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Yes, the hobby of collecting baseball cards is still very popular today despite the many changes in the sports card industry over recent decades. While physical baseball card sales have declined significantly since their peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there remains a strong dedicated community of card collectors and enthusiasts.

Baseball cards first gained widespread popularity in the late 19th century as promotions included in cigarette packs. The rise of mass-produced cardboard cards in the 1930s help spread their popularity even further. In the post-World War II era, as baseball rose to become America’s pastime, collecting cards of favorite players also boomed. The late 1960s through the 1980s became the “golden age” of baseball cards as manufacturers produced massive print runs and virtually every child collected and traded cards.

Beginning in the early 1990s, several factors contributed to a steep decline in the baseball card market. Chief among them was overproduction and a subsequent crash in card values that soured many collectors. From 1991 to 1993, major manufacturers like Fleer, Topps, and Donruss printed far more cards than demand could support. Many of the rarest and most valuable cards from that era sold in dime stores for mere cents. With no scarcity or lucrative resale potential, the frenzy ended.

Around this same time, new entertainment technologies also diverted kids attention away from cards. Video games, the internet, and streaming entertainment made dedicated card collecting seem outdated. And in the late 90s, high-profile sports memorabilia scandals further tarnished the industry’s image. Despite the downturn, local card shops across America managed to stay open thanks to a loyal customer base.

In the 2000s and 2010s, while print runs were smaller and the general public lost interest, passionate collectors remained as vibrant online communities sprang up. Websites like BaseballCardPedia, TradingCardDB and Blowout Forums allowed collectors worldwide to connect, research cards, and facilitate trades or group breaks of unopened boxes. Card shows, national conventions, and high-end auctions also continued apace. Although print runs were smaller, manufacturers like Topps, Panini, and Leaf focused on dedicated collectors through inserts, parallels, and limited edition products.

Today, physical baseball card sales are a fraction of their peak but still total in the hundreds of millions per year according to industry estimates. Card shops are less common but dedicated brick-and-mortar and online retailers still cater to the market. While casual collecting has declined, hardcore fans dedicate themselves to completing particular sets or chasing rare vintage and modern rookie cards. Prominent modern rookie cards like those of superstars Mike Trout, Juan Soto, or Shohei Ohtani can sell for thousands of dollars. Iconic vintage stars like Mickey Mantle still move for over $1 million.

Card breaks remain popular online events where groups collectively open boxes, with hit cards allocated randomly. And collecting has expanded beyond paper to include valuable autograph relic cards, auto patches, event-worn memorabilia cards, and digital-only formats. Nostalgia for childhood hobbies also brings some former collectors back and introduces the activity to their own kids. Looking ahead, as today’s youth watch stars and collect in the digital age, non-fungible tokens and augmented reality tech may merge collecting and gameplay.

In short, while the heyday of baseball card mass production and speculation is long past, a dedicated, connected community of serious collectors still thrives both online and at local shops and conventions. With a mix of nostalgia, fandom, investing, and community, baseball card collecting remains a popular American hobby. Valuable vintage cards continue appreciating substantially over time and new generations will likely find ways to connect through emerging technologies built around their favorite players, teams and memories. So in summary – yes, plenty of avid collectors still eagerly buy baseball cards despite the industry downturns.


Yes, many people still actively buy and collect baseball cards today despite the hobby seeing declines in interest and sales over the past couple of decades from its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While the baseball card industry is a shadow of its former self, there remains a dedicated collector base and secondary market for trading and buying cards.

Some of the main groups that continue to buy baseball cards include older collectors who have been collecting for decades and want to add to or complete sets from their youth, younger collectors just getting into the hobby looking for affordable memorabilia of current players, fans who enjoy collecting players from a favorite team or era, people who view cards as an investment or enjoyment, retailers and shops that sell cards to collectors, and dealers who buy and sell as part of the collectibles business.

Casual collectors may purchase the yearly baseball card releases from companies like Topps, Panini, Leaf, etc. to assemble sets featuring the current year’s players and teams. More avid collectors look to buy cards from specific players, teams, sets, or years that they need to fill in gaps in their collections. Some focus on completing full sets while others take a more curated approach to their collections. High-end vintage cards from the pre-1980s period remain highly desirable purchase targets for wealthy collectors.

While retail sales of packs, boxes and memorabilia cards have declined significantly from their peak, the secondary market for buying individual cards remains robust. Websites like eBay see hundreds of thousands of baseball cards listed for sale by collectors and dealers each year across all price ranges. The market caters both to collectors purchasing commons for a quarter each as well as for big spenders bidding on rare, highly valuable vintage cards that can sell for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Certain types of cards tend to attract more demand and command higher prices in the secondary market. Rookie cards, especially for star players, are universally collectible. Autograph and memorabilia cards insert powerful contemporary athletes into the vintage card experience. Top rookie cards from the 1952 Topps, 1957 Topps, and 1967 Topps sets are iconic investments that regularly break records in auctions. Autograph cards of legends like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Lou Gehrig pull in serious money.

While activity has cooled compared to the speculative frenzy around unopened wax boxes in the early 1990s, the bull market for rare vintage appears intact. Auction houses like Heritage still facilitate multi-million dollar card sales. Even affordable raw vintage in the $10-$100 range sells well as buy values hold or appreciate modestly over time. Newer singles have softened but collectors look for opportunities. Overall the secondary market supplies a steady customer base that ensures continued buying and collecting.

Technology has also aided the buying of cards online. Websites specializing in cards have listing databases that allow collectors to search for specific items they want nationwide. Social media inspires new collectors daily and online groups help facilitate trades and sales. While hobby shops and conventions remain important gathering spots, the internet plays a leading role in connecting today’s diverse, worldwide community of baseball card buyers.

Those who remain actively buying cards are passionate about preserving baseball history and growing their collections. Whether seeking affordable commons, chase Cards, or high-dollar icons, a dedicated network of collectors ensure there will likely always be demand and an marketplace for anyone looking to buy baseball cards well into the future. The hobby may evolve, but interest in America’s pastime rendered in cardboard seems sure to endure.


Baseball cards have been around since the late 19th century and started gaining widespread popularity in the 1930s and 1940s as a way for young fans to collect images and information about their favorite players and teams. In the late 1980s and early 90s, the baseball card market exploded into a speculative frenzy as the popularity of certain rookie cards skyrocketed in value. A market crash in the mid-90s caused values to plummet and interest in collecting waned.

Though it underwent fluctuations, the baseball card market has proven to be remarkably durable. Today, collecting cards remains both a popular nostalgic hobby and big business. The collection and resale market is a multi-billion dollar industry. While the heyday of overwhelming mainstream interest may have passed, there are still many avid collectors who view their hobby not just as an enjoyable pastime but also a potential long term investment.

A dedicated community of collectors exists both online and in brick and mortar card shops and shows. Websites like eBay allow collectors of all levels to easily buy, sell, and trade cards. Card shops that were hurt by the 90s crash have largely rebounded by catering to dedicated collectors rather than speculators. Major card companies like Topps, Bowman, and Panini continue producing new sets each year featuring current players. Recent innovations like introductions of short printed parallel cards and autograph/memorabilia relic cards have kept the modern collecting experience exciting.

Of course, vintage cards from the earliest days of the hobby through the 1970s remain highly sought after and valuable, with the most pristine examples of legendary players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Sandy Koufax breaking records at auction. It’s not just old-time greats that excite collectors today – rookie cards for current superstars regularly sell for thousands. Each year brings a new crop of prospects too, making it possible to potentially buy “the next Mookie Betts” for a reasonable price.

Graded and encapsulated cards, which received a precise condition grade when slabbed by a third party company like PSA or Beckett, have become essential to the high-end market. Slabs provide assurance to buyers that a card’s condition meets a certain standard. While the earliest and rarest cards continue appreciating exponentially, even modern issues can achieve substantial long term gains if carefully cared for and professionally graded.

Meanwhile, autograph and memorabilia cards involving pieces of a game-used jersey, bat, or other equipment unlock new doors for collectors seeking a tangible connection to their favorites. “Hit” cards featuring swatches or autographs of superstars consistently command higher prices than base rookies. Whole new avenues of collecting have also emerged, like chasing parallel and short print sets or completing master sets of the entire rosters year after year.

The current boom in nostalgia for all things 1980s and 90s driven by millennials now in their thirties and forties has likewise boosted enthusiasm for stars of that era. Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards have skyrocketed amid a recent revival of interest in The Kid. Iconic designs from brands like Fleer, Donruss, and Score still captivate collectors even decades later. Vintage memorabilia collectors seek rare game-worn uniforms and equipment at auction.

Whether collecting for enjoyment, investment, or both, the culture of baseball card fandom shows no signs of fading away. For dedicated collectors around the world, the cards remain a direct connection to America’s pastime as well as a dynamic hobby that’s continuously reinventing itself for new generations. As long as baseball is played, savvy collectors will likely continue hunting, trading, and profiting from cardboard pieces of the game’s history.

While the commercialized boom period of the late 80s/early 90s bubble has passed, the passionate community of baseball card collectors persists as strong as ever. Fueled by nostalgia, innovation, emerging markets, and the statistical rise of star players, interest remains high among both casual and dedicated hobbyists. By catering to different collecting interests at various price points, the industry has survived fluctuations to remain a steady multi-billion dollar business. As long as the game is played, its cardboard culture seems assured to endure.


While the pandemic dealt a blow to many industries, the baseball card hobby experienced a resurgence in interest and trading card sales increased dramatically from 2019 to 2021. According to industry insiders and market reports, the increased interest was driven by new collectors getting into the hobby, as well as former collectors rediscovering their interest during quarantines and downtime at home.

The rising prices seen in vintage cards from the 1950s up to the late 1980s helped spark new interest, as headline-grabbing auction prices in the tens of millions of dollars were regularly making news. This created greater awareness and excitement around the high-end vintage card market. At the same time, modern card products released since the early 2010s have consistently appreciated in value for star players like Mike Trout, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Juan Soto. Being able to imagine an investment holding or increasing in value fueled additional collectors pursuing modern cards of rising stars.

Card shops and hobby stores that sell new and vintage cards were swamped with demand they hadn’t seen in decades. Online trading card platforms like eBay, Beckett Marketplace, and PWCC also saw huge increases in new registrations and monthly active buyers and sellers. The spike in new collectors stretched the availability of some popular modern card products released in 2020, creating sellouts and aftermarket price spikes. Upper Deck’s The Cup football cards launched in early 2021 and sold out instantly online, with boxes fetching thousands on the secondary market within days.

While the pandemic played a role in the enthusiasm, the underlying factors appear sustainable beyond any short-term impacts. A younger generation of collectors in their 20s and 30s has embraced card collecting and investing. Many of these new collectors were first exposed to the hobby through opening packs as kids in the late 80s to 90s boom, and are now reconnecting as adults with greater discretionary income. Platforms like TikTok have further exposed younger audiences to the high-end card market.

At the same time, teams, leagues and card manufacturers have done more to combine cards with new digital and tech products. Partnerships between Topps and digital platforms like MLB’s Blockchain platform have created new areas of interest bridging the physical and digital card worlds. The NFL entered the market with its exclusive license to Panini in 2020. And collectors now have opportunities to get cards autographed and verified on the blockchain.

While the economic outlook remains uncertain, long-term trends appear favorable for the continued strength of the baseball card and overall trading card market. The growth of internet marketplaces sustains interest and competition for rare cards. An established vintage market that has been growing for decades provides a proven long-term investment asset class. And new collectors finding the hobby provide an injection that replaces collectors who move on. Although retail prices for new cards, boxes and cases have increased noticeably in the last year, the increased demand and competitive marketplace has ensured supply availability and collectible options remain plentiful across all budget levels.

Of course, there are always risks for any speculative market. A deeper recession could cut into discretionary spending on cards. Long-term, any significant decline in the popularity of baseball itself might negatively impact the sports memorabilia space over decades. But with strong international growth in baseball now, the aging out of old collectors seems mostly offset by new and returning collectors engaging with the current era of players. This dynamic suggests the 100-year old tradition of collecting baseball cards has a solid foundation and remains an active part of the broader collectibles market. While volatile like any collectibles market, the sustained interest at all levels indicates baseball cards will continue drawing collectors and traders for the foreseeable future.