These two cards are Sports Card Kings in a super competitive field (other close contenders included Ty Cobb T206, the legendary 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. UD, and the Mickey Mantle Topps RC).[lwptoc]
Investing in “The Two GOATS of Cards (aka Tom Brady and Michael Jordan)” is not only an excellent baseball card investment, it may be the NUMBER ONE long-term investment period over the next 10 to 15 years (yes, that’s including stocks and real estate). Don’t get us wrong; there will likely be some crazy penny or tech stock with a better ROI but good luck picking “the one”.
Below are two fantastic investing options for buyers with a large bankroll.
2000 Tom Brady Bowman Chrome RC & 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer RC
If these Brady and MJ rookie cards are on the high side price-wise, consider the options below. You can also consider lower grades on the above cards (i.e., PSA 6 or PSA 7).
Here is our number one recommended card for most buyers.
T206 Ty Cobb Red or Green Back PSA 1 to PSA 5
I liken the T206 Ty Cobb baseball rookie card to buying a blue chip stock. Good in both good and bad times.
Finally, there are two more cards for card investors just getting into the hobby and not looking to spend too much.
1989 Ken Griffey Jr Upper Deck RC
It will always be a classic!
Best Long-Term Rookie Card Investment?
Over the last 4 or 5 years (2017 to 2021), we have seen an incredible run-up in sports card values. This run may never happen again, but you will want to own two specific rookie cards if it does.
Which two cards, you ask?
Well, it won’t get better than the 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady RC #236 and 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan RC #57 we have dubbed “The Two Goats of Cards.”
These two cards had the best performance in terms of ROI from late 2017 to early 2021 and are a MUST-HAVE in your sports card investment portfolio.
PRO-TIP: when making a purchase/investment, we suggest the grades PSA 10 to PSA 6, BGS 10 to BGS 7, and SGC 10 to SGC 7.
Sports cards are back in the headlines.
- “Trading-Card Mania Inspires New Reality TV Show From The Makers Of Pawn Stars” – Bloomberg
- “The prices of sports cards and odd collectibles are booming” – The Economist.
- “Why sports card investing deserves 10 to 20% of your retirement portfolio” – WSJ
Sports cards have overcome the dark ERA collectors dubbed “Junk Wax.”
Get this! Not only did they overcome it, but they are hotter than ever, with most valuable records being broken monthly.
Without further ado, here are more excellent sports card investment options to buy now and hold forever. These cards are the cream of the crop and should be the backbone of your sports card portfolio.
1: 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck RC #1
Perhaps the most iconic and best baseball card ever made, this 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. from Upper Deck changed the industry forever. The higher quality material it was produced on and the signature photo combined to make a special card.
This card is required for every collector. Can you call yourself a true sports card collector if this card is not in your profile?
2: 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer #506
As we stated in a previous write-up, It’s hard to find a more iconic card than the 1986 Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card. Everything from the red, white, and blue background to the image is memorable, as Jordan soars towards the net in a classic action shot.
Pro Tip: Buying this card as low as a PSA 3 is still a terrific investment due to consumer hunger for this card.
One of the most coveted cards on the planet, this Michael Jordan card has an incredible design that is hard to beat, and the photo of Jordan soaring through the air is legendary. Investors should want to get their hands on this card because, in the future, it’s likely to be the most sought-after basketball card investment.
3. 1979 Wayne Gretzky Topps/OPC RC #18
While hockey cards might not have quite the same market as their basketball and football counterparts at the moment, when that changes the demand for these cards will go through the roof. It’s the signature card of the player who may be the most dominant athlete in North American sports history.
This card should have created “The Three GOATS of Cards”. But hockey isn’t as popular enough… yet. This will change over the next 5 to 10 years, and the NHL will take a spot at one or two.
4. 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update RC #US175
Mike Trout is the best baseball player of his generation, and his stats compare favorably to many of the game’s greatest legends. This is the most recently produced card and arguably the best modern sports card.
5. 1909 Ty Cobb T206 Red/Green Portrait
This card has a long track record of holding its value which means that investors can be confident that they’re buying into a known asset. It’s tough to get your hands on one of these masterpieces, but if you can, you can access one of the most memorable cards in the industry.
#6. 1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302
Mariano Rivera was one of the most dominant closers ever, and his cutter will forever be remembered as unhittable. He was a key part of the New York Yankees teams that dominated the MLB and was a fan favorite. This card has a great image of him as a young man and has a cheaper upfront cost than the other cards on this list.
#7: 1993 Derek Jeter SP FOIL RC #279
Another player from those dominant Yankees teams of the 2000s, Jeter, resonated with fans far and wide and built a reputation as a stand-up guy. Because of how many fans want his cards, this is also a safe investment choice.
1993 Jeter SP Foil RC: Ultra-low risk. High to Very High returns. Win-Win baby.
Please note that many of the cards mentioned in the article could easily make the above list as we’re talking super small percent when comparing ROI to the top-rated card investments in the hobby.
The return on investment (ROI) on certain cards over the past 4-5 years has been insane, and those who jumped in early are sitting fat down south.
For example, the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Star Rookie and the 2011 Mike Trout Update are excellent examples, as both have increased in value by more than 700% from 5 years ago.
For example, there’s much less risk in a Hall of Fame player such as Ken Griffey Jr. than in a current player such as Zion Williamson). The best sports cards to collect for a profit below may be updated occasionally with a new face or subtract one that didn’t quite pan out.
But the Blue-Chip Hall of Fame and active players will always have a spot as they are your safest, most profitable card investments. However, the top ROI usually comes in the form of a first or second-year player just starting their career (i.e., LaMelo Ball), but they carry more risk.
Remember when choosing the best rookie cards to buy to maximize hobby profits.
8. 1987 Greg Maddux Leaf RC #36
9. 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Prizm RC #280
#10. 2018 Bowman Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #49
How in the world are we just adding Shohei in June of 2023? We must have been drinking too much Kool-Aid and missed the boat on this two way player. Not only can Shohei smack 30 homers in a season but he can also rack up 15 wins pitching. In our eyes Shohei is without a doubt the best current player in the MLB and gobbling up some of his Bowman rookie cards are a no brainer.
2017 Ronald Acuna Jr. Bowman Chrome RC #BCP127
6/2023 Update: Acuna Jr. is a BEAST and is having an MVP season, keep it up Ronald.
If you’d prefer a long-term investment, we’ll hold onto this Acuna Jr. card for the next ten years if everything goes as planned.
Not only can Acuna Jr. blast the ball out of the park with a haunting uppercut swing, but he also hits for a high average and even has a good deal of speed – which is very Mike Trout-esque.
Ronald Acuna Jr. has a knack for upsetting opposing players, and sure he can be a little too flashy at times, but the talent is right up there with Mike Trout, Cody Bellinger, and Juan Soto.
We like his 2017 Bowman Chrome card as an excellent long-term investment (Chrome base and Refractors).
1993 Derek Jeter SP Foil RC #279
We saw this card as a brilliant short-term investment a few years ago due to the likely price hike once he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Ceremony took place in July 2020, and sure enough, Jeter gained 99.7% of the vote to earn his spot. The 1993 SP Jeter was one of our first major purchases.
We loaded up on around 20 of them, mostly PSA 9 but a few PSA 8’s. We sold too early on maybe half but still had a juicy profit of around 400%.
RELATED: BEST DEREK JETER ROOKIE CARDS
T206 Ty Cobb Red/Green Portrait HOF Baseball Card
Ty Cobb has a duo of portrait cards that are highly sought after in the T206 set. There are four overall, and the Green Portrait is the rarest, with Bat on Shoulder, Bat off Shoulder, and Red Portrait making up the quartet. The red and green backgrounds are some of the more popular versions and are a must-have for serious collectors.
Ty Cobb T206 cards are an excellent investment and should steadily rise long term.
1989 Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Upper Deck RC #1
This is a true no-brainer. The Griffey Jr. RC is an iconic card to millions of kids who came of age in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s the signature card of an era in which the hobby reached its highest highs. Since we started tracking prices, we have seen the card steadily climb in value yearly.
2018 Topps Ronald Acuna Jr. Bat Down RC #698
This card may end up as the most popular Ronald Acuna rookie card. Numbered #698, this card has exploded in value and is quickly becoming a must-have for Acuna Jr. collectors.
(The card is an error as the standard card has the bat pointing upwards.)
We love this card and prefer this over the Acuna 2017 Bowman Chrome card, it is truly one of the best sports cards to invest in if you can tolerate a moderate level of risk.
1987 Greg Maddux Leaf RC #36
We like this Greg Maddux for a few reasons: the ‘stache! A young, baby-faced Maddux with a mustache is awesome to behold. Thirdly, we have always loved the signature light blue “rated rookie” logo printed on the bottom of the card.
On top of everything we’ve mentioned, this card is cheap compared to many others on this list (for now). When we first added Maddux to the list, you could find PSA 10 copies for roughly $230/240.
As of late 2021, this has jumped to the $700-$1,000 range.
2011 Mike Trout Topps Update RC #US175
This is the most iconic baseball card since the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck RC; the price jump over the last few years reflects that.
When we started this blog, the Mike Trout Topps Update Rookie Card PSA 10 was going for $400 to $500. That’s insane profit and a reminder of why sticking with legends and potential GOATs is a great idea.
1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 Bat Off Shoulder #350
The second T206 Cobb card to make a list, we think that the “bat off shoulder” T206 card is another great long-term play. We love the multi-color background and his stone-cold stare off into the distance. We also love the potential for profit in the future.
2018 Shohei Ohtani Topps RC #700
Looking for the best Ohtani Topps baseball card than look no further. The 2018 Topps Shohei Ohtani Topps Rookie Card is an absolute beast of a card and the long-term ROI on this bad boy should be solid.
The nameplate is the standard 2018 Topps design, with an enlarged Angels “A” logo engulfed in a water-like graphic. A Topps logo and rookie card “RC” emblem complete the front design.
We suggest buying not one but two of these cards. No doubt You will thank us 20 years from now.
1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman Baseball RC #302
Mariano Rivera is not only the best relief pitcher off-all time but also one of the most underrated rookie cards in baseball in terms of price and eye appeal. The card has made up ground in value over the last year but should still have a big upward track over the next few years.
Now, let’s talk about that outfit. It has nothing to do with baseball, but you would also think he was a high school principal or maybe a semi-pro in tennis, anything other than the relief pitcher for the NY Yankees.
We love this card!
2016 Fernando Tatis Jr. Bowman Chrome Refractor RC #CPAFT
Update 6/2023: This dude has only 179 at bats yet has 11 homers… are you freaking serious? Yes, yes, we are.
Tatis Jr. proved his rookie year was no fluke, as he has been the best player over the last few seasons. This kid is loaded for bear.
His 2016 Bowman Chrome rookie card or the 2016 Bowman Chrome Refractor RC are two great options for long-term investors.
UPDATE 2023: Tatis Jr. has severe problems staying healthy and will soon vacate this list if he can’t get his ass on the field. When he does WATCH OUT!
Please note we removed Joe Burrow Rookie Cards due to his season-ending injury in the 2023-24 NFL season. Look for Burrow to return to the list soon.
2020 Justin Herbert Panini Prizm RC #325
Drew Brees and Tom Brady are on their way out, but we have some great young talent at the QB position that looks ready to take over. One of those young bucks is Justin Herbert; this kid is the real deal. We feel that Herbert’s rookie cards are undervalued and severely undervalued based on his long-term potential.
A great card to capitalize on this young phenom’s career is the 2020 Justin Herbert Prizm RC. A dark horse candidate in 2021; thank us later when he wins his first MVP award.
UPDATE 2023: We wait for Herbert to win the MVP each year and take his team to the big game. This will happen one of these years as we feel Herbert is the most talented QB in the league and will be for years to come. He will not be removed from this list ever.
2000 Tom Brady SP Authentic Rookie Card #118
This card is the certified GOAT of Tom Brady Rookie Cards and is one of our best picks for long-term card investing. It is #118 and has a print run of only 1,250 copies. This card is on another level, combining rarity and artistic appeal.
2000 Tom Brady Bowman Chrome RC #236
It won’t come any better than Tom Brady. Over the last 5 years, we have seen an incredible run-up in sports card values. But guess which card saw the best ROI of them all? 2000 Tom Brady Bowman Chrome.
2017 Patrick Mahomes II Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket #303
Patrick Mahomes may be ushering in a new era in football – out with the old (Tom Brady) and in with the new.
We fully expect Mahomes to win at least one more Superbowl and maybe even run a string of them together to move the dynasty West to Kansas City (bye-bye, New England).
All of Mahomes’ rookie cards are great investments. Still, we particularly like the Panini Contenders Rookie Ticket and feel this one has the most excellent ROI relative to his uber-expensive rookie cards.
1986 Jerry Rice Topps RC #161
Jerry Rice was undoubtedly the best receiver the NFL has ever seen and likely will ever see. His work ethic was second to none, and his desire to win was just as great. But guess who else had a great worth ethic? Michael Jordan. Check out the top-rated Michael Jordan Basketball Card investments.
Numbered #161, the 1986 Topps Rice rookie card seems somewhat undervalued, given the player’s greatness. It might have something to do with how bad this Topps set looks, with bright colors that clash with the border.
2018 Luka Doncic Panini Prizm RC #280 (Shop eBay)
The 2018 Luka Doncic Prizm rookie card has been jaw-dropping since he arrived. One Investment Only: We’re buying a Luka Doncic Rookie Card. It’s a must-have for serious investors attempting to maximize profit from their sports card collection.
The Luka Doncic Panini Prizm Rookie Card is a must-have for collectors and is one of the best investments, if not the best investment, in the entire hobby. The card is also available in a variety of rare parallels.
1986 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie Card #57 (Shop eBay)
Michael Jordan rookie cards are some of the greatest investments in the hobby, and the ’86 Fleer is the best by a wide margin. Not only is it a top-rated card for investment purposes, it’s also one of the best-looking basketball cards on the planet, with a classic Jordan dunk and an iconic border design. Prices for the Jordan Fleer RC have exploded, but we’d still advise buying in if you’re aiming for a solid ROI year in and year out.
2020 LaMelo Ball Panini Prizm RC #278
LaMelo Ball’s rookie season reminded us of Luka Doncic until he got injured. He hasn’t been the same since but is still putting up insane numbers for a player his age. The 2020 Prizm LaMelo Ball rookie card is a no-brainer investment for a rookie who will soon be a triple-double threat nightly. It’s a shame he missed 21 games with a fractured right wrist.
1996 Kobe Bryant Topps Chrome Rookie Card #138
The 1996 Topps Chrome Kobe Bryant rookie card would always make a list. It is a gorgeous card and should also be an ROI beast over the next few years. His untimely death also influenced the potential value in January 2020. Consider if a Kobe documentary similar to the Michael Jordan doc is released; this card’s value will likely skyrocket.
2009 Kobe Bryant Lebron James Topps Chrome Refractor #24
Although not officially a LeBron James card, the 2009 Kobe/LeBron Topps Chrome Refractor has broken out from a cult following to reach mass-market appeal. We named this card one of the best-looking cards of all time. The 2009 Kobe/LeBron Topps Chrome Orange Refractor may go down in history as one of the most iconic cards in the hobby. The card looks fantastic but also seems to hold a hidden, deeper message in the image.
Two of the best of all time, one on his way up, one on his way out, and the passing of the old guard to the new guard with the ball being the key. We would love to have this card as we feel it is one of the more undervalued cards in the hobby.
2013 Giannis Antetokounmpo Panini Prizm Rookie Card #290
The Giannis Antetokounmpo Prizm RC is one to hold onto for the next decade. We like love the Orange version, but it is hard to find, not to mention it will set you back by a significant amount! We would not be surprised to see three or four more MVPs from Antetokounmpo, although Luka Doncic may have something to say about that in the future.
2003 LeBron James Topps Chrome Refractors RC #111
Every severe collector in the hobby should have a copy of this card in their investment portfolio. The 2003 Lebron James Topps Chrome RC is on fire and the ROI in the last few years is insane. It is still not too late to buy this card as, like fine wine, the price will only increase if current trends continue.
1990 Jaromir Jagr Upper Deck RC #356
Jaromir Jagr is one of the hobby’s most underrated players/rookie cards. The 1990 Upper Deck Jagr rookie card is an icon in our eyes, as many of us on staff can relate to tearing open more than a few packs of 1990 UD in search of this bad boy.
We consider it a great-looking card that is somewhat undervalued based on where it will be ten years from now compared to other HOF-type players who dominated their sport as Jagr did.
2005 SP Authentic Alexander Ovechkin RC #190
For a time, this was the only hockey card on this list and should be seen as a must-have for long-term investors. In our opinion, Ovie is already the best player ever to lace up the skates and is a scoring machine even in the “dead puck era” (imagine what he would have done in the ’80s and ’90s). The 2005 SP Authentic Alexander Ovechkin RC will cost more than $2,000 but is worth the price long-term as this card will only go up over the years.
The card is numbered #190 and the back reads “The top overall pick in 2004, Ovechkin can play both the physical and the finesse games, blending blazing speed with a 212-pound frame”.
1990 Pavel Bure Upper Deck Young Gun RC #526
The 1990 UD Pavel Bure rookie card ranks right up there with the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. UD RC as an iconic card for kids who came of age during the ‘junk wax era’. Numbered #526, the Bure Upper Deck Young Guns RC is beautiful and should have a tremendous potential ROI moving forward. For whatever reason, it seems hockey cards were more popular than any other sports card for a brief period during the early 1990s.
1990 Eric Lindros Score Canadian Future Superstar RC #440
Like the Pavel Bure RC mentioned above, dreams were made of the 1990 Score Eric Lindros Future Superstar RC for many kids in the early 90s. Look out for the Canadian version, as it’s much rarer.
Numbered #440, the card shows Lindros cruising up the rink looking to make a pass or shot toward the net. Hockey was king in the early ’90s among sports cards, although you will have to contend with the huge print runs seen at the time.
2005 Sidney Crosby SP Authentic Future Watch RC #181
The 2005 Sidney Crosby SP Authentic RC is not only one of our top hockey cards to make a list but also one of our favorite sports cards ever. Decades from now, this RC will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more. A true masterpiece from one of the best hockey players of all time.
1990 Martin Brodeur Score Canadian RC #439
Martin Brodeur is the best goalie to stack the pillows by a wide margin. He was a professional in every way and had the championships to prove it. The 1990 Score Canadian Hockey set makes another appearance on this list for a good reason. Numbered #439, this Brodeur rookie card wasn’t a massive deal when we first pulled it, but it has aged exceptionally.
This card should have an excellent ROI moving forward and could get even better as collectors realize just how good Brodeur was (and this was a time of massive goal-scoring).
1979 Wayne Gretzky O-Pee-Chee RC #18
The Great One. Enough said.
A note about hockey cards.
Many were predicting NBA cards and the NBA, in general, to take over as the most popular/profitable sport in the US. For the most part, that is generally correct, as the NFL has faced many issues.
We recently read that ‘Hockey is the new Basketball‘ ten years from now. In other words, there are predictions that hockey will become the most popular sport in the United States over the next decade. ESPN did purchase the NHL viewing contract. However, they have to increase the scoring (and excitement) if this is to happen.
2004 Lionel Messi Panini Sports Mega Cracks La Liga RC #71
Potentially the top soccer RC in the hobby, it’s no surprise as the 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks contains an image of Lionel Messi in his trademark Barcelona kit. The only drawback is it will cost you the price of a brand new Range Rover at higher grades and is only going up as he edges closer to retirement.
1993 Zinedine Zidane Panini Soccer RC #261
A much more affordable soccer card to invest in for the average collector also features one of the greatest midfielders of all time. We have always loved Zinedine Zidane since the ‘headbutt heard around the world’, which was a shocking end to a World Cup final and the player’s career. Zidane managed Real Madrid, leading the team to three unprecedented Champions League wins in a row.
2001 Tiger Woods Upper Deck Golf RC #1
It may not be the most expensive Tiger Woods rookie card, but the Upper Deck Golf RC is a solid pick. Numbered #1, it’s a great-looking card that should have nothing less than a great ROI moving forward. Maybe not as great as the ‘2001 SP Authentic Auto Gold #45 /100 RC, but that card isn’t obtainable for the average investor.
1965 Arnold Palmer Bancroft Tiddlers Giants Of Sport RC #26
A wonderful vintage card from 1965 featuring Arnold Palmer, it hails from the Bancroft Tiddlers “Giants of the Sports” set. These hand-cut cards have illustrations on the front, with info about Palmer’s illustrious career found on the reverse.
1987 Mike Tyson Panini Supersport Italian #160
Several Mike Tyson boxing cards are worth checking out, but the 1987 Panini Supersport Italian is the one that stole our hearts. Numbered #160, the card features a jacked Tyson ready to demolish a poor, helpless soul. A patriot crowd-pleasing picture of old glory in the top right-hand corner finishes this masterpiece of a boxing card. We purchased this card a year ago and couldn’t be happier.
1979 Muhammad Ali Venorlandus Our Heroes World Of Sport Boxing #3
Above: One of the MOST UNDERRATED cards in the hobby. 20 years from now I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the most expensive cards of all time.
When picking the Ali card, it was a close race between the ‘1979 Venorlandus Our Heroes World Of Sport Boxing Muhammad Ali #3’ and the ‘1960 Helmets Journal Cassius Clay Muhammad Ali RC #23’.
Ultimately, we went with the Venorlandus card as there is something about the uniqueness of the design that you rarely see. This is another boxing card on this list we purchased in the past year.
3 Best Prospects to Buy Now
Here are three of the top prospects we would consider buying to close out the year in 2023. We have made a killing by investing in the right prospects over the years and avoiding the bust. We have made a small fortune of Acuna Jr., Vlad Jr., Wander Franco, and Fernado Tatis Jr., and currently own around fifty Jackson Holiday Bowman Chrome Prospect rookie cards.
#1. 2023 Victor Wembanyama SI For Kids #1053
This is a no-brainer as this kid is being billed as the best prospect since Lebron James. Plus Wembanyama was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the first pick in the 2023 NBA draft. The Spurs have a superior record when it comes to developing phenoms drafted number one overall; see David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Victor made a solid decision when ignoring pop star Britney Spears. Hollywood is the last place he wants to be at this time and were super impressed with dismissing Spears as nothing more than an overly excited fanboy (which she was).
Which Victor Wembanyama should you invest in heading into the Fall of 2023?
For now, we love the 2023 SI For Kids Victor Wembanyama rookie card. Numbered #1053 the card shows Victor going up for an easy one-handed slam dunk while sporting a dark purple Metropiltain jersey. His name and the team name Metropolitans 92 are centered at the bottom of the card. The words Sports Illustrated for Kids are printed in the top right-hand corner, orange in color.
#2. 2022 Jackson Holliday Bowman Chrome 1st Auto #CDA-JH
Another absolute beast at the young age of 19. He is the son of future MLB Hall of Famer Matt Holiday.
Jackson was drafted with the number one overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and will soon be Gunnar Henderson in Baltimore. Experts predict a 2023 ETA but we wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he receives a Fall 2023 call-up as he is absolutely teeing off on minor league pitching.
His 2022 Bowman Chrome 1st Autograph rookie card is our choice when investing in Jackson Holiday or you can also simply buy the card without an autograph (either is a solid investment).
#3. 2021 Connor Bedard Upper Deck CHL True Rookie #302
There is another Connor on the rink and crazy enough NHL scouts are predicting him to be in an even better place than McDavid. The Chicago Blackhawks were lucky enough to be so bad (tanked?) that they obtained the 1st overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft where they obviously took Connor Bedard.
Which Bedard rookie card should you invest in? For the time being, consider the 2021 Upper Deck CHL True Rookie Card numbered #302. This card is a solid investment for the time being but be on the lookout for the Connor Bedard Upper Deck Young Guns rookie card as this should be released in the next year or two.
Where Not and Where To Buy Sports Cards
We have been buying thousands and thousands of cards over the last few years, so we have a good grasp on the best places to buy sports cards and places you want to avoid.
Where to Buy Sports Cards
In our experience, the best place to buy sports cards is by far eBay. Not only do they have the widest selection of cards, but they also have reasonable buyer/seller fees.
Although eBay is number one, the most recent sports card craze has brought new players with new ideas into the card arena (i.e., www.withotis.com and collectable.com).
Pro-Tip: We purchase 80% of our cards at eBay but have also used Heritage occasionally. These should be the only two you need when investing.
Don’t Buy Sports Cards at These Places
By far, the most significant sports card buying trap is Amazon.com. If Amazon wanted to toss some money at developing a sports card auction, they could do so.
But alas, it’s not to be. Currently, they are just running overpriced buy-now deals, and an auction is unheard of there.
Also, be careful with shady websites and dealers.
Not all websites that look like trash are trash. But would we take a chance of buying a Babe Ruth baseball card at one? Hell NO.
Same with a dealer or shop. If you walk in the shop and it looks like and smells like garbage, then it probably is.
Best Place to Sell Sports Cards Online
When it comes time to sell, it’s all about paying as few fees as possible while at the same time reaching a ton of eyeballs. And not just regular eyeballs; buy sports card collectors’ eyeballs.
This is easy because eBay is the best place to sell your cards online.
Not only are they the most extensive online marketplace and arguably the best place to buy and sell cards online, but eBay also allows users to list up almost anything related to sports cards.
Bottom line: eBay provides the most bang for the buck when selling your cards and maxing our ROI.
Check Out My Collectibles (COMC)
Check Out My Collectibles (COMC) is a solid option that allows customers to sell their sports cards.
While they can’t compete with eBay regarding auctions, COMC has a loyal, solid customer base in buying and selling cards for a set price (or buyers can negotiate the price).
Bottom Line: You might like COMC if you don’t like waiting on auctions and like to haggle. The obvious pitfall is that the price you pay for a card is likely more significant than the same card on eBay auctions.
Do not buy a hobby box expecting a positive ROI; most of the time, the value of the cards you receive will not equal the amount you spend on the hobby box.
However, few boxes offer a decent chance at hitting it big, which could potentially result in a positive ROI over the long haul. Another reason to buy a hobby box is your joy from ripping packs as a kid! It brings us back to a time when life wasn’t so stressful!
Get your friends together and go in on some hobby boxes (the ones listed below would be a good start). Order a pizza, put some beer on ice, and sit around for a couple of hours ripping packs. Without further ado, here are some boxes of sports cards worth purchasing if you want the most bang for your buck!
1993 Upper Deck SP Foil Baseball Hobby Box
We have bought this box several times and have had some great results. Out of the four hobby boxes we bought, 5 Derek Jeter rookie cards were pulled. Two graded PSA 8, one graded PSA 9, and the other returned PSA 5 and PSA 6.
2011 Topps Update Hobby Box
This hobby box allows you to score the legendary 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update Black Border rookie card.
2011 Topps Update key cards to pull:
- 2011 Topps Update Jose Altuve #US132
- 2011 Topps Update Anthony Rizzo #US55
- 2011 Topps Update Paul Goldschmidt #US47
- 2011 Mike Trout Topps Update #US175
2018 Panini Prizm Basketball Box
Here is a box that contains the best player in the hobby in terms of the most significant ROI over the next ten years (in our humble opinion).
The 2018 Prizm hobby box holds the legendary 2018 Luka Donic Prizm rookie card and a shot to obtain some sick parallels (i.e., Luka Doncic White Sparkle).
2018 Panini Prizm key cards to pull: 2018 Luka Doncic Prizm RC #280, 2018 Kobe Byrant Panini Gold Fast Break Prizm #FBKBR, 2018 Trea Young Prizm RC #78, 2018 Deandre Ayton Prizm RC #75
Best Cheap Sports Cards To Invest In
Here are some cheap cards that could turn into expensive cards.
Please note there is a decent amount of risk in these purchases as the players are not proven at this point. In our opinion, they still have the potential for great things. These are younger players for that we see the potential. If they fulfill that potential, expect the price of their cards to skyrocket.
For baseball cards, we like to buy Bowman Chrome when possible as they grade well when sent into PSA and lots as you can get cheaper than buying singles.
Here are a couple of options to purchase when it comes to investing in the best cheap sports cards;
- 2020-21 Tim Stutzle Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns #482
- 2020-21 Tyrese Maxey Panini Prizm #256
- 2020-21 Theo Maledon Panini Prizm #289
Advice and Tips
If you have any concerns or are nervous about buying an expensive card ($1,000 or more), feel free to contact us at email@example.com for a second opinion on the purchase.
Now please check out our “Ideal Sports Card Investing Portfolio” write-up to determine how to allocate your sports cards in terms of risk.
We will email you back within 24 hours or even call you on the phone if you want (leave your phone number and a good time to call).
- We recommend buying via eBay 7-day auctions as it’s usually a great way to get the card you desire at a reasonable and even sometimes cheaper price.
- Buy now on eBay should be avoided as in almost every scenario, the cards are marked up from the actual value (not every time but 95% would be a reasonable estimate).
- It’s hardly ever worth it buying non-graded cards. Stick with PSA 10, PSA 9, BGS 10, BGS 9.5, and SGC 10. One side note; modern Bowman Chrome baseball cards are about the only set of cards that holds up well when submitted to PSA (in our experience). Comment below if you disagree or can name another.
- When listing your card for sale on eBay, check out the listing of top-rated sellers and consider using them as they are experts in getting the card the most views possible via keywords.
- Avoid buying hobby boxes or packs of cards, as your return on ROI will be terrible unless you are doing it for entertainment’s sake.
- 99% of sports cards are not worth your time. Stick with high-grade HOF players with a few stud prospects, rookies, or second-year players mixed in.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments you have about the site. We are always looking for qualified writers.