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If you’re looking at getting back into sport card collecting – or if you’re new to the hobby in general, getting the pricing right on cards is so important.
If you don’t do your homework, you can easily get ripped off and pay way more for cards than they’re worth. Or, you can rip yourself off and sell your cards way under value.
Either way, you don’t want to get your card bill and be surprised by the number.
In this article, we’ll look at how to check sporting card values. So if you’re wondering how to price baseball cards, soccer cards, basketball cards, football cards or anything else, this article will help you out.
What Sports Cards are Woth Money?
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at baseball cards, basketball cards, football cards, soccer cards or anything else – the formula for card value is pretty much the same.
These are the factors that’ll alter price:
- Star Players: It shouldn’t be any surprise that the cards of start players are worth more than the cards of lesser-known players. Or, in other words, Michael Jordan cards are worth more an Luc Longley cards (not to me, I love you, Luc).
- Rookie Cards: A player’s rookie card will almost always be thier most valuable card. Think of it this way, it doesn’t matter how many seasons a player is in the league – they’ll still only have one year of rookie cards. The added scarcity makes the card more valuable.
- Brand: There’s a bunch of different card brands and designs. Each different sport will have different brands that are on top. The type of card you’ve
- Print-Run of The Card: For example, if your card is only printed to 50 (there was only 50 of that card ever made), that will be worth more than a card printed to 250, or just a regular base card. This will be printed on the card somewhere (usually the front). It’ll say how many cards were printed, and what number card yours is. For example, 010/250 means your card is the 10th printed out of the 250 in existance.
- Publication Year: Some cards were over-printed. This means they’re not as rare as other cards of the same player. This is common in what’s called the ‘junk wax‘ era – which is the late 80s – early 90s, where cards became super-popular.
- Graded Cards: Getting cards graded will increase their value. If you want to know more, you can check out this guide to card rating.
There’s also a few other factors that may alter card grades like known missprints, oddities, etc… However, they’re more the exception than they are the rule.
For most of you, those factors we listed above will be what dictates your card value.
What’s The Best Way To Check Sports Card Values?
Okay, so we’ve looked at what facors will impact card prices – but are you supposed to know all that off-by-heart and be able to make educated guesses at price-ranges.
There’s plenty of ways to see what cards like yours are selling for and what they’ve sold for in the past.
The best way to see your cards value is to check previous sales data. As most cards are sold online these days, you can easily find the sales values from popular card sites.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to check card value.
Check eBay Sales Prices
eBay is still the biggest marketplace to sell your sports cards. Because of this, they’re a great resource if you want to find rough sales prices for your cards.
However, as you’ve probably noticed, almost every seller lists their cards and boxes at inflated prices. There’s two reasons why sellers do this:
- The most important reason is that there’s room to negotiate with buyers
- Every now and then, some idiot will just pay the ‘buy it now’ price and pay huge overs (don’t be that idiot)
Because of this, it is important to make sure you click the ‘sold items’ option when checking prices. That’ll only show you items that have sold.
Once you only search for sold items, you get a clearer idea of the prices that your cards have sold for recently.
However, there is one problem with eBay’s sold prices…
When you search for sale-prices of cards on eBay, there is one problem. eBay won’t show you a negotiated price. So, if a buyer and seller negotiate a price, it’ll list the ‘but-it-now’ price that the seller initally listed and not what the card actually sold for.
So, make sure you pay extra attention to the cards that sold via auction – that’s a far more accurate way to check sale-prices.
Visit PSA Price History
PSA also have a great database of card sales that you can access for free.
When you do, you can search for a specific card or even a specific set. When you search for a card’s prices, you’ll be able to check the PSA grading, the sales price, the date, and where the auciton was held.
There’s even a cool graphing tool that shows your card’s sales as a line graph to show the growth of the card’s price over time.
The graph is a handy tool to check and see if you can cash in a card while it’s hot.
Beckett Price Guides
Beckett’s price guides is another great resource that you can use to check the prices of your card collection – along with getting a good look at the market as a whole.
The data on Beckett is arguably the best online, however it isn’t free – there’s a small monthly membership you’ll need to pay in order to access their data.
It’s really up to you if you think it’s worth it to pay for Beckett price guides. My view is, if you’re an invester, it’s a well worth the money – you’ll make that $9 a month back pretty easily by making wiser buying choices.
But if you you’re just looking to get a rough price estimate on a few old cards you’ve got hidden in some shoe box in your old childhood bedroom, it’s probably not worth it.
Other Tools and Retialers
More often than not, eBay and PSA will give you a decent-enough idea on your card’s valie. However, there are some other handy tools that you can check out.
One site I use a bit is StarStock, if you’re familiar with sneaker collecting, you may have heard of it before. Well, they do cards too, and they have a decent enough collection now where you can look at card sale prices.
StarStock is one of those platforms that let’s buyers put open offers for cards along with sellers listing their cards – so you get a good picture on what people are willing to pay for a card like yours.
But, What if I Can’t Find Sales History For My Card?
One issue you may come across when looking for past sales data is not being able to find much history for your card.
- You can’t find the same player
- You can’t find the year/make of card
- You can’t find cards with the same grading
Don’t worry, that’s pretty common. There won’t be comprehensive sales data for every single card.
Instead look for cards similar to yours and make calculated guesses. For example, if you have a PSA 10 graded card and can only find sales data for PSA 9 versions of the same card – then yours will be worth more than that.
If you can’t find your player, then look to see other players of similar stature and see what they’re selling for. Yours will more likely sell for a similar price. The same goes for the year/make of card – find something similar and work it out from there.
Also rememer that rookie cards are worth more. So if you can only find sales data for rookie cards and yours isn’t one, then yours will almost certainly be worth less.
Sure, it’s not perfect – but it’s a hell of a lot better than nothing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Best Way to Price Baseball Cards?
If you’re looking to price your baseball cards (or any other sports card), check the recent sales data and price yours in that range.
Keep in mind, most buyers on eBay and other marketplaces will try and negotiate a price – so feel free to add a little extra to the ‘buy-it-now’ prices.
Is There a Market for Sports Cards?
Yes, ther is still a huge market for sports cards. Now that people can buy and sell online, it’s really opened up the market to more people.
Card prices have shot up throughout the last few years as the market grows. However, it’s important to know, like any market it does correct itself from time to time.
Are Sports Cards a Good Investment?
Deciding if sports cards are a good investment for you is a tricky one. You do need to know a lot about the sports you’re collecting to be able to buy underpriced cards. The market is also quite tricky to navigate from time to time.
The payouts can be huge though, and offer far greater returns than other investments. However, with the volatility of the market, you shouldn’t replace conservative investing strategies with card collecting. Basically, don’t invest more than you’d be okay to lose.
It definitely pays to be a collector and an investor as opposed to just an investor.
Working out a sports cards value can be the difference between getting a fair deal and getting ripped off. So, make sure you do your homework before purchasing.