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Cy Young is considered by many to be the best baseball pitcher in history.
The stats speak in his favor – most matches won, innings pitched, and games completed. And despite only winning one World Championship in his career (in 1903), his legendary status remains.
Today, we celebrate Cy Young’s brilliance with the Cy Young award, and more importantly – through Cy Young baseball cards.
These are some of the most expensive and sought-after cards.
The Top Cy Young Baseball Cards
These Cy Young baseball cards are some of the most revered cards for collectors. They can reach extraordinary values, but owning one of these is something to be proud of, so it’s certainly worth pursuing them if you have the money.
1891 John H. Ryder Cabinets Cy Young
Let’s start this list with the earliest known Cy Young baseball card in existence.
Young began his career with the Cleveland Spiders in 1890, so this card is just one year shy of being his rookie card.
By 1891, Cy Young was already an established star in the Cleveland Spiders team. After a wildly successful first season, he became irreplaceable.
Since this is the very first known Cy Young card, it’s obviously going to be expensive. According to the PSA population reports, there are only two cards like this in existence, which obviously means that prices are going to be through the roof.
1893 Just So Tobacco Cy Young #13
The next card is the Just So card of Cy Young from 1893. It’s one of the most famous baseball cards ever made because this is perhaps the best-known Cy Young card sold commercially.
The card was a part of a 15-card set by Just So Tobacco company. The cards were included in tobacco packs, although some were more common than others.
Because this card is so rare, there isn’t really a set value for this one, but some people believe it has the potential to be one of the most, if not the most, expensive baseball cards in history.
There are only a few instances of this card left out there. For many decades, collectors weren’t even aware that this card existed.
1902 Sporting Life Cabinets Cy Young #715
Sporting Life Cabinets cards were first issued in 1902 and were continuously published every year up until 1911.
These were large sets – usually, they had over 650 cards in each set. On these cards, players are shown in their apparel and they were photographed by Carl Horner, a famous photographer at the time.
Today, these cards are still rare and will sell for thousands of dollars, depending on the condition of the card.
Needless to say, Cy Young was one of the most popular cards from these sets, which also included some of the all-time greats like Chief Bender, Frank Baker, Honus Wagner, Eddie Plank, Joe Jackson, and several others.
1903 Breisch-Williams E107-1 Cy Young #159
Here we have perhaps one of the most famous Cy Young baseball cards out there – the 1903 Breisch-Williams card.
Pitching for the Red Sox, Cy Young was one of the biggest baseball stars at the time. 1903 was also the year when Young led the Red Sox to the World Championship title, which is yet another reason why this card is so popular.
This card comes from a very early period of baseball cards that were included in tobacco or candy packs. And it is often said that it was this card that established the pattern of how these cards were designed.
Obviously, it is also a very rare card.
Many of these cards are only available in lower grades, and for this reason, this card can be very expensive.
1909 E90-1 American Caramel Cy Young
American Caramel was one of the classic providers of baseball cards in the early 1900s. They used to make some of the world’s most popular baseball cards of the biggest stars, including Cy Young.
Interestingly, Young was one of the first most notable stars of the Boston Red Sox who up until 1907, used the name “Boston Americans”, which was abbreviated to BA, as seen on the front of the jersey of Young.
By the time this card was released in 1909, Young was already traded to the Cleveland Naps, but the memories of the huge successes that Young brought to the Red Sox remain.
Though not as valuable as some other cards on this list, this American Caramel card can still cost thousands of dollars and potentially more in the best possible conditions.
1910 E93 Standard Caramel Cy Young
Standard Caramel produced around 30 cards in the year 1910, which featured some of the best and most important baseball players at the time. Cy Young was obviously included on that list.
At the back of this card, there’s a checklist of all of those 30 cards from the set. The cards weren’t numbered, though.
In terms of style, this card mainly follows the style set by other card companies at the time, accompanied by a yellow background and a frontal action image of Young.
You can find some interesting listings of this card online and the good thing is that it doesn’t cost as much as some other cards from the same era.
1909-11 T206 Cy Young
T206 might just be one of the most famous sets in baseball card history.
It has produced some of the greatest cards of all time, including the T206 Honus Wagner, which still ranks among the most expensive cards in history.
And Cy Young isn’t that far, either.
These portraits depict Cy Young in a few different poses. The card from 1909 (first on the left) shows a frontal portrait of Young in his Cleveland jersey. The other two are more action-packed, but they’re all equally popular.
If we had to pick one that stands out, it’s the frontal portrait on the green background. This image of Young was so popular at the time that it was used on almost any type of memorabilia and cards.
All cards have one thing in common, though: the better the card is preserved, the more it is going to cost. Even for lower grades, you’re probably looking at thousands of dollars and if you happen to find a higher grade, then the prices are going to be much higher.
1911 T3 Turkey Red Cabinets Cy Young #42
The T206 cards pretty much set the tone for how baseball cards looked in the next couple of years. And this Turkey Red card from 1911 follows that recipe to a T.
One thing that makes this card more desirable than others is its colorful nature. You’ll notice that it has way more coloration than some other earlier cards, making it an instant contender for many collectors.
The interesting thing about these cards is that they feature a checklist on the back, which was a distinct feature seen on many cards produced by tobacco companies.
Overall, this card is a classic one and it still gets a lot of attention from collectors looking to add this beauty to their collections.
The only problem will be finding a good card with a decent enough grade that is still in the budget for many collectors.
1910-11 M116 Sporting Life Cy Young
Originally, Sporting Life released around 300 cards in this 1910-11 card set, which also included Cy Young.
Most of the cards were colored, although black-and-white cards were also issued and could be bought separately. Most collectors preferred the colored version, though.
Today, this card is rarer than some other cards on this list, so you might have a tough time finding it. For this reason, buying this card will likely cost quite a lot.
1911 T205 Cy Young Golden Border
Along with T206 and Turkey Red from 1911, T205 is among the most popular baseball sets from the early 1900s, and Cy Young was a part of it, too.
Compared to other sets from this era, T205 had some unique features that make it desirable.
First of all, there’s the slightly more complex graphical style on the front of the card that includes Cy Young’s face as well as some nice graphical elements on the bottom of the card, such as bats, a ball, and others that make this card a classic.
The second unique feature of this card is the included description of the player on the back of the card along with the full name of the player. Interestingly, Young’s name is written in full on the back of the card (Denton T. Young).
It’s yet another great card that you can consider if you have the budget for it. Even PSA 5 or PSA 6 graded cards like this can easily cost five-figure amounts, but lower graded cards can be slightly cheaper than that.