Investing in baseball cards is something every collector considers. As we become older we rationalize profiting from our hobbies, considering the legitimacy of actually putting good money into the hobby. Like any investment, profiting requires considerable research and a well thought out strategy.
Baseball cards manufactured before 1980 are the most valuable. Vintage baseball cards have proven time and again to be the best investment. The best samples from this era feature deceased players and those in the Hall of Fame. There is no better strategy investing in baseball cards than to put your money in old cards.
Identify the best samples first, those with the fewest flaws that were taken care of. Mint condition cards from the 60s and earlier are quite rare and demand a premium.
Cards to Avoid
During the 1980s and 1990s baseball cards were manufactured at an alarming pace. The market was flooded with low quality samples that held little value. Even today, those two decades represent the glut of the industry.
Investing in Rookie Cards
The only potential that cards from the 80s and 90s represent is in rookie card lots. Buying rookie cards from the best players in this era in bulk will reward investors (albeit minimally). The best investment in this era will undoubtedly be in Hall of Fame players. A great deal of players from the 80s, 90s, & 2000s are clearly HOF caliber and can be depended on to be voted in.
This rookie card strategy is a very sound strategy if you can find them in large lots. Buying these cards one at a time will be too expensive to reward you investment.
Risky Baseball Card Investments
During the late 1990s and into the 2000s card companies began to realize that rare specimens, autographs, memorabilia and flashy designs would draw collectors and investors alike. Again, the market was flooded, but this time it was with high quality cards featuring autographs and jersey swatches. Numbered cards also began to lure collectors with the prospect of finding one of a kind samples and short printed cards.
While, in theory this was a sound production strategy, the fact that everyone was doing it saturated the market and confused collectors with too many similar sets.
Investors and collectors put lots of money into these cards, assuming they couldnt go wrong with autographs of famous players, young prospects and Hall of Famers. Unfortunately, everyone else had these (or similar) cards as well. As a result, many well-regarded cards from this era became of little value.
Un-certified autographs and memorabilia also hold little to no value. If you intend on investing in game-used or autographed items, make sure you receive a legitimate certificate of authenticity. If possible, always buy your memorabilia from an authorized vendor, such as mlb.com.
Investing Within Your Budget
The most important thing to remember when investing in baseball cards is to always set a budget and never go over it. You may come across a certain deal and convince yourself that it will never come along again. Always be aware that deals will catch your eye but you must stick to your budget.
Consider these general points when investing in baseball cards and try to enjoy the hobby.