35 Valuable Sport Cards That You Might Have Kept Over The Years

Image: Imago / UPI Photo

For almost a century, children and adults have collected sports cards as a popular pastime. There have been many iconic and rare baseball cards sold and stored throughout the years. Furthermore, there have even been lesser-known items that have slipped under the spotlight but still sold for a lot of money.

We’ve put together a list including over 30+ of the most expensive baseball cards ever made, which may or may not be in your attic or cellar right now. So come along with us as we examine several of the most expensive baseball cards ever. We have put up a list of 35 items for you.

1. 1952 Mickey Mantle

Image: Imago / ZUMA Wire

Mantle has more individually important cards than any other player in the history of the hobby.

Mickey Mantle was the ideal baseball player. His 1952 Topps card was the idealized baseball card. A 1952 Mickey Mantle card sold for almost $3 million in 2018, breaking a previous record for a sold baseball card. The card is so valuable that even less pristine versions fetch a little under a million.

This card is the top of the line when it comes to Mantle baseball cards to collect. If you have one of those in your attic, do keep it, as it has a lot of value!

2. 2004 LeBron James

Source: ESPN

LeBron James was a free agent before inking a deal to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers earned a rematch. They trailed the Warriors by 3 games to one before completing a full turnaround.

This LeBron James basketball card sold at auction for $1.845 million. This card’s rarity derives from the point that it was one of the few 23 signed cards. Each card also comes with a swatch of a jersey from James’ debut season.

No need to explain why it is so iconic then, it is a real collector’s piece.

3. 1993 Foil Derek Jeter

Source: ebay

Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees’ shortstop, and the captain is perhaps the most famous baseball player of the past few decades. Considering his popularity, there are thousands of cards to illustrate it. If you ever collected sport cards, it is highly possible that you own one of those. However, one of these has a particular value. This is the reason why.

Jeter’s most valuable card dates back to Derek’s minor league days. This Jeter card, like many other players, varies in value based on its condition and rating. A card in fairly good condition can fetch upwards of $1,000.

4. 1984 Dwight Gooden

Source: ebay

Dwight Gooden made a name for himself in baseball in the 1980s with a blistering fastball that helped him break rookie records. His 1984 rookie season, in which he won 17 games and struck out 276 players, made history. His legacy will be known for some time.

In this card, the Fleer Update set marked the record with a baseball card. Gooden wore a bright Mets batting practice suit on the card. The card probably could easily cost up to $200 based on its quality.

Indeed, it is in a very good condition, you could almost not see that it is so old, and it increases its value.

5. 1955 Roberto Clemente

Outfielder Roberto Clemente, a Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer, sadly lost his life in a plane accident just after recording his 3,000th career home run.

Clemente’s illustrious career and sad death sparked a fervor for his mementos which has never faded. Indeed, he died taking part into a humanitarian trip to Nicaragua. He was helping delivering food there, when his plane crashed. His body was never found.

A perfect copy of his 1954 Topps sold for over $400,000. A similar card went for $478,00 a little more a few years later. Obviously, cards like this are valuable beyond belief.

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6. 1948- Stan Musial

Source: ebay

A card of the St. Louis Cardinals Stan Musial is the earliest (and least expensive) card on our list. It’s unlikely that you’ll discover such a baseball card in your attic, but it’s not impossible. After all, if this card was edited, some people must have owned it and might still have it somewhere.

When you consider that a well-maintained Bowman Musial can trade for over a grand, I think you would also think it wise to attempt to make sure you don’t have this 1948 card lying about. Especially if it is in a similar condition to the one pictured here.

7. Baltimore News – Babe Ruth

Source: PSACard.com

This is one of the hobby’s greatest rarities, and it depicts The Sultan of Swat, suitably. While Babe Ruth’s powerful stick helped him become a legend, scouts were attracted to his arm. Ruth is shown on the front of the card as a minor league pitcher for the International League’s Baltimore Orioles.

A graded 2 copy (meaning pretty poor quality) of this 1914 Babe Ruth card went for over $500,000. Was there a reason why a card in poor condition cost as much as it did? Simply put, it is believed that there are only ten of them in circulation.

8. Playoff 2000- Tom Brady

Source: OldSportsCards

Tom Brady has become a sports legend: It was in his second season as New England Patriots’ starter that he led the team to a Championship Game. During his tenure in New England, Brady took home five more Super Bowls.

In the year 2000, before Brady became a household name, there are many Tom Brady freshman cards available. The signed Playoff Contender’s Rookie card is the most valued.

This is undoubtedly one of the most expensive football cards of all time, with a pristine edition going for over $500,000. The persons who had it in their attics must have been very happy when they heard the news.

9. 1984 – Roger Clemens

Source: ebay

Roger Clemens’ most valued rookie card. As one of the most successful pitchers for three decades, Clemens was able to overcome his tarnished image due to drug allegations. Those allegations haven’t yet affected the price of this card, which sells up to $400 in excellent condition.

Here is another ery valuable card: Pete Rose, the all-time baseball striker, is featured on this four-player rookie card, which has previously sold for about $75,000 when it was first released. But moreover, one sold for a whopping $717,000 a few years back. This was because the card was in perfect condition. In sports card lingo it was a perfect 10. This card is one of the rarest in the world.

10. Autographed Albert Pujols

Source: ebay

Pujols’ signature has become one of the most sought-after autographs, as well as one of the most frequently forged of the present age. The slugger has avoided the public spectacle circuit, choosing instead to engage in private signings.

Over time baseball cards were so commonplace that many were not genuinely rare, excluding those with particular gimmicks, like variations or signatures. This period produced some of the most expensive gimmick cards, such as the Bowman 2001 Albert Pujols signature. The card, in excellent condition, may cost upwards of four figures. If you have similar ones at home, you should definitely keep them.

11. 1982 – Cal Ripken Jr.

Source: ebay

No one played harder, and no one of his prominences spent as much time as he did to delight the audience. Ripken was often spotted signing autographs hours after the game, or taking pictures with his fans. He really was as famous and entertaining as a rock star back then.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s rookie card is the most expensive of all the 1982 rookie cards. Depending on its condition, the card may be sold for as much as $200. Watch out for chips and flaking on the reverse of the card, which may lead to a variety of lower grades and pricing.

12. 1968 -Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman

Source: Beckett

Ryan, like most players, took considerable time to develop into the powerhouse that supporters and collectors came to adore.

Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman’s 1968 combination card was auctioned off as a perfect card. How uncommon is that? Nearly 8,000 rookie cards of the type were submitted for professional grading, and only one was able to earn a score of a perfect 10. When it came time to sell it off, the rare card fetched over $600,000 instead of the typical range up to $30,000.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to persons who know those cards, because it is really hard to keep them in such a good condition for so many years.

13. 1990 – Frank Thomas

Source: ebay

Frank Edward Thomas, Jr. was a multi-talented batter who was one of the Major League’s best players of the 1990s, becoming a member of the 500 Home Run Club.

The Chicago White Sox chose Frank Thomas in the first round in the 1989 amateur draft. He was dubbed “The Big Hurt” for his strong swing.

Frank Thomas baseball card is the most valued baseball card from the 1990s. This is no ordinary Thomas card. A particular error is shown on the card. The card is missing Frank’s name on the front. It’s worth thousands of dollars depending on the condition.

14. Honus Wagner

Image: Imago / ZUMA Wire

The Honus Wagner baseball card is one of the most renowned and rare baseball cards of all time. The American Tobacco Company created the 1911 Wagner, like many other cards of the period, in order to promote sales of their cigarettes.

Wagner, on the other hand, requested that perhaps the card be removed for unexplained reasons. As a result of his actions, many people believe he did not want youngsters buying cigarettes in order to locate his card.

Alternatively, according to some analysis, the disagreement was really over royalties. I in 2016, a single card sold for $3.3 million

15. 1991 – Chipper Jones

Source: ebay

Because Chipper Jones was one of MLB’s most well-known players in the ’90s, it is only fitting that his most expensive card is connected to an iconic event of the decade.

To commemorate Operation Desert Storm, Topps issued a special edition of their 1991 base set, replete with “Desert Shield” holograms. This set included a rookie card for Jones.

According to on their condition, hologrammed cards may sell for hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. Who ever has owned some and kept them should really keep them in a safe place, because if they are in a good condition, they could cost quite some money.

16. #336 Ken Griffey Jr.

Source: Pinterest

Unlike many of the sluggers who thrived during his period, Griffey was never connected to performance-enhancing drugs, which cast a cloud over so many stars of the 1990s and 2000s. As a consequence, there is a fresh appreciation for what Griffey achieved, which has enhanced the value of his signature.

Imagine your surprise when you find out that a single Ken Griffey Jr. card can get upwards of $500! When Griffey was a youngster in the 1960s, he was considered to be one of baseball’s most popular players. The trophy in the lower-left corner makes this card unique. Hence, the money it costs.

17. #61- Bo Jackson

Source: Pinterest

Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson is a former Major League Baseball and National Football League player, as well as the first two-sport All-Star.

the value of a Bo Jackson Donruss card is approximately $500 on eBay. Bo was a two-sport star in the MLB and NFL. Because of that fact he was one of the most famous sportsmen in the world. Bo’s only MLB All-Star appearance came in 1989. One of the most desired cards in the ’90 Donruss series.

Through a Nike commercial campaign named in his honor in 1989 and 1990, Jackson’s name became recognized beyond only sports enthusiasts.

18. #39 – Jose Conseco

Source: Pinterest

Jose Canseco Capas, Jr. was a strong Major League outfielder and a hitter who spent his whole 17-year career with 7 different teams. Canseco was chosen by the Oakland Athletics in the 1982 amateur draft and made his debut three years later.

It’s among the most sought-after cards of the period, with an estimated value of $1,000 on eBay. Conseco blasted 33 home runs with 117 RBIs in his debut MLB season, earning him the American League Rookie of the Year honor.

Such extraordinary players have really stayed in history, and therefore, everything that is related to their history and career has now a huge value.

19. Michael Jordan and LeBron James

Source: ESPN

LeBron Raymone James led the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish to three Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships.

With all due respect to Kareem and others, Michael Jeffrey Jordan is generally regarded as the greatest basketball player in NBA history.

Michael Jordan and LeBron James, two of the greatest NBA players of all time, appear on this one-of-a-kind card. The fact that this card is so valued is not surprising. The card’s $900,000 price tag, however, surprised some when it was sold in the first quarter of 2020. Good for the person who kept this card for all these years.

20. 1916 – Babe Ruth

Image: Imago / UIG

It’s one of his most tough cards overall, and it’s also one of the most essential cards on this list. It depicts Ruth as a rookie pitcher for the Boston Red Sox before being dealt to the rival New York Yankees.

Aside from baseball, Babe Ruth was among the most recognized names in America throughout his prime. The price of his baseball cards in subsequent years demonstrates that Babe Ruth’s name worth has remained the same throughout his career. An astounding $717,500 was paid last year for the 1916 Sporting News card. We guess that absolute fans are ready to pay that much money.

21. 1989 – Ken Griffey Jr.

Image: Imago / ZUMA Wire

This is a crucial rookie card of one of baseball’s greatest all-around players. While overshadowed by Barry Bonds and hindered by injuries later in his career, Ken Griffey, Jr. achieved some incredible accomplishments.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card was considered by many in the 1990s to potentially be the most desired and costly baseball card of any time throughout the 1990s. That didn’t happen; however, a highly-graded ’89 UD Griffey can sell for about $400.

Now, that he has retired from his professional baseball career, he counts as one of the best ever baseball players. No wonder that this card is so expensive now.

22. 1952 – Willie Mays

Source: PSACard.com

Mays was one of those athletes who created memories that would last a lifetime. In 1954, in the World Series against Cleveland, Vic Wertz hit a fastball from reliever Don Liddle. After Wertz made contact, it looked as though Cleveland would take the lead, with runners on first and second. It was thought that nobody could catch Mays’ magnificent drive since he was playing shallow, but Mays never decided to quit.

The Topps 1952 collection includes a card of Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays, another great New York center fielder. As you can see on the picture, this card is also in a very good condition.

23. 1984 – Kirby Puckett

Source: ebay

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Kirby Puckett as the third-youngest player (following Sandy Koufax and Lou Gehrig) at the age of 41 while during his first year of qualifying.

In the 1984 Fleer Update set, Kirby Puckett is another Hall of Famer from the Minnesota Twins. According to its condition, a Puckett card may bring in upwards of $500.

As a card in a very good condition, we are not surprised that this card costs this price. If you know any one who might have saved one of those, do let them know! They might be owning a treasure.

24. Shoeless Joe Jackson

Source: PSACard.com

Joe Jackson’s illiteracy has been well documented. Consequently, Jackson’s signatures are quite hard to come by. In fact, even the most genuine specimens have a highly distorted look.

Similar to Honus Wagner’s 1909 card, a tobacco firm produced this 1909 Joe Jackson card in order to boost their cigarette sales. As a result of Jackson’s suspected participation in the 1919 Chicago Black Sox gambling incident, he was banned from baseball for life.

During the year 2016, a perfect card brought well over $660,000 in sales revenue. His owner decided to sell items from his collection, where he had kept this card.

25. ATC T206 – Joe Doyle

Source: Piedmont and Sweet Caporal, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the rarest items in the T206 collection, it’s the most difficult to locate. Even though Joe Doyle isn’t the most well-known player in baseball history, this card is one the most valuable in the whole hobby.

Joe Doyle, on the other hand, is not a Hall of Famer at all. To be honest, his career was short-lived, and he was forgotten by time. Hence, why the $414,750 price tag on his tobacco promotion card is so surprising. Doyle was originally listed as playing for the National League club of New York, even though he pitched for the Yankees.

26. Hank Aaron – Topps

Source: ebay

As far as collecting cards of “Hammerin’ Hank” goes, there’s no debating which card comes in the first place. One of baseball’s most well-known pictures, Aaron’s Topps rookie card #128 is not just the key to a whole collection packed with other stars and rookies.

Henry Aaron’s rookie card sells for a lot of money. He was considered a home run champion. This is “Hammerin Hank’s” lone rookie card, and due to better printing methods in 1954, the cards are in quite an excellent shape. One immaculate card sold for almost $357,000, you can bet it’s worth a lot more now.

27. T206 ‘Bat Off Shoulder’ – Ty Cobb

Image: Imago / Everett Collection

This Ty Cobb variation is sometimes overlooked when it comes to the 1909-1911 T206 collection. Since more high-quality examples have emerged, the variation “Bat Off Shoulder” is somewhat more expensive than its “Bat on Shoulder” cousin. It’s possible to find a card for less than six digits, but it’s unlikely.

Ty Cobb played for the Detroit Tigers. During his career, he got the nickname of “Georgia Peach”, because of the state he was born in. At the time he was the highest in his career, he established rivalries with other players, who were also fighting to be amongst the best players of the time.

28. Wayne Gretzky – 1979 O-Pee-Chee

Source: OldSportsCards

This is the most important rookie card of hockey’s all-time leading scorer, Bobby Orr. The names of Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan are frequently mentioned when discussing the best players in sports, yet one might argue that in the same way, Wayne Gretzky dominated hockey.

As if Wayne Gretzky becoming one of the “Great Ones” in hockey wasn’t enough of a surprise, the business that created the card was a bit of a surprise too. Gretzky’s most valued rookie card is his 1979 Canadian market O-Pee-Chee card, not the more well-known Topps card from the same year. This card is also in a very good condition.

29. Bowman – Mickey Mantle

Source: OldSportsCards.com

As far as we know, this is the sole rookie card of The Mick. Mickey Mantle is, by far, the most commonly collected figure in the hobby, according to a recent survey.

With the help of this 1951 Bowman, Mickey Mantle earns his reappearance. This Bowman card is The Mick’s sole official rookie card. It’s worth more than $500,000 in excellent condition because of Mantle’s continued appeal among the elderly who saw him play, as well as subsequent generations infatuated with his position as a New York Yankee icon. Hopefully, if you ever owned this card, you have saved it.

30. T209- Eddie Plank

Source: OldSportsCards.com

This is just another entry in the legendary T209 line. Due to its rarity, this card of Hall of Fame pitcher Eddie Plank is really second only to Honus Wagner in terms of value and scarcity in the collection.

As a consequence of a faulty printing plate, several cards were destroyed since they failed quality checks. There are a lot of cases when the centering from high to low is off. A very extreme centering may result in the text being slashed down towards the bottom.

The item we see above, on the contrary, is one of the best ones that were printed.

31. Old Judge – Cap Anson

Source: Old Judge, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

From one of the most significant 19th-century sets. Since these cards were originally packaged in Old Cigarette packs, they had to endure more than a century of travel before they could be found in collections today.

Many collectors and analysts agree that the Old Judge series of cards from 1887 is the most significant set of the 19th century, owing to its vast breadth and variety of players and variations. There are just a few copies of the most expensive card in the collection, a uniformed Anson.

Such old cards are nowadays very rare, therefore they get such a great value for collectors.

32. Leaf – Jackie Robinson

Source: Leaf International, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In baseball, this is the sole genuine rookie card of the first African-American player and a hero to everyone. There aren’t enough words to describe how important this guy or this card is.

There’s little doubt that Jackie Robinson, who smashed the color barrier in Major League Baseball, was one of America’s most influential athletes of this century. Since Robinson’s Leaf rookie card is so rare in comparison to other Robinson cards from the late 1950s, it is highly sought after by collectors. Grades indeed affect pricing, yet a high-grade card in the middle of 2019 sold for almost $75,000!

33. Goudie – Joe DiMaggio

Image: Imago / Everett Collection

One of the most famous New York Yankees in history, Joe DiMaggio stands with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle. American Icon, DiMaggio’s fame extended well beyond baseball.

Due to the caricature physique and cartoon drawings in the backdrop, this 1938 depiction of the famous Yankee Clipper may not seem like a conventional baseball card. As one of the first Joltin’ Joe cards, it commands values far into the thousands on the trade marketplace currently. As a bonus, there’s a secondary Joe DiMaggio card that’s without the backdrop artwork and costs less. On the photograph above, you can see the baseball player signing autographs for young fans.

34. Bowman – Duke Snider

Source: OldSportsCards.com

“Duke” Snider was a hard-hitting centerfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940s and 1950s. He died on February 27, 2011. Snider was one of three Hall of Fame centerfielders of his generation, along with Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

It’s only right to include Edwin Duke in this list. In the late 1940s into the 1950s, Edwin “Duke” Snider was the adored second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers “Boys of Summer” teams. He was second in popularity and recognition only to Jackie Robinson. Bowman produced Snider’s rookie card in 1949, the same year as Mantle. This is also an older card, good that their owners kept them.

35. Topps – Andy Pafko

Source: OldSportsCards.com

If you are a baseball card collector, you probably know Andy Pafko. A lifetime batting average of.285 and 213 home runs make Pafko the leadoff player on the 1952 Topps collection.

In addition to not being a Hall of Famer, Andy Pafko’s 1952 Topps card does not include any errors or anomalies. A 10-grade Pafko sold for almost $250,000 in 2016, so what’s up with that? Simply stated, it’s all about the numbers. Card #1 in the famous 1952 series makes Pafko’s card very valuable to collectors.

Have you ever owned this one? Hopefully you have kept your whole collection.

36. Topps – Joe Namath

Source: PSACollector.com

Joe Namath was unquestionably one of the most influential figures of the 1960s. As soon as he was selected from the University of Alabama, Namath became an instant star, surpassing many of his peers in the more established NFL.

Namath’s excellent performance on the field matched his fame, as shown by the Jets’ Super Bowl III win against the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts. The fact that Namath’s rookie card sells for almost $260,000 in excellent condition should come as no surprise, given his achievements.

This list has shown many great examples of sport cards that have gained a whole value over the years.