10 Best Vintage Baseball Cards Under $1000 To Buy In 2023

December 21, 2022

top-ten-vintage

Vintage sports cards remain hot, especially rare examples with low PSA Population Reports. 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.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10.

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1. 1974 Laughlin Old-Time Black Stars Josh Gibson #8

laughlin-gibson

1974 Laughlin Old-Time Black Stars Josh Gibson #8

Josh Gibson never played in the MLB, but many say he hit over 800 home runs in the negro leagues. Gibson’s rookie cards are nearly impossible to find, as are many of his other cards from the 1950s. 

One Gibson card that is a great investment is his 1974 Laughlin Old-Time Black Stars card.

More collectors need to become familiar with this rare card of Gibson. 

PSA has graded only 46 total copies, and it's a bit tougher to find for sale nowadays. So, my recommendation? Buy one of these while you still can.

Raw, ungraded examples sell for between $425 to $700 on eBay. The most recent sale of a PSA 7 (Near Mint) example sold for nearly $700. This card has tripled in value since 2020 when it sold for just over $200.

The Laughlin Gibson is your most affordable and best option if you want to own a rare, under-the-radar Josh Gibson card.

2. 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn PSA Rookie Auto

tony-gwynn-rookie-auto

Tony Gwynn is one of the greatest hitters of all time. Gwynn was an eight-time batting champion and had 3,141 hits in his career. 

Gwynn is one of the most underrated Hall of Fame great players. He tragically passed away in 2014, and his Topps rookie signed and authenticated by PSA is already becoming tougher to find.

Signed Topps Gwynn rookie cards sell on average for between $350 to $700 on eBay. Still, many of these are only graded "Authentic", meaning that PSA has only authenticated the signature, and not graded the card or the signature itself.  

This is a great card to buy in an authenticated PSA slab and have it re-graded with a dual-grade from PSA. 

Signed and slabbed cards that are dual-graded, like 8/10s or 9/10s, can add a lot more value versus cards that are just graded authentic only.

This is also a great card to consider as an investment in 2023, if dual-graded examples become available for sale under the $1,000 price point.

3. 1965 Topps Joe Morgan PSA 8 (RC) #16

morgan-psa8-rc

Joe Morgan is one of the greatest second basemen of all time and is most famous for being a part of the Big Red Machine dynasty.

Morgan ranks 4th in total WAR (Wins-Above-Replacement) for all second basemen in baseball history.  

Joe Morgan’s rookie card in higher grades is an excellent option for a card that had a generous supply, with over 4,000 PSA-graded copies.

I like the Joe Morgan rookie in PSA 8 (NM-MT) condition as a solid, long-term investment. About 600 Morgan rookie cards have a PSA 8 grade, with only 100 graded higher.

This card should trend up in value over time and is a must-have card for any Hall of Fame baseball rookie card collector.

4. 1992 Score Joe DiMaggio Certified Auto /2500

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score-dimaggio-auto

This card from the 1992 Score baseball card set is one of the first certified on-card autographed cards of Joe DiMaggio. This card has five variations: The Minors, The Rookie, the MVP, The Streak, and The Legend. 

Each of these is serial numbered (to 2500) like autograph cards today. A card like this was way ahead of its time. This card features DiMaggio’s card signed on the back of the card in blue ink.

The most recent sale of a 'Legend' copy in a PSA 7/10 grade sold for $1,195, but an ungraded example of this card can be bought for $1,000 or less.

Only a few of these have been graded by PSA, only a total of 145 thus far.

This is an underrated on-card autograph of DiMaggio and a great find if you can locate ungraded, to later submit for grading through PSA.

1992 score joe dimaggio auto

$2,222.00  

Buy It Now for only: $2,222.00
Buy It Now

5. 1975 Topps Keith Hernandez PSA 9 Rookie #623

keith-hernandez-rc

Keith Hernandez is one of the most popular players yet to be in the Hall of Fame. Hernandez’s number 17 was retired by the New York Mets this past season, and his cards saw a big increase in value afterwards. 

His 1975 Topps rookie card graded in PSA 9 (Mint condition) sells for between $500 to $900 at auction. Only 200 copies have been graded a PSA 9 out of a total 2000+ PSA graded copies. 

Rookie cards like this could double in value over time, especially given the low PSA Population in PSA 9 grade. 

Keith will have to wait a few more years to have another shot at the MLB Veterans Committee vote to get into the MLB Hall of Fame.

But Hernandez remains very popular with collectors and is one of the fan-favorite announcers calling Mets games. I like the chances of higher grade Hernandez rookie cards seeing further price appreciation. 

6. 1951 Bowman Monte Irvin PSA 6 Rookie #198

51-bowman-irvin

The 1950s was the Golden Era of Baseball, and Monte Irvin was an underrated star during the time he played. 

A star in the Negro Leagues, Irvin made a seamless transition in 1949, becoming a star player for the New York Giants. Irvin helped lead the Giants to a pennant in 1951 and a World Series victory in 1954. 

Monte Irvin is one of the few star players from the 1950s whose rookie card is still obtainable for many collectors or buyers.

Irvin's official rookie card is the 1951 Bowman #198 card, which features a great color-action portrait of Irvin with the Giants.

The last PSA 6 example of Irvin's rookie card sold at an eBay auction for $500. About 150 of these are graded a PSA 6 (EX-MT), and just 185 total graded higher. In my opinion, Irvin’s PSA 6 rookie can double in value over the longer term.

1951 Bowman Baseball #198 Monte Irvin EX PSA 5

$260.00  (27 bids)
End Date: Thursday Feb-02-2023 22:29:42 EST

Bid

1951 Bowman Monte Irvin PSA 5 #198

$500.00  

Buy It Now for only: $500.00
Buy It Now

7. 1948 Bowman Phil Rizzuto PSA 6 Rookie #8

rizzutobowman

Phil Rizzuto was a popular player on the Yankees dynasty teams during the 1940s and 1950s.

Rizzuto's rookie card remains one of the most affordable Hall of Famers from the 1940s.

The most recent sale of a PSA 6 (EX-MT) example sold for $450 at auction. This card is a great value buy, considering the limited supply of higher-graded copies. 

Only 133 have been graded a PSA 6, with less than 200 graded higher.

Rizzuto's rookie card is a must-have for any vintage Yankees rookie card collector. 

8. 1933 Goudey Mickey Cochrane PSA 5 #76

goudey-cochrane

The 1933 Goudey baseball card issue is one of the most iconic sets of all time. Many MLB Hall of Famers (most notably Babe Ruth four times) are featured in the set, including Mickey Cochrane.

Cochrane is rated as one of the top 10 catchers of all time. Even Mickey Mantle's parents thought so highly of Cochrane that they named 'The Mick' after him.  

The 1933 Goudey Cochrane card is still undervalued compared to other Hall of Fame greats in the set. A PSA 5 (Excellent) example is valued at around $500.  

This card is hard to find in a PSA 5 grade, with less than 100 in existence and only 148 graded higher.

I like the 1933 Goudey Mickey Cochrane in higher grades, as the star catcher needs to get the fanfare he deserves.

9. 1948 Bowman Bobby Thomson PSA 8 #47

bobby-thomson

Bobby Thomson is famous for hitting one of the most well-known home runs in MLB history called "The Shot Heard Round The World".

His home run led to the then-New York Giants beating the Dodgers to win the National League pennant in 1951. Thomson’s home run will forever be remembered in baseball history.  Thomson never made the HOF but was a solid player with a strong collector following. 

Thomson’s rookie card is his 1948 Bowman card #47. A PSA 8 (NM-Mint) example is very limited. Only 25 have been graded a PSA 8, and just 5 have been graded higher.

The last sale of a PSA 8 was for less than $600. These rarely pop up for sale. If you can't find a higher-grade copy, investing in a lower-grade example may be a better alternative.

10. 1991 Upper Deck Pedro Martinez Rookie Dual Graded PSA 10/10 #2F

pedro-rc

Pedro Martinez was one of the best pitchers of his era and arguably a top 15 pitcher overall in the history of the sport.

Signed copies of the 1991 Upper Deck Pedro Martinez rookie card with a dual PSA 10/10 grade are becoming tougher to find. 

Many collectors are unaware about these types of cards and the upside. Only 192 signed Martinez UD rookie cards have received the 10/10 dual-grade according to PSA Cert.

This card is valued around $200-250 at recent eBay auctions. Pedro’s Upper Deck rookie is considered his most popular rookie card as the PSA Registry has designated this card as his Hall of Fame Rookie Registry card.

The PSA 10/10 Pedro rookie card might be my favorite investment opportunity out of all cards on this list.

1991 Upper Deck Diamond Skills #2F Pedro Martinez RC Gem Mint PSA DNA 10 Auto

$0.99  
End Date: Wednesday Feb-08-2023 22:33:33 EST
Buy It Now for only: $0.99
Buy It Now

1991 Upper Deck Final Edition #2F Pedro Martinez RC Gem Mint PSA DNA 10 Auto

$10.50  (5 bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-05-2023 23:03:35 EST

Bid

Pedro Martinez Signed 1991 Upper Deck #2F RC Rookie PSA PSA/DNA 10 AUTO

$37.00  (12 bids)
End Date: Monday Feb-06-2023 22:38:01 EST

Bid

1991 Upper Deck Diamond Skills #2F Pedro Martinez RC Gem Mint PSA DNA 10 Auto

$9.49  (3 bids)
End Date: Sunday Feb-05-2023 22:43:33 EST

Bid

Vinnie Rullo

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