Willie Mays Cards: The Definitive Guide

52-topps-maysWillie Mays was one of the best five-tool players to ever play the game.  A rare combination of blistering speed and defensive prowess complemented his blend of power and accuracy at the plate.  

Willie Mays defined the way that the game should be played and his early childlike love for the game earned him the moniker – ‘The Say Hey Kid’.

Despite all of the success on the field, Mays had to endure racial pressures and a bit of an odd relationship with the media and fans alike.

Still to this day, Mays remains well respected as a ballplayer and to this day is considered to be on the all-time greats. 

In this piece, we examine the most important and valuable baseball cards for Willie Mays, most of which are still highly sought after among vintage collectors.  This covers Mays’ cards dating from 1951 through 1960. 

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Is Michael Jordan’s Rookie Card Still A Good Investment?

Sometimes hype and excitement gets in the way of reality.  And in the case of Michael Jordan's 1986 Fleer rookie card, I'm worried that this might be the case.

Never have I seen a 30+ year old card garner so much attention--and fueled by what?  A documentary?  Are people so stir crazy that they somehow forgot that Michael Jordan was one of the best to ever play the game?

I bring all of this up due to the fact that Jordan's rookie card has begun to reach levels of hysteria that normally crop up in the way of a new rookie phenom.  But here we are talking about the 50-something year old Michael Jordan.

As a case in point, I put together a spreadsheet back in April of 2019, tracking the prices of Jordan's rookie (see below).  In a little more than a year, Jordan's rookie card has increased across the board by the tune of nearly 200% in most grades.  

REA Spring Auction Results Show Vintage Market Still Booming

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Cobb W600 – Image courtesy REA

We speculated recently that the coronavirus pandemic that’s sweeping our nation might lead to a weakness in the vintage card market.  

With many service-based businesses completely shut down and unemployment filings rising by the day, it was of my opinion that the economic stress could lead to a dip in card prices.

However, for now, if we only look at the recent results at the REA Spring 2020 Auction, the vintage card market is showing minimal signs of weakness. 

Past recessions have shown that collectors do tend to hold onto their beloved cards until things have really come off the wheels.  So far, it looks like that could be the case again, although not much is certain in regards to this coronavirus.

In this piece, we examine some of the auction results and provide a look into the health of the vintage card market. 

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Ty Cobb Cards: The Definitive Guide

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Tyrus Raymond Cobb was one of the most fierce, determined and successful baseball players of all time.  

His intensity often got the best of him and despite his immense talents he was known to be hated by many of his peers.

Yet as for his baseball abilities, none will argue that Cobb was among one of the best all around baseball players to ever play the game.

Ty Cobb’s baseball cards remain among the most desired among vintage collectors, ranging from his ever popular T206 Portrait cards to his T3 Turkey Red card

In this piece, we take a look a Ty Cobb’s career as a baseball player, while providing collectors with a list of his most popular and valuable baseball cards.  

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Will The Coronavirus Lead To A Freefall in Vintage Card Prices?

coronavirusIt has been an ugly few months. A pandemic is sweeping our nation. The S&P 500 Index has plummeted by 40%. Every so often we get a black swan that catches everyone by surprise.

This surprise is invisible and unstoppable – a powerful and contagious virus called the coronavirus or COVID-19. We weren’t prepared for it despite warnings.

As I’m writing this, the United States is still in the early innings of what will likely be a devastating and heartbreaking outcome for our country. And while the number of deaths are still fairly small in quantity, the economic impact is already being felt far and wide.

Airlines are shut down, restaurants are closed, hotels and casinos are closed up. Employees are getting laid off in the hopes they can quickly collect unemployment. Schools are closed and people are forced to work from home.

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The Most Valuable Hockey Cards of All Time

c56-ross-8In continuation of our coverage of the most valuable sports cards of all time (see our Baseball, Basketball and Football pieces) in this article we present the Most Valuable Hockey Cards of all time.

You might be suprised that a lot of your favorite hockey players didn’t make this list (such as Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy or Mario Lemieux) but unfortunately many of those late 70’s and early 1980’s hockey cards were produced in sizeable quantities, enough to make some of those high quality rookies mostly affordable.

We focused here on vintage hockey cards worth in excess of $6,000.  The end list is 27 cards, and you’ll notice there are players that get a few places on the list–notably Howie Morenz, who has four of the most valuable hockey cards of all time.

Hopefully this will be a bit of a hockey history lesson for collectors as well – we’ve tried to provide a background on each player along with some of the videos which we believed best captured the essence of each player.

The good news is that while our cutoff line was $6,000 (normally in Excellent to NM condition), many of these vintage hockey cards can be found for a lot cheaper if you’re willing to sacrifice on grade a bit. 

We try to update these lists every year, but if you see something that should be on the list, let me know via email at chris@allvintagecards.com.

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Allen & Ginter’s Chromolithographic Issues

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the October 2002 edition of The Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector (VCBC) magazine. We have received approval from the prior owners of VCBC magazine to republish this article in digital format.  We are thrilled to be able to re-circulate the fine works of VCBC magazine for today's vintage collectors. 

by Dennis C. Purdy, Sr. 

n28-king-kellyThe chromolithographic issues of Allen & Ginter are considered by many baseball card collectors to be the most beautiful baseball cards ever produced. Released in 1887 and 1888, the cards were inserted into brands of Allen & Ginter cigarettes.

The N28 (1887) and N29 (1888) sets were inserted into 10-count packs of cigarettes while the N43 set (also released in 1888) was inserted into 20-count cigarette packs. It is not known if any of the three sets was inserted into Allen & Ginter tins, but no advertising or other evidence has yet been documented to suggest that they were.

Some hobby literature (lore) suggests that the tobacco companies inserted the cards as a stiffener to protect their product. While this may have been true with some issues, it was clearly not the case with the Allen & Ginter issues.

They were inserted solely as a means of getting customers hooked on buying their product and remaining loyal to it, and there is evidence to back this up. This evidence comes from an investigation into the chromolithographic process itself. 

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Jackie Robinson Cards: The Definitive Guide

1948-jackie-robinson-rookieJackie Robinson remains one of the most important figures not only in the history of baseball but in the history of human and civil rights.

His baseball cards leave behind a legend of Robinson’s greatness on and off the field.

For me, revisiting Robinson’s past history was at times heartbreaking.  Robinson was a victim of the rampant racism that plagued the country at the time.

In this piece, I take a quick look at Robinson’s background and success in baseball, while providing collectors with a guide to Robinson’s most important baseball cards.

I always love when there is a reason beyond the statistics to hold the card of a particular player. 

With Robinson, you own cards of both an amazing athlete while also holding onto the legacy of someone that changed the sport of baseball for all that came after him.

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1981 Topps Joe Montana Rookie Card: A Closer Look

joe-montana-rookie-cardWhen I was growing up as a collector in the 80’s, the 1981 Topps Joe Montana Rookie card was one of my prized possesions.

Montana was my favorite player, and since the Patriots weren’t all that great, I gravitated to the 49ers.

That Joe Montana to Jerry Rice connection was a thing of beauty and Montana was my idol.

Montana’s rookie card was hot in the 80’s, but back then we didn’t know about production runs or have access to daily updated pricing.

Armed with what we know now, let’s take a closer look at Montana’s 1981 Topps rookie card, one of the hobby’s most valuable football cards.

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Is PSA Deliberately Undergrading Popular Cards?

In a perfect world the third party grading companies should be evaluating cards objectively, and not letting any sort of biases creep into their final decision for a card.  Yet, we all know that we've seen some questionable grading decisions in the past, based on the numerous trimmed cards that have ended up getting numerical grades.

A recent video posted by Vintage Card Curator on YouTube challenged this fact by taking a look at what they refer to as the "9:10 ratio"; a simple calculation that looks at the number of PSA 9 cards and divides the number by the number of PSA 10 grades.  A simple way to interpret the number quickly--if for example we see a card has a 9:10 ratio of 12:1 it means that a card gets a 10 grade for every 12 cards graded a 9 by PSA.  

The focus of the video which I've posted below is on mostly modern era cards (from 1978-1993), such as the ever-popular 1993 SP Derek Jeter card.

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