Baseball Greats: Mantle vs. Mays

The debate has been raging since these two Hall of Fame players were young men playing in opposite leagues in New York City. Mantle played for the formidable Yankees, and Mays for the talented Giants. With Mantle, the Yankees won seven championships, while with Mays, the Giants won only one. You can’t judge a player by the team he played for, though. Many greats never won a single championship.

Interestingly, the two teams — and the two players — played against each other in only 13 games: the 1951 and 1962 World Series. While the Yankees prevailed in both series, Mays (11-for-49) actually outperformed Mantle (4-for-30). Still, you can’t read much into such a small sample.

The Statistics

Mays had a longer career, partially due to Mantle’s injuries. What Mantle would have done on two healthy legs is, again, subject to debate. Because of those extra years:

  • Mays hit more homeruns (660 to 536)
  • Mays stole more bases (338 to 153)
  • Mays even hit for a higher batting average (.302 to .298)

That may make you think Mays was the superior player, but it’s not that simple. If you break it down by average performance, instead of totals, the results are pretty darn close:

  • Mantle averaged 36 homers, 102 RBIs and 10 stolen bases
  • Mays averaged 36 homers, 103 RBIs and 18 stolen bases

Face it: these are two great players, no matter what era they played in. If you buy vintage baseball cards, you probably want to collect them both. They were superstars before the word was even coined.

The Mystique

Mantle definitely benefited by playing on those great Yankees teams. Mays, meanwhile, moved with the Giants to San Francisco in 1958, well out of the center of attention. He would not win a championship out there, although he came close in 1962. The two locations and the two teams, so vastly different, helped create a mystique around Mantle that Mays never really enjoyed.

So, when you buy vintage baseball cards, you have to weigh the career statistics, the World Championships and the mystique to determine who you think was the better player. In the end, that’s all it will be: your opinion, especially if you never saw either of them play the game.

The Cards

Mickey Mantle Rookie Card 1951 Bowman #253There is one way to discover who is the better baseball player. It’s not exactly an objective source, but as this discussion is on a baseball card collecting website, it is valid. The answer is to look at the two players’ respective baseball cards. Buy vintage baseball cards like their rookie cards, and you’ve got two valuable pieces of property.

The Willie Mays rookie card is the 1951 Bowman #305. It’s listed at $2,500, depending on the card quality. By the same token, the rookie card for Mickey Mantle, the 1951 Bowman #253, is listed at $8,000. That’s a significant difference for two players whose statistics seemed so close. But people buy vintage baseball cards for many reasons, not just the stats.

Willie Mays rookie card 1951 Bowman #305Whether you like Mickey or prefer Willie, neither is a bad choice for your baseball card collection. Meanwhile, the debate about who was better may never be resolved.

5 Ways to Combat Inflation: Safe Investments

Collecting anything as an investment is always going to be risky to some degree. It’s possible that the market for Cabbage Patch Dolls, for example, dries up when the generation that started the craze passes on (or grows up). Coin collecting, on the other hand, retains value because the value of the metal in the coin always has value. That gives the hobby a foundation on which to build.

Baseball card collecting, on the other hand, straddles both of the above examples. The cards themselves, being made primarily of paper, have no inherent value. Unlike Cabbage Patch Doll collectors, though, the sport these cards represent — baseball — isn’t likely to die out. As a result, the sport creates new generations of fans every decade. And fans buy baseball cards.

Baseball Card Investing

Baseball cards have been around for more than 100 years. The most valuable baseball card ever, the T206 Honus Wagner card, was first printed in 1909. That card continues to appreciate in value — one owner bought one in 2013 for $2.1 million and sold it three years later for $3.12 million. That’s a pretty solid return for any investment.

It’s also a bit out of reach for most card collectors. Fortunately, you can buy baseball cards for a lot less money than that. Collecting baseball cards is a hobby that takes some talent, making it a challenge even for established collectors and a learning curve for new collectors. That’s just part of the fun of the hobby. If everyone could jump in and be successful, collecting baseball cards as an investment wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable and fulfilling.

Safe Bets

If you can’t afford to buy a T206 Honus Wagner, you need a strategy. You can take some risks, as long as you balance that risk with safe investments when you buy baseball cards. You also can hedge your bets by making sound investments you know you can count on. Follow these five tips for making safe investments:

  1. Old stars keep rising. Pre-WWII stars — like Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio and Ty Cobb — are always in demand because of the scarcity. Of course, these cards have been through six-plus decades of growth, so they aren’t inexpensive. But they’re still cheaper than the T206.
  2. Buy good quality cards. This doesn’t mean you should only buy baseball cards that have been professionally graded. Grading doesn’t always matter unless the card is very old or very valuable. But don’t buy a beat-up Nolan Ryan rookie card and expect to get top dollar for it.
  3. Look for post-war deals. They’re still out there, and some of the most valuable cards ever made are from the post-war era. Ever heard of Mickey Mantle? Roberto Clemente? Hank Aaron? The 1950s and 60s were an era ripe with stars and the cards are still rare enough to hold their value.
  4. Don’t forget modern cards. But do forget about modern rookies. Instead, go for inserts, signed cards and patch cards. By far, the most expensive cards made today are those signed and authenticated or have uniform patches embedded in the cards. If you pull a rising star, you could hit it big. While these are a little riskier, if you find a good deal, take it.
  5. Store your cards properly. To save your investments when you buy baseball cards, keep them safe. Store your cards in plastic in a cool, dry place, like a closet in the main part of your house. Don’t’ put them in your attic, garage or basement, where humidity or temperature changes can damage them.

Also see our article about protecting your investments:

3 Tips for Protecting Your Sports Card Investment



The Most Valuable Baseball Cards of 2016

When you collect as an investment or even as a hobby, you may dream of one day being able to sell baseball cards at a profit. While the conventional wisdom tells you to buy vintage baseball cards, conventional wisdom isn’t always up on the latest industry developments. Yes, a Mickey Mantle rookie card in mint condition will always be a valuable commodity, but believe it or not, 2016 produced some winners, too.

If you don’t think it’s worth it to buy baseball cards made after about 1980, you’re thinking of the run-of-the-mill cards you can buy for a couple bucks a pack. As special inserts have become more desirable and as production rates of these inserts has shrunk, they’ve become increasingly valuable. Therefore, you can sell baseball cards from 2016 at a handsome profit.

The Most Valuable Card Series

Certain series contain more high-value cards than others, even in 2016. That means when you buy wax packs that may contain one, you’re more likely to pull a card that could be worth hundreds of dollars. When you’re ready to sell baseball cards, these will be at the top of your deck.

Obviously, some series cost more, making them more of a commitment, but in other cases, those higher prices may be worth the investment, given the odds of finding one of these special cards. When you sell baseball cards from these series, you’re more likely to make a nice profit. These are the 2016 series that contain a few high-priced individual cards:

Common Threads

The most valuable cards in 2016 may be younger players or older players. They may be bound for the Hall of Fame or they may not have appeared in a single MLB game. They may have game uniform patches embedded in the card. They may have a shiny reflector surface. They may be one of one or one of a dozen. But they do have some commonalities:

  • All of the most valuable baseball cards in 2016 are signed. Signature cards have always been worth more than other cards. This year is no different, and these cards have been authenticated. They’re not like the cards you had signed at the ballpark.
  • Rookies or draft picks. One of the reasons rookies have been more valuable than other cards, even in vintage sets, is the risk involved. If you pull a rookie card out of a pack, what are the odds that the player will go on to have a memorable career? Pretty low, but collectors love the chances and typically pay more for a new rookie, making them more in demand.

The Valuable Cards

The top 15 most valuable 2016 baseball cards are all worth more than $300, according to Becket and other sources. To sell baseball cards, you’ve got to find the right buyer or the right dealer, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get this amount. These are the posted, public prices:

  1. Panini Immaculate Collection Autograph Dual Materials Black #7 Buster Posey ($899.95)
  2. Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Blue Refractors #CPAYM Yoan Moncada ($799.95)
  3. Bowman Chrome Draft Top of the Class Box Topper Autographs #TOCMM Mickey Moniak ($799.50)
  4. Topps Gold Label Framed Autographs Black Frame #GLFAI Ichiro Suzuki ($770.00)
  5. Bowman Chrome Draft Superfractors #BDC188 Jon Harris ($699.99)
  6. Topps Pro Debut Pro Production Autographs Red #PPAAB Alex Bregman ($699.99)
  7. Elite Extra Edition Autographs Status Tie Dye Die Cut #99 Tim Tebow ($699.95)
  8. Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Blue Twitter Refractors #CPAAA Anthony Alford ($649.33)
  9. Bowman Chrome Red Refractors #40 Corey Seager ($600.00)
  10. Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relic Autographs #CCARMT Mike Trout ($600.00)
  11. Topps Allen and Ginter Framed Mini Autographs Black #AGAMT Mike Trout ($600.00)
  12. Immaculate Collection Immaculate Trio Players Memorabilia #5 Lou Gehrig/Joe Jackson/Ty Cobb ($599.50)
  13. Topps Allen and Ginter Framed Mini Autographs #AGARKI Kevin Costner/Ray Kinsella ($499.99)
  14. Bowman Chrome Rookie Blue Refractor Autographs #YM Yoan Moncada ($450.00)
  15. Topps Allen and Ginter Box Topper Autographs #BLANG Nomar Garciaparra ($449.99)

Most Valuable Baseball Cards of 2016

The Truth About Who’s Collecting Sports Cards These Days


Sports card collecting is still an active hobby for many people. You can tell because every so often, a card sells for a record amount and makes the news. But who are these mysterious collectors? Is it old men who buy vintage baseball cards? Is it young fans who buy hockey cards? One thing is certain: the demographic of the hobby has changed.

It’s true that the audience is skewed to an older crowd today, which is the opposite of what you might have expected. After all, baseball card collecting has a history of being a young boy’s hobby. Remember when cards made bicycle wheels sound impressive? Those same kids are now older guys with a new respect for their hobby. And they buy vintage baseball cards.

Baseball Card & Sports Card Collecting History

Let’s take a look at the hobby in a historical context. By the 1970s, the card companies had a good thing going, even as their products were substandard photos on perishable cardboard stained by cheap bubblegum. Then came the 1980s’ explosion that paired great advances in quality and design with a glut of production. For a while, the card companies had the best of both worlds: huge production runs and an eager public ready to buy hockey cards, baseball cards — anything they produced, really.

Then reality sunk in. Rookie cards that used to gain in value — mainly because most card collections didn’t last past puberty — sank like a nickel tossed into a fountain. With the newfound interest in investing, not just collecting, more sports cards stayed in pristine plastic cardholders. Coupled with incredibly high production rates, the glut meant that all the cards lost value because even desirable rookie cards became commonplace.

Old Cards Rule

So the public still interested in buying and collecting sports cards tried other tactics. When baseball cards lost value, they decided to buy hockey cards, football cards and basketball cards. But they too proved to be poor investments, even as those sports gained popularity and the card quality increased.

Then, like real commodities brokers, they turned to the one place where value remained high. They found the niche where the love of the sport matched the urge to collect. They found the sweet spot where collecting again became investing. Their new strategy was to buy vintage baseball cards.

Old Guys Rule

Take that, you Whippersnappers!

Photo credit: Boston Public Library via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Vintage cards hold or increase their value. They’re rare, so collecting has again become a fascinating hobby, rife with strategy, tactics and bargaining. But the price points are higher, which precludes young boys from really participating. Furthermore, as the sport of baseball declines in popularity, it leaves fewer people to buy vintage baseball cards. It leaves the hobby to old guys.

Specifically, it’s now old guys with money who rule the hobby. That’s of course a generalization — others buy hockey cards, baseball cards and cards from other sports, but when it comes to the rare gems like a Mickey Mantle rookie card or a Bobby Orr rookie card, it’s the older generation that collects them.

The Future of Card Collecting

The bottom line is that the trading cards collector’s market will never be as red-hot as it was in the 1980s. The card companies don’t seem inclined to slow their production, although the introduction of rare inserts has helped drive sales. But whether you buy vintage baseball cards as an investment or buy hockey cards for fun, the hobby will continue.

While older guys bemoan the lack of interest in sports card collecting in the younger generation, someone always comes along to set a new record price for that Honus Wagner or that Mickey Mantle. Is sports card collecting still a solid investment? It’s in the cards.

10 Tips Before Selling Your Sports Cards

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.
Topps Baseball Cards

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

Baseball Card ValueThe 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.

Find Out How Much Your Cards are Worth ▸

These Post-War Baseball Cards Will Make You Drool

Post-war baseball cards are consistently good investments with a wide variety of them available. The players were amazing, and the cards were vibrant. Love of the game hit new highs. There is a unique nostalgia specific to the time.

World War II had forced a slow-down in baseball because many players, as well as their money-spending fans, went off to war, their dreams filled with the pop of a gun instead of crack of a bat. “Home” meant something different. Afterward, as the dust settled and the veterans returned, baseball’s popularity surged to a whole new level. The time brought home some baseball and wartime heroes, like Hank Greenberg and Ted Williams, and over the next few years introduced some new legends-in-the-making to the major league. Mickey Mantle. Jackie Robinson. Roberto Clemente. Hank Aaron. We recovered from the toll of war from the seats of stadiums while witnessing history being in several different ways. Records. Equality. Industry. Maybe that’s a romantic way to think about it, but what is baseball if not a romantic part of American history?

The cards are the tangible remnants of that time. The new baseball cards were colorful, popular, and easily obtained. But there aren’t many truly remarkable high-grade cards still available to collectors today, and the ones that sell, sell fast and sell high.

We’re proud to include in our Inaugural Great American Trading Card Auction some gorgeous post-war baseball cards that are sure to have a Pavlovian effect on any serious collector. It’s okay. Happens to all of us.

952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311

1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card – PSA NM+ 7.5

This is most recognizable baseball card in history. PSA has graded more than 1375 of these, and only 44 graded higher.

1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie Card - PSA MINT 9

1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Rookie Card – PSA MINT 9

The Hall of Famer was the first Hispanic player in the Majors and a remarkably versatile talent. PSA has graded more than 4,075 of these and only one has graded better!

1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron Rookie Card - PSA MINT 9

1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron Rookie Card – PSA MINT 9

The “Home Run King”. Of nearly 4,000 copies graded by PSA, only two graded higher. This card is beautiful.

1949 Bowman #226 Duke Snider Rookie Card - PSA GEM MT 10

1949 Bowman #226 Duke Snider Rookie Card – PSA GEM MT 10

“The Duke of Flatbush” presented in a state of perfection.

1968 Topps #177 Nolan Ryan Rookie Card – SGC 98 GEM 10 "1 of 2!"

1968 Topps #177 Nolan Ryan Rookie Card – SGC 98 GEM 10 “1 of 2!”

Graded 98 GEM 10 by SGC. Hall of Famer, in his debut appearance. This is one of just two examples at its tier among a total of more than 1,400 copies recorded in SGC’s census reporting.

1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card - PSA NM-MT 8

1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card – PSA NM-MT 8

Hall of Famer, and a scarcer “High Number” entry. Among more than 1,600 copies recorded in PSA’s census reporting, just ten examples have been graded higher.

Check out the rest the cards in the Inaugural Great American Trading Card Auction for even more great post-war era baseball cards.

T206 Honus Wagner Hits the Block

T206 Wagner Jumbo Baseball CardT206 Honus Wagner. The card of all baseball cards. The Holy Grail of sports collectibles. The top rung of an industry ladder that keeps climbing and climbing. Goldin Auctions is proud to once again offer a T206 Wagner, and this flawless beauty is sure to set records…again.

1909-1911 T206 White Border Honus Wagner

The 1909-1911 T206 White Border Honus Wagner, the “Jumbo” Wagner, is the example to which all other collectibles in the industry are compared. Even collectibles outside the sports auction industry are compared to this. It’s more than ultra-rare, more than old, more than perfect – it’s famous. Even those who have never bought a baseball card in their lives have heard of the T206 Wagner.

Why Is It the Crown Jewel?

For starters, best estimates are that less than 200 of these cards were ever made, and less than 50 have ever been presented for grading or authentication. Of the few that are known to still exist, they aren’t all identical either. It’s THE “Jumbo” meaning its substantial borders make it larger than is typical, and thus more scarce. Of the T206 Wagners in the world, this particular one is possibly the most flawless example. It’s unaltered. It’s graded EX 5 (MC) by PSA. And it’s traceable to its original owner.


More than that, it also serves as a marker for what the industry is doing. Economies and politics change constantly, but the T206 Honus Wagner is the touchstone that proves that collectibles are still going strong. The upward swing on these cards, regardless of condition, is undeniable. Look at the climb in value of even low-grade cards:

  • In 2000, a T206 graded PSA 2 sold for $75,000.
  • In 2005, another PSA 2 T206 sold for $237,000.
  • In 2008, a graded 1 card sold for $317,250, and an SGC 3 sold for a high bid of  $700,000.
  • In 2012, a VG-3 card sold to an anonymous buyer for $1.6 million.

Then in 2013, we had the pleasure of breaking the record with the T206 “Jumbo” Honus Wagner graded EX 5 (MC) by PSA for a whopping $2,105,770.50.

Great American Trading Card Auction

It could be many years before we see a high-grade T206 hit the auction block again, so this is not to be missed. This gem from the past will continue making more history in the Inaugural Great American Trading Card Auction. It’s likely that this card will break the current record that it set in 2013.

Bidding begins September 12, 2016 and closes October 1.


T206 Honus Wagner Letter Provenance

The National is Proof that Collecting is Still Going Strong

The National Sports Collectors Convention was huge for 2016, and it stands as proof that the industry is in great shape. The big take away, though, is that while collectors expect that vintage items, especially the ones that have impressed us before, will always do well, one of the great indicators of how healthy the market is when we see newer items come to the table and sell for well above estimates.

Case in point, the Wayne Gretzky 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee rookie card. His TRUE rookie card. It’s not that a Gretzky rookie card hasn’t been a familiar sighting for sports collectors. It’s that this one is PERFECT. This is the only known Gem Mint 10, making it more than just rare. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of these in production, and we also haven’t had decades upon decades for them to bear the marks of time – assuming time doesn’t just swallow some cards whole. This is a modern card. “Modern” and “rare” aren’t often adjectives that are paired together.

At The National, the perfect Gretzky rookie card sold for $465,000. That’s about five times the previous record. This is huge for the sports memorabilia industry and for hockey.

Another example that we took to NSCC: Michael Jordan’s 1997-98 playoff game-used and signed home jersey. It was worn May 3,1998 during Michael Jordan’s final season playing for the Chicago Bulls. This is the only MeiGray Group photo-matched playoff Jordan jersey to come up for sale, and while it was surely going to bring in a great price, estimated at about $100,000, at The National, it sold for $171,500. Modern history is making a statement.

We all expect to see great and consistent numbers from proven vintage items, even Joe Frazier’s jock strap because, hey, it’s Joe Frazier! When vintage collectibles do surprise collectors, it’s usually in a good way (like the 1953 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card). When modern collectibles exceed even the expectations of experts, it’s great confirmation that sports memorabilia as an investment, an industry, is going strong. It’s thriving.

Maybe we’re sentimental, but it seems like the desire to own a slice of history is something incredibly human. To capture time and invest in something with great promise at the same time. How else can you possess the past and the future at the same time?


3 Tips for Protecting Your Sports Card Investment

Protecting your sports card investment is more than just “important”. It’s probably just as critical as the purchase of the card itself. What good is a valuable item if its condition deteriorates? Baseball cards from decades ago or football cards from last week – they all need to be treated with a little more respect than tossing them in a shoebox in the attic. We’re not saying that if you find a Christy Mathewson card tossed into a cardboard box in your grandpa’s attic that you shouldn’t immediately plan a celebration party and book your next vacation. We’re just saying that you might need to skip the Cristal and keep your trip within driving distance.

1. “Let There Be LightCorrection. Let There Be NO Light.

Joe Dimaggio Baseball Cards Protecting Your InvestmentSunlight, specifically UV light, will be the death of them. If you’ve got a mint 1939 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio, don’t display it in a case on your coffee table or have it framed to hang on the wall near your bay window so you and your friends can gaze at it in admiration. Joe will be behind the glass hissing like a vampire munching on garlic bread at a sunny picnic.

UV light causes irreversible damage cumulatively, leading to bleaching and even more brittle cards over time. Sunlight is the strongest source of UV light, and while direct sunlight is the worst, even ambient sunlight can cause damage. It is possible to take a note from fine art galleries and museums and make sure than anything displayed in a frame is behind conservation glass. That should filter out about 98% of UV rays. Still, though, UV rays and possible heat exposure will have some effect over time on the condition of sports cards, so continue be selective with placement. Avoid being near windows. Artificial light, like from incandescent lights in your home, produce very small amounts of UV light but no where near as much as the sun. Just be mindful of it for particularly valuable cards.

2. Use Protection

Be safe, and always keep your cards in a protective sleeve or case. There are lots of different options on the market starting with “penny sleeves” that actually don’t even cost a whole penny. These are thin plastic sleeves that your sports cards should slide snuggly into. They provide some protection against scuffs and scratches, but not bends.

The next step up is top-loaders. These are heavier sleeves that you slide the card into that offer increased protection, but again, cards can be bent. Often, people will put the card inside a penny sleeve, then inside a top-loader. The key thing to look for with both of these sleeves is that you only use ones that are acid-free to prevent them causing breakdown of the ink or discoloration of the paper over time.

From there, for stability can you step up to some substantial protection for your investment by placing each card in a sturdy one-screw, four-screw, or magnetic holder. The catch here is that some collectors have had their cards damaged by these because of the pressured contact on the cards themselves over a long period of time. If you choose to go with these, be sure to not tighten the screws too much.

Again, to reference fine art tactics, think of storing your most valuable sports cards in a way that doesn’t allow much contact with the card to prevent either discoloring or pressure-related dents or ink damage. Fine art is matted for this reason, and there are a few card case options on the market that follow the idea by holding cards securely by their corners or edges inside a sturdy case. For example, SGC is a grading company that also sells their own “museum quality” cases for this purpose.

3. Location Matters

Baseball Card damages Mickey MantleWhether you’ve got a shoebox of penny-sleeved, low value cards or something that rivals the value of your first-born (kidding, kidding), consider the location of where you store your sports cards. Heat, light, and humidity are the enemies. Attics and damp basements are your worst bets. Garages aren’t good either. Sturdy storage in a closet or cabinet is great because it will control light exposure in a temperature control, low-humidity environment. And by all means, keep your valuable sports and baseball cards away from young children.


Joe Frazier’s Jock Strap: Why You Need it in Your Life

It might sound nuts, but Joe Frazier’s jock strap, guardian of the family jewels and protector of the package, is up for auction and can be the crown jewel in someone’s boxing collection.


Worn on March 8, 1971 during his fight against Muhammad Ali, this is not your typical sports memorabilia item for obvious reasons. And unlike many cards, autographed baseballs, or game-worn jerseys, you’ll only find this one. No variations, no replicas, nothing else quite as personal as that which came from “where the sun don’t shine”, the only part of Frazier not bathed in spotlights and flash bulbs during one of boxing’s most historic nights.

Joe Frazier vs Muhammad Ali Fight of the Century

Boxing Memorabilia Joe Frazier vs Muhammad Ali 1971
Some say that Muhammad Ali’s success was largely thanks to the much-hyped and heavily-marketed rivalry with Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

Joe Frazier (Jan. 12, 1944 – Nov. 7, 2011) is boxing royalty. A legend. Twenty-seven KOs in 37 bouts, only four losses, and one of the meanest left hooks anyone had ever seen. Some say that Muhammad Ali’s success and popularity were largely thanks to the much hyped and heavily marketed rivalry with Smokin’ Joe. The significance of this item is largely because of that rivalry. “The Fight of the Century” was their first fight, and Frazier won by unanimous decision after 15 rounds. David Wolf, a member of Frazier’s camp during all three fights against Ali, asked Frazier if he could have the jock strap after Frazier’s victory. Many years later, after Wolf’s death, it was found in his home with other relics from Frazier’s career.

As collectibles and sports memorabilia go, Joe Frazier’s jock strap is definitely a rare item, but this is made all the more valuable by the fact that this legendary boxer who won this equally legendary fight is still a household name in a sport that doesn’t have as many of those as other popular spots in the United States. This was the heyday of boxing, the beginning of previously unheard of multi-million dollar fights and media blitzes.

Muhammad Ali Gloves 1971 Fight with Joe Frazier
Also in the new Goldin Auctions will be Muhammad Ali Fight Worn Gloves From “The Fight Of The Century” 1971 Bout vs. Joe Frazier

From the same fight, Goldin Auctions also has the very items that posed a direct threat to Frazier’s manhood, Muhammad Ali’s fight-worn gloves. A collector’s match made in heaven?