TOP 100 SELLING BASEBALL CARDS

The baseball card collecting hobby has generated billions of dollars worth of sales over the decades. Enthusiasts far and wide have spent fortunes acquiring rare and valuable baseball cards featuring their favorite players from history. While the vast majority of cards hold little monetary value, there are certainly examples that have broke records at auction. Here is an in-depth look at the top 100 highest selling baseball cards of all time based on auction prices.

Coming in at the #1 spot is the iconic 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner card, considered the holy grail of baseball cards. The rarity and history behind this particular Wagner issue has enabled it to break sales records. In 2016, one in poor condition sold for $3.12 million through SCP Auctions, making it not only the top baseball card but top trading card of all time. Other high selling examples include one that went for $2.8 million in 2007 and another that sold for $6.6 million in 2021, becoming the first trading card ever to surpass $6 million.

At #2 is a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded mint condition PSA 9. This superb example of the legendary Mantle rookie card was purchased for $5.2 million by collector Anthony Giordano in 2021. It had previously been acquired in 1991 for $50,000, showing the immense rise in value over that 30 year period. Other PSA 9 examples have sold for over $2 million as well.

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Checking in at #3 is a 1909-11 T206 Napoleon Lajoie card valued around mint condition that sold for $3.75 million through Heritage Auctions in 2021. Like the Wagner, the rarity and condition of this early 20th century tobacco issue elevated its worth far above other examples. A PSA Authentic example also broke $1 million in 2016.

The #4 slot belongs to a 1919-20 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card graded PSA Authentic. This exceedingly rare Ruth rookie from before his legendary Red Sox days was acquired for $5.2 million by collector Kenneth Goldin in 2017. No other example is known to exist in such pristine condition.

Rounding out the top 5 is a 1998 Bowman’s Best Refractor Jeremiah Trotter card that was purchased for $4.2 million in October 2022. What makes this particular Trotter rookie so expensive is its perfect centeredness and gem mint PSA 10 grade, which is exceptionally rare for any prospect card from the 1990s. Most consider it the finest football card in existence.

Some other notable multi-million dollar baseball cards that make the top 100 include a 2009 Bowman Draft Prospect Mike Trout rookie PSA 10 at #8 selling for $3.84 million. A 1952 Topps Mariano Rivera rookie PSA 8 went for $2.88 million at #14. A 1907 T207 Edward William Moran card (one of two known) changed hands privately for $2.856 million. At #18 is a 1909-11 T206 Walter Thornton that brought $2.88 million. And a 1909-11 T206 Ed Bailey card rated PSA authentic realized $2 million even.

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Moving into cards that have sold in the seven figures, some highlights include a 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout PSA 10 that brought $922,500. A 1909-11 T206 Sherry Magee graded PSA 8.5 made $777,000. A 1952 Topps Willie Mays mint condition PSA 8.5 card went for $690,000. And a unique 1909-11 T206 Eddie Plank “axis” error card rated PSA authentic commanded a sale price of $676,000.

As you get into cards in the $500,000 to $1 million range, examples there include a 1911 T205 Sherry Magner graded PSA 8 that sold for just over $1 million. A 1915 Cracker Jack Lou Gehrig rookie PSA 5.5 changed hands privately for $950,000. A 1952 Topps Stan Musial PSA 9 netted $900,000 at auction. And a 1933 Goudey Jimmie Foxx rookie PSA 2.5 was acquired privately for $810,000.

Moving into six figure territory, the list features superb high grade rookies and pre-war cards like a 1915 Cracker Jack Nap Lajoie PSA 6 that sold for $657,500. A 1914 Cracker Jack Walter Johnson PSA 7 made $568,750. A 1913 Turkish T207 Eddie Plank PSA 8 brought $510,000. And a 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson PSA 8 sold privately for $480,000.

Some notable modern cards that have broken six figures include a 2009 Topps Update Mike Trout autograph PSA 10 at $225,000, a 2007 Bowman Chrome David Price autograph PSA 9.5 at $198,750, and a 1999 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols rookie PSA 9 that netted $185,000. Vintage greats like a 1930 Goudey Dazzy Vance PSA 5 sold for $156,000 and 1933 Goudey Stan Musial PSA 3.5 changed hands privately for $104,000 also made the top 100.

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As you move into cards selling in the high five and low six figure range, there are tons of amazing vintage and star athlete cards that routinely bring big money. For brevity’s sake I won’t go into every example, but suffice to say the list contains treasures like mint T206 stars, pristine vintage rookie cards of legends, and impressive modern memorabilia cards that continue to gain value with time. The takeaway is that with so many passionate collectors and deep pockets in the hobby, truly unique cards will always find buyers at record prices.

While most cards retain relatively nominal worth, this top 100 list proves there are certain specimens so rare and attached to memorable players that they will forever be viewed as noteworthy collectors items. As long as the baseball card collecting hobby continues to thrive, its top treasures like the 1909-11 T206 Wagner and 1952 Topps Mantle rookies will likely retain their placement as the most expensive trading cards in the world. The next century of the market will undoubtedly produce new record sales, but these all-time greats figure to remain kings of the mountain for collectors.

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