When you sell baseball cards, it’s not as simple as putting an ad on Craigslist, especially if you want to get top dollar. The same is true when you want to sell football cards, basketball cards or hockey cards. Sports cards are collectables, so you need to find interested buyers.
Selling sports cards often means going to a reputable dealer who can assess the value of your cards. Unless you’re trying to dupe an unsuspecting buyer — something the people at Goldin Auctions never do or approve of — then you need to sell valuable cards to honest collectors. That’s often a dealer who has access to serious collectors.
Know the Value of Your Cards
To sell baseball cards or sell football cards, you need to have a rough idea of your cards’ value. To get an estimate, you should do at least a couple of the options below:
- Buy a magazine (such as Beckett Media Magazine) that lists the current values of most cards
- Submit a query to an online card shop
- Go to a sports cards shop to ask the owner for an estimate
- Never settle for one opinion
If you’re relying on print research, you should realize that the magazine is out-of-date the day after it’s released. Take the listings with a grain of salt. Also, you’ll rarely get the selling price that’s listed for the card. Most prices are for mint condition cards, and card stores — even those online — often pay a lot less than the going rate. If you really want to sell baseball cards, find the best offer and take it.
How to Value Your Cards
Sports cards have varying values, depending on many factors. Find the categories that fit your cards, and you’ll have a better idea of their value. When you sell baseball cards, develop an idea of its price by comparing:
- The player on the card
- The condition of the card
- The year or season of the card
- The card company that made the card
- How scarce the card is
- If there’s exceptional interest in the player
So, for example, a Pete Rose card may be worth more than a Willie Wilson card. A mint condition card may be worth more than a ripped card. A 1967 Carl Yastrzemski card may be worth more than a 1982 Carl Yastrzemski card. A 1951 Bowman card may be worth more than a 1951 Topps.
The Bad News
The newer the card you’re selling, the less likely it will bring a big return. If you sell football cards or baseball cards made after 1980, they likely have very little (if any) value. These cards were produced in such massive quantities that their value has plummeted. This mass production was good for the card companies in the short run, and it led directly to the introduction of the special inserts — rare cards placed in mass-produced packs to generate interest and value.
So unless you were lucky enough to open a pack that contained a hand-signed rookie insert card for a player who went on to accomplish great things, then your cards have value only to you. Of the 30 most valuable baseball cards in the world, 29 were produced in 1970 or earlier. Most of you probably started your card collection after that. Whether you sell baseball cards, sell football cards or sell other sports cards, the value is set by objective criteria, not nostalgia. Unfortunately.