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Castor Panfilov
Castor Panfilov

Buy Right Card

On the bus, tell the operator whether you want a 2-Hour or 1-Day ticket, then insert coins and bills into the farebox and grab your ticket from the printer on your right. On MAX, buy a ticket from the ticket machine at the station before boarding.

buy right card

Baseball cards were originally used to promote cigarette packs but quickly became promotional material for magazines, department stores, and anyone else willing to answer the call of "your ad here." Who knew that slapping the face of your favorite baseball player on the back of a business card would work so well?

Over time, fans started collecting their favorites until it became such a popular hobby that a whole industry was built up around it. Today, collecting these little pieces of cardboard has become a billion-dollar industry, with top cards like the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle fetching $12.6 million.

The two biggest companies in the sports card industry are Panini and Topps. Upper Deck and Fleer are smaller players, while Donruss is owned by Panini and Bowman by Topps. The Big Two each have monopolies in different sports due to their exclusive contracts with leagues or players' associations.

Panini is the largest sports card brand in the world right now, with a monopoly on basketball, football, and (to a lesser extent) soccer trading cards. Topps, on the other hand, used to be the leading sports card producer until other players started entering the market. These days Topps only has a monopoly on baseball cards through their exclusive licensing agreement with the MLB. In practice, this means that only Topps can use team names and logos on their cards.

It almost goes without saying, but baseball cards featuring famous players fetch higher prices than unknowns. But fame itself is merely a byproduct of achievements. To that end, one of the best predictors of the most valuable baseball cards is whether a player has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is why Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner cards are among the most valuable in the world.

Vintage pre and post-war cards like the 1909-1911 T206 White Border Ty Cobb Back are in high demand precisely because they are so hard to find. Additionally, the backstories behind certain cards can also make them iconic in their own right. Take, for example, the 1869 Peck & Snyder Cincinnati Red Stockings, which is considered by many to be the first true baseball card.

You can mail your trading cards to companies like Beckett and PSA to authenticate and grade trading them from 1 to 10. A higher grade equals a more valuable card, with the corners, edges, print quality, and other factors being taken into consideration.

Mike Trout is one of the best players on the field today. The nine-time Silver Slugger won two MVP Awards and an American League Rookie of the Year award before the age of 25. He was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2012 by unanimous vote. His accomplishments and awards lead many to regard him as a future Hall of Famer, which makes his rookie cards very attractive to collectors.

Some of his cards are already hitting seven-figure sales. His 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP89 Superfractor sold for $3.9 million in 2020. The sale smashed the record for most valuable baseball card at the time, beating the then-highest sale of a Honus Wagner T206 White Border card at $3.1 million. The Wagner soon reclaimed its title, but the 2009 Bowman Draft Trout remains a big deal in the baseball card world. Considering its previous sale was for $400,000 in 2018, the astronomical 875% increase over just two years has only bolstered the value of his other trading cards.

Until recently, the T206 White Border Honus Wagner was unchallenged as the most valuable sports card in the world. This throwback to the tobacco era of baseball cards held and reclaimed the record several times, with a 2022 high sale of $7.25 million. Even after the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle started competing for the top spot, the Wagner has remained one of the most desirable and iconic cards in the hobby.

No one knows exactly why the Wagner has held such allure and sway in the baseball card hobby. But it has a few good things going for it, like the card having a limited run and The Flying Dutchman being among the first inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The card turned out to be altered, with trimmed edges to make it appear better preserved than it actually was, and the vendor responsible was investigated by the FBI before serving 20 months in federal prison for fraud.

The most sought-after card in baseball history obviously inspires hefty price tags, but don't let that scare you. The Nuns' Wagner is available on Rally, a fractionalized collectibles investing platform. They let you buy shares in this Honus T206 and hundreds of other collectibles.

Adley Rutschman has been on the radar of baseball fans and card collectors since he was in high school. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, but he chose to attend Oregon State University and play college baseball for the Beavers instead. He was awarded College World Series Most Outstanding Player and Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year during his time there.

Rutschman's cards are still highly affordable, while collectors hang back to see if he continues to live up to the hype. The Bowman Chrome Draft Rutschman rookie card has all the makings of a baseball diamond, with the signature Bowman quality and chromatic finish that make these cards stand out. The image of Rutschman at bat is an ideal action shot for the young catcher, and his autograph boosts the value of this card.

If the T206 Wagner is the Mona Lisa of the baseball card hobby, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is the Holy Grail. It's not only one of the most iconic cards in the baseball collecting world, but it also has a devoted following and an epic backstory that has kept it on collectors' wishlists for decades.

It was more than nostalgia that made the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle the most sought after card in the hobby. The 1952 series was the first set of cards that Topps Chewing Gum printed. The kid-friendly rebrand of trading cards had Topps put together a bold new design that improved on older baseball card styles. The stylish redesign has become a classic, but the bold colors and illustrated close-ups were a hit even then.

After years of trying to move the leftover cards, and even offering 10-for-a-penny deals, the inventory was literally dumped off the coast of New Jersey. Only a handful of boxes survived the liquidation, making this card as rare as it is legendary. No wonder one of them set the record for most valuable sports card with a $12.6 million sale in 2022.

Babe Ruth was considered one of the greatest players in the game, and his records are still pursued by athletes today. The original GOAT inspired generations of fans and ballplayers, making his cards must-have pieces for anyone serious about collecting baseball cards.

Babe Ruth's rookie cards have sold for millions, despite how difficult it is to find high-quality versions of them. They're also much less visually appealing than the 1933 Goudey cards. The rookie card features a grainy black-and-white image of Ruth awkwardly tossing a ball toward the camera.

Just like the famed 1952 card, Mickey Mantle's 1951 rookie card comes with a compelling story. It's more centered on the player himself rather than the card, but it still adds value to the collectible. While Mickey Mantle has gone down in history as one of the greats, his starting year with the Yankees was a rough one. His rookie year found him playing the field on a reserve team in Kansas City instead of rounding the bases in Yankee Stadium.

The 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card features young Mickey in his Yankees uniform, while the treetops and telephone pole in the background evoke the open sky of his Oklahoma roots. The 1951 Bowman set was produced before Topps acquired the company in 1956. From 1948 to 1952, Bowman was the leading producer of baseball cards until Topps entered the arena. This makes cards from the 1951 set even more valuable collectibles as pieces of Bowman's heyday.

A Green Portrait Ty Cobb card rated PSA 7 sold for $49,000 in 2020, and one rated PSA 2 went for $8,460 in 2022, showing that desire for these cards is still strong. If you're looking for a piece of baseball history to add to your collection, this could be the right card for you.

When the lists are made ranking the best to ever play the game, the top two slots are usually reserved for Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Starting his Hall of Fame career in the majors in 1951 means this superstar's rookie year lined up almost perfectly with the kitchen-table-founding of Topps. Both Willie Mays and Topps would go on to change everything in their industries and this card is a once-in-a-lifetime marker of what was to come.

The 1952 Topps Willie Mays has sold for $180,000 to $240,000 in 2022, and you can purchase shares of a PSA 8 version of the card on Collectable. Their card has a market cap of $174,398 and has been valued at as much as $505,000 since 2021.

This isn't the first time on this list we've told this story. Just like the famed Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle card overshadowing the lesser-known 1951 Bowman rookie card, Willie Mays's actual rookie card is this Bowman from the year before.

The 1951 Bowman rookie card represents the true start of a career that would see Willie Mays go on to be a 24-time All-Star and be named Player of the Decade by Sporting News in 1970. And it's a career that almost didn't happen.

Some PSA 8 versions of this card have sold at auction for six figures in 2022, with a high price of $338,000. Only a handful of PSA 9 cards have been brought to auction, selling for between $65,000 and $93,000 from 2007 through 2009. Seeing how prices have skyrocketed in recent years, it's likely that the higher-graded cards could give these other all-star investments a run for their money in the future. 041b061a72


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