st Edition $35,000 – $350,100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

This card is the pinnacle of Pokemon collecting. The 1st Edition Charizard has been setting massive records for close to a year. The rarest card in the set, Charizard is also the most graded hologram of any 1st Edition Shadowless holo. Even non-collectors know that the Charizard holo will make you the king of the playground, in any condition. 

PSA Pop: 2475 – (10) 120 – (9) 645

Current Value: PSA 10 $350,100 PSA 9 $35,000

8. Venusaur Holo 1st Edition $4500 – $22,615
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Venusaur is the final evolution of Bulbasaur, and has consistently been the 3rd most valuable card in the set. When the prices rise again, Venusaur will be very difficult to obtain. This is a must have card for all Pokemon collectors.

PSA Pop: 1310 – (10) 133 – (9) 469

Current Value: PSA 10 $22,615 PSA 9 $4500

9. Mewtwo Holo 1st Edition $3650 – $20,100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Mewtwo is by far the most underrated hologram in the set. The most powerful original Pokemon, Mewtwo is also the smartest. Evolved from the Ancient Mew, Mewtwo was engineered in a lab. Mewtwo is currently the 4th most Valuable card in the set, which is a no brainer considering abilities and being the 1st major Poke-villain in the Pokemon Movie Mewtwo Strikes Back.

PSA Pop: 990 – (10) 80 – (9) 379

Current Value: PSA 10 $20,100 PSA 9 $3650

10. Lass $350 – $2,827
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The first female Pokemon card, Lass, is also one of the rarest trainer cards to pull. On top of that, the graded population is very low. Lass has been in demand for years, with sales for PSA 10’s being tops of any trainer cards in the set for over 5 years. Lass is also a must have card for collectors. 

PSA Pop: 467 – (10) 99 – (9) 269

Current Value: PSA 10 $2,827 PSA 9 $350

11. Raichu $2,200 – $17,100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The evolution of Pikachu, Raichu is mighty undervalued. First introduced in the show as a top Pokemon for Lt. Surge, Raichu was dominant until Ash’s Pikachu had the last laugh. The only way for Raichu to evolve from Pikachu is with the Thunder Stone. Also, Raichu is capable of storing 100,000 plus volts of electricity.      

PSA Pop: 1253 – (10) 87 – (9) 381

Current Value: PSA 10 $17,100 PSA 9 $2,200.00

12. Chansey $2,000 – $32,433
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Originally known as Lucky, Chansey is known for assisting nurse Joy in the Pokemon Centers in the show and video games. A very popular card amongst gamers, combined with issues during production, Chansey is one of the toughest cards to receive PSA 10 grades, with only 47 current examples.

PSA Pop: 1142 – (10) 47 – (9) 362

Current Value: PSA 10 $32,433 PSA 9 $2000

13. Dugtrio $250 – $1100
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The evolution of Diglett, Dugtrio is the triple headed angry Mole. Dugtrio is also one of the most valuable non holo cards in the set. With only 137 PSA 10 examples, Dugtrio is a relative bargain, considering it’s the rookie card to own. This mole Pokemon is capable of creating tunnels at 60 MPH, which sometimes can cause earthquakes.   

PSA Pop: 579 – (10) 137 – (9) 291

Current Value: PSA 10 $1100 PSA 9 $250.00

14. Dratini $180 – $760
Jason Koeppel

This adorable dragon Pokemon is highly desirable in the card community, topping $4,000 in PSA 10 early in 2020. Although that was a hefty overpay given the current market, Dratini will rebound over time. Low population PSA 10 rookie cards will always rise over time. Dratini is the original form of Dragonair & later Dragonite.

PSA Pop: 627 – (10) 145 – (9) 371

Current Value: PSA 10 $760 PSA 9 $180

15. Machamp $500 – $3711
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

This is where things get hairy. Although Machamp is finally being properly labeled, most listed as 1st Edition are really the Unlimited version. Make sure to check the font, year(s) listed on the card or just check out our Ultimate Pokemon Guide for more information.  

Also, check out where Machamp lands in our Most Powerful Pokemon.

1st Edition: PSA Pop: 6641 – (10) 348 – (9) 2984

1st Edition Shadowless: PSA Pop: 181 – (10) 2 – (9) 21

Current Shadowless Value: PSA 10 $3711 PSA 9 $500

What’s Ahead For Pokemon?
Pokemon

February 27th, 2021 marked the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Pokémon franchise. With that milestone in mind, Pokemon is set for some major new releases including Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, which will launch in late 2021, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which will launch in early 2022. All three games will be available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch™ system. 

New Pokemon Snap launches on April 30, 2021, also on Nintendo Switch, in which players will act as Pokemon photographers in the Lental region, working with Professor Mirror on an ecological survey. These photos will receive a score of one to four stars based on how rare the behavior displayed in the photo is. Players will be able to share the photos with others around the world and compete through ranking systems.

We recently had a chance to sit down with Dan “aDrive” Clap, one of the leading creators of Pokémon content on YouTube and Twitch, to get his insight as to what we can expect to see in 2021 in greater detail. Check it out!

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The 15 Most Powerful ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Characters

Yu-Gi-Oh! first appeared on our television screens in the late 90s and in the nearly two and a half decades since its first iteration, it has gone through nearly a dozen different forms and remains here to this day. Based on that alone, it deserves a hell of a lot of respect that it doesn’t always get amongst its peers in anime. Today, it remains one of the most well-known card game anime of all time.

Of course, you can’t have Duel Monsters without the monsters. Maybe you’re looking to get into Yu-Gi-Oh!, maybe you’re looking to spend some money to expand your deck, or maybe you’re just a fan and love reading about it. Whatever the reason, you’ve found yourself in the right place here today.

Below is our list of the 15 most powerful monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! Of course, power is relative. We’ve gone with a variety of cards that have been overpowered in tournaments, had the biggest impact in the series, and have a high amount of attack points. Let us know what you think and who makes your list.

1. Apoqliphort Towers
DeviantArt

This card is so powerful that it was actually banned from Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments. For it to be played, three Qliphort monsters must be sacrificed. It cannot be special summoned. Apoqliphort Towers is essentially immune to all spell and trap cards, as well as monsters that are a lower level than itself (10). Basically, it offers almost perfect protection.

2. Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy Of The End
DeviantArt

The original overpowered monster in Duel Monsters, you knew this one had to make our list. Not only does Chaos Emperor Dragon allow you to summon one DARK and one LIGHT monster from your graveyard, but if you pay 1,000 life points, you can send all cards on the field and in yours and your opponent’s hand to the graveyard, then do 300 damage for each card that was sent to the graveyard with that effect. It isn’t quite a one-turn kill, but it’s damn close, especially when used with Sangan and Yata-Garasu. Well, before it was banned anyway.

3. Dark Armed Dragon
Yu-Gi-Oh!

Requiring exactly three DARK monsters in your graveyard to be summoned, Dark Armed Dragon was so powerful that officially for tournaments, you were only allowed one in a deck. Once summoned, you could essentially destroy any three monsters on your opponent’s side. This was a meta for a while and was a main factor in a tier 0 deck. Only allowing players to have one at a time balanced it out a little.

4. Don Thousand / Monster B
DeviantArt

Second only to Don Thousand / Monster C (which also appears on this list) when it comes to its attack points, Don Thousand / Monster B is a beast. It boasts a whopping 10,000 ATK points. When on the field, this card automatically destroys all monsters on the opposite end of the field. To make things worse (for your opponent anyway), if it’s at risk of being destroyed, it can turn around and destroy one of your own monsters to protect itself instead.

5. Don Thousand / Monster C
DeviantArt

If you follow Yu-Gi-Oh! closely, then you know the name of this card and know exactly why it’s on this list. When it comes to attack points, anything in the 4,000 to 5,000 range was considered powerful for a while, and in the anime, 5,000 was pretty much the maximum any singular card could have without a special ability. Don Thousand / Monster C, however, boasts an unimaginable 10,000 attack and defense points, respectively.

6. Exodia, The Forbidden One
DeviantArt

One of the most famous Yu-Gi-Oh! monsters of all time, managing to draw all five pieces of Exodia, The Forbidden One ends the game instantly, so how could it not have made this list? Individually, the pieces are not worth much, but they’re certainly greater than the sum of their parts. You’ll need the heart of the cards for sure because Yugi himself only summoned Exodia once in the entire anime himself.

7. Last Turn
HobbyLark

When your life points at 1,000 or less and it’s your opponent’s turn is the only time you can play Last Turn. You pick one monster on your side of the field and send all other cards on the field and in yours and your opponent’s hands to the graveyard. Your opponent then gets to special summon a monster from their deck, but it must be face up in attack position and it must attack the monster you picked. The player whose monster remains wins the duel and any other result means the game is a draw. This type of bail out of course means the card is forbidden.

8. Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King
DeviantArt

What makes Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King unique is that it becomes immune to the type of card it was tributed by. So if you tributed a spell card and a trap card for it, it became immune to spell cards and trap cards. If you tributed a trap card a monster card for it, it became immune to trap cards and monster cards. You get the point. This made for an incredibly overpowered card that could often only be beaten with a monster with 3,000 attack points or more if someone got lucky. This resulted in its ban.

9. Number 16: Shock Master
DeviantArt

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this card is just a level 4 and has 2300 ATK points and 1600 DEF points. Number 16: Shock Master has the ability to nullify one monster, spell or trap card on the opponent’s side of the field per turn. But here’s what made it even more powerful. At one point, you could play multiple at a time and each one could take away a card on the opponent’s side, leaving them helpless, essentially not getting their turn.

10. Obelisk The Tormentor
DeviantArt

Sure, in tournaments, the Egyptian God cards’ flaws start to show a little bit, and they’re hardly used. But their power and importance in the anime truly cannot be overstated. Obelisk is probably objectively the weakest of the three God cards, but it’s still more than deserving of a spot on this list. If the player tributes two other monsters on the field during their battle phase, Obelisk gains unlimited attack power. It can also attack a player directly and take away all of the opponent’s monsters.

11. Slifer The Sky Dragon
DeviantArt

The second most powerful of the Egyptian God cards, Slifer The Sky Dragon is known well because it’s a card Yugi goes to a lot after he wins it. Slifer is powerful because it gains 1,000 attack and defense points for every card the player has in their hands. It also becomes the target of all opponents’ effects despite being immune, takes away 2,000 attack points from monsters in the attack position, and destroys them if they’re at 0 attack points.

12. Super Quantal Mech King Great Magnus
DeviantArt

Depending on how many XYZ materials you have for it, this card can get insanely powerful. With 2 or more, you can detach one material to take a card on the field and shuffle it, with 4 or more it becomes unaffected by all card effects except Super Quant cards and with 6 or more, your opponent cannot add cards to their hand.

13. The Tyrant Neptune
DeviantArt

Don’t be fooled by the 0 attack and 0 defense on The Tyrant Neptune. For a certain amount of time in tournaments, this card was almost broken because of how overpowered it could be. When you used Instant Fusion to bring out Lyrical Luscinia – Independent Nightingale and then tributed it for this card, its special effects mean it would be unaffected by anything with 6,000 attack points and would inflict 5,000 burn damage per turn. That’s what resulted in its ban a few years ago.

14. The Winged Dragon Of Ra
DeviantArt

Considered to be the most powerful of all of the Egyptian God cards, The Winged Dragon Of Ra being summoned makes for some epic moments in the anime. The attack and defense points for it are made up of the total of the three cards you tribute for it. You also have the option of giving up all but one of your life points (so 7,999 out of your 8,000 starting points, for example) and making those all attack points for the monster.

If that were not enough, Ra’s God Phoenix ability allows for the player to pay 1,000 life points for it to attack and destroy all of the opponent’s monsters. Just like the other God cards, this one feels like an instant win.

15. Victory Dragon
Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki

The clue is in the name here. This card was specifically overly powerful in tournaments and has since been banned. Matches are sets of three duels with the winner of course having to win two of the three. However, if you win a duel by attacking with Victory Dragon, you have won the entire match. It was banned not only for this insane rule, but because people forfeited before they were attacked by it, perhaps rightfully so, nullifying it.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Price Volatility: What It Means For The Sports Card Market

On January 30th, 2021, two Michael Jordan Fleer PSA 10s sold for a record $738,000 each on Goldin Auctions. 

The sales created a frenzy of national media attention on platforms like CNN and many began predicting that the card would reach $1 million in value. 

Values of the same card in a lower grade began skyrocketing (for example, the PSA 9 appreciated 340% from the end of December to the first week of February), and many people took on a “to the moon!” mentality with other established, retired veteran players and their rookie cards. 

However, as of April 18th, that same $738,000 Michael Jordan card has dropped in value by nearly $400,000 (this is a different copy, but same card in the same grade):

eBay

This represents a price drop of 49%. 

While you can argue not all PSA 10s are created equal (some have better centering than others) and that bidders may be scared to spend a large amount of money outside of an auction house, this card has generally trended downward since its record price set January 30th. 

This downtrend isn’t just limited to Jordan’s iconic rookie, we’ve seen similar trends with other cards and it might leave you thinking about what might happen next. 

Before we panic and start to think the card world is falling, we can look at some data to help us normalize these trends and create confidence in our collecting and investing endeavors.

(I am not a financial advisor and this is not intended to be financial advice. I own $3,390 in shares of the 1986 Fleer Complete Set in a PSA 10 grade via a fractional share platform and this writing is not intended to influence the value of any particular sports card.)

Am I Too Late?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

You might read that $375,000 for a sports card as a worrisome decline means you missed the boat big time to participate in the hobby, but read on. 

When I first started buying sports cards, paying $75 for an ungraded Patrick Mahomes Prizm rookie or $5 for an ungraded Trae Young Base Prizm rookie was overpriced. I felt like I was reaching when I paid $450 for a 2008 Topps Chrome Refractor featuring Kobe Bryant and Lebron James (a card that sells for around $25,000 in a PSA 10 grade today). 

This was about 2 years ago, and at that point, you could have bought just about any sports card in existence and it’s likely worth much more today. 

When I tell people that, their first question is always whether or not it’s too late to get into sports cards. It always depends on your goals, whether it’s collecting, investing, or both, but there’s always an opportunity to find awesome cards at a great value. 

The reality today is that it’s harder (and more expensive) to get into sports cards, so your biggest opportunity to do well is to understand the market better. 

Understanding the market better starts with you thinking for yourself and not blindly following advice (mine included). You didn’t need to be savvy two years ago, you just needed to buy cards to ride the market-wide wave. Now, it’s the opposite, you need to be savvy and you need to get ahead of the wave before it forms. 

We’ll use a few different cards as our case study for developing savvy and understanding how and why those metaphorical waves (demand) form and crash. 

Is it Surprising That the Jordan Card Dropped in Value?
Beckett.com

Over the last 2 years, I’ve watched various cards hit new highs, slowly retreat, plummet, and slowly increase again. It’s hard to be objective in the moment, especially when fear of missing out emotions hit, but doing so will make you a savvier buyer, and a savvier seller. 

In order to better understand those trends, I use Cardladder, but there are plenty of options available to you. Let’s look at a price history graph for a specific card below, which they’ve hilariously dubbed “the middle finger graph”.

The middle finger graph looks like a middle finger – a rapid ascent on the left side into a peak, and then a rapid decline, leaving those at the peak feeling a little bit like the card value has given them the middle finger. 

CardLadder

This chart represents the Kylian Mbappe 2018 World Cup Prizm Base PSA 10 card. It tripled in value in a matter of weeks, then continually and gradually retreated for a few months before making a resurgence near the end of February. 

If you want to be savvier in sports cards, what lessons can you take away from this? 

  • Rapid appreciation is a good time to sell, not a good time to buy 
  • Significant increases and decreases can happen fast – in this case, a matter of a month 
  • There are multiple peaks and valleys 
  • The card didn’t go to $0 – while it hasn’t reached its record high again, it’s selling for $1,250 
  • If you bought at the bottom in December at $500, you would have done well on your investment 

Let’s look at another, similar graph:

CardLadder

In this graph, we see a few mini “middle finger” spikes and more gradual price increases over time. You can see an initial price peak, followed by a decline, with a gradual run-up to a new price increase, followed by a decline. This particular card peaked at $2,000, but currently sells for $1,200 and is the 2018 Prizm Base PSA 10 Luka Doncic rookie card. 

While both of these graphs represent higher population cards of younger, less established players, it can help you understand that the market is cyclical, and there are much better times than others to buy and sell. 

As you think about timing, consider a few factors: 

  • Is the price rapidly appreciating? (I.e. doubles or triples in value in a matter of weeks) 
  • If there’s appreciation, why? Did they win a championship? Get inducted to the hall of fame? Start a reality TV show? Did another copy of that card or a similar card set a record price? 
  • Is the card rapidly declining? Has it seen a floor yet? 
  • Are there a lot of copies of the card available on eBay?
  • Are there a lot of copies coming in from grading and the population is growing?

When most people buy cards, they’re looking for clues from the market (other buyers like you). Consistent price increases signals that other people believe a card has value and sometimes logic can escape us when we enter a bid or hit the Buy It Now button. 

One way to combat this is to think about the opportunity cost. Before you spend $3,000 on a base prizm Kylian Mbappe, what could that instead have gotten you? At the time of its peak, $3,000 could have gotten you a Kevin Durant Topps Chrome Rookie Refractor BGS 9. A short print (limited copies produced), of a top 20 (maybe 15) basketball player of all time. 

But now, it’s time to turn our eyes back to the Michael Jordan card. 

After seeing two “middle finger charts” for other players, would you be totally surprised if the same thing happened to Jordan’s rookie card? 

While the cards themselves are not an apple-to-apple comparison (MJ is MJ and he only has one true rookie with a population significantly less than Mbappe and Doncic) the consumer behaviors are similar: 

CardLadder

There are far fewer sales of this card given its lower number of copies in the market, but we can still see some peaks and valleys, with record prices followed by some declines, and we can see the beginnings of a “middle finger graph” forming after the most recent high. 

As a savvy sports card collector and investor, this shouldn’t totally surprise you. Sports card values aren’t always linear and there are peaks and valleys that occur. 

On May 7th, for example, MJ’s rookie sold for $96,000, a 112% increase from its last sale on 3/26. The card’s next few sales dipped until a new high of $99,630 on May 20th. The card got as low as $62,000 one month later, a 37.7% drop

While it’s been nearly three months since the 2021 record sale of this card, we’re seeing a similar percentage drop of 49%

This teaches us that we can use data from other card sales, and historical trends from the same card sale to help us understand where a card may be going next (if a wave is forming or ending). 

Supply and Demand Should Always Be Your Guide
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

For those trying to find the competitive edge in sports card collecting and investing, the edge always goes back understanding supply and demand. Supply is measured in the number of copies of a particular card in a particular grade (it’s easier to understand for flagship rookie cards). 

It gets a little trickier with modern players, parallels, dual autos, sets, etc., but there are a lot of resources to understand supply. 

Demand is much harder to understand and people who are in-tune with it can see when new waves are forming. 

In the case of the Michael Jordan Fleer 1986 PSA 10 – it has a lot going for it. Relatively low population. The recognized single rookie card for Michael Jordan. One of the greatest and most popular basketball players of all time. That’s why even in a decline, it still commands a nearly $400,000 price tag. 

That price tag is one of the most overlooked influencers of supply and demand. 

From December 2019 – February 2020, there was only 1 sale in each month of the 1986 Fleer Jordan rookie. There were 2 sales in March, and 0 in April. 

In May 2020 there were a total of 7 copies of this card on public record. That represents 2% of the population of the card. 

Remember when I said that paying $75 for an ungraded Patrick Mahomes Prizm rookie felt expensive? Well, at that time, you could have purchased a Fleer Jordan rookie PSA 10 for $27,000. 

As prices increase to certain levels, it’s hard for people to hold onto a card, no matter how much they love it. 

The card sold 20 times from March of 2019 to March of 2020 publicly. That means that there are at least 20 people who could now make life-changing money by selling their copy (and many others who bought privately or before March 2019). 

The dozen or so copies of this card that have sold in 2021 are likely not going to be for sale for a very, very long time. 

As more copies sell in 2021, the lower the available supply becomes. Most collectors have a price, but as more and more of them sell for significant gains, it’s going into the hands of people who can be patient and won’t sell, even on a decline. 

It would take a new record for them to send their cards into the auction houses. 

We can see the same trend with the 2018 Kylian Mbappe Prizm Silver PSA 10: 

Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The card hit a new low of $3,800 back on December 12th, 2020. 4 more copies sold leading up to 12/30, about 2% of the total population. We can infer that a few people saw a downward trend and decided to sell their copies. 5 total copies of the card sold in December, but the next copy wouldn’t sell until January 21st. It jumped back to $5,000, and within 3 weeks and started to gain momentum. The card got as high as $8,500 on February 25th, before coming back down to $6,800 on March 5th. In January, this card sold just twice, but in February, it sold eight times. In March, it sold nine times, getting as high as $11,988. Eight copies of the card have been sold in April, with a week left in the month. 

The last value of the card was $9,100 on April 25th. 

12% of the population of this card have now sold at new highs, and those 25 copies probably won’t be sold until a new level is reached, thus diminishing the available supply. 

This is the likely explanation for the cycles of high prices followed by declines (sometimes in a very short period of time) – supply dries up and a buyer who really wants a card will overpay in the moment. After that overpay, other owners may decide it’s time to sell that particular card. Supply increases, and it’s usually followed by a price dip because you don’t have to overpay to secure the only copy of a card available.  

But as more and more people buy at higher prices, it raises the bar (price) for when they in turn will sell their copy if they chose to do so. At least 16 copies of the Jordan Fleer rookie have sold in 2021 and those buyers aren’t likely in a rush to sell. That leaves 300 copies across collectors and investors who still may choose to sell and take profits, but as more and more sell, available supply will decrease. 

To hit a little closer to home, think about your favorite cards that you aren’t eager to sell. Say you paid $1,000 for one card, but it’s not that easy to get and you love it. Would you sell at $2,000? Probably not. What about $4,000? Maybe, but still probably not. But if it hit $6,000, it might be enough to get you to part with it. 

Once someone buys your card for $6,000, it likely would take $9,000 for them to consider parting with it. If the supply is low enough, and there are enough new owners who have set a new “floor price”, supply will dry up and the cycle will continue. 

Tying It All Together
Getty Images

Studying the market and trying to learn the “why” behind price trends will serve you well in the sports card market. While most of us may never be able to afford a 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer PSA 10 rookie, it doesn’t mean we can’t use it as a case study to further our own buying and selling habits. 

Buyers and sellers exhibit similar patterns, whether it’s for a $70 card or a $700,000 card and your opportunity is how non-linear those trends are:

There are lots of strategies to get ahead of the market, but thinking for yourself and understanding the data goes a long way for finding opportunity. To me, this is why buying, selling and collecting sports cards is so fun – it moves so fast it creates inefficiencies and opportunities for everyone. The quicker you can recognize the patterns, the more likely you are to be in “early” on something else. 

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Introducing StarStock: A Site To Day Trade Sports Cards

The trading card hobby is in the midst of a well publicized boom. What used to be a fun hobby has turned into big business, with mainstream media coverage and record breaking sales occurring almost daily. 

For those that buy and sell cards, it seems as if there are new platforms popping up almost as frequently, with a litany of options that may be confusing to some. Understanding these new platforms, as well as what your specific goals are with your cards, is key to deciding which is the best place for you to do business. 

Here we will focus on a platform named StarStock, and how it has differentiated itself from it’s competition. 

What is StarStock?
https://www.starstock.com/marketplace
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Founded in November 2019, StarStock enables hobby enthusiasts to buy and sell graded and raw (ungraded) cards instantaneously. The process is actually quite simple.

Sellers ship their cards to StarStock to be listed on their website. The cards are stored inside of StarStock’s secure vault. When a buyer purchases a card, they have the option to keep the card stored in the vault, or to have it sent to them. StarStock receives five percent of each sale.  

The instantaneous buy and sell model is key to what makes StarStock so much fun. For example, fans can purchase a card of a player before a game starts. If the player has a big game, they can immediately sell the card just hours after purchasing it and take their profits.

“My partners and I are passionate about sports cards.” said CEO and co-founder Scott Greenberg. “StarStock was inspired by our experiences trading sports cards on traditional marketplaces. We wanted the ability to trade players instantly, which would allow us to day trade players while we are watching the games. We realized that card traders like us wanted ownership of the card, but didn’t actually need to possess the physical card. By separating ownership and possession, we’ve created a fast-moving market that’s able to capture real time price movement of athletes.”

To date, over 750,000 cards have been sold on StarStock with another 1,000,000+ cards currently stored in their vault

Why Submit My Raw Cards?
StarStock

One of the great features on StarStock includes the ability to submit raw cards and have them assign each one a StarStock A, StarStock B or StarStock C grade. 

StarStock A cards are considered “higher quality raw cards” and have some exciting metrics behind them for both buyers and sellers. For instance, in their most recent PSA submission, StarStock A cards (SSA) graded 93% as either a PSA 9 or 10. Because of this, SSA cards also command a higher sale price than raw cards on other popular platforms, since they have been looked over by a third party in advance of the sale. Users are typically taking a calculated risk on getting that PSA 10 from an A, which happened 40% of the time in their December PSA submission.

StarStock B (mid-quality raw cards) and StarStock C (lower-quality raw cards) can be found on the site as well. The transparency is phenomenal, as you typically get an idea of exactly what you are purchasing before you buy. 

How Do I Submit My Cards?
StarStock

On the StarStock website there is a “Send in Cards” form. On this form, you will be asked some basic personal information and are given the option of uploading a list of the cards you are submitting. You are not required to do this, but the site says that, “organizing your submission by player and set will drastically speed up your processing time.”

The cost to submit a raw card is $.25 per card. There are no ingestion fees for submitting graded cards or sealed wax. Current submission times are currently 4-8 weeks for raw cards. Graded cards and wax are ingested in under 1 week. The ingestion time frame begins on the date the package was received from the post office, not the date it was delivered. 

Who has Invested in StarStock?
Jason Koeppel

Less than two years after their 2019 launch, StarStock has attracted quite a bit of attention, raising around $10 million dollars to take the company to the next level, while adding some big names to their list of investors. 

On December 7th, 2020 it was announced that StarStock had raised $1.3 million dollarsfrom NBA mega-star Kevin Durant, as well as NBA guard Matthew Dellavedova, Rich Kleiman of Thirty Five Ventures, FanDuel co-founders, Nigel and Lesley Eccles, Jeremy Levine of Founder’s First Fund and A.J. Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerSports.

A few months later, an $8 million round of Series A funding was announced, this time led by Andreessen Horowitz, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, BetMGM CEO, Ryan Spoon, and Ilkka Paanane, co-founder of Supercell.

“It’s unreal,” said Greenberg. “It’s an incredible feeling to have people who I respect immensely believe in our vision and invest in StarStock. It motivates me to continue building out a great marketplace and an amazing team to support it.”

What’s Next?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

StarStock has quite a bit of exciting news coming up in the near future, starting with the addition of vintage cards to their market and culminating in the launch of their app. 

“Last week, StarStock began accepting vintage cards,” Greenberg said. “Card collectors should be on the lookout for great vintage cards that are added to our marketplace over the next few months. In addition to the mobile app, we’ll be working on enhancing our marketplace and product landscape. We’re planning to launch the StarStock app by the end of 2021. We’re really excited about the app because it will be more user friendly and easily accessible.”

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The 43 Most Expensive Trading Cards

The past year has been like nothing else in the trading card hobby. What mainstream society used to think of as a fun little hobby for children has become big business, with record breaking sales publicized by top media outlets becoming almost a weekly occurrence.

People who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s–who collected as children–remember the last time that sports cards were this hot, but the game has changed. Back then, it was mainly Topps baseball cards that collectors were after. Nowadays, basketball is at the top of almost everybody’s list, with Panini the new sheriff in town. However, it isn’t just basketball that has caught fire, with baseball remaining a major player as well as other sports such as football and even soccer making major moves.

Non-sports cards have also been attracting a lot of attention, with Pokemon and Magic the Gathering creating quite a buzz amongst collectors, and even rare cards of celebrities and major media franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel Comics bringing in big money.

Gone are the days of the simple, mass produced base cards of the “junk wax era“, as the new chase in the hobby includes trying to acquire rare cards with low serial numbers, autographs and patches of jerseys that players may have worn during a game.

Further, the most valuable cards come graded by an authentication service, giving a score based on the condition of the card from 1-10. The leading authentication service PSA has been so inundated with cards that they recently froze the hobby’s ability to submit cards (at most levels) due to an incredible backlog of more than ten million cards that they simply could not catch up on.

This influx of money and increased interest has created fierce competition for the rarest and highest graded cards at places such as eBay, Goldin Auctions and Heritage Auctions, and the results can be seen below.

This list of 43 cards shows just how hot this market has been, as people continue to invest in alternative assets such as sports cards.

(*This list only includes the highest sale price of any particular card so that no card is on the list twice)

1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($5,200,000)
PWCC

Simply put, this is the hobby’s most iconic card.

This particular example was purchased by entrepreneur Rob Gough, who we had a chance to sit down and talk with shortly after the sale. The same card sold two years earlier for $2.8 million.

“Based on our research, this is the nicest looking 1952 Topps Mantle PSA 9 in existence,” Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC Marketplace, said via press release.

2. Luka Doncic 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Logoman 1/1 ($4,600,000)
@shyne150 instagram

NBA Logoman cards from the popular high end Panini National Treasures sets are the most sought after in the hobby. This $4.6 million dollar deal was a private sale, with collectors and business partners Nick Fiorella and Bolillo Lajan San the proud owners of this one-of-a-kind holy grail of Luka Doncic cards.

3. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor Auto BGS 9/10 ($3,900,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2009_Bowman_Chrome_Draft_Prospects__BDPP89_Mike_Tr-LOT63942.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This sale, which took place on August 23, 2020, held the record for a short amount of time as the most money ever paid for a single sports card. The one-of-a-kind “Superfractor” was previously purchased in May of 2018 by controversial social media personality “Vegas Dave” Oancea for $400,000.

4. Honus Wagner 1909 T206 PSA 5 (MC) ($3,100,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=25398
Goldin Auctions

The Honus Wagner T206 is maybe the most iconic and recognizable card in the hobby besides the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. This particular example is known as the “Jumbo Wagner” because it is slightly larger than the typical T-206 cards due to being mis-cut (which is why PSA gave it an MC qualifier). However, it’s PSA 5 grade makes it possibly the top-conditioned Wagner T-206 on the market, since it was confirmed that the infamous “Gretzky Wagner” was trimmed.

5. Tom Brady 2000 Panini Playoff Contenders BGS 8.5/9 ($2,252,855)
https://auction.lelands.com/bids/bidplace?itemid=103048
Lelands Auctions

On April 2nd, 2021 at Lelands Auctions, this Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket Auto became the most expensive football card ever sold.

“It’s surreal, and it makes me want to go check all my cards that I have stored — there’s gotta be one in there somewhere!” Brady told Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan in a recent interview.

“You know, when I was coming out I tried to make some money. My agent, Steve, was like, ‘I got a trading card deal for you. Sign a thousand cards and they’re gonna pay you like 20 cents a card.’ And I was like, ‘Twenty cents a card? I’m gonna be rich!’ Unbelievable … you see these cards that are worth that kind of money. I definitely should’ve kept some of them. But whatever — I think it all worked out pretty good.”

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2013-14 National Treasures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 ($1,857,300)
https://goldinauctions.com/2013_14_National_Treasures_Horizontal__RPA___130_G-LOT64417.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This Giannis Logoman held the record for the most expensive basketball card ever sold for a few short months before the Luka Doncic Logoman that I previously mentioned more than doubled it in a private sale.

The amazing thing about this card is that it was previously sold back in 2014 for just $7000, but the buyer actually returned it because of a small yellow stain on the back. The seller did a little bit better this time around.

7. Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Auto BGS 9.5 ($1,800,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2003_04_UD__Exquisite_Collection___78_LeBron_James-LOT60435.aspx
Goldin Auctions

Another card that held the record for the highest sale of a modern day sports card for just a short time, this Lebron James Exquisite Rookie Parallel is serial numbered to 23 and is King James’ most rare and sought after rookie card.

The buyer was Leore Avidar, CEO of Alt who said, “the purchase is part of a strategy to bring something big to the collectibles and alternative assets business in the coming months.”

8. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors BGS PRISTINE/Black Label 10 ($1,752,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/1996_97_topps_chrome_refractors__138_kobe_bryant_r-lot77674.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This March 6th, 2021 sale at Goldin Auctions marks the most expensive Kobe Bryant card ever sold. The BGS Black Label 10 grade is the most difficult grade to achieve in the entire hobby, and sets itself apart as quite literally the “perfectly conditioned card”.

In March of 2016, the exact same card sold on eBay for $58,100.

9. Michael Jordan 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey Autograph PSA 7/8 ($1,444,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/1997-upper-deck-game-jersey-michael-jordan-autograph-gj13s-psa-nm-7-auto-8-d-8-23/a/50039-50196.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

This card boasts an autograph as well as a large sample of the jersey that Michael Jordan wore in the iconic 1992 NBA All-Star Game in which Magic Johnson suited up for one final time in an NBA game after shocking the world in November of 1991 by announcing his early retirement due to contracting the HIV virus.

Only 23 of these cards were ever produced, with Jordan hand-numbering all of them.

10. Lebron James 2004-05 Upper Deck Ultimate Signatures Logoman Patch Auto 1/1 PSA/DNA 10 ($1,291,500)
https://goldinauctions.com/2004_05_Upper_Deck__Ultimate_Signatures_Logos___US-LOT77692.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This $1.291 million dollar sale on March 7th, 2021 marks the most money ever spent on a Lebron James card outside of his rookie year. This is the third example of an NBA Logoman cracking the top 10.

Goldin’s description of this card reads, “… The superb card constitutes an eloquent, visual reminder of LeBron’s NBA Rookie of the Year Award victory of the previous year, which was among the first of what has become a lengthy list of trophies and records.”

11. Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee PSA 10 ($1,290,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/hockey/1979-o-pee-chee-wayne-gretzky-18-rookie-psa-gem-mint-10-population-two-/a/50031-58423.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

Some might be surprised to see a hockey card so high on this list, but nobody will be surprised who that player is. There are only two examples of this card receiving a PSA 10 grade, so it comes as no shock that it was highly sought after when one of them came up for auction. The same card sold in August of 2016 for just $465,000, and with the hockey market starting to heat up, it will be very interesting to see how much it sells for next time it hits the auction block.

There is also a Topps version of “The Great One’s” rookie card that is equally rare in a PSA 10 grade (population also 2) which recently sold for $700,000, but the O-Pee-Chee is THE Gretzky card that will command the most value.

12. Roberto Clemente 1955 Topps PSA 9 ($1,107,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/1955_Topps__164_Roberto_Clemente_Rookie_Card___PSA-LOT78920.aspx
Goldin Auctions

There are only 12 examples of this card graded as high as a PSA 9, with only one of them being a PSA 10. When you combine that sort of rarity with the fact that Clemente is one of the most beloved players in the history of baseball, it comes as no surprise that this card found itself in the “million dollar club” when it sold in early March of 2021.

13. Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps PSA 10 ($1,005,600)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1969-topps-reggie-jackson-rookie-260-psa-gem-mint-10-dmitri-young-collection/a/50038-80036.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

The PSA 10 population on this card is 1, meaning that this is the finest conditioned example of Reggie Jackson’s rookie card on the planet. The last time it sold was back in 2012 when it closed for $115,000.

This card was once a part of the famed “Dmitri Young Collection“, named after the former Major League Baseball All-Star who had assembled one of the greatest sports card collections in existence.

14. Anthony Davis 2012-13 National Treasures Logoman 1/1 BGS 9 ($1,000,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2012_13_National_Treasures__RPA___151_Anthony_Davi-lot71560.aspx
Goldin Auctions

The final member (for now) of the “million dollar club” is Lakers star Anthony Davis, whose Logoman reached the seven-figure selling price in February of 2021.

Before you act surprised seeing his card sell for so much, consider the fact that the underrated star has an NCAA championship, Olympic Gold medal, NBA All-Star MVP and NBA Championship to his name.

15. Jackie Robinson 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($960,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/1952_Topps__312_Jackie_Robinson___PSA_MINT_9-LOT77920.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This card is just one of the eleven PSA 9’s in the population, with not one single PSA 10, meaning that there is no better conditioned example of the iconic Jackie Robinson’s 1952 Topps card in the market.

The fact that I am writing this article on “Jackie Robinson Day” (April 15th), bears mentioning, as he broke MLB’s 80+ year color barrier on this date in 1947. I can thin of no better athlete to collect.

16. Michael Jordan 1997 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green PSA Authentic 9/100 ($915,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/1997-metal-universe-michael-jordan-precious-metal-gems-green-23-psa-authentic-d-9-100/a/50031-58088.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

To explain the extreme rarity of this card, the 1997-98 Metal Universe were the first of the Precious Metal Gems cards. Only one hundred were produced for each player in the set. Ninety of the one hundred cards boasted red foil, with the remaining ten sporting the green seen on this example. Only six of the green ones have been graded by PSA, and the only sale of one of them on record took place earlier in 2020, closing for $350,000.

17. Patrick Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Black RPA 1/5 BGS 9/10 ($840,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2017_Panini_National_Treasures_Black__161_Patrick_-LOT73069.aspx
Goldin Auctions

There are none of these cards graded by PSA, and none graded higher by BGS, making this the best conditioned example, of the most collectible set, of the NFL’s biggest and brightest young star, numbered to just 5. Wow.

Will the football card market ever catch up to the basketball card market in terms of value? If it even gets close, the upside on this card could be huge. If Mahomes continues to win MVP’s and Super Bowls, the $840,000 paid for this card could one day look like a bargain.

18. Lou Gehrig 1925 Exhibits PSA 6 (MK) ($782,400)
https://goldinauctions.com/1925_Exhibits_Lou_Gehrig_Rookie_Card___PSA_EX_MT_6-LOT70194.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This oversized card is considered to be Lou Gehrig’s rookie card, however, there are only three dozen of these TOTAL in the PSA population. These cards were only distributed through amusement park vending machines in 1925, and could be had for a penny. It would take 78,240,000 pennies to buy one nowadays!

19. Luka Doncic 2018 Panini Gold Prizm 3/10 PSA 10 ($780,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2018_Panini_Prizm_Gold_Prizm__280_Luka_Doncic_Rook-LOT73524.aspx
Goldin Auctions

This gold Prizm is numbered to 10, with only 3 of them currently graded by PSA and this particular one receiving a PSA 10. Luka’s Logoman (#2 on this list) selling for over $4 million dollars just goes to show how highly regarded he is in the hobby, but to see a modern non-auto card crack the top 20 on the list is definitely eye-opening.

20. Kevin Durant 2007-08 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Parallel #94 RPA 23/35 BGS 9/10 ($780,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2007_08_UD__Exquisite_Collection__Rookie_Parallel_-LOT77815.aspx
Goldin Auctions

The Kevin Durant market got white hot as the Brooklyn Nets entered the season as one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference before coming back down a bit in the last month or so.

After a year away due to injury, Durant has not disappointed in his return to the hardwood (although he has been battling injuries of late). How much of a run will his cards have if the Nets go on to win the NBA Championship? It remains to be seen. This particular card is serial numbered to /35 and graded a BGS 9, which is a very high grade for an RPA like this which are notorious for condition issues.

The Rest of the List:
21. Mickey Mantle 1951 Bowman PSA 9 ($750,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1951-bowman-mickey-mantle-253-psa-mint-9/a/50003-80449.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

22. Joe DiMaggio 1941 Play Ball PSA 10 ($750,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1941-play-ball-joe-dimaggio-71-psa-gem-mint-10/a/50023-50014.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

23. LeBron James 2004 Topps Chrome Superfractor 1/1 PSA 10 ($720,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/2004-topps-chrome-lebron-james-superfractor-23-psa-gem-mint-10-d-1-of-1/a/50034-53106.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

24. Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer PSA 10 ($720,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/1986_87_Fleer__57_Michael_Jordan_Rookie_Card___PSA-LOT72848.aspx
Goldin Auctions

25. Pete Rose 1963 Topps Rookie Stars PSA 10 ($717,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1963-topps-pete-rose-1963-rookie-stars-537-psa-gem-mint-10/a/7160-80022.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

26. Babe Ruth 1916 M101-5 Blank Back Sporting News PSA 7 ($717,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1916-m101-5-blank-back-sporting-news-babe-ruth-rookie-151-psa-nm-7/a/7160-80001.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

27. Eddie Plank 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal PSA 7 ($690,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1909-11-t206-sweet-caporal-350-30-eddie-plank-psa-nm-7-pop-three-one-higher/a/50008-50391.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

28. Babe Ruth 1917 Collins-McCarthy SGC 8 ($660,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1917-collins-mccarthy-e135-babe-ruth-147-sgc-nm-mt-8/a/50038-80005.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

29. Hank Aaron 1954 Topps Rookie PSA 9 (645,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1954-topps-hank-aaron-rookie-128-psa-mint-9/a/50038-80022.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

30. Nolan Ryan 1968 Topps Mets Rookie Stars PSA 10 ($612,359)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1968-topps-nolan-ryan-mets-rookie-stars-177-psa-gem-mint-10/a/7160-80026.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

31. Stephen Curry 2009-10 National Treasures “Century Gold” RPA 10/25 BGS 9.5/10 ($601,200)
https://goldinauctions.com/2009_10_Panini_National_Treasures__Century_Gold___-LOT70240.aspx
Goldin Auctions

32. Joe Jackson 1910 Old Mill Series 8 PSA 3.5 ($600,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1910-old-mill-series-8-joe-jackson-psa-vg-35/a/50011-80005.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

33. Lou Gehrig 1933 Goudey PSA 9 ($576,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1933-goudey-lou-gehrig-160-psa-mint-9-pop-two-none-higher-/a/50009-50160.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

34. Luka Doncic 2018-19 National Treasures RPA 83/99 PSA 10 ($570,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/2018_19_Panini_National_Treasures_Patch_Autograph_-LOT78931.aspx
Goldin Auctions

35. 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #144 PSA Mint 9 ($528,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1933-goudey-babe-ruth-144-psa-mint-9/a/50009-50144.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

36. Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Topps Chrome Refractors BGS 10 ($516,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/1996-97-topps-chrome-refractors-kobe-bryant-rookie-138-bgs-pristine-10/a/50038-80052.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

37. Ty Cobb 1915 Cracker Jack PSA 9 ($504,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1915-cracker-jack-ty-cobb-30-psa-mint-9/a/50012-51270.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

38. Lew Alcindor 1969 Topps PSA 10 ($501,900)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/1969-topps-lew-alcindor-25-psa-gem-mint-10/a/7160-80077.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

39. LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor PSA 10 ($480,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/basketball/2003-topps-chrome-lebron-james-black-refractor-111-psa-gem-mint-10-d-284-500/a/50039-50227.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

40. Joe Jackson 1914 Boston Garter SGC 70 EX+ 5.5 ($480,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1914-boston-garter-joe-jackson-sgc-70-ex-55/a/50011-80008.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

41. 1995 Pokémon Japanese Topsun No Number Blue Back Charizard PSA 10 ($480,000)
@jeremypadawer

42. Willie Mays 1952 Topps PSA 9 ($478,000)
https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball/1952-topps-willie-mays-261-psa-mint-9/a/7123-80700.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515
Heritage Auctions

43. 1999 Pokémon Base 1st Edition Holo Charizard #4 SGC 10 ($369,000)
https://goldinauctions.com/1999_pokemon_base_1st_edition__4_charizard__hologr-lot71096.aspx
Goldin Auctions

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Grading Your Sports Cards: The Game Has Changed

Gone are the days when you could take a raw card that might sell for $20, send it to PSA for $9 or $15, get it back in 60 days, and flip it for big returns if you are fortunate enough to receive a PSA 10 grade.

The game has changed.

On March 1st, PSA announced that they would be raising the price of their standard grading service from $50 to $100 and ‘express’ service form $75 to $150, with their backlog of cards numbered in the millions and their turnaround times well over six months. They hoped that the increase would slow down submissions while they worked their way through the backlog, giving them a chance to get caught up.

On March 30th, another announcement came that created shock waves throughout the entire card collecting hobby, with PSA suspending their value, regular and express service levels.

PSA President, Steve Sloan

“Given our growing backlog, it would be disingenuous for us to continue to accept submissions for cards that we will be unable to process in the foreseeable future. It’s an unpleasant conclusion, especially after the March 1 price increase, but it is necessary to properly serve the customers who have already submitted to PSA.”

As the hobby took a step back to digest the news, and with collectors scrambling to figure out where to grade their cards, there were aftershocks.

SGC, who had recently raised the price of their base card pricing from $15 to $25 shortly after PSA’s price increase, announced their second price hike in a month, raising it to $75/card. However, it was recently announced that they are working with a few of the large group submission accounts who will be offering 50% off savings on their published rates.

Beckett Grading Services (BGS) also raised their prices and is in the midst of a similar backlog of cards, with their $65 ‘standard’ service taking over six months to turn around, and their $165 ‘express’ service turning around cards in around 30+ days.

New companies such as HGA and CSG have popped up in recent months, with each attempting to become viable alternatives to the major grading companies.

HGA currently only accepts 5500 cards per week, with two chances (typically on a Thursday and Friday) to enter their waiting room for the chance to be able to submit a maximum of 5 cards. Reserving a spot has grown to be extremely difficult. That said, many collectors are excited about the look of their slabs, which are colorful and customizable. It only costs $20 to submit with HGA for their “best value” service with 60 day turnaround, but again, you can only submit up to 5 cards if you are “lucky enough” to reserve a spot.

CSG is a new sports card branch of the well-established CCG (Certified Collectibles Group) brand that includes CGC, which specializes in Pokemon cards, comic books and magazines, as well as NGC, which specializes in coins. Their reputation is impeccable, and for that reason, many in the sports card hobby are excited about their entry in to the space. Also interesting to note that CSG offers bulk submissions at $8/card if you are submitting 50+ cards whose raw value is under $100, with current turnaround times at around 80 days. Their 75 day economy is $15 and is for cards with less than $500 of raw value, and their standard $25 level ($1000 or less) will get you your cards back in just 32 days.

And then, of course, there is GMA.

Recently, we posted this question on the @cardtalkpod Instagram account and received a wide array of responses.

I came up with the idea for this article because I am in this predicament, trying to figure out what to do with my stack of over sixty raw cards that I want to grade, whose value all hover around $100 each. Considering what these cards would be worth if they came back graded a 10, for me, it makes no financial sense to spend $300 to super express them at PSA. When I was trying to decide what to do with them, I had so many more questions than answers.

  1. Should I just wait the three months until PSA comes back and pay their $75 rate, but then wait another 6-9 months (or longer) to get them back in hand?
  2. Should I consider waiting well over a year to use PSA’s lesser expensive economy or value services, and will they decide to even bring those levels back at all?
  3. Is it worth it to bother grading these cards at all, or should I just sell them raw?
  4. If I decide to grade them, which of the companies makes the most sense when factoring in turnaround time and price?

The only way to get answers was to break it down with facts and data based on a formula that includes the current raw value of the card, cost of grading with each service, and the most recent comps of the highest graded examples of those cards by each company.

It’s not easy to find data on cards that have been graded by all six of the grading services due to the fact that HGA and CSG are so new and seem to be grading mostly newer cards, while PSA and BGS’s turnaround times have made it so that most of those newer cards are still waiting to be graded. Further, I wanted to make sure that all of the sold prices I pulled from eBay took place within the last two weeks (ideally in the last few days) in order to make sure that market fluctuation skewed the results as little as possible.

I was able to get enough of a sample size to get a pretty good idea of how to proceed. The results might surprise you.

(*the cost of grading prices used in this article are based on advertised group submission rates. Prices may vary slightly depending on how you submit your cards.)

1. Zion Williamson 2019 Prizm Base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

(*the +/- numbers are based on the following formula:
value of the graded card – raw value – cost to grade = xxx)

RAW VALUE: $192.50

PSA: $75 (cost to grade) – 12+ months (time it would take to get the cards back in hand)

PSA 10: $728 (+$460.50*)

PSA 9:  $203.50 (-$64.50)

BGS: $65: 6+ months

BGS 10: $1854.28 (+$1596.78)

BGS 9.5: $354.99 (+$97.49)

BGS 9: $199.50 (-$58)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $519.95 (+$290.45)

SGC 9.5: $275.00 (+45.50)

SGC 9: $215 (-$14.50)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $510 (+297.50)

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA: N/A

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $325 (+$117.50)

CSG 9: $170 (-$37.50)

Summary: For this card, sending it to PSA for $75 is a major gamble, one that I am unwilling to take. The risk of it coming back graded a 9 and actually losing money after waiting an entire year to get it in hand is silly. BGS 10’s are the hardest grade to achieve in the hobby, and even if you get it back as a 9.5 after paying $65 and waiting 6+ months, you are only increasing the value of the card by $97.49. The HGA 9.5 comp is actually from mid-February but was the only one I could find. According to CardLadder, these Zion PSA 10’s were actually selling for less on that date than they are today. To see the HGA 9.5 selling for $150 more than the BGS 9.5 was eye opening, especially since you get the card back four months sooner and the cost to grade is only $20. The CSG 9.5 selling for around the same as the BGS 9.5 is also eye opening, with 75 day turnaround and only $15 cost of grading. SGC will cost you $37. You will do well if you get a 10, but if you get a 9.5, you only increase the value of the card by $45.50. Anything less, you will lose money.

2. Justin Herbert 2020 Mosaic base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $31 

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $303 (+$197)

PSA 9: $120.50 (+$14)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $239 (+$143)

BGS 9: $99 (+$3)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $130.39 (+$62.39)

SGC 9.5: $85 (+$17)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $180 (+$129)

HGA 9: $132.50 (+$81.50)

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 10: $57 (+$11)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $265 (+$219)

CSG 9: $71 (+$25)

Summary: This is another example of PSA and BGS making no sense for a card of this raw value. HGA and CSG are absolutely the play here. How can you go wrong with HGA. With the $20 cost to grade, even if you only get a 9, you are still +$81.50, and you will have the card in hand in 60 days. You are also in good shape with CSG, turning a profit even if you only receive a 9. It will be interesting to see what the sale price is once either of these companies give this card a 10 and it goes up for auction. Again, at SGC even if you receive a 10, you are only +$62 and in the more likely scenario that you receive a 9.5, it only increases the value by $17. Also… take my advice and stay far away from GMA under any circumstance.

3. Kyler Murray 2019 Prizm Base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $79

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $475 (+$321)

PSA 9: $136 (-$18)

BGS: $65- 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $226 (+$82)

BGS 9: $140 (-$4)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $175 (+$59)

SGC 9.5: $149 (+$33)

SGC 9: $76 (-$40)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: N/A

HGA 9: $180 (+$81)

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 10: $83 (-$11)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: There isn’t that much data on this card for the newer grading companies, but I wanted to use it to further illustrate why BGS and PSA are extremely risky places to send this card. You need to feel extremely confident that you will get either a PSA 10 or BGS 9.5, or you are going to lose time and money. If you send this card to SGC, your upside on receiving a 10 is only $59, and just $33 on a 9.5.

4. Fernando Tatis Jr 2019 Topps Chrome
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $113.50

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $349 (+$160.50)

PSA 9: $133.50 (-$55)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: $1138 (+959.50)

BGS 9.5: $311.17 (+132.67)

BGS 9: $141.50 (-$37.50)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $300 (+$149.50)

SGC 9.5: $175 (+$24.50)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5: $280 (+$146.50)

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA: $142.50 (+$14)

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: Sending this card to PSA makes no sense anymore, where again, you will wait a year and if you get a 9, you will lose $55. I actually don’t hate the BGS play here if you feel strongly that the card is flawless, because a 9.5 sells for almost as much as a PSA 10, and if you are lucky enough to get a BGS 10, you cash in. Sending it to SGC hoping for a 10 is a big gamble. But the winner here again is HGA, whose 9.5 is worth almost as much as the BGS, while the grading is cheaper and you will have it in hand four months sooner. We unfortunately have no CSG data to go on for this card.

5. Ja Morant 2019 Prizm base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $74.71

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $341 (+$191.29)

PSA 9: $94 (-$55.71)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $200 (+$60.29)

BGS 9: $109.99 (-$29.72)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $222.50 (+$110.79)

SGC 9.5: $99.99 (-$11.72)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5:  N/A

HGA 9: N/A

GMA:  N/A

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: $237 (+$147.29)

CSG 9: $90 (+.29)

Summary: It would begin to get redundant if I said the same things about PSA and BGS as most of the previous cards, but it applies to this card again. An SGC 9.5 is worth half as much as a BGS 9.5 and will actually lose you money. But check out the CSG 9.5 doing numbers! It’s sold for more than the SGC 10 and BGS 9.5. There is no HGA data here.

6. Trae Young 2018 Prizm base
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

RAW VALUE: $94.08

PSA: $75 – 12+ months

PSA 10: $425 (+$255.92)

PSA 9: $129 (-$40.08)

BGS: $65 – 6+ months

BGS 10: N/A

BGS 9.5: $299 (+$139.92)

BGS 9: $105 (-$54.08)

SGC: $37 – 25 days

SCG 10: $152 (+$20.92)

SGC 9.5: $142 (+$10.92)

HGA: $20 – 60 days

HGA 10: N/A

HGA 9.5:  N/A

HGA 9: N/A

GMA: $15 – 60 days

GMA 9:  $91

CSG: $15 – 75 days

CSG 9.5: N/A

CSG 9: N/A

Summary: If you pull this card out of a pack or a break and you are convinced it’s perfect, I suppose sending it to BGS isn’t the absolute worst play ever, but you better hope it doesn’t come back a 9 or you will lose money. Get a 9.5 and you will double your investment. The fact that an SGC 10 recently sold for half the value of a BGS 9.5 is very telling. Trying to squeeze maximum value and sending to PSA, praying it comes back a 10 in a year, that isn’t something I would suggest because seeing a 9 on that slab will lose you $40 at the end of the day.

7. Other Cards
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

2020 Bowman Chrome Prospects Jasson Dominguez

Raw: $50

BGS 10: $635.01 (+$520.01)

CSG 10: $375 (+$310)

PSA 10: $325 (+$200)

HGA 9.5: $214.92 (+$144.92)

SGC 10: $202.50 (+$115.50)

CSG 9.5: $152 (+$87)

BGS 9.5: $169.08 (+$54.08)

PSA 9: $89 (-$36)

BGS 9: $50 (-$65)

2020 Topps Chrome Luis Robert

Raw: $19.50

BGS 10: $405 (+$320.50)

HGA 9.5: $161 (+$121.50)

PSA 10: $146 (+51.50)

SGC 10: $93 (+$36.50)

SGC 9.5: $76 (+$19.50)

BGS 9.5: $72 (-$20.50)

GMA 10: $33 (-$6.50)

PSA 9: $60.11 (-$34.50)

8. So… where should I grade my cards?
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

I think that the answer to that question is pretty simple, given all the data presented. We know exactly what PSA is. They are a premium service for premium cards. You likely won’t be sending them your base cards like the ones I am trying to get graded anymore, but any card with significant value should absolutely be going to them. The market simply wants PSA cards and pays a premium for them. You will now have to pay a premium for the right to put your cards in their slabs. Before you call that unfair, just realize how long everybody took advantage of the massive returns on the $9 and $15 investments that the PSA brand provided for years. The playing field is now leveling out.

It gets a bit more complicated with Beckett. I’m not sure that once PSA opens up all service levels again, what cards I would send to BGS. If you are going to pay $165 to express a premium card through BGS, why not just do it through PSA? If you are going to pay $65 for 6 month turnaround, why not just do it through HGA or CSG for less money and get them back faster? I understand PSA’s target audience for premium cards. I understand HGA and CSG’s target audience for lower end cards. BGS seems to be in an uncomfortable middle ground at this point.

SGC is another complicated one. I know that their niche is vintage cards. I actually like the way their tuxedo slabs look. However, the data tells me that the numbers don’t add up. Even when you factor in that SGC is working with some of the large group submission accounts, you still aren’t getting me there on the value.

HGA is definitely in play, but getting a spot reserved is so difficult and even then, only being able to send them five cards means that for my sixty cards, I would have to go through the process twelve times. Who knows how long that will take? I like the look of their slabs and the data that proves the value is there, but until they can ramp up the number of cards they accept, it’s not the right play for me at this time.

I am going to give CSG a shot for my lower end cards and wait for PSA to come back for my premium cards. It’s especially intriguing that they are so well respected in the comic book and coin communities. That gives me confidence that they could be major players in the space for a long time. If speed is your main objective, you can upgrade from their $15 economy service–which is currently operating at 70 day turnaround–to approximately 30 days by paying $25 for their ‘standard’ service. If you want to add sub-grades, you can do that at all levels for a $10 upgrade. They also offer an $8 ‘bulk” level that is for 50 or more cards with a value of $100 or less each and turnaround times around 80 days.

It will be interesting to see how the market changes in the coming months and years. Will the values of slabs from these newer companies continue to hold up over time? Are people simply excited about these newer grading companies and paying a premium until they are no longer new? I suppose that is possible. But the data is the data, and that’s all I have to go on for now.