Ask the Experts: Answers to the Top 10 Sports Card Collecting Questions

Sports Cards AuctionIf you’re new to sports card collecting or returning to the hobby, you may enjoy the chance to buy or sell baseball cards from experts in the field. The things you can learn while conducting the business part of the hobby can prove insightful. Once you’ve found a trustworthy expert to buy and sell baseball cards, take advantage of the situation and ask questions. Here are answers to the 10 top questions the experts at Goldin Auctions hear:

  1. Can you show me the difference in how cards are graded?

The best way to learn about card quality is to see it in person for yourself. There’s actually a lot to know, from whether the card is centered to the condition of the card’s corners, which tend to get bent more easily. The grading starts with the best quality, GEM-MT (gem mint), and ends with PR-FR (Poor to Fair). Learning the difference for yourself gives you a heads-up in your hobby.

  1. What are the best cards to buy?

Established professionals in the field see trends come and go. They’ll tell you that their biggest business now likely comes from vintage cards. Since they don’t make them anymore, vintage cards retain their value better than those still in production.

  1. What are the most expensive cards?

If you want to sell baseball cards from your collection to an expert, he’ll look for the best of the best first, such as:

  • Rookie cards of stars before 1980
  • Rare inserts with limited print runs
  • Known mistake cards, like the 2006 Topps Alex Gordon
  • Cards with an authenticated signature, which adds significant value
  1. Is it better to buy singles, packs, boxes or sets?

This answer depends on the age of the cards. For vintage cards, just buy singles of the players you covet, assuming you can afford them. For modern cards, the answer is boxes. Each box often guarantees at least one special insert, and those are the modern cards that may appreciate in value.

  1. Who’s buying sports cards today?

Professionals in the field know who buys and sells baseball cards, and most kids today aren’t buying sports cards. Novelty cards, maybe. Game cards, definitely. But not sports cards. Sports cards are now the province of an older generation more interested in the older cards. (See question #2.)

  1. How are new cards selling?

Selling new cards are part of the business, just not the biggest part of the business anymore.

  1. Why won’t you give me Beckett value for this baseball card?

When you sell baseball cards to an expert, don’t expect to get top dollar. He’s buying it to re-sell. If you want top dollar, find a buyer on your own. When you sell to a sports card professional, you’re essentially selling to a middle man who has to take a cut to earn a living. You always have the option of saying, “No thank you.”

  1. Are my Fleer cards from the 1980s more valuable today because the company no longer exists?

Not as a general rule. The glut in production in the 1980s dropped the value of all those cards.

  1. Do you know of the best card shows to go to in the area?

A sports card professional can direct you to websites like Beckett’s shows, but you can also participate in exciting online auctions.  You’ll find lots of options for buying and selling sports memorabilia, not just cards.

  1. Can I sell cards and memorabilia through Goldin Auctions?

Absolutely. Visit our consignment page to get more information. Then call 856-767-8550 or email us to let us know if you want to sell baseball cards and other sports merchandise through Goldin Auctions.

Baseball Greats: Ruth vs. Aaron

It’s one of the great debates in baseball fan history. Who’s better: The first man to hit over 700 homeruns in his career or the man who surpassed his lifetime total? If you buy vintage baseball cards, you probably have your favorite.

Babe Ruth vs Hank Aaron statistics infographicWhile you can find many ways to compare these two players — and their statistics are examined below — the fact is they were very different men playing in very different eras. Both are obvious Hall of Famers, and both mean a lot to a sport that has essentially changed very little since the early 20th century. Picking one over the other may be like trying to pick between a hundred-dollar bill and two fifties.

Babe’s Accomplishments

Babe Ruth changed baseball forever. In the 1920s, after the Black Sox scandal, he started hitting homeruns at such a rate that he brought fans back to the ballpark. What most people don’t realize is that he hit for average as well as power. In 1921, for instance, he hit .378 with 177 runs scored and 168 RBIs. Among his 204 hits were 44 doubles, 16 triples and 59 homeruns. Dynamite, but that wasn’t even his MVP season.

When Ruth retired in 1935, he held the record for career homeruns, RBIs and total bases, among several other high-water marks. In addition to his single-season record of 60 homers in 1927, he set a record in 1923 by walking 170 times, which stood until 2001, 78 years later. In 1921, he amassed 457 total bases, a record no one has ever broken. The Babe stood head-and-shoulders above his rivals as the greatest player in the 1920s, if not of all time.

Hank’s Accomplishments

“Hammerin’” Hank Aaron also changed baseball. He proved that modern-day players could be every bit as good as the nostalgia-tinted players of yesteryear. Although he never hit more than 47 homeruns in a season, he did what no one else thought possible: broke Ruth’s career homerun record. In 1959, he hit .355 with 116 runs scored and 123 RBIs. Among his 223 hits were 46 doubles, 7 triples and 39 homeruns. Amazing, but that wasn’t even his MVP season.

He hit 30 or more homeruns in 15 different seasons, 40 or more in eight seasons. He hit .300 or better in 14 seasons. In 1963, he hit 44 homers and stole 31 bases while driving in 130 runs. No, that wasn’t his MVP season either. He was a consistent threat at bat from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s while playing a more grueling season and facing tougher opposition. Aaron redefined what a power hitter could be.

When You Buy Vintage Baseball Cards

While both Ruth and Aaron were stars in their respective eras, baseball cards were very different. Topps was firmly established in 1954, when Aaron was a rookie. Meanwhile, baseball cards were still rare when Ruth burst onto the scene. If you’re looking to buy vintage baseball cards, Aaron’s rookie card in mint condition recently brought in more than $62,000 at auction.

Of course, there aren’t many options to buy vintage baseball cards of Babe Ruth. According to, the 1933 Goudey #144 is the most expensive Ruth card at $4,000. A minor league card — Ruth’s first — with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League sold for about $450,000. His first major league card, as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was the 1916 M101-5, which sold for more than $130,000.

Don’t start your collection with Ruth or Aaron when you buy vintage baseball cards, but they’re goals worth dreaming about. Ruth’s cards are rarer, making Aaron’s cards more accessible. Which would you prefer?