There are many different hobbies and collectibles people have experimented with over the years.
But one hobby has seemed to stand the test of time — baseball card collections. And today we’re going to show you how to sell baseball cards.
Baseball card collections may seem like a thing of the past, but many people still have a hefty collection tucked away in some dusty boxes in their attic.
Perhaps you’ve been a lifelong collector or you acquired a family heirloom passed down from another generation.
The truth is you can still fetch a pretty penny for many baseball cards. So dust off those boxes and start combing through your collection.
We’re going to help you determine if you’re able to make some coin off your baseball card collection. You’ll learn how to properly identify your baseball cards, estimate how much your collection is worth, and where you can sell your baseball cards.
1. Identify Your Baseball Cards
The first step to selling your baseball card collection is figuring out which cards you have. You need to determine which cards are actually sellable based on the era the cards are from, their condition, and the rarity of the cards.
There’s a seemingly infinite amount of baseball cards out there. Most are only worth pennies or even less than that. Some baseball cards are incredibly common or are in poor condition, which can make them virtually worthless.
Let’s walk through a few characteristics you should look for to narrow down which cards you should give high priority to sell.
Types of Baseball Cards
Baseball card collectors and hobbyists have come up with three different categories of cards: pre-war, vintage, and modern.
These three categories yield different styles of cards, each with their own unique characteristics.
1. Pre-War Baseball Cards
These baseball cards were all printed before or during World War II — or around 1945. Since these cards are the oldest and most rare, they fetch the highest prices.
Pre-war cards tend to be smaller in size and have bright and colorful artwork of players from that era. They can also have black-and-white photography in some cases.
On the back, you can expect to find a blank card or advertisements for tobacco or candy companies. You won’t encounter player statistics like you would with newer cards.
Notable players and high-yielding cards from this era include Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
2. Vintage Baseball Cards
Vintage cards are those that have been printed between 1946 and 1979. During this time period, cardmakers adopted a more modern design and started creating the iconic baseball cards we’ve come to know today.
Topps baseball cards were the major players of this era and developed the standard card dimensions — 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches.
These cards also started incorporating statistics on the back. This is a clear indicator of when the card was produced since stat lines are labeled by year. Cards either featured bright and colorful artwork or colored photography.
In some cases, you may even come across black-and-white cards. However, this is much less common.
Like pre-war cards, vintage cards can fetch a large payout since they’re much less common and difficult to come by. Even less popular players can bring you a hefty payday.
Notable players and high-yielding cards from this era include Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle.
3. Modern Baseball Cards
Modern cards are produced after 1980 and feature bright and glossy photography.
Unfortunately, most cards from this era are worthless due to huge print runs by the major card companies. The only way you’ll be able to profit off cards from this era is if you’re able to get your hands on a misprint or an incredibly rare rookie card.
Rookie cards, especially those that are signed by the player, can be worth a lot of money, but they must be in pristine condition.
Condition of Your Cards
The condition of your cards is a major factor in how much you can earn.
Many people can be duped into thinking they have something worth a lot of money but then find out the cards they have are worth nothing due to poor conditions.
You should look out for worn corners, frayed edges, or faded imagery. These will all make your cards worth less when you put them up for sale.
Cards that are in mint condition will fetch the highest payout.
Experts in the field use a grading system to determine the condition of the card. For more information on card grading, you can check out this guide to one card broker’s grading system.
Player Popularity and Card Rarity
Player popularity will affect how much a card is worth.
The hall of famers from every era may bring high price tags when selling. Everybody wants a piece of history, especially if it’s a legendary player’s rookie card.
However, sometimes players who are less common may also be worth a lot. This could be due to card misprints or limited runs.
You can encounter corrected errors, uncorrected errors, print variations, or cards that were printed far fewer times than their counterparts.
2. Determine the Value of Your Baseball Cards
There are a few ways you can try to determine the value of your cards.
You can either try to estimate your cards using the characteristics we mentioned above, or you can use a third-party card estimator to determine the value of your cards.
If you want to try to determine the value of your cards on your own, you should consider all of the factors we mentioned above.
You should take a look at the types of cards you have, the condition of your cards, and how rare you think they are.
You can then head to marketplaces like eBay or online card dealers to see if you can compare to other similar cards currently being sold.
The other way is to send your more valuable cards to a service like the Professional Sports Authenticator to have your cards graded and authenticated.
The PSA will carefully examine your cards and give it an overall grade to help determine the value of your cards.
The higher the grade, the more valuable your cards will be.
3. How to Sell Baseball Cards
After you’ve figured out which cards you want to sell and how much you think you can price them at, you can move on to how and where you want to sell them.
You can decide between a few different sales channels: an online auction house, a card dealer, or eBay.
Online Auction House
Private online auction houses are a convenient and profitable way to sell your old cards. We recommend this outlet if you have high-value cards that will sell for a lot of money.
Auctioneers will promote your cards for you, find wealthy buyers, and will handle all of the logistics.
If you’re willing to wait around for a few months until an auction takes place, then this outlet may be right for you.
The trick is finding trustworthy and reputable online auction houses. Make sure you do plenty of research first.
Card dealers and brick-and-mortar card shops are a great way to sell cards quickly. This is much easier if done in person where you can have face-to-face dialogue about your collection.
We also recommend this channel if you have pricey cards rather than less expensive and more common cards.
You should be wary of low-ball offers since many card dealers will try to buy cards cheaply so they can profit off you as much as possible. They also may think you’re trying to make a quick buck, which will bring low offers.
Make sure you educate yourself beforehand so you aren’t “taken for a ride” by a shady card dealer.
EBay is the perfect sales channel for all types of cards, whether you have expensive ones or much more common cards worth only a few bucks.
You can decide to sell your cards in an auction, at a fixed price, or a fixed price with the ability to accept other offers.
EBay has a built-in audience of buyers and sellers always on the prowl for rare collectibles.
The problem is that this channel requires a lot of your effort and time.
You’ll need to take pictures, scan cards, and monitor sales listings all on your own.
Compared to going to an auction house or card dealer, eBay is much more hands-on and time-consuming.
You should also be on the lookout for scams and fraudulent activity when selling your collection.
Selling Baseball Cards for Quick and Easy Cash
Selling baseball cards is an easy way to make money on the side.
Now that you know how to sell baseball cards, you can apply what you learned to similar vintage sports card collections plus other collectibles, sports memorabilia, and vintage items.
For example, if you have a box of old basketball cards, football cards, or hockey cards, follow the same guidelines above to see if you can profit off your stash.
We hope you’re able to find some hidden gems in your collection and make top dollar for your cards.