There is a hobby that began more than 50 years ago, which is carried out by many people, from small children to the elderly, who share the love of baseball.
Collecting baseball cards is an activity that, with the passing of time, becomes an investment; many fans of this sport began to collect cards at an early age, and later became experts, becoming experienced collectors who can earn a lot of money by keeping these cards in good condition.
The most expensive cards are those with more antiquity, or those that had a scarce production.
There are cards that have a very high market value. The record was set by a card from 1909, which represented the player Honus Wagner; this card was auctioned for 2.35 million dollars, since there are only 60 copies.
This business is very big; so much so that the companies that manufacture them have grown significantly; the most important ones are Fleer Corporation, Topps and Upper Deck.
It is important to emphasize that it is very difficult for one person to get all the cards, since almost two thousand are manufactured per season; in them you can find data such as: height, weight, age, position, teams, statistics and personal information of each player and staff member.
Collectors take this activity very seriously, as they search for cards with patience and care, in order to find the most valuable ones. The more experienced collectors analyze all players over several seasons to make predictions about which cards will be worth the most in the future.
A curious fact is that cards with printing errors are more valuable, because they are considered very special.
In the United States, this business is so important that several fairs are held throughout the year for collectors to attend and trade.
As you can see, collecting any sport-related item can bring us several benefits in the future.
Business cards are the ancestors of sports cards. Some of the earliest rewards found in retail products were cigarette cards – business cards that advertise the product (not to be confused with trading cards) that are inserted into cigarette paper packages as reinforcements to protect the contents. Allen and Ginter in the U.S. in 1886, and the British company WD and HO Wills in 1888, were the first tobacco companies to print ads. A couple of years later, lithographic photos on the cards with an encyclopedic variety of themes from nature to war to sports – subjects that appealed to men who smoked – began to appear as well. By 1900, there were thousands of tobacco card systems manufactured by 300 different companies. Children would stand outside the stores to ask customers who bought cigarettes for promotional cards. Following the success of cigarette cards, commercial cards were produced by other product manufacturers and included in the product or given to the customer by the store employee at the time of purchase. World War II ended the production of cigarette cards due to limited paper resources, and after the war cigarette cards never really made a comeback. After that prize collectors of retail products led to the collection of tea cards in the UK and gum cards in the USA.
The first baseball cards were business cards printed in the 1860s by a sporting goods company, all the while baseball became a professional sport. Most baseball cards throughout the early 20th century were produced on confectionery and tobacco products. It was during this time that the most valuable baseball card was produced to be printed – the infamous T206 tobacco card with Honus Wagner . The T206 set, distributed by the American Tobacco Company in 1909, is considered by collectors to be the most popular set of all time. In 1933, Boston’s Goudey Gum Company issued baseball cards with biography players on the backs and was the first to put the baseball cards in gum. The Goudey 1933 set remains one of the most popular and affordable games of the time to this day. Philadelphia’s Bowman Gum issued its first baseball cards in 1948.
Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. now known as The Topps Company, Inc. began inserting commercial cards into gum packs in 1950 – with themes such as television and movie cowboy Hopalong Cassidy; “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” cards featuring Frank Buck on big game hunts in Africa; and soccer cards. Topps produced its first set of baseball collectible cards in 1951, with the resulting design resembling playing cards. Topps owner and founder Sy Berger created the first true modern baseball card system, with game record and statistics, the following year in the form of Topps baseball 1952. This is one of the most popular games of all time, due in large part to the fact that it contained the rookie card from Mickey’s cape.
Topps bought its main competitor, Bowman Gum, in 1956. Topps was the leader in the trading card industry 1956-1980, not only in sports cards, but in entertainment cards as well. Many of the best selling non-sport cards were produced by Topps, including Rare Packages (1967, 1973-1977), Star Wars (starting in 1977) and Garbage Pail Kids (starting in 1985). Topps inserted baseball cards as prizes in gum packs until 1981, when the cards were sold without the gum. Collectors were delighted, since the oil from the gum was ruining an otherwise pristine or valuable card.
In an attempt to keep up with technology and digital trends, existing and new business card companies started creating digital stickers that live exclusively online or as a digital counterpart to a physical card. In 2000, Topps established itself in the digital space with the launch of a new brand of sports cards, called etopps. These cards are sold exclusively online through the individual IPO (initial offer player) in which the card is offered for typically one week at the IPO price. The amount sold depends on how many people bid to buy, but is limited to a certain maximum. After a sale, the cards are held in a temperature-controlled warehouse unless the buyer requests delivery, and the cards can be traded online without changing hands except in the virtual sense. In January 2012, Topps announced that it will discontinue its etopps product line.
Digital collectible card games are estimated at a market of $1.3B in 2013. A number of newly created technologies have attempted to establish themselves in this space, notably Stampii (Spain, 2009), Fantom (Ireland, 2011), Deckdaq (Israel, 2011), and 2Stic (Austria, 2013). These companies have struggled with two challenges: the high cost of digital licenses for quality branded content, and the difficulty of monetizing Internet content particularly in an 8-12 year old demographic. The only successful business model has been unlocking B2B, technology licensing to sales promotion companies and sports franchises as digital inventory generators. Most of the digitally generated revenue is from American and Japanese companies such as Coastal Wizards, with the deepest play and their intellectual property.
The dominant paper card companies continue to slowly experiment with digital photography, being careful not to cannibalize their print markets.
Panini launched its Adrenalyn XL platform with a collection of NBA and NFL collectible cards. Connect2Media along with Winning Moves, created an iPhone App featuring a number of collectible card collections, including Dinosaurs, James Bond – 007, Celebrities, Gumball 3000, European Football Stars and NBA. In 2011, mytcg Technologies launched a platform that allowed content holders to host their content on.
On July 1, 2011, Intellectual Property Wildcat Holdings filed a lawsuit against 12 defendants, including Topps , Panini , Sony , Electronic Arts , Konami , Pokémon , Zynga and Nintendo , for allegedly infringing the patent “e-commerce card” of the bobcat.
In 2012, Topps also launched its first phone application. Topps Bunt is an application that allows users to connect with other fans in a fantasy league match type environment where they can pick up their favorite players, earn points based on how well they play and trade and compete with other fans.
In 2015 Topps launched a digital experiment in Europe (geographically located to exclude the US) with its wonder hero Attax, using digital as an overlay to its physical product.
Common functionalities that are shared between new and emerging digital trading card platforms include delivery, live auctions, virtual stores, multiplayer games, a mobile web or Facebook application, digital rights management, card tracking, and embedded content.
Today, the development of the Internet has given rise to various online communities, through which users can exchange collectible cards with each other. Cards are often bought and sold through eBay and other a sources. Many websites request their own “sell to us” page in hopes of attracting more buying opportunities.
The value of a merchant card depends on a combination of the condition of the card, the popularity of the item and the scarcity of the card. In some cases, especially with older cards that preceded the arrival of card collection as a widespread craze, they have become collector’s items of considerable value. In recent years, many sports cards have not necessarily appreciated as much in value due to overproduction, although some manufacturers have used limited editions and smaller print runs to increase the value. Business cards, however, do not have an absolute monetary value. The cards are only worth as much as a collector is willing to pay.
Card status is an aspect of business cards that determines the value of a card. There are four areas of interest in determining a card’s condition. Centered, corners, edges and surface are taken into consideration, for imperfections, such as color spots and blurred images, and wear and tear, such as folds, scratches and tears, when determining a business card value. Cards are considered poorly pristine depending on their condition, or in some cases a rating of 1 to 10. A card in perfect condition, for example, is generally valued more than a card in poor condition.
While vintage cards are truly a scarce commodity, today’s manufacturers have to artificially add value to their products in order to make them scarce. This is achieved by including parallel sets with serial numbers, game cards with worn out objects of interest, autographs, and much more. Time can also make cards scarce due to the fact that cards can be lost or destroyed.
Sports card is a generic term for a business card with a sport-related theme, unlike non-sports business cards that deal with other themes. Sports cards are among the earliest forms of collectibles. They usually consist of an image of a player on one side, with statistics or other information on the reverse. Cards have been produced with most major sports, especially those played in North America, including, but not limited to, the association soccer (soccer), baseball, basketball, boxing, American soccer (gridiron), golf, field hockey, racing and tennis.
The first stage in the development of sports cards, during the second half of the 19th century, is essentially the history of baseball cards, since baseball was the first sport to become widely professionalized. Field hockey cards also began to appear in the early 20th century. Cards from this period are commonly known as cigarette cards or tobacco cards, because many were produced by tobacco companies and inserted into cigarette packs, to harden cigarette packs and advertise cigarette brands. The most expensive hobby card is a Honus Wagner cigarette card in a set called 1909 T-206. The story is told that Wagner was against his cards inserting into children something they would pick up. So the production of his cards stopped abruptly. It is assumed that less than 100 of his cards exist in this set. The 1909 Honus Wagner T-206 card has sold as much as $2.8 million.
A set of cards are issued with each professional sports station. Since companies must usually pay players for the right to use their images, the vast majority of sports cards feature professional athletes. Amateurs appear only rarely, usually on cards produced or licensed by the institution they compete for, such as a university.
Many cards from older sports (pre-1980) have a high price today; this is because they are difficult to find, especially in good quality conditions. This happened because many children used to place their cards on bicycle spokes, where the cards were easily damaged. Novice hall of fame sports stars cards can send thousands of dollars if they have been relatively well preserved.
In the 1980s, sports cards began to be produced in greater numbers, and collectors began to keep their cards in better condition as they became increasingly aware of their potential investment value. This trend continued well into the 1990s. This practice caused many of the cards manufactured during this era to remain low in value, due to their high numbers.
The proliferation of cards saturated the market, and by the end of the 1990s, card companies began producing smaller versions of cards to keep many collectors interested. The latest trends in the hobby have been “game” souvenir cards, which usually feature a piece of a player’s shirt worn in a true professional game; other souvenir cards include pieces of bats, balls, hats, helmets and plants. Authenticated autographs are also very popular, as are “serial numbered” cards, which are produced in much smaller quantities than the regular “base set cards”.
Autographs obtained by card manufacturers have become the most collected baseball cards in the history of the fans. This began in 1990 in baseball when Upper Deck randomly inserted Reggie Jackson’s autographs into boxes. They are commonly known as “Certified Autograph Inserts” or “CAI”. Both the reputation of the athlete card company and are on the line if they do not personally sign these cards. This has created the most authentic autographs in existence. All these cards have some sort of printed statements that the autographs are authentic, this way, no matter who owns the autograph there is no doubt of its authenticity. CAI has diversified into autographs of famous actors, musicians, presidents, and even Albert Einstein. Most of these autographs are cut from flat items such as postcards, index cards and plain paper. They are then pasted onto the cards. In 2001, a company called Phase II started obtaining autographs on stickers that are stuck on the cards instead of them actually signing the cards. There is strong opposition against these types of autographs because the players would not even see the cards that the stickers are attached to.
Competition among card companies to produce quality sports cards has been fierce. In 2005, the long-time sports card producer Fleer went bankrupt and was bought by the top deck. Not long after that, Donruss lost his MLB baseball license.
The first soccer association (soccer) cards were produced in 1898 by the Marcus & Tobacco Company in Manchester, England. The set consisted of more than 100 cards and was published under the title “Club Colors”. It showed illustrated pictures of the players on the front of the card, and a tobacco advertisement on the back of the card. Many other cigarette companies quickly created their own series, starting with Kinner in 1898. A later series of cards was produced in 1934 by Ardath, which was a set of 50 cards called Famous Players that featured images of the players on the front of the card, and a tobacco advertisement and brief biography of the player on the back of the card.
Modern soccer association trading cards have been sold with gum in the UK from 1958 to 1975 by A&A, and later by Topps, UK from 1975 to 1981. Similar smaller size cards were issued in Spain and Italy starting in the 1940s. Cards have been produced from 1981 onwards, except for 1985 and 1986. Under its Merlin brand, since 1994 Topps has held the license to produce stickers for the Premier League sticker album. Launched by Topps in the 2007-08 season, Attax Match, the official collectible card game of the Premier League, is the best selling collectible card game in the UK – with about 1.5 million collectors in the UK – and with global sales it is also the best selling sports collectible card game in the world.
There are other variations of soccer products such as marbles, scrapbooking, coins, stamps and stickers, some light cardboard and fixed with glue or stickers, in sticker albums issued specifically for the products. Forming a partnership with FIFA in 1970, Panini first produced a World Cup sticker album for the 1970 World Cup. Beginning a hobby to collect and trade stickers, it has since become part of the World Cup experience, especially for the younger generation. The Guardian states, “the tradition of trading duplicate [World Cup] stickers was a backyard accessory during the 1970s and 1980s. Panini begins assembling the World Cup squads by their sticker album a few months before they are officially announced by each nation, which means surprise calls ups often don’t count in their album. A notable example of this was 17-year-old Brazilian striker Ronaldo who was called up to the Brazilian national team for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Panini’s Adrenalyn XL soccer trading card game was introduced in 2009. In 2010 published a Panini League Champions edition of Adrenalyn XL, which contains 350 cards from 22 competing clubs, including defending champions FC Barcelona. The fourth edition of the Panini 365 Adrenalyn XL was launched for 2019, with the best clubs, teams and players.
Baseball cards usually feature one or more baseball players or other sports figures related to baseball. The front of the card usually displays a picture of the player with identifying information, including, but not limited to, the player’s name and team affiliation. The reverse side of most modern statistical cards displays and/or biographical information. The cards are most commonly found in the United States, but are also common in countries such as Canada, Cuba, and Japan where baseball is a popular sport and there are professional leagues.
The earliest baseball cards were in the form of business cards produced in 1868. They became tobacco cards around 1886. In the 20th century other industries started to print their own version of baseball cards to promote their products, such as bakery/bread cards, cards, dairy candy cards, game cards and publication cards. Between the 1930’s and 1960’s, the cards became business cards, becoming their own product. In 1957, Topps changed the dimensions of their cards slightly, to 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches, setting a standard that is still the basic format for most sports cards produced in the United States.
Basketball cards will feature one or more players from the National Basketball Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Olympic basketball, WNBA, women’s professional basketball league, or some other basketball related topic. The first basketball cards were produced in 1910, in a series catalogued as University Athlete Felts B-33. The complete series includes ten different sports, with only 30 cards that are associated with basketball. The cards were issued as a premium refund for Egyptian cigarettes. The number of packs of cigarettes needed to redeem for the tobacco cards is not known.
The following series of basketball cards were issued in 1911, in two separate series; Series T6 College , measuring approximately 6″ by 8″ and the T51 university series, which measures approximately 2″ by 3″. These series included a variety of sports, with only 4 cards being associated with basketball, one T6 series card and three T51 series cards. Both series were produced in two variants, one variation of the “University Series” reading, and the other, “Second Series”. The cards are purchased at the store for fifteen Murad cigarette coupons. The offer expired on June 30, 1911.
The basketball cards were not seen again until 1932, when CA Briggs Chocolate issued a set of 31 cards containing multiple sports. In exchange for a full set of cards, Briggs offered the baseball team. The number of basketball cards in the set is not known.
According to Tallent, one of the first boxing cards in the “Great American Boxing Card” record, and the encyclopedia and boxing card registry, was by John C. Heenan issued by Charles D. Fredericks in the 1860s.
A soccer field card is a type of collectible card usually printed on stock paper or cardboard that features one or more soccer, Canadian soccer or World League soccer players or other related sports figures. These cards are most often found in the United States and Canada where the sport is very popular.
Most soccer cards feature National Football League players. There are also Canadian League Soccer and college soccer cards. Player cards usually list the player’s statistics.
Golf cards were first introduced in 1901 by Ogden.
The first field hockey cards were included in cigarette packages from 1910 to 1913. After World War I, only one more set of cigarettes was issued, during the 1924-25 season for Champ’s cigarettes. NHL player Billy Coutu’s biography includes an example of one of the 40 cards issued at that time.
During the 1920s, some field hockey cards were printed by food and candy companies, such as Paulin’s candy, Crispette Maple, Crescent, Holland Creameries and La Patrie.
Throughout 1941, O-Pee-Chee printed field hockey cards, stopping production of World War II . Presumably, the 1941 U.S. involvement in the war affected the field hockey card market, as Canada had been in the war since 1939.
Upcoming field hockey cards appeared during 1951-1952, issued by Shirriff Desserts, York Peanut Butter and Post Cereals. Toronto Parkhurst Products Company began printing cards in 1951, followed by Brooklyn Topps gum in 1954-1955. O-Pee-Chee and Topps did not produce cards in 1955 or 1956, but returned for 1957-1958. Shirriff also issued “field hockey coins.
The race cards consist of a cardboard with statistics and charts on it. Sometimes the car is shown, sometimes the driver’s face is shown, and sometimes both. It also shows the companies that subscribe for the car.
Collecting sports cards has been a hobby that became a million dollar investment; these are the most expensive sports cards.
Male sports fans once held sports cards in their hands. Collecting cards was one of our best hobbies, even if it cost us some money.
Sometimes you had to pay a high price to have the best ones, but these collection cards are really worth a fortune. Here we show you the 14 most expensive sports collection cards in history.
The 1993 card from the former captain of the New York Yankees is priced on eBay at $40,000.
Field hockey also has its great stars with valuable collection cards; such is the case of Wayne Gretzky’s card that has a value of 517 thousand American bills.
The 1987 card of one of the most emblematic men of the sport of blasting has a value of 100 thousand dollars, not bad, right?
A multi-faceted sportsman who made his foray into athletics, baseball and soccer and whose collection card is worth $119,500.
With a value of $240,000, this 1935 card is the most valuable in American soccer.
One of the few cards that was hand painted, the Cobb card has a modest value of $272,980.
An old card from 1933 that has been valued at $274,950.
In an auction this 1954 card with the image of one of the best baseball players of the Milwaukee Braves was acquired for $357,594.
At only $403,664, this is one of the most expensive cards from basketball player George Mikan who played mainly for the Minneapolis Lakers.
In 1910 this card was printed with a slight printing error. Incredibly, Joe Doyle’s misprinted card sold for $414,750.
A great star who died young and whose card was sold for 432,690 dollars.
The batting sultan has a collection card that is currently worth $517,000.
Another Yankee player whose card began with a price of 100 thousand but was surpassed until it was worth 525 thousand dollars.
Without a doubt the most expensive collection card in the history of sport. Wagner’s stoic image has become a baseball icon.
This card is so valuable because only 200 of them were printed because the player did not want his fans to associate his image with a tobacco company in 1909.
The Honus Wagner collection card is worth $2.8 million. A hobby that is currently paying off for the owners of these cards.