All Vintage Cards Small Cap Value Baseball Portfolio

Updated Oct 04, 2023

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The All Vintage Cards Small Cap Baseball Portfolio is a collection of ten vintage baseball cards that we think should have good long-term investment potential. 

As we discussed in our introduction piece, we are launching three portfolios for each major sport–Large Cap, Mid Cap, and Small Cap.

For those not familiar with the lexicon, this corresponds to mutual fund portfolios in the investment world.  Small-Cap within the investment space equates to a portfolio of the equity market’s smallest companies.

For this All Vintage Cards Small Cap Value Portfolio we have selected ten cards, each with a value of $1000 or less.

Note that these selections are based on what we perceive as ‘relative’ value in the marketplace, meaning that we think these cards offer a good value versus other comparative cards. 

I will also note that this information is not investment advice, nor are we making any promises in relation to future performance.  Please use your own judgment and budget when accounting for any acquisitions of cards in this portfolio. 

Please also see our All Vintage Cards Mid Cap Value and All Vintage Cards Large Cap Value portfolios. 

Total Value (as of 6/29/2021) = $6,900
Average Price Per Card = $690

1909 Philadelphia Caramel (E95) Eddie Plank

Estimated Cost - Fair/Good Condition: $900

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  Plank is somewhat underrated from a player standpoint but one of the keys to his E95 card is the striking resemblance to his ultra rare T206 portrait card.   Thus, I like the investment appeal of the E95 Plank.

Current PSA Population: But the E95 on its own right is fairly hard to find---PSA has graded only 93....but wait, guess, what PSA has graded 69 of his supposed 'ultra-scarce' T206 card.  I'd say the E95 Plank card is probably one of the better values in the hobby.

1911 T205 Gold Borders Tris Speaker

Estimated Cost - VG Condition: $750


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: I've long considered the T205 Gold Borders set as an underappreciated assets in the hobby.  I'd also say that Tris Speaker is one of the more underappreciated HOFers to ever play the game. 

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded only around 400 copies of the T205 Tris Speaker card, in comparison they have graded nearly 1100 of his T206 White Borders issue. 

1911 Sporting News (M116) Nap Lajoie

Estimated Cost - Good: $700 


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  The Sporting News M116 issue is in my mind one of the more underappreciated pre-war sets.  In addition, as you might notice, many of the images used were used in the T206 set.  I like Lajoie cards and this one is a more affordable option for vintage collectors. 

Current PSA Population: Note there are two variations to the card, a blue background and a pastel background.  PSA has graded 43 blue background and only 19 pastel background Lajoie cards.  

1912 T202 Triple Folders - Cy Young/J.Kling

Estimated Cost - Good: $900

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: New collectors might not be familiar with the T202 set, but for us old vintage folks, the T202 set is an underappreciated gem. The T202 set features a three card panel, with two colored portraits (which are replicas of T205 portraits on the ends and a black and white action photo in the middle section.  The Young card features Young alongside Johnny Kling and an action shot in the middle of Hans Lobert.  

Current PSA Population: PSA has only graded over 140 copies of the T202 Young card, a fraction of many of his other tobacco cards. 

1920 Strip Card W520 Christy Mathewson

Estimated Cost - Auth -  $500


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: The W520 set is a slightly smaller issue (1 3/8″ x 2 1/4″) than the W519 set of the same year.  There are 20 different numbered cards in the complete set.  Many people wince at the ugliness of strip cards, but I like this Mathewson for some reason, and given its affordability and relative scarcity, I like it as a longer term investment.  

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded only 13 copies, but it should be noted that the W522 set was also issued in 1920, with the cards sharing the same basic design and player list as the W520 set.

1920 Strip Card W516 - Ty Cobb

Estimated Cost - Auth: $900


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  The W516 set is a bit of an unknown entity, as no one is quite sure of where the cards were issued, and it’s a bit of a confusing set to say the least; the cards were issued in 5 similar sets and can be thought of as two different groups.

The Cobb card from the set is a bit ugly and not everyone likes it, but if you want an early playing day Cobb at an affordable price, it's a nice item to have. 

Current PSA Population: PSA has graded less than a 100 copies, making it one of the scarcer and affordable Cobb issues.

1929 Churchman's Cigarettes Babe Ruth

Estimated Cost - VG:  $600


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: This foreign and little known tobacco issue is the 1929 Churchman Cigarettes Ruth card which was issued by Imperial Tobacco in Britain and Ireland in the late 1920s. The card actually features the same image from the Shonen Ruth card and has no labeling of Babe Ruth’s name on the card. The set of 25 cards which was formally called the “Sports and Games in Many Lands” set features a collection of images picturing sports and games that were played in the country.

Current PSA Population: PSA has graded only 350 copies of the Churchman Ruth.  

1947 Exhibits Jackie Robinson

Estimated Cost - VG/EX Condition: $400

Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  Older Exhibit cards have consistently been overlooked by investors, however of late, prices have started to increase.  The 1947 Exhibits Jackie Robinson shows Jackie in a classic base running pose.  

Current PSA Population:  PSA has graded roughly 250 copies, making this one of the scarcer issues in comparison to his major baseball issues from Topps, Bowman and Leaf. 

1952 Red Man Tobacco - Ted Williams

Estimated Cost - VG/EX Condition: $400


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio: These hand-cut Red-Man Tobacco cards were hand cut and hard to find without the missing bottom tab.  So, if buying one, I'd try to make sure you buy one that has the tab on the bottom.  

Current PSA Population: Overall, the population is surprisingly low on these (less than 200 graded by PSA) at $400, i think this card is a tremendous value.

1952 Berk Ross Jackie Robinson

Estimated Cost - Good/VG: $950


Why We Selected It For The Portfolio:  As we discussed in our comprehensive overview of Berk Ross cards, the 1952 Berk Ross set is a bit of a mystery, likely an unlicensed issue, but one that carries a lot of appeal with vintage card collectors. Robinson's card in the '52 Berk Ross set features Robinson in mid-air and features the crude images characteristic of the Berk Ross set. 

 Current PSA Population: Robinson's card is much harder to find than most of his popular issues of the era; PSA has graded less than 200 copies to date.

All Vintage Cards

About the author

Chris Rogers, is the founder of All Vintage Cards. Launched in 2018, All Vintage Cards is the hobby's leading resource for vintage sports cards. Chris is also the author of 'The Complete Guide To Selling Your Sports Cards'. Chris remains an avid collector and can be reached at

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