How To Sell Your Baseball Cards
If you’ve found yourself strapped for cash or just looking to exit the hobby, this guide will provide everything you need to sell your baseball cards.
First, I have to break some bad news; most cards produced in the 1980’s and 1990’s are worth very little. Known as the ‘junk card era’ the card companies mass produced cards in order to meet the surge in demand. I just heard recently that in 1991 Fleer produced 3 million copies of each card. And that was likely true for many other issues of the day.
Sure, there are exceptions. I’m sure you heard about the 1993 Derek Jeter SP card that sold for close to $100K and Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie cards continue to increase in value. But, for the most part, cards from the junk card era aren’t worth a heck of a lot of money.
If you want to get a good idea of what your card might be worth, the best way is to do a search on eBay. You can also do an advanced search to look for ‘Completed Listings’ to see what cards have sold for. In addition, Vintage Card Prices offers a paid membership which tracks sold listing on eBay and other auction houses.
If you’ve determined that some of your cards are indeed quite valuable, one option is to consign your cards to one of the popular auction houses or even on eBay if the cards are not quite as valuable. The downside is that you will have to pay a fairly hefty fee to sell your cards, but odds are that you will get the best price.
And if you don’t feel like being hassled with all the work involved in either listing on eBay or dealing with an Auction House, there are collectors that will pay top dollar for high quality sports cards and sets. One happens to be us here at All Vintage Cards! Below is some more information on our buying process:
Here Are Some Tips Before Selling Your Card Collection
Create A List Of Cards
It's time to figure out what it is that you own! Go and create a list! We've started a Google Sheet to help you with this. That sheet comes in handy when working with Dealers if selling your cards.
If you need any help in identifying your cards, we've put together some good tips at the end of this article
Talk To Card Dealers
Go Visit A Local Baseball Card Show or search online for reputable dealers. You might find someone willing to pay exactly what you need in person at a card show.
Learn About Sports Card Grading
PSA and SGC are the most reputable graders, and while it's not necessary to grade your cards, you will tend to get more money for higher quality graded cards as opposed to those that are 'raw'.
One downfall - due to the surge in demand of card collecting in recent years, the grading companies are backlogged big time, thus you might find yourself waiting months in order to get your card back
Be sure to check out our resource guide on grading your sports cards.
Have a Price In Mind
Although you likely won't get auction pricing if selling to a dealer or at a show, it's important to understand your cards value.
As noted previously, a simple eBay search of completed listings can do wonders in helping to determine a cards most accurate value.
Consider Passing On To Heirs If Possible
Might sound crazy, but vintage baseball cards have outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 30+ Years. If you have a high quality collection and aren't in need of immediate cash, it might be worth considering!
Read Our Articles!
Invest In A Scanner
If you have a large collection, one that might take time to sell, it might be worth your while to invest in a scanner. Photos with your iPhone can work often times, a scanner will likely get you better returns due to the higher quality of the image. There's a great discussion here on some of the better options for use in scanning baseball cards.
Selling Your Sports Cards to All Vintage Cards
All Vintage Cards has been dealing in sports since the early 1980’s and we are one of the most reputable and trusted buyers in the hobby. While I encourage all sellers to shop around when selling a valuable card collection, I can promise that our offer will more often than not be near the top of the list.
Here’s What All Vintage Cards is Currently Buying
First if you don’t know what you have sitting in front of you, we’re here to help identify your cards. If you need assistance in identifying a card, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if you’re more the Do-It-Yourself type, there are easy ways to try and figure out what your card actually is and what it’s worth.
First, check the back. Unless it’s a strip card (which normally have blank backs) then it likely has some sort of manufacturer and date information on the back. This normally gets easier the newer the card, but it’s definitely a starting place for figuring out year and make your card is.
Here’s the back of a 1952 Mickey Mantle, one of the most valuable of all baseball cards.
Okay, so we know we have a Mickey Mantle card (and if you have one of these you’re one LUCKY collector). If we look on the back, we can see at the bottom that we have a ‘Topps Baseball’ card but there is no identifying year. This is where some of the text on the back can help–if we read the card, it refers to Mantle’s 1951 season, thus we can get some sort of idea that this is likely a card issued somewhere in that 1951-1953 range. And indeed it is a 1952 Topps baseball card.
A quick Google search can always help–if we had typed in ‘1951 Topps Mickey Mantle’ and click on ‘images’ in Google we actually get a bunch of photos of our 1952 Topps Mantle. (note there is no ’51 Topps’ Mantle) We could click on one of those images and figure out more about the card.
One trick that many don’t know about is the Google Reverse Image Search. If you go to images.google.com you can submit a picture and it will provide any matches to its search database. Just click on the photo as shown in the image below (circled in red)
I tried this with our 1952 Mantle Back and it identified it as ‘Mickey Mantle Rookie Card’, which is technically not true as Mantle’s 1951 Bowman is his true rookie card, it gives us enough info to make an assessment that this is actually a 1952 Topps Mantle. That’s a great start if we are selling a Mickey Mantle card worth multiple thousands of dollars.