T205 Gold Borders Set: An Underrated Gem

mathewson-t205If you’ve spent any time around vintage baseball card circles, it’s quite evident that the T206 ‘White Borders’ set gets ALL the attention.

And what’s not to love? The T206 cards are gorgeous; featuring breathtaking artwork with multiple player poses and eighteen different back variations.  The T206 Honus Wagner card has helped propel the T206 set to the most highly sought after set among vintage card collectors.

And while I love the T206 cards (and begrudgingly collect them myself) I believe the set’s successor deserves a bit more notoriety from collectors.

The T205 set is smaller in size, more affordable, and scarcer than the T206 set. This for me also makes it attractive from an investment standpoint. And well, you all know what I think about cards as an investment.

Let’s take a closer look at the T205 set, examining the history and detail of the cards, including pricing and what I think of the set as an investment for the longer term.

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The 30 Most Valuable Basketball Cards of All Time

fleer-chamberlain-rookieWe had such a great reaction from our ‘30 Most Valuable Baseball Cards of All Time‘ piece that we figured it was time to do the same for basketball cards.

In putting together this piece we utilized the PSA SMR Price Guide and found the most expensive cards listed in the directory, those valued at $5000 or more.

Note that the highest priced cards are normally the best condition examples- PSA 9’s or PSA 10’s (Mint condition) and thus lower grades of these basketball cards can be found for a lot less than the prices listed here.

We’ve narrowed down this list to cards produced in 1988 or prior.  Yes, the lines on what constitutes ‘vintage’ are quite blurred, but that still equates to over 30 years ago.

Hope you enjoy this list!  I think it makes a great resource for any basketball card collector.

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Are Baseball Cards A Good Long Term Investment?

Some cringe at the thought of baseball cards as an ‘investment’, but it’s hard to deny the appreciation in the most cherished vintage baseball cards.

The rise in value of old sports cards has led to a new line of thinking about how collectors should think about cards as a long term investment.

Based on work from PWCC, a basket of some of the most expensive and popular cards has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 200% since 2008.

baseball cards investment

Most collectors don’t entertain the ‘investment’ part of card collecting, but focus on building a collection that suits their interest, regardless of the value.

Still, I think collectors and non-collectors alike should consider vintage baseball cards as an overall part of their entire investment portfolio.

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card

gretzky-rookie-cardThe 1979-80 Topps (and corresponding O-Pee-Chee) Wayne Gretzky rookie card is one of the most iconic cards in the hobby.

‘The Great One’ as he is commonly referred is the NHL’s leading all time scorer, with more goals and assists than anyone in the history of the game.

His rookie card has forever been in huge demand, with his popularity among hockey card collectors akin to that of Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle in baseball.   The easily chipped blue borders make for a tough find in nice condition.

But as demand increases for Gretzky rookie cards, so does the counterfeiting activity.   While Gretzky’s O-Pee-Chee rookie card is more commonly counterfeited, this guide will examine both versions.

As always, buyer beware; we often recommend novice collectors opt for a graded version of a highly copied card such as the Gretzky rookie.  Still, we’ve found both PSA graded Gretzky and Jordan rookies that were complete fakes. Thus it helps to be armed with as much information as possible before investing your hard earned dollars. Onto the guide!

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Five Rare Mickey Mantle Cards That Sell For $1000 or Less

mickey-mantle-exhibit-cardThere aren’t many baseball players that had the same sort of impact on the game as the legendary Mickey Mantle.

Mantle carried the torch from the legends before him – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – while putting together one of the all time great careers in baseball history.

Although injuries got the better of him towards the end of his career, Mantle is considered one of the best ever to play the game of baseball.

It’s no surprise that Mantle’s cards to this day are still some of the most highly sought after.  His 1952 Topps card continues to break records, while his other early Topps and Bowman cards continue to be some of the most sought after in the hobby.

But since most of us don’t have the funds to access some of Mantle’s high grade six figure cards, I wanted to provide a list of five Mickey Mantle cards that can be purchased for $1000 or less.

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Step By Step Guide to Spotting a Fake Michael Jordan Rookie Card

michael-jordan-rookie-cardThe 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card is one of the most iconic basketball cards of all time.  Since Jordan’s retirement in 2003, the collector demand for his rookie card has grown even stronger.  Today, a PSA 10 Gem-Mint Jordan rookie card can sell for upwards of $30,000.  But with the popularity of the card, a thriving counterfeit market has emerged in which the Jordan rookie has become one of the most popular forgeries in the hobby.

In several Facebook collecting groups I belong to, questions about the authenticity of a supposed Jordan rookie seem to be posted on almost a daily basis.   Those without a trained eye for a fake Jordan rookie could be duped out of some serious money.   The scammers are even resorting to putting the fake Jordan rookies in re-used or fake PSA holders.

Thus, I wanted to make the most comprehensive guide available to help collectors pinpoint those fake Jordan rookies.  Hopefully this guide helps you avoid any potential disasters!

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Collecting The “Monster” – The Infamous T206 White Borders Set

t206-honusEven non-baseball card collectors are familiar with the historic T206 Honus Wagner card, the hobby’s most valuable baseball card.

While Honus Wagner was one of the best players in baseball, it’s the rarity of his T206 card which makes it such a prized collectible.

Despite the popularity of the Wagner card, the remainder of the T206 set as a whole has always been a target of for many vintage card collectors.

Filled with both major and minor leaguers (along with 75 Hall of Fame subjects), the 524 card set is also commonly referred to as the “White Borders” set.

Add on the fact that the cards were produced with thirty-six different backs advertising the various brands from the American Tobacco Company and it’s no surprise that many label the T206 set as “The Monster”.

In this piece, we discuss the history of the set and provide collectors with a background in collecting the T206 set.  Along the way we get some help from the terrific Scot Reader, author of the amazing ‘Inside T206’ book and the founder of the T206 Insider website.

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A Collector’s Guide to Pre-War Strip Cards

ruth-cobb-stripWithin vintage collecting circles, “strip cards” (as they are known) have long been thought of as the forgotten step-child in the hobby.

The cards were initially either sold or provided to customers in various retail stores in the 1920’s.  The cards were issued in a long strip (hence the name) and either cut or distributed in partial uncut strips.

The anonymity of the cards (most have no known issuer), the low quality of the card stock, and a lack of a printed back has led to strip cards not maintaining the same level of popularity as some of the more well known candy or tobacco issues.

In addition, from a grading perspective, the cards remain a challenge, since the cards were meant to be hand-cut.  While some cards have surfaced in uncut sheets, those that have been cut get somewhat different treatment from the card graders.  PSA for example with label a strip card as only ‘Authentic’ with no numeric grade if the card has been cut within the pre-dotted line, despite the overall condition.

Yet, despite the obvious flaws, these cards offer baseball card collectors a more reasonable way to collect some of the biggest names from yesteryear, including Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner,  Christy Mathewson and more.

While some also complain about the ‘ugliness’ of many of the strip cards, I tend to overlook this in many cases, knowing that I can get a card of one of the big name baseball stars while they were playing for the fraction of the cost of say a T206 or American Caramel card.

Please enjoy this review of some of the most popular strip baseball card sets of the era!

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Five Cy Young Cards With Tremendous Upside Potential

cy-young-m116Denton True “Cy” Young is the most well known pitcher from the pre-war era.   Young’s baseball cards are among the most popular of all players in the early 1900’s.

Young’s lifetime baseball statistics are purely staggering and he still holds records that will likely never be broken, including most wins (511) and complete games (749).

His impact on baseball was so profound, that only one year after his death, the Cy Young Award was established to honor the league’s best pitcher.

Young’s baseball cards have always been in high demand and remain as sought after as some of the biggest names in baseball, including Cobb, Wagner, Ruth, Gehrig and Mays.

Many of Young’s early cards are somewhat out of reach for vintage collectors, but there are a handful that can still be found at a reasonable value.

Thus, here are five Cy Young baseball cards that we believe offer tremendous value for long term baseball card investors.

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Ten Babe Ruth Baseball Cards That Look Undervalued

world-wide-gum-ruth

Babe Ruth baseball cards garner the most demand of any other single player in the history of the game.

The “Babe’s” lifetime baseball stats are purely staggering: .342 BA, 714 HR, and 2214 RBI’s, making him one of the best to ever play the game.

Add on the fact that he played for the Yankees, he cursed an entire franchise (the Red Sox of course), and had one of the most memorable personalities in baseball, and it’s no surprise that collector demand for Babe Ruth’s baseball cards remains very high.

But, you say that Ruth has cards that are (gulp) undervalued??

Part of our mission at All Vintage Cards is to help collectors identify baseball cards that look mis-priced in the marketplace. We utilize our research on Availability, Collector Demand, and Current Valuation to determine whether a card looks Fairly Valued or potentially Undervalued (or even Overvalued).

Using our research, we’ve identified ten Babe Ruth Baseball Cards that look Undervalued relative to investor supply and demand.  Enjoy!

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