Junk Wax Gems: Top 15 Most Valuable Cards Of The Era
The Junk Wax Era, spanning from 1986 to 1993, is predominantly recognized for its significant overproduction of baseball cards.
This period led to a substantial bubble in the sports card industry, which eventually burst, causing a notable collapse in the market.
However, the era was more than just bubble and bust; it also produced a rich array of sports cards, including valuable rookie cards and rare short-prints
Many cards from this era now hold surprising value. You could discover some of these hidden treasures in your collection.
Bubble To Bust: A History Of The Junk Wax Era 1986-1993
The 'Junk Wax Era' of baseball cards, spanning from 1986 to 1993, marked a period of massive overproduction by card companies, leading to a market saturation that significantly diminished the value of these cards.
Initially swept up in a wave of hysteria, collectors once believed their cards would be worth fortunes, only to find them nearly worthless today.
This era served as a stark lesson for card companies, catalyzing a shift in production strategies to balance supply and demand—a cornerstone in today’s thriving sports card hobby.
In this article, we'll delve into the Junk Wax Era, exploring its lasting impact and the subsequent evolution of the hobby.
The Top 10 Sports Cards That Changed The Hobby
Sports cards have been on quite the journey since the late 1800s.
From humble beginnings with baseball cards tucked inside tobacco tins,
to today's flashy 1/1s and autographed patch cards.
Throughout this evolution, a few cards and sets have truly turned heads,
setting new trends and directing the next big thing in card collecting.
These aren't just pieces of cardboard; they're snapshots of sports moments in time, shaping the hobby and leading to the dynamic card culture of today.
Without these game-changing cards, our hobby would be a different ball game.
So, let's dive in!
A Collector’s Guide: Mickey Mantle’s Topps Cards, 1952-1969
Mickey Mantle is one of the most iconic baseball players of all time.
Many of his sports cards, produced during the baby boom era, were affixed to bike spokes by kids, making mint condition cards rare today.
High-grade copies of The Mick's more valuable cards consistently break records at auction.
I've analyzed every Topps card of Mantle from his playing days, dating from 1952 through 1969.
The analysis of each card follows, examining value, scarcity, and investment potential.
Also see our guide to the ten best Mickey Mantle cards to invest in, which covers many of Mantle's non-Topps baseball cards.
Shohei Ohtani: Top 10 Rookie Cards
Shohei Ohtani has captivated major league baseball since his 2018 debut.
He has excelled as a hitter AND a pitcher, making him the only active MLB player to achieve such a distinction.
In 2021, Ohtani clinched the AL MVP title, and based on his outstanding 2023 performance, he's poised to claim it once more.
To no surprise, the value of Shohei Ohtani's rookie cards have soared in recent years.
In this piece, we'll delve into the top 10 most sought-after and valuable Shohei Ohtani rookie cards.
Not all of these Ohtani rookie cards are not the most expensive, but they are the most popular in the sports card community.
Hidden Gems: Top 10 Undervalued ’70s Baseball Rookie Cards
The 1970s featured many baseball stars, Hall of Fame players, rookies, and some players who made a significant impact during the decade.
Still, today many rookie cards from that era fly under the radar. Rookie cards from this decade, especially high-grade examples, continue to increase in value.
In previous baseball rookie card articles, I have discussed rookie cards of players not yet in the Hall, including Dave Parker, Keith Hernandez, Lou Whitaker, Thurman Munson, and Dwight Evans.
In this piece, I dive deeper into ten rookie cards from the 1970s that still look like excellent buys.
The 10 Most Valuable Cards In The 1949 Bowman Baseball Set
The 1949 Bowman Baseball card set is an important one for the hobby and one of the best sets of the 1940s.
The set (along with the 1948-49 Leaf Baseball Card set) marked the start of colorized baseball cards.
Also, the set contains the first cards of some of the first black players in baseball, such as Jackie Robinson, Satchell Paige, and Roy Campanella.
It's a small set by most standards (only 240 cards). But, completing the entire set is an expensive endeavor for collectors.
Herein, we outline the ten most valuable cards in the 1949 Bowman set, providing our thoughts on the investment potential of the set.
Top 10 Rookie Cards of Players Not In Baseball Hall Of Fame
Many great baseball players are still on the outside looking in when it comes to earning a Hall of Fame nod. Of course, big-time stars like Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson made mistakes in blocking any path to the hall and will never get in.
Today, a player with the right credentials can earn a HOF election via either a committee or ballot vote. Yet, baseball has changed the Hall of Fame process in the last few years.
A player only has ten years to earn election through a ballot vote (down from the previous 15 years). Another change was the committee vote process, where MLB has designated which era of players will be voted on through the committee vote each year.
The upcoming 2023 MLB Hall of Fame vote will be announced on January 24th, with some players on this list up for election.
Let's look at the rookie cards of ten potential Hall of Famers, whose cards look like an attractive buy right now. We've identified specific PSA grades that look attractive based on affordability.
Even if they don't get elected this year, their rookie cards are still priced right, especially based on the future chances of getting into the HOF.
20 Most Valuable Topps Baseball Rookie Cards Of The 1970s
During the 1970s, there was an uptick in the production of baseball cards. Topps, the only licensed baseball card issuer at the time, was at the forefront of this trend.
Kids were still the target customer, but adults started to become more fascinated with the hobby.
Some of the Topps baseball card sets from the 1970s are among collector favorites. And many big-name Hall Of Fame players had their first issue card released during the decade.
This post will examine the twenty most valuable Topps baseball rookie cards from the 1970s. Including iconic rookie cards from the likes of George Brett, Mike Schmidt, and Dave Winfield.
10 Best Vintage Baseball Cards Under $1000 To Buy In 2023
Vintage sports cards remain hot, especially rare examples with low PSA graded populations.
Investing in rarer and more sought-after sports cards can pay off in the short and long term.
Plenty of vintage sports cards are flying under the radar and remain good values for budget-conscious collectors.
I have researched and examined ten vintage baseball cards to buy that are $1,000 and under.
These cards would be great additions to any collection or as shorter term flips.