24 for 2024

2024’s Best Bets: Top 24 Sports Cards to Invest In

Updated Jan 25, 2024

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The new year has arrived, bringing with it the potential for many sports cards to increase in value as the year progresses.

This article examines 24 must-have sports cards you should consider buying this year.

Many of these cards feature athletes who are potential future Hall of Famers, players in the spotlight, MVP-caliber talents, and those who might benefit from an appearance in this year's Super Bowl.

Let's delve into our Top 24 Must-Have Sports Cards for 2024.

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1. 2016 Bowman Chrome Juan Soto Prospect Auto #JS

soto-chrome-auto

Juan Soto's move to the New York Yankees, one of the most significant MLB off-season acquisitions, occurred in mid-December 2023.

Following the trade announcement, Soto's Bowman Chrome Auto rookie card shot up in value by nearly $400 within a week.

Before the trade, a PSA 10 example of this card sold for around $1,600. Now, its value has soared to over $2,000. With only 274 PSA 10 (Gem Mint) graded copies, those featuring a PSA 10-grade autograph are even more valuable.

As Soto prepares for a potentially standout season with the Yankees and approaches free agency after the 2024 season, his first-year Bowman Chrome Auto is one of the most sought-after cards in 2024.

Another savvy investment strategy is acquiring a PSA 9 example of this card.

2. 2002 Joe Mauer Bowman Chrome Auto

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Joe Mauer is on track for a potential first-year induction into the MLB Hall of Fame. As of early January 2023, nearly 30 percent of the vote, tracked by @NotMrTibbs on Twitter, shows Mauer with 82 percent support.

This level of backing significantly boosts Mauer's chances of being inducted into Cooperstown. The official vote announcement on the MLB Network is January 23rd at 6 PM EST.

This anticipation has already boosted the value of Mauer's trading cards. His most notable card, the first Bowman Chrome Auto, is in high demand.

There are 156 graded PSA 9s and only 11 graded PSA 10s, making the PSA 10 version particularly rare and sought-after.

Currently, the asking price for a PSA 9 Refractor is around $800 on eBay, indicating the high demand and scarcity of these cards.

Another good investment is Mauer's Topps PSA 10 rookie card, especially with his strong Hall of Fame prospects this year or in 2025.

3. 2012 Bowman Chrome Gerrit Cole Auto #BCP86

bowman-chrome-gerrit-cole

Gerrit Cole, who clinched the AL Cy Young award in 2023, is one of baseball's premier pitchers and is on a trajectory toward a Hall of Fame career.

Cole's first Bowman Chrome Auto is still widely undervalued, especially for an established superstar pitcher who pitches for a big-market team like the New York Yankees.

This card has several parallels, including Base Auto, Refractor, and Blue /150. Recently, a Blue Refractor Auto with a BGS 9.5/10 rating fetched over $800 in an eBay auction.

The price range for his ungraded base Auto card varies between $100 to $150, while Refractors can command between $200 to $450, depending on their condition and grading.

4. 2018 Panini Prizm Jalen Brunson Silver Rookie #250

prizm-silver-brunson

Jalen Brunson is establishing himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA this season and quickly becoming one of the New York Knicks' best players.

A Gem Mint PSA 10 copy of Brunson's Prizm Silver rookie is worth about $150, which seems undervalued, considering Brunson will most likely be named an NBA All-Star this season.

This card is arguably still one of the most underrated basketball rookie cards right now, and less than 400 PSA 10s are in circulation.

I recommend buying Brunson's Prizm Silver rookie in bulk at this value.

5. 2017 Topps Chrome Refractor Aaron Judge Catching Rookie #169

judge-refractor-rc

Aaron Judge's remarkable 2022 season, highlighted by his record-breaking 62 home runs in the American League, solidified his status as one of baseball's elite players. Despite a strong 2023 performance, an injury curtailed his chances of another 50 home run season.

Among his earliest cards, Judge's Topps Chrome Rookie card stands out as his most popular and mainstream option.


The base Topps Chrome version, graded PSA 10, typically sells for around $100, while the rarer Refractor version commands about $200.  

Over 1,000 copies of Judge's Refractor card have earned a Gem-Mint PSA 10 grade. Remarkably, the value of this card surged to $500 during Judge's record-setting season in 2022.

Given Judge's trajectory towards a Hall of Fame career, i like either the PSA 9 or PSA 10 versions as attractive investments.

6. 1997 Bowman Chrome Adrian Beltre Rookie #182

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Adrian Beltre is an eligible first-year player for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2024. Most experts think he will get elected this year, and his most popular rookie card is his 1997 Bowman Chrome card.

Beltre's Bowman Chrome rookie is worth about $400, while nearly 1,000 have earned a PSA 10 grade. A PSA 9 is a bit more affordable at about $100.

If Beltre does indeed get into the Hall, I expect the Chrome rookie card to increase in value. Another positive is that the card has already been designated on the PSA Future HOF RC Registry list, meaning it's regarded as his most popular rookie card by collectors.

7. 1976 Topps Randy Gradishar Rookie Card #257

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Randy Gradishar is a senior finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024. The announcement is during the NFL Honors Show on February 8th, 2024. Gradishar is likely to be elected out of the senior finalists.

A high-grade Gradisar rookie card in NM-MT condition (PSA 8) is worth about $75, but the odds are high that the card could increase once he reaches the Hall of Fame.

Even higher-grade copies in Mint condition (PSA 9) are worth nearly $200. The bonus for investors is that PSA-graded supplies are pretty low; for example, less than 100 PSAs 9s exist.

8. 1993 Topps Traded Todd Helton Rookie #19T

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Todd Helton, who received 72.2% of the Hall of Fame vote in 2023, stands a strong chance of being elected in 2024.

My favorite Helton rookie card is his 1993 Topps Traded card, which is quite affordable.

Collectors looking for a bargain can grab Gem-Mint (PSA 10) copies on eBay for $150. If Helton is elected, this card's value could increase to around $200.

Notably, there was significant anticipation of Helton's election last year, which drove the card's value from $80 to $150 within a few months.

The PSA Future HOF RC (Rookie Card) Registry has also highlighted this card as a key item in Helton's collection.

Important Note:  Many of Helton's rookie cards graded PSA 10 feature the old PSA grading label. Therefore, targeting a graded copy with the new PSA Lighthouse label is advisable, potentially adding more value. This specific label indicates a more recent and rigorous grading process, which is more appealing to collectors and investors.

9. 1998 Topps Chrome Vince Carter Rookie #199

topps-chrome-carter

Vince Carter is a first-year eligible player for the 2024 Basketball Hall of Fame. Many pundits think Carter is one of the few "locks" for this HOF class, and I agree.

Vince Carter's most popular card is his 1998 Topps Chrome Rookie.

PSA has already listed Carter's Chrome rookie on the PSA Future Basketball Future HOF RC list.

Gem-Mint (PSA 10) values have recently increased, anticipating Carter's potential induction to the HOF.

A PSA 10 copy sells on eBay for $400, and these are somewhat scarce, with less than 500 copies graded a PSA 10.

A cheaper alternative is a Mint PSA 9 copy. These are a bargain at less than $50.

10. 2004 Topps Chrome Eli Manning RC #205

topps-chrome-eli-rc

Eli Manning is a first-ballot candidate for the NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2025. His rookie cards present a promising opportunity for sports card investors in 2024.

Anticipation of his induction could significantly increase the value of his cards.

Manning's most sought-after rookie card is the 2004 Topps Chrome #205 card, particularly in a Gem-Mint, PSA 10 grade.

Only 132 cards have earned a PSA 10 grade. Thus, its rarity adds to its appeal.

The current value of a PSA 10 copy is about $350, which seems undervalued, considering Manning's potential Hall of Fame entry.

11. 2002 Topps Chrome Julius Peppers Rookie #214

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Julius Peppers, eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time in 2024, is widely considered a strong candidate for induction, especially given his impressive career total of 159.5 sacks.

His most sought-after rookie card is the 2002 Topps Chrome Rookie, notable for its Refractor finish parallel in all base Chrome cards that year.

A Mint PSA 9 copy is worth about $100, while a PSA 10 copy sells for around $700. Less than 40 copies have earned a Gem-Mint grade from PSA.

Peppers' potential Hall of Fame induction could further elevate the value of these already limited cards.

12. 1997 Topps Chrome Chauncey Billups Refractor Rookie #181

billups-refractor

According to Basketball Reference Hall of Fame Monitor, Chauncey Billups has an 84 percent chance of being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Collectors looking to capitalize on a potential induction should consider investing in a Billups Topps Chrome Refractor rookie card.

The card is rare, with only 14 graded PSA 9s and one PSA 10 in circulation. A PSA 9 Refractor today sells for $200, an attractive entry point, considering a similar graded copy sold for $330 in early 2021.

13. 2018 Panini Prizm Lamar Jackson Prizm PSA 10 Rookie #212

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Lamar Jackson has solidified himself as the likely NFL MVP this season, with his Ravens the AFC favorite to head to the Super Bowl.

Jackson's 2018 Prizm rookie remains his most sought-after rookie card.

A PSA 10 copy of Jackson's rookie card is valued at $300 and has climbed higher since Jackson's dominant Week 17 performance with five touchdowns.

Less than 700 have earned a PSA 10 grade. This card could reach $400 if Jackson and the Ravens make it to the Super Bowl.

14. 1999 SP Authentic Torry Holt Rookie Card #96

torry-holt-rc-sp

Long considered overdue for Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, Torry Holt stands a strong chance of being elected in January 2024.

Holt, a key figure in the "Greatest Show on Turf" and teammate of the already-inducted Isaac Bruce, has been named among the 15 finalists for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.

The PSA Registry recognizes Holt's SP Authentic Rookie card as the essential card in his collection, and its trending value suggests increasing anticipation of his Hall of Fame selection.

Collectors can grab a Mint PSA 9 copy for $150, while a PSA 10 sells for $300 plus. I like the value here, given that there are less than 100 graded PSA 9 examples and a mere 58 PSA 10s. 

15. 2017 Panini Prizm Christian McCaffrey Rookie #249

mcaffrey-rc

Christian McCaffrey's outstanding season with the San Francisco 49ers, marked by his 21 touchdowns, has established him as an NFL MVP candidate and is contributing to a potential Hall of Fame career.

His most sought-after rookie card is the 2017 Panini Prizm Rookie, where all base Prizm cards from that year are Silver Refractors.

Currently valued at around $300+, this card's price could climb to $350 or more if McCaffrey makes it to the Super Bowl.

Given his career trajectory, this card will likely make it to the Future Hall of Fame RC (Rookie Card) PSA Registry. This potential recognition and his on-field successes make it an attractive rookie card for investors.

16. 2022 Panini Prizm Brock Purdy RC #353

purdy-rc

Brock Purdy had a breakout season in 2023, his first year as a full-time starting quarterback. Purdy will be one of the MVP favorites, and the 49ers should make a deep run in the NFL Playoffs. Purdy is famous for being the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and has the popular nickname 'Mr. Irrelevant'.

A Gem-Mint PSA 10 copy of Purdy's 2022 Prizm Rookie is worth about $200, but this card could reach $300 if Purdy reaches the Super Bowl in February 2024.

17. 2003 Leaf Rookies & Stars Antonio Gates Rookie #132

antonio-gates-rc

Antonio Gates is a Hall of Fame NFL Finalist in his first year of eligibility. Gates will most likely earn induction this year, and his Leaf Rookies & Stars card is his most popular rookie card.

Only 72 have earned a PSA 10 grade, valued at around $350. PSA 9s are valued at about $200, while collectors can find ungraded copies on eBay for $100.

The PSA Future HOF RC Football Registry has declared this card a Gates registry card. Investors should look to buy this one now before the HOF announcement.

18. 2001 SP Authentic Ichiro Rookie #91 /1250

ichiro-sp-rc

With Ichiro's first eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2025, this year presents an ideal opportunity to invest in his rookie cards.

His SP Authentic Rookie card is noteworthy, designated as his future Hall of Fame PSA Registry card. This designation marks it as his most popular rookie card among collectors.

The demand for the SP Ichiro card is high, especially PSA 10 copies, which sell for over $3,000.

Another attractive option for collectors is Ichiro's 2001 Topps Traded Chrome rookie card. PSA 9 graded copies sell for around $250, offering a good investment, especially if buying in bulk.

chrome-traded-ichiro

2001 Topps Traded Chrome Ichiro RC

19. 1964 Topps Tommy John Rookie #146

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As the Classic Baseball Era Committee prepares to vote on players from the pre-1980 era in 2025, Tommy John emerges as a potential inductee.

John, renowned for the groundbreaking elbow surgery named after him, had a remarkable career with 284 wins and a 3.34 ERA.

John's rookie card from the 1964 Topps set is a notable collectible.

A PSA 8 (NM-MT) graded copy of this card, currently valued at $200, is a wise choice. PSA has graded less than 500 total PSA 8 copies.

As anticipation builds for the 2025 vote, the value of this card could easily approach or exceed $300.

20. 1999 Topps Traded C.C. Sabathia Rookie Autograph #T33

sabathia-rc-auto

C.C. Sabathia's achievement of 3,000 strikeouts in 2019 significantly bolstered his prospects for future Hall of Fame induction.

Sabathia's most sought-after rookie card is the Topps Traded Autographed Rookie, which is increasingly becoming a rare find.

Unique in its distribution, the card was part of a sealed set that featured randomly inserted autographed cards.

Mint, PSA 9 copies of Sabathia's card are worth $250, with a limited supply: only 57 exist in PSA 9 grade and a mere eight PSA 10 copies.

As 2024 progresses, this card is an excellent target for collectors, especially with the growing anticipation of Sabathia's potential Hall of Fame induction in 2025.

21. 2007 Topps Chrome Marshawn Lynch Rookie #TC182

chrome-marshawn

Marshawn Lynch, a potential first-year Hall of Famer in 2025, has a highly sought-after Chrome rookie card.

With only 63 PSA 9s and 34 PSA 10s, its scarcity is notable. A PSA 10 recently sold for around $200, an excellent value.

Given Lynch's "Beastmode" popularity and Hall of Fame prospects, his Chrome rookie card, in both PSA 9 and PSA 10 grades, is a solid target for collectors this year.

22. 2012 Topps Chrome Luke Kuechly Rookie #45 

kuechly-topps-chrome

As Luke Kuechly becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2025, it's a reasonable time in 2024 to start collecting his rookie cards.

His 2012 Topps Chrome rookie card is particularly notable, with only 160 examples graded as PSA 10, highlighting its rarity. This card has seen a significant value increase of late.

Given Kuechly's strong chances of being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2025, his Chrome rookie card, especially in high-grade conditions like PSA 10, is a smart target for collectors in 2024.

23. 2006 Topps Chrome Devin Hester Rookie #252

devin-hester-rc

Devin Hester is regarded as the greatest kick/punt returner in NFL history and holds various NFL records. Hester is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2024 and could be elected this year or within a few years.

Hester's most popular card is his Topps Chrome Rookie card. This card has many variations, but the base version is the most sought-after.

Less than 50 Gem-Mint PSA 10s exist, currently valued at around $200. The Special Edition Chrome card is another alternative, but the base Chrome card is more popular.

24. 1990 O-Pee Chee Alexander Mogilny Rookie #75

mogilny-opc

Alexander Mogilny was one of the pioneers of the NHL, becoming the first Russian-born player to play in the NHL.

According to an article at Yahoo Sports, one expert predicts Mogilny will likely be the newest NHL Hall of Fame inductee in 2024.

Mogilny's O-Pee Chee rookie is his best card and is currently on the Future HOF RC Hockey Registry list. Less than 700 copies have earned a Gem-Mint (PSA 10) grade.

Collectors can buy the Mogilny rookie card for about $30 on eBay; this is a great card to consider buying in bulk this year.

Vinnie Rullo

About the author

Vinnie Rullo is a passionate sports fan, with a hardcore loyalty to the Yankees, NY Giants and New York Knicks. An avid sports card collector, Vinnie has also worked a collectibles specialist for one of the bigger online auction houses.

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