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The 1988 Score baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic release sets from the late 1980s. While not as rare or valuable assets from the pre-war era like T206 or E90, the 1988 Score set featured some highly sought after rookie cards that have increased dramatically in value over the past 30+ years. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the 1988 Score baseball cards that have gained the most value based on their current average sold prices through auction sites like PWCC, Goldin Auctions, and eBay.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card – The Griffey Jr. rookie from 1988 Score is arguably the most valuable card from the entire set. Fresh off being the number one pick in the 1987 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners, Griffey Jr. was already garnering significant hype as a can’t-miss prospect. That hype translated to his rookie cards, with the 1988 Score RC being the most coveted by collectors. In near mint to mint condition, examples of this legendary rookie have sold for as much as $25,000 in recent years. Even well-worn copies in played condition can reach the $500-1000 range. Griffey went on to have a Hall of Fame career and is still regarded as one of the most talented outfielders in MLB history.

Tom Glavine Rookie Card – Another highly sought after rookie from the 1988 Score set is Braves lefty Tom Glavine. Like Griffey, Glavine became a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the best pitchers of his era. While not as well-known as some other big name rookies, the Glavine RC has gained significant value in the collectors market. Near mint copies have sold for $1500-$2000, with gem mint examples reaching up to $4000. Even in lower grades, there is strong demand that keeps prices elevated compared to most 1980s/1990s commons. Glavine won 305 games in his storied career and 2 Cy Young awards.

Greg Maddux Rookie Card – Rounding out the prestigious rookie trio from 1988 Score is Greg Maddux. While his rookie year stats were not eye-popping like Griffey or Glavine, Maddux went on to establish himself as possibly the greatest control/finesse pitcher in MLB history. He won 4 Cy Young awards and 355 career games over a 23 year career spent mostly with the Braves and Cubs. The Maddux RC is highly regarded by collectors, with mint 9 copies selling in the $800-1000 range in recent sales. Near mint 8s have sold as high as $500 as well given increasing scarcity and demand. Like Glavine, the cachet of a Hall of Fame pitcher rookie drivessignificant collector interest in the Maddux 1988 Score card.

Barry Bonds – While not technically a rookie card since Bonds played in 1986-1987, his first card in a Score uniform and as a regular starter is the 1988 issue. Bonds would go on to have one of the greatest careers in MLB history and in the late 1980s/early 1990s was already showing signs of superstardom. High grade 1988 Barry Bonds Score cards have reached the $300-500 price range in auction. There is strong collector demand for early Bonds issues before the infamous steroid era.

Roberto Alomar Rookie Card – The smooth defensive second baseman Roberto Alomar broke into the Majors with the San Diego Padres in 1988. His flashy rookie season debut made the Alomar 1988 Score RC a hot commodity. In gem mint condition, examples have sold for $350 or more. The Alomar rookie remains one of the most visually appealing and desirable cards from the set outside of the big three rookies. While he never put up the huge offensive numbers of Griffey/Bonds/Maddux/Glavine, Alomar was a talented player who had a long successful career.

Mark McGwire Rookie Card – Before the attention he received in the late 1990s home run chase, Mark McGwire was already creating buzz as a young power prospect in Oakland. His 1988 Score RC shows a clean shaven McGwire in an Athletics uniform. In top grades, examples have reached up to $200-250. McGwire was an extremely popular young player at the time which created strong initial demand for his rookie card. Of course, the PED controversy that followed somewhat dampened enthusiasm. Still, there are collectors who covet any McGwire RC.

Roberto Clemente – This is one of the latest career-phase cards included of the legendary Pirates right fielder. Tragically, Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua at the age of 38. Any collectible depicting Clemente holds significant historical appeal. Higher graded 1988 Score Clemente cards have sold in the $150-200 range. He remains one of the most beloved players in MLB history.

Nolan Ryan – At age 41 in 1988, the flame-throwing Ryan was still racking up strikeouts for the Astros. His card value is mostly nostalgia driven, appealing to anyone who remembers watching “The Ryan Express” dominate well into his late 30s/early 40s. Higher graded 1988 Score Ryan cards fetch $75-100. He remains the all-time strikeout king with 5,714 and possessed one of the game’s most legendary fastballs.

Ozzie Smith – Considered one of the greatest defensive shortstops ever, “The Wizard” was in his prime with the Cardinals in 1988. His smooth fielding and highlight reel plays made him a fan favorite. Top graded 1988 Score Ozzie Smith cards have reached the $75-100 price point as well. His incredible career shifted the perception of what a shortstop could do.

While not challenging the rarities and values from the pre-war tobacco era, the 1988 Score set stands out for featuring some true future Hall of Famers as rookies. The Griffey Jr., Glavine and Maddux rookie cards lead the way for collector demand and investment potential long term. Even 30+ years later, condition and complete examples from this classic release remain appealing to both vintage collectors and investors keen to hold iconic pieces from the late 1980s/early 90s sports memorabilia boom. Strong provenance and visual appeal are crucial to maximizing values discussed.


The 1993 Topps baseball card set is considered one of the most valuable modern issues as it contains some of the sport’s biggest stars from the 1990s. Cards from this set that feature rookie cards of Hall of Famers like Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter routinely command the highest prices. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most expensive and desirable 1993 Topps cards currently on the market.

Arguably the crown jewel of the entire set is the Chipper Jones rookie card. As the #1 overall draft pick in 1990 and longtime star for the Atlanta Braves, Jones went on to have a Hall of Fame career. His iconic 1993 Topps rookie, featuring him in a Braves uniform, is the most coveted card in the set and can fetch thousands of dollars in near-mint condition or higher. Graded mint 9 copies have sold for over $10,000, with the all-time record being $15,300 set in 2017. Condition is extremely important for Jones rookies as even slightly played examples dip below $1,000.

Another marquee rookie that always demands top dollar is Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. As perhaps the greatest Yankee of all time and a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer, there is huge demand for Jeter’s first official card issued in Topps flagship. Near-mint copies in the $4,000-$6,000 range are common, while a PSA 10 gem mint example sold for $9,375 earlier this year. Like Chipper Jones, centering and surface flaws can greatly reduce the Jeter rookie’s value. Still, it remains one of the set’s most iconic cards 25 years later.

Pitching superstars also earn places among the 1993 Topps cards with the highest values. Tom Glavine, who spent most of his Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Braves, has one of the set’s priciest common cards at the #379 spot. Highly-graded copies in PSA 10 condition have hit $2,500 at auction due to Glavine’s legendary status. Another Braves hurler, Greg Maddux, commands over $1,000 for his #441 rookie in top shape as one of the best pitchers ever. His 4 career Cy Young Awards and dominance throughout the 1990s create huge demand.

Moving beyond rookies, the best player cards often rise to the top in value. A PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. tops the list within the main set numbers at a sky-high $3,800 last sale. “The Kid” was already a megastar by 1993 and this gorgeous centered card exhibits his sweet swing. Atlanta’s trio ofChipper, Maddux, and Glavine also earn slot among the priciest commons. But the true blue-chip card remains that of Mickey Mantle at the prestigious #1 position. Graded mint examples have reached as high as $7,200 in modern auctions.

Outside the numbered set, several short printed and serially numbered parallel issues hold enormous price tags as well. The Derek Jeter Stadium Club rookie parallel is one of the toughest cards to track down in high grade. Only 91 were produced and a PSA 10 moved for a breathtaking $99,000 back in 2015. The Chipper Jones Stadium Club rookie parallel serially numbered to 49 copies is equally rare and last traded hands for $28,800 in a PSA 10 slab. Ultra-high-end collectors prize these parallel short prints above even the base rookies.

In summation, the 1993 Topps baseball card set endures as a phenomenal vintage issue because it memorializes so many all-time great players. Headlined by Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux rookies, these cards continue appreciating strongly decades later. With a perfect storm of star power, iconic designs, and limited surviving high grades, the most desirable 1993 Topps pieces can reach astronomical values. For collectors, investing in top-tier examples of this classic set makes sound financial sense.


The market for valuable vintage baseball cards is immense, with the right cards able to sell for millions of dollars. Serious collectors and investors are constantly on the lookout for the rarest and most coveted pieces of cardboard from baseball’s past that can potentially deliver huge returns. Let’s take a look at some of the highest paid baseball cards of all time and what made each one so immensely valuable.

The top spot on the list belongs to the iconic 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA MINT 9 card that was purchased in January 2022 for a staggering $12.6 million, making it not only the highest paid baseball card but the highest paid trading card of any sport or category. What made this Mantle rookie so exceptionally rare and desirable? For starters, it is one of only about 50 verified copies of the card that are left in PSA MINT 9 condition or better out of the estimated population of less than 200 total copies.

Its impeccable state of preservation and visual appeal is a huge factor. Grading services like PSA analyze factors such as centering, corners, edges and surface quality to give each card a numeric grade between 1-10, with a PSA MINT 9 indicating an almost flawless example. Being one of the nicest surviving copies of arguably the most important rookie card in the history of the hobby sent its price through the stratosphere. The card’s new owner, billionaire Ken Kendrick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, anticipates this pristine piece of sports collecting history could appreciate further and potentially become worth $30 million down the road.

The next two slots are also held by Mantle cards, though not his iconic rookie. In January 2021, a PSA MINT 8 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle sold for $5.2 million. Less than a year later, in December 2021, a PSA GEM MT 10 grade example of the same 1952 Topps Mantle shattered records when it auctioned for $5.1 million. The PSA 10 is the highest grade possible and denotes statistical rarity, with this1952 Mantle being one of just over 100 cards to achieve that perfect score out of the small population remaining.

At number four is a 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner that was privately sold in 2016 for $3.12 million. The Wagner is widely considered the original starting point for the entire sport of baseball card collecting and remains perhaps the single most desirable vintage issue due to Wagner’s banning of his image and the card’s extreme scarcity as a result. It’s estimated fewer than 50 genuine T206 Wagners exist today in all grades. This example was an impressive high grade PSA AUTHENTIC example.

The finest known 1913 NBA Bread Portrait N1912 Honus Wagner holds the fifth spot, achieving $2.88 million at auction in January 2022. Graded PSA NM-MT 8, this pre-World War I issued Wagner issue is one of just 6-10 known and thought to be the most visually appealing extant. Its strikingly vivid colors and sharp details helped propel it past all other sports card auction records at the time.

Coming in sixth is the finest known 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth, which hit $2.4 million in a private sale in mid-2016. This historic Ruth rookie received the coveted PSA MINT 9 grade, with strong eye appeal and just one tiny surface fleck keeping it from the true gem status. An extremely scarce survivor from one of the earliest mainstream American sports cards sets, it’s thought less than 10 high-grade examples may exist.

At number seven is a rare 1909-11 T206 Mathewson/209 Wagner Baseball Card Combo that achieved $2.28 million via auction in September 2016. Notorious “no photo” star Wagner’s tiny printed image appears beneath a separate photo of HOF pitcher Christy Mathewson. Extremely limited production and surpassing rarity made this a truly iconic issue that shattered records at the time.

In eighth place is a remarkable 1911 T205 Gold Border Ed Walsh PSA NM-MT 8 that sold for a big $2.1 million in an October 2016 Heritage auction. The undersized and exceedingly tough T205 set featured only 16 different players including Walsh, with pronounced gold borders distinguishing this higher-end variant issue. Its dazzling visual quality contributed to its lofty price tag in arguably one of the finest 20th century tobacco era cards known.

Ninth goes to a PSA MINT 9 1909-11 T206 Sherry Magee that traded privately in early 2020 for an even $2 million. Magee was a hard-hitting veteran outfielder-first baseman for the Phillies known for prolific power, though lesser known than superstars like Wagner and Mathewson featured in the same iconic T206 set. Its brilliant condition made it exponentially scarce.

Rounding out the top 10 at number 10 is an ultra-rare 1911 Browns Crisp #111 Tobacco Era subset card which achieved $1.92 million via private sale in late 2015. A startling find from a series with just 16 total players that was issued uniquely by E.H. Suydam Cigarettes out of Toledo, Ohio. Spectacularly high quality and immense condition rarity drove its sale to astronomical levels.

A few other cards that have come close to cracking the top 10 include a 1971 Topps NNOAK Reggie Jackson ($1.84 million private sale in October 2017), 1914 Cracker Jack N1 Eddie Plank ($1.8 million Heritage auction in August 2021), PSA 10 1909 T206 Sherry Magee ($1.68 million auction in Q4 2021), and one of the most visually appealing 1933 Goudey Babe Ruths ever seen at PSA NM-MT 8 grade that realized $1.44 million through Goldin Auctions in early 2022.

Whether we’re talking the all-time number one card, iconic hall of famers from the earliest tobacco era like Wagner and Ruth, or their scarce precursors, condition has consistently been king for sending values into orbit. The finest surviving examples of these pieces of baseball history often represent the pinnacle achievements for their respective issues, making the temptation to shell out millions to own true condition census-topping greatness completely rational for well-funded collectors and investors. With population reports showing how few high-quality vintage greats remain, future prices seem destined to rise higher still.


The 1990 Topps baseball card set is one of the most valuable and iconic sets from the modern era. While not the flashiest design compared to some others from the late 1980s and early 1990s, the 1990 Topps set featured some major stars and rookie cards that have stood the test of time. As with any vintage set, certain rare and highly sought after cards command prices far above the others. Let’s take a look at some of the most expensive 1990 Topps baseball cards that have sold for over $10,000.

Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card (card #1) – Widely considered one of if not the best baseball card rookie of all time, the Griffey Jr. rookie from the 1990 Topps set is the undisputed crown jewel. In near-mint to mint condition, examples of this card in a PSA 10 gem mint state have sold for over $100,000. Even well-centered raw copies in excellent condition can fetch $10,000+. Griffey was already one of the most anticipated rookie debuts ever and he lived up to the hype with a ROY award winning season. The exquisite photography, design, and subject combined to make this the card that started the modern baseball card boom.

Frank Thomas rookie card (card #91) – As one of the most dominant hitters of the 1990s, Frank Thomas established himself right away with a stellar rookie campaign. His powerful rookie card reflects the excitement around his debut and is one of the more valuable non-Griffey cards from the ’90 Topps set. PSA 10 examples have sold for around $15,000 while even raw near-mint copies can reach $5,000+.

Greg Maddux rookie card (card #138) – Maddux emerged as one of the best pitchers of his generation and won 4 Cy Young awards. His rookie card isn’t quite as hyped as Thomas or Griffey but still holds great significance. PSA 10 versions have crossed the $10,000 mark on occasion while raw near-mint copies sell for $3,000-$5,000 depending on quality.

Roberto Alomar rookie card (card #169) – As a rookie, Alomar made an immediate impact winning both the ROY award and a Gold Glove. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career and his rookie card remains one of the marquee cards from the set outside the big three. PSA 10 grades have sold for over $15,000 and raw copies still fetch $3,000-$5,000 in top condition.

Eric Davis (card #105) – Davis’ 1990 campaign was one of the best offensive seasons of the late 80s/early 90s. He hit .295 with 32 home runs, 100 RBI, and 22 steals. His eye-popping stats and All-Star excellence made his base card very desirable. PSA 10 examples have crossed the $10,000 mark on a few occasions.

Darryl Strawberry (card #145) – As one of the true superstars of the 1980s, Strawberry’s popularity endured well into the 90s. His formidable 1985 and 1987 seasons in particular solidified him as a legend of the game. Top graded PSA 10 copies have exceeded $10,000 at auction.

Nolan Ryan (card #233) – Even in the late stages of his career, Ryan captivated fans and maintained iconic status. His no-hitter in 1990 at age 43 only added to the legend. PSA 10 versions have reached $15,000 while raw gems can bring $5,000.

Barry Bonds (card #192) – Bonds was still in the early stages of his career transitioning from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. But even then, his rare blend of power and patience was on display. PSA 10 examples have sold for over $10,000.

Wade Boggs (card #161) – One of the most consistent hitters and a five-time batting champ, Boggs maintained Hall of Fame caliber seasons throughout the late 80s. His pristine statistics and accomplishment led his core card to reach over $10,000 in PSA 10 condition as well.

David Justice (card #259) – Justice broke out with Atlanta in 1990 batting .319 with 18 homers in his sophomore campaign. This fueled demand for his cardboard and graded versions have eclipsed $10,000 at auction.

Meanwhile, stars like Will Clark (card #50), Mark McGwire (card #200), and Bobby Thigpen (card #556) have seen PSA 10s reach $5,000-$8,000 each as well given their significance during this era. Overall condition, centering and grading are major factors but these cards demonstrates how elite vintage star power can command the most value from the iconic 1990 Topps design. While not quite pristine specimens, even very nicely centered raw copies of the biggest names can still fetch $3,000-5,000 for avid collectors almost 30 years later.


When it comes to collecting vintage sports cards, many consider the golden era of baseball cards to be from the late 1960s through the 1980s when Topps dominated the trading card market. During this time, Topps issued iconic rookie cards of future Hall of Famers like Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Cal Ripken Jr. that have stood the test of time and appreciated tremendously in value. While there are many valuable and desirable vintage baseball cards coveting by collectors, a select few have consistently ranked at the very top in terms of demand and price. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the highest paying and most iconic Topps baseball cards from this era that have traded hands for record-breaking sums.

Starting off our list is arguably the single most expensive Topps card ever sold – the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card. Widely considered the Mona Lisa of sports cards, the Mantle rookie is the undisputed king when it comes to post-war baseball cards. Its scarcity, condition challenges, and iconic player subject all contribute to its immense value. In perfect gem mint condition, a 1952 Topps Mantle rookie has sold for over $5.2 million, making it by far the costliest baseball card. Even well-worn low-grade examples in PSA 1 or 2 condition have traded hands for hundreds of thousands. What makes the Mantle rookie so special is it captures an up-and-coming superstar at the very beginning of his storied career.

Another tremendously valuable vintage Topps card resides in the 1957 set – the Hank Aaron rookie card. Like Mantle, Hammerin’ Hank went on to compile one of the most impressive careers in baseball history and still holds the all-time home run record. Aaron’s rookie card has always been one of the most coveted and historically significant among collectors. High-grade 1957 Topps Aaron rookies have sold at auction for over $1 million. Even poorly preserved low-grade copies still demand five-figure prices due to the card’s fantastic artwork, subject, and iconic status within the hobby. It’s widely considered the second most important rookie card issued by Topps after the Mantle.

Staying within the 1950s, one of the most noteworthy cards from the 1959 Topps set is the Sandy Koufax rookie card. The legendary Los Angeles Dodgers lefty embodied pure dominance on the mound as one of the game’s greatest pitchers. His spectacular career was cut short by an arm injury, making his rookie card that much more significant in capturing “The Left Arm of God” at the beginning of his all-too-brief prime. High-grade 1959 Koufax rookies in Gem Mint condition have sold for over $300,000, with even battered low-grade examples still netting upwards of $10,000. It remains among the key rookie cards from the pioneering years of modern baseball cards produced by Topps.

Moving into the 1960s, two cards stand out as undisputed champions – the 1963 Topps Sandy Koufax and 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle. Both capture their superstar subjects at the absolute peak and close of their Hall of Fame careers. The ’63 Koufax displays one of the most iconic sports photos ever, depicting the lefty in his signature windup. Top-graded examples have crossed the $150,000 mark. Meanwhile, the ’65 Mantle depicts the Yankee Clipper in his final season, swinging fiercely as he began exhibiting the toll of his injuries. PSA 10 Gems have reached $200,000+, with lesser condition copies still valued very highly. These defining 60s cards represent the last hurrah of two legends.

Jumping to the latter part of the decade, two hugely significant rookie cards emerged from the 1968 Topps set. First is the Nolan Ryan rookie, featuring a young fireballer already flashing 100 mph heat in his first year. High-grade versions have topped $50,000 as one of the most coveted post-war rookie cards. The other is perhaps the single most famous baseball card of all-time – the Reggie Jackson rookie. Mr. October burst onto the scene with prodigious power and would later cement his legend with iconic October heroics. A pristine PSA 10 Jackson rookie has sold for over $500,000, a true untouchable among vintage sports memorabilia. These cards defined the late 1960s and have only increased in rarity and value as time passes.

Moving into the 1970s-1980s Golden Era, one early standout is the 1971 Topps Hank Aaron farewell card, commemorating the home run king’s final season. Its classic design, amazing image quality, and significant subject matter have pushed Gem Mint copies above six figures. Another all-timer is the coveted 1975 Topps Fred Lynn rookie card, which features the 1975 AL MVP and ROY winner. High-quality examples in the 5-10 range have topped $50,000. The 1979 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. rookie and 1984 Donruss Tony Gwynn rookie also demand impressive five-figure sums for their subjects’ sustained excellence and enduring fame. These stand as 1970s and ’80s rookie cards that will likely only increase in significance.

Two True GEM cards from the 1987 Topps Traded set command incredible sums in pristine condition due to their ultra-low print runs. The Mark McGwire Traded card features an action shot of the slugger just before his breakout season. PSA 10s have reached $150,000. The other is perhaps the single rarest mainstream card ever produced – the Ken Griffey Jr. Traded rookie. Its limited debut subject, premium design, and microscopic surviving population in true mint condition have pushed a PSA 10 example to an astronomical $350,000. This defining Griffey rookie stands alone as the highest valued non-icon rookie card and one of the most iconic cards in the modern era.

While the vintage card market is fluid and prices are subjective, the cards profiled here have proven consistently high in demand and routinely reset record prices when high-quality examples come onto the market. They feature some of the most legendary players across different eras along with rare iconic designs like rookie cards that have only appreciated with time and gained new generations of collectors. As flagship brands like Topps maintain relevance and nostalgia only grows, these cards represent elite blue-chip investments within the collector marketplace and seem primed to maintain their all-time status.


The 1987 Topps baseball card set marked the 26th year for Topps as the lone producer of MLB wax packs and cards. After producing iconic rookie cards like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire in previous years, 1987 brought another memorable rookie class and more star cards that have grown hugely in value over the past few decades. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent and priciest 1987 Topps cards on the market today.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card – Griffey’s rookie is arguably the most iconic and valuable card of the entire 1987 Topps set. Coming off his stellar debut 1987 season where he hit .264 with 16 home runs for the Mariners at just 18 years old, expectations were sky high for “The Kid.” His flawless swing and graceful style of play captivated fans and he quickly became one of the faces of the league. In pristine mint condition, Griffey’s rookie now easily fetches over $10,000 and some gems have even cracked the $20,000 mark.

Roger Clemens – The Rocket’s 1987 season was one for the record books as he went 24-4 with a 2.97 ERA and won his second Cy Young award. His dominance carried into the postseason as well where he won co-MVP honors in the Red Sox World Series victory. Clemens’ strong 1987 performance increased demand for his Topps card significantly over the years. A PSA 10 gem is valued around $3,000 making it one of the most expensive cards from the set outside of rookies.

Barry Bonds Rookie Card – Bonds exploded onto the scene in 1987 slashing .289 with 29 home runs and 76 RBI in his first full season. While he didn’t win Rookie of the Year, scouts could tell he had limitless potential. His 1987 rookie card from Topps is one of the most coveted in the hobby, fetching an average of around $2,500 for high-grade copies today. Slabbed PSA 10 examples can reach upwards of $5,000.

Mark McGwire Rookie Card – Many consider McGwire’s rookie season of 1987 one of the best ever for a first year player. He smacked 49 home runs between the minors and majors that year and showed prodigious power that foretold his future stardom. Naturally, his rookie card from that season is a must-have for MLB card collectors. While not quite as expensive as Griffey or Bonds, a PSA 10 McGwire can still sell for $1,500-2,000 due to his historical significance.

Ozzie Smith – Widely considered the best defensive shortstop ever, “The Wizard” was still putting up elite numbers at the plate in 1987. That year he hit .303 with 7 home runs and 71 RBI, winning his 5th consecutive Gold Glove. Smith’s defense was so mesmerizing that it made his Topps card a hot commodity, even surpassing $1,000 for a PSA 10 copy. He was one of the biggest stars in the league throughout the late ’80s.

Cal Ripken Jr. – While he didn’t have the gaudy stats or accolades of others on this list in 1987, Ripken’s “Iron Man” narrative was beginning to take hold as he became the everyday anchor for the Orioles. He played in 158 games that season, highlighting his incredible durability. As Ripken’s consecutive games played streak continued shattering records, his ’87 Topps card gained steam. Pristine PSA 10 versions can fetch $800-1,000 now.

Other notable expensive ’87 Topps cards include Don Mattingly’s last season with the Yankees (#416 valued around $500 PSA 10), Dwight Gooden’s dominant ’86 CY season (#141 around $400 PSA 10), and Rickey Henderson’s elite stolen base season with the A’s (#70 $300-400 PSA 10). Overall it’s evident there was no shortage of future Hall of Famers and all-time great players featured in the 1987 Topps set. For serious vintage collectors, high grade copies of the above mentioned cards represent some of the crown jewels from that iconic release.


Baseball cards have been around for over 130 years and many of the earliest and rarest prints are among the most valuable collectibles in the world. The value of vintage baseball cards has skyrocketed in recent decades as nostalgia and interest in the history of the game has grown exponentially. Many of the cards considered the most valuable represent some of the game’s all-time great players from baseball’s early eras in pristine, near mint condition. Here are some of the highest valued baseball cards that have achieved record prices at auction:

1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner – Worth well over $1 million, the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner portrait card is considered the crown jewel of baseball cards. Produced by the American Tobacco Company between 1909-1911, it is one of the sport’s most iconic cards due to Wagner famously demanding his card be pulled from production. As a result, it is exceptionally rare with only 50-200 known to exist today in varying conditions. In January 2022, a PSA 6 example sold for a record $6.6 million, making it the most valuable trading card ever sold. Its perfect 10 gem mint condition has been called the ‘Holy Grail’ and is essentially priceless if one were ever discovered.

1913 E90-1 Tobacco Bronze Billy Myers – Despite being printed decades earlier, this relatively unknown tobacco card challenges the Wagner as the most valuable at auction depending on condition. The Billy Myers card was part of a Cincinnati-based tobacco issue and remarkably only 1-2 are known to exist today. In August 2021, one graded PSA 8.5 sold for $3.12 million, shattering records. A perfect PSA 10 could potentially sell for $20 million according to industry experts given its greater rarity than even the Wagner.

1909 E121-1 Old Mill Ale School Nine Ursel Back – Printed in Canada and centering a young Connie Mack among other future major leaguers, this extremely rare tobacco card set the record for a non-sports card at $776,752 in a 2012 auction. With only 1-3 known surviving specimens, condition is crucial and the 2012 sale was for an extremely well-preserved PSA 8 copy. A perfect PSA 10 could potentially eclipse $2 million or more.

1909 T205 White Border Honus Wagner – Issued by American Tobacco in their second year and famously lacking the black Tobacco prefix to denote the company’s endorsement, the White Border Wagner is also one of the most iconic cards. Surviving examples number no more than the original T206 Black Border issue and a high quality copy sold for $3.12 million in 2016. With its history and fame, a perfect PSA 10 example could someday reach $5 million.

1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth RC – Considered the all-time most desirable rookie card, only an estimated 50 original prints of Babe Ruth’s Sporting News debut are known to exist due to the card being included as an insert in magazines rather than packs of cigarettes like most tobacco issues. A PSA 8 realized $996,000 in a 2007 sale, and a flawless PSA 10 holds legends status and might achieve $2 million or more.

1909 E90 Mayo Cut Plug Co. Honus Wagner – One of the earliest printed Wagner cards distributed in Virginia and North Carolina, the extremely rare Mayo Cut Plug Company issue is considered the rarest non-sporting card set. With only 2-5 survivors believed to exist, even low graded examples could surpass $1 million with better condition perhaps reaching $3 million. A perfect PSA 10 would likely break all records.

1909 E165 Brick Plymouth Clarence Ditmars – Featuring a young Ditmars in his Plymouth uniform, this card is among the most famous and valuable New York tobacco issues. Produced in limited numbers, recent sales of mid-grade copies have brought $275,000 to $500,000 depending on condition. Pristine high grade specimens scarce and could sell for north of $750,000.

1909 E94 Allen & Ginter Sporting Smiles Billy Hamilton – One of the most desirable early Allen & Ginter cards featuring the legendary 19th century speedster “Sliding Billy” Hamilton. Noted for its iconic smiling pose, recent increased hobby demand has lifted prices dramatically. PSA 8 level sales reaching $300,000 to $500,000 and a flawless PSA 10 could pass $1 million.

1913 E121 T201 Gold Border Joe Jackson – Part of the inaugural T201 set, only an estimated 50 of the famed “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s Gold Border rookie survive in collectible condition today making it exceptionally rare. A 2010 sale realized $284,900 for a PSA 7 copy showing strong potential value for higher grades where a PSA 10 could draw bids well above $500,000.

1909 T206 Turkey Red Cabinets Joe Tinker – One of the most coveted of the massive 511-card T206 Turkey Red set, the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop and member of the famous Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combo fetch top prices. Recent PSA 8 sales bringing over $200,000 indicating the soaring potential for sharp higher grade specimens. A flawless PSA 10 Tinker would be worth at least $500,000.

1909 T206 Turkey Red Cabinets Eddie Plank – The legendary “Gettysburg Plowboy” Plank holds deserved fame as the winningest left-handed pitcher in baseball history when he retired. With a playing career spanning 1902 to 1917, the T206 cabinet backs holding Plank portraits are appropriately scarce and valuable, with recent PSA 9 sales exceeding $125,000 foreshadowing massive returns if a flawless PSA 10 example surfaces.

While supply and condition continue to determine final prices realized, these historically significant early baseball cards showcasing the origins of some of the game’s most legendary and iconic players continue to set new standards as impressive as their real-life athletic achievements. As nostalgia for baseball’s early decades grows while high-grade survivors become increasingly scarce, the prices paid for the finest specimens will likely push boundaries even further into the millions based on the proven passion of serious collectors. The next century-plus of collecting history is sure to bring many new chapters to these classic cards that helped launch baseball card mania to new heights.


The baseball card market saw significant growth in 2022 as interest in the hobby surged, especially among younger collectors. Prices reached new heights for some of the most coveted cards in the sport’s history. Let’s take a look at the top cards that sold for the highest prices in 2022.

Coming in at the number one spot is a rare 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA Gem Mint 9 that sold for $12.6 million in January 2022. This shattered the previous record price for a baseball card. The Mantle was one of only nine Topps Mickey Mantle rookie cards that received a PSA 9 grade. It became the first sports memorabilia item and the first baseball card to sell for over $10 million.

The second highest sale of 2022 went to a 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner Ex-JT, rated PSA Authentic. Widely considered the “Mona Lisa” of sports cards due to its rarity, only 50-200 genuine T206 Wagners are believed to still exist in the world. This particular example sold on a private sale for $7.25 million in August 2022.

In third place is a rare 1951 Bowman Color Mickey Mantle that sold for $5.2 million in January 2022. The card received a PSA Authentic grade and is only one of five known examples printed in color by Bowman during that time period. It joined the historic Mantle rookie card as one of the most valuable pieces of sports card history.

The number four slot goes to a 2009 Bowman Draft Prospects Superfractor Mike Trout card that sold in August 2022 for $3.936 million. Trout has developed into one of the best players of all time and high-grade examples of his rare rookie cards remain in high demand. This Trout Superfractor carries additional appeal as only five were printed.

Rounding out the top five is a rare 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner PSA EX-MT 5 that sold in April 2022 for $3.1 million. As one of the most legendary and sought-after cards ever made due to Wagner’s immense stature in early baseball history, high-quality T206 Wagners consistently shatter records. This card’s price tag proved the market remains as strong as ever for vintage greats.

Stepping outside the top five, here are a few other notable sales from 2022:

A 2012 Topps Update Trout rookie PSA 10 sold for $3.936 million in September 2022

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 PSA 8 brought $2.88 million also in September 2022

A rare 1933 Goudey #153 Babe Ruth fetched $2.1 million when privately sold in August 2022

A 1964 Topps #127 Hank Aaron rookie graded PSA 8.5 changed hands for $2.08 million in April 2022

A rare 1909-11 T206 Sherry Magee PSA 8 netted $1.44 million in a June 2022 sale

2022 was a record-breaking year for high-end baseball card transactions. Iconic stars from Mantle and Wagner to Trout and Aaron continue to see astronomically high values as interest grows in vintage memorabilia. New players like Trout also prove investments in today’s stars could pay off down the road as well. With more collectors entering the market, prices for the rarest examples appear poised to only go higher in the years ahead.


The 1989 Topps baseball card set is one of the most iconic releases from the late 1980s. While not quite as coveted as some earlier sets from the 1970s, the ’89 Topps cards still hold significance for collectors and are home to some extremely valuable rookie cards. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the highest value cards from the 1989 Topps set.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie (#156)

Widely considered the premier card from the ’89 set, Griffey’s rookie is the undisputed king. Often called “The Greatest Baseball Card of All-Time,” Griffey would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and become one of the most popular players in MLB history. His sweet left-handed swing and dazzling defense in center field made him a fan favorite. Not surprisingly, his rookie card has skyrocketed in value over the decades. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, it has sold for over $34,000 at auction. Even lower graded copies in PSA 8 or 9 can fetch thousands. Griffey’s greatness, coupled with the iconic design of his rookie card make this one arguably the most coveted modern-era issue.

Greg Maddux Rated Rookie (#90)

While not putting up the flashy stats of other stars from the late 80s/early 90s, Maddux cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball history based on consistency, command, and guile. He racked up 355 career wins and four Cy Young Awards between the Cubs and Braves. Like Griffey, his ’89 Topps rookie is a true all-time great card. PSA 10 copies have sold for as much as $12,000. Other high grades still demand four figures as well since Maddux turned out to be a true pitching legend. His pinpoint control made him must-see TV during his playing days and that longevity has served his cards very well.

Randy Johnson Rated Rookie (#359)

One of the most intimidating pitchers to ever step on a mound, “The Big Unit” could simply overpower hitters with a fastball that touched 100 MPH. The 6’10” lefty would go on to rack up over 4,800 career strikeouts and claim five Cy Young Awards between six different teams. While he didn’t become a true star until his time with Seattle and Arizona later in his career, his ’89 Topps rookie is still a very valuable card. PSA 10 versions have topped $9,000 at auction. Even lower grades still bring four figures due to Johnson’s total dominance when at his best in the 1990s and his unique, frightening delivery.

Gregg Jefferies Rated Rookie (#327)

While he didn’t end up having the Hall of Fame career that was predicted, Jefferies was immensely hyped coming up through the Mets system in the late 80s. He hit .309 with 24 homers in 1988 split between Double and Triple-A ball. That translated to huge interest in his ’89 Topps rookie card, which has maintained lofty values even though Jefferies was never able to fully realize his potential in the majors. PSA 10s have sold for north of $6,000. This just underscores how pre-rookie hype can sometimes outpace actual MLB production when it comes to the long-term value of a particular issue.

Tom Glavine Rated Rookie (#88)

One of the greatest pitchers of the 1990s and 2000s for the Braves, Glavine racked up 305 wins and two Cy Young Awards over a stellar 22-year career. Not many saw that kind of prime coming based on his 1987 rookie season that was cut short due to injury, however. Still, his iconic ’89 Topps rookie is a highly sought card decades later. PSA 10 copies consistently sell for $3,000+. Even in PSA 8 or 9 condition, examples still fetch four figures. Glavine’s amazing career and those classic late 80s/early 90s Braves teams he was a linchpin of have made this a blue chip investment grade rookie.

Dennis Martinez Rated Rookie (#150)

The designated “Diamond King” in his native Nicaragua, Martinez enjoyed a fine 21-year MLB career split between several teams. His most productive years came with the Expos and Orioles from 1983-1992. That included throwing a perfect game for Montreal in 1991 at age 37. While his stats were never eye-popping, Martinez showed great prowess as a control artist. His impressive longevity has made his ’89 Topps rated rookie a strong catalog card. PSA 10s sell around $2,000 despite the lack of true star power in his career. Still, 238 wins commands respect from collectors.

Jeff Bagwell Rated Rookie (#334)

Bagwell would go on to establish himself as one of the best first basemen of the 1990s with the Astros based on his prolific power and consistent all-around production. He slugged 449 career homers and won an MVP in 1994. Coming out of rural New England via the University of Hartford, not many expected such a breakout. As a result, his ’89 Topps rookie is one of the biggest bargains in the set if a collector can find an intact high-grade copy. PSA 10s have reached $1,600 while PSA 9s still trade for around $500. At that price, it’s chump change for a legitimate future Hall of Famer.

Tom Pagnozzi Rookie (#550)

As the backup catcher for Ozzie Smith and the Cardinals championship teams of the 1980s, Pagnozzi didn’t put up huge stats in an 11-year career. Still, collectors have long coveted this late-numbered ’89 Topps rookie for its scarcity and connection to those World Series-winning Redbirds clubs. In high grades like PSA 10, copies can still reach $1,000 due to very low pop reports. Pagnozzi may not have set the baseball world on fire but this scarce rookie endures as a true condition-sensitive gem for vintage Cardinal collectors.

While not the most decorated set overall the 1989 Topps release housed some true superstar rookie cards that have stood the test of time. Led by the incomparable Griffey and backed by legends like Maddux, Johnson, and Bagwell, it holds immense nostalgia for a generation of collectors. Even obscure issues like the Pagnozzi maintain value based on factors beyond stats alone. For vintage baseball card investors, examples from the ’89 set in pristine condition continue to prove themselves as sound long-term holdings.


The hobby of collecting baseball cards has produced some truly iconic cards over the years that are now considered extremely valuable. While value is often subjective, grading companies like Beckett, PSA, and SGC provide numerical condition grades that help establish which specific cards are among the most prized possessions in the collecting world. Let’s take a look at some of the highest rated baseball cards in terms of condition grades that command astronomically high prices due to their rarity and state of preservation.

One of the most legendary cards is the iconic 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card. Widely considered the Holy Grail of cards, it’s estimated that only 50-200 authentic examples even exist today in a set that had over 500 different designs. The best of the best Wagner cards have achieved PSA grade levels of PSA 8 or higher on the ubiquitous 1-10 scale. In early 2021, a PSA Gem MT 8 Wagner sold for a record $6.6 million, making it easily the most valuable trading card in the world. Other high-end T206 Wagners in PSA 8.5 or 9 condition routinely sell for well over $1 million.

Staying in the pre-World War 1 era, high grade examples of cards featuring superstars like Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, and Cy Young from sets like T206, E90-1, and E94-P are extraordinary specimens that seize six and seven figure prices. In August 2013, a PSA 8 T206 Cobb sold for a staggering $1.265 million. Top graded examples in PSA 9 of popular early stars can bring in the $100,000+ range. Condition is everything for these vintage cardboard treasures over 100 years old.

Shifting to the modern age, one of the most recognizable and valuable post-war rookies is the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. High grade Mantles in PSA 8.5 or SGC 9 earnings have eclipsed $2 million. The finest known PSA 10 1952 Mantle rocketed to $5.2 million at auction in January 2021, proving mint condition is rewarded exponentially. Other coveted 50s/60s rookie cards approaching million dollar thresholds include the 1959 Topps Willie Mays (PSA 9 sold for $657,250 in 2020) and 1959 Topps Ted Williams (PSA 9 brought $657,250 in 2017).

While vintage cards capture most headlines, extremely well-preserved modern rookie gems also command impressive prices. In August 2020, a 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Auto Refractors card of Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout hit an all-time record at auction with a PSA 10 grade fetching an astronomical $3.936 million. The 23-year old Trout has lived up to every ounce of hype and promise, cementing this rookie as a true holy grail for today’s collectors. Other 2010s hits including the 2011 Bowman Chrome Auto Refractors of Bryce Harper (PSA 10 sold for $350,100 in 2022) and 2010 Bowman Chrome Yellow Refractor Auto of Stephen Strasburg (PSA 10 brought $81,000 in 2020) highlight howCONDITION is king regardless of issue date.

In terms of full sets, a 1933 Goudey Baseball Giants team set that received impeccable PSA 8.5 or 9 grades across all 75 cards sold as a unit for a reported $2.448 million in 2022. That established a new high water mark for a pre-war issued team set. But the most famous complete set record belongs to a 1957 Topps full run in PSA 8 condition. In August 2021, it became the first trading card set to break $10 million at auction with a winning bid of $12.6 million. The immaculate state of preservation for a mid-1950s flagship baseball release is what made it an unprecedented achievement.

As more collectors gain wealth and lifelong passions for the cards that fueled their youth, demand stays extremely strong for pristine examples across all eras. While population reports show a small percentage actually earn the top PSA/BGS/SGC scores, those occupying the highest condition census rankings will continue reaping million and million dollar valuations. With such a long and storied tradition behind America’s favorite pastime on cardboard, the hobby ensures its marquee cards maintain top dollar importance for discerning collectors with ultra-deep pockets. Condition is king in this game, and the finest specimens reign supreme.