BASEBALL CARDS PRICE GUIDE 1908

Baseball cards have been around since the late 1800s, with some of the earliest examples coming from cigarette packs and trade cards inserted in other products as promotional items. The year 1908 saw some significant developments in the early history of baseball cards that help establish the collecting hobby.

In 1908, the American Tobacco Company began inserting baseball cards as promotional items in packs of cigarettes. These cards featured individual players from Major League teams and became known as T206 White Border cards, considered one of the most iconic sets in baseball card history. The cards featured vivid color portraits and biographical information on the back. Production of the set continued through 1913 but 1908 is when the set was first introduced.

The rarity and condition of T206 White Border cards from 1908 is a big factor in their value over a century later. For the most desirable examples, including superstar players of the era like Honus Wagner, Mint condition examples can fetch millions of dollars at auction. But more common players from 1908 still hold value ranging from around $500-$5,000 depending on the player and quality of the card. Top rookies and stars from that inaugural 1908 set carry higher values.

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Another significant release in 1908 came from candy maker The American Caramel Company. Their caramel cards series spanned 36 sets from 1890-1911 and helped popularize collecting among children and adults alike. The 1908-1911 U229 Caramel subset is highly sought after by collectors today. In top conditioned, examples of stars like Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson from 1908 can sell for $1,000-$5,000. More common players bring $100-500.

Collectors should also be aware of tobacco cards released overseas in 1908 that have found their way into the US market. Examples include British baseball cards from Ogden’s Guys and Allen & Ginter. These exotic foreign issued cards in good condition can fetch $200-$1,000 for stars depicted.

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When it comes to price guides for vintage 1908 baseball cards, two leading sources are Beckett Baseball Card Monthly and The Standard Guide to Vintage Baseball Cards by Jamie Cerretani. Beckett prices are based on auction records and factor in demand, while Cerretani prices are dealer values. Here is a sampling of 1908 baseball card values from these guides:

Honus Wagner T206 – Beckett $2.8M/Cerretani $3M (PSA 8)
Ty Cobb T206 – Beckett $450K/Cerretani $600K (PSA 8)
Walter Johnson T206 – Beckett $250K/Cerretani $350K (PSA 8)
Christy Mathewson T206 – Beckett $150K/Cerretani $200K (PSA 8)
Eddie Plank T206 – Beckett $40K/Cerretani $50K (PSA 8)
Sherry Magee T206 – Beckett $15K/Cerretani $20K (PSA 8)
George McQuillan U229 Caramel – Beckett $2K/Cerretani $3K (NM)
Doc White U229 Caramel – Beckett $1K/Cerretani $1.5K (NM)
Jimmy Austin British – Beckett $800/Cerretani $1K (NM)

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In summary, 1908 was a landmark year that established the modern baseball card collecting industry. Rarity and condition are key factors in 1908 card prices, which can range from a few hundred dollars into the millions. While vintage cards require patience to acquire, 1908 sets like T206 and U229 Caramel contain some of the most iconic and valuable cards that any collection aims to include. Understanding the context of early production and referencing guide values helps collectors pursue this historic subset of the hobby.

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