If 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.
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.
The 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!
There 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.
The 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.
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”.
Within 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.