The 1970 baseball card season saw the rise of many future Hall of Famers and all-time great players who were just starting their careers. While the cards from this era may not fetch million-dollar prices like some decades prior, there are still quite a few gems from 1970 that can bring in substantial returns for collectors. Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable 1970 baseball cards to keep an eye out for.

One of the true heavy hitters from the 1970 set is the Nolan Ryan rookie card. Ryan was just starting his journey with the New York Mets in 1970 and went on to become arguably the greatest strikeout pitcher of all time. Low population combined with his legendary career has made his 1970 Topps rookie one of the most coveted in the sport’s history. In near mint to mint condition, it can sell for over $20,000. The card is clearly at the very top of the most valuable list for the ’70s.


Another rookie card that earns a spot towards the top is Johnny Bench’s 1970 issue from Topps. Bench burst onto the scene in 1969 as a 21-year-old catcher for the Cincinnati Reds and quickly proved to be one of the best ever behind the plate. He won the 1970 National League Rookie of the Year award. With his future Hall of Fame career and the scarcity of high-grade copies, Bench’s rookie card can net $15,000 or more for a true gem copy.

Reggie Jackson made his Topps debut in 1970 with the Oakland A’s and went on to have a famous career with the Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees. As one of the game’s most iconic power hitters and a member of the 500 home run club, Jackson’s cards hold significant worth. For a pristine 1970 Topps Reggie Jackson, expect to pay around $8,000-$10,000.

In 1970, Carl Yastrzemski was in his prime with the Boston Red Sox and won the American League MVP and batting title. “Yaz” went on to capture the 1967 AL Triple Crown and amass over 3,000 career hits. His 1970 Topps card isn’t quite as scarce as the rookie cards above, but still highly valuable in top grades. A NM-MT copy can be valued around $3,500.


One of the 1970 set’s more sought-after short prints is the Curt Flood card. In addition to being a superb defensive center fielder, Flood is well known for filing a pivotal 1970 lawsuit against Major League Baseball which challenged the league’s reserve clause. Only about 100 copies of his card are believed to exist in pristine condition, so a gem MT/MT+ version could sell for $3,000 or higher.

Moving into the $1,000-$2,000 range, other standout 1970 cards include rookie cards of future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, and Tom Seaver. Aaron’s Milwaukee Braves card and Seaver’s early Mets issue are two of the key rookie cards collectors hunt. Morgan made his debut with the Houston Astros and went on to a sparkling career mostly with the Big Red Machine Reds.


Some dark horses that can approach $1,000 for top quality include Fergie Jenkins’ 1970 Phillies card, Rod Carew’s 1970 Twins card from his American League Rookie of the Year season, and Nolan Ryan’s 1972 Angels rookie substitute card which was actually issued a year early in the 1970 set due to a photo shortage.

While it may lack some of the mega-valuable cards of the 1960s, savvy collectors know there is still gold to be found in the 1970 Topps baseball series. Rookie cards of soon-to-be all-time greats like Ryan, Bench, Yastrzemski and more make this set highly collectible even decades later. For unopened wax packs or boxes in pristine condition, prices can easily hit five figures as well. The 1970s birthed many icons of the sport, and their early cardboard issues rightly earn places among the most prized baseball collectibles.

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