Dave Von Ohlen is considered one of the premier collectors of vintage baseball cards in the world. His collection is renowned for its breadth, depth, and quality, with some of the rarest and most coveted cards in the hobby. Von Ohlen got his start collecting in the 1970s as a young boy in Pennsylvania, drawn to the cards by his love of the game. Over the past 50 years, he has amassed what is widely regarded as the finest private collection in existence.

Von Ohlen’s collection is truly encyclopedic, with representatives from every year going all the way back to the 1880s. He is renowned for pursuing the finest conditioned examples possible across all of baseball card history. Some of the highlights of his collection include:

An 1886 Old Judge tobacco card of Mike “King” Kelly in Near Mint condition. This is considered the finest known copy in existence of the very first baseball card ever produced.

An 1888/89 Goodwin Champions set featuring future Hall of Famers like Cap Anson and Buck Ewing. These antique tobacco era cards are among the rarest in the hobby.


A 1909-11 T206 set including the ultra-rare and iconic Honus Wagner card. Von Ohlen’s Wagner is graded PSA Authentic and has earned a PSA 5, making it among the highest graded known examples.

A complete run of 1910-11 postal cards featuring stars like Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson. These early 20th century cards are elusive in any state of preservation.

A pristine 1933 Goudey set highlighted by a PSA 8 Babe Ruth card. Goudey cards from this era are among the most iconic and desirable issues.

High-grade examples from 1950s and 1960s sets like Topps, Fleer, and Post. These post-war issues introduced many modern collectors to the hobby.

Near-perfect 1970s stars like a PSA 10 Nolan Ryan rookie card and a PSA 9 Hank Aaron rookie. Cards from this era are some of the most collectible modern issues.

An unmatched collection of pre-war tobacco era stars like Nap Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, and Smokey Joe Wood. These antique cards are exceedingly rare in any condition.

Von Ohlen has spent untold hours and resources building his collection through diligent research, developing relationships with other serious collectors, and being willing to pay top dollar to acquire the finest examples. He is known for patiently waiting years for the right card in the right grade to become available to add to his set. Through this dedication and discipline, he has amassed what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime collection of baseball memorabilia.


In addition to building his personal collection, Von Ohlen has also contributed greatly to the hobby through his work as a consultant, authenticator, and researcher. He has helped major auction houses like Sotheby’s and Heritage Auctions properly classify and authenticate some of the most significant cards that have ever come to market. Von Ohlen also works closely with grading services like PSA and SGC to educate them on subtle variances that can help identify counterfeits or reprints.

Through his work authenticating other collections, Von Ohlen has helped uncover some remarkable finds. In 2001 he examined the famed “Beckett Baseball Card Monthly” collection and properly reattributed several key cards that had previously been misidentified, including recognizing one of the finest known examples of the rare 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card. In 2010, he assisted in the authentication of the famed “Shoeless” Joe Jackson card from the same iconic T206 set.


Von Ohlen’s collection and expertise are regularly sought out by museums, documentarians, authors, and journalists. He was featured prominently in the Ken Burns Baseball documentary and has been interviewed for numerous print articles and books on the history of the sport and the collecting hobby. While always reticent to publicly discuss his full collection, he understands the importance of education newcomers to the hobby and preserving its history for future generations.

Through a half-century of dedication and connoisseurship, Dave Von Ohlen has built an unparalleled collection that stands as both a tribute to baseball history and a remarkable archive of American popular culture. His cards represent some of the most iconic and valuable sports memorabilia in existence. While most will never have the opportunity to see his entire collection first-hand, serious collectors continue to be inspired by Von Ohlen’s passion and pursuit of perfection in preserving our national pastime.

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