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best high growth baseball cards to buy now

Card investors have different approaches. Some are like day traders seeking quick returns. Others subscribe to the long game, buying and holding for the indefinite future.


If you believe in the latter strategy, then we’ve got three investments to consider. These high-growth sports cards are like Apple or Tesla stock in their early days. Just buy and hold, baby.

3 High-Growth Baseball Cards to Buy and Hold

Let’s put it out there: the cards we’ve listed here aren’t cheap.

As they say, it takes money to make money. Though the buy-in price is high, you might chuckle in years or decades, seeing these price points as highway robbery.


1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 Red/Green Portrait 

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Few names make a more resounding sound in baseball’s annals than Ty Cobb. The polarizing outfielder has remained iconic despite retiring in 1926.

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You can bank on the upper echelon of Ty Cobb cards maintaining strong value for decades to come. For this reason, we’re recommending the 1909-1911 Ty Cobb T206s.

More specifically, you’ll want to target the T206s with a red or green background.

The pool of Ty Cobb T206s contains four card versions: the red background card, green background card, “Bat off Shoulder” card, and “Bat on Shoulder” card.

Per PSA, the green background Ty Cobb T206 is the rarest of the bunch. Still, a red background Ty Cobb T206 is no slouch of a card.

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Those familiar with the legendary Honus Wagner T206 know what to expect from the Ty Cobb equivalent.

Cobb, a man not known to smile very often, looks in the direction of the camera (or artist). Cobb’s blue eyes, milky skin, parted hair, and disarming look give him a child-like quality.

Don’t let the look fool you. Cobb has one of the worst reputations in baseball history, fair or not. Still, we’d love to have this card in our collection.

In the red background card, Cobb wears the old-style Detroit uniform, complete with buttons fastened up to his neck. A popped black collar contrasts the grey uniform.

In the green background alternative, Cobb wears the same uniform. Only, the collar appears to be grey rather than black. Both cards have a thin white border and nondescript nameplate reading “Cobb, Detroit”.

The red background cards are well-known for production inconsistencies, including varying shades of red. This makes it a highly condition-sensitive investment.

Cards as old as the Ty Cobb T206s have several things going for them. There is little chance of one just turning up out of the blue. Therefore, supply is essentially fixed.

You’ll need to pay up for a highly-graded copy of either of these Ty Cobb T206s. However, the card looks great, has massive conversation value, and is a proven investment to hold for the long term.

Cobb holds several Major League records that are unlikely to be broken any time soon. This tangible success is great for the value of his cards.


1933 Babe Ruth Goudey #144

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High Growth Baseball Cards

Who wants a piece of the Great Bambino? No, really, what would you pay to add a 1933 Babe Ruth Goudey #144 to your collection?

We might argue that any price for this card is a good price.

Before even discussing why this card is so valuable, let’s talk about artwork. Because this card is a work of art, not a mere baseball card.

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The colors are vibrant to a degree that is rare for cards of the 30s. A portrait of the left-handed Ruth commands the foreground. He stands in a square patch of clay amidst a broader Sandlot-style backdrop.

The design, though not overly ornate, has aged like fine wine. 

The likeness of Ruth befits the man. He’s got a nonchalance that says “I’m here to hit home runs, but I’m going to house a case of Dixie beers when the game ends”.

A navy blue “George Herman (Babe) Ruth” nameplate occupies the upper-left corner of the card.

Though #144 has more copies in circulation than other Godey Ruth cards from the era (due to double printing), well-graded copies are rare. When the best-graded copies have hit the market, they’ve sold for impressive sums.

#144 is known as the Full Body Ruth because the other Goudey cards feature only waist-up images of the Babe. History tells us that if you can get your hands on the Goudey Babe Ruth #144, hold on.


1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311

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Despite not being a Mantle rookie card, the 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311 is the baseball card to own. A pristine copy of the card has sold for millions. Plural.

It’s a rare card that sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars despite underwhelming PSA grades. This is that card.

The value of this card has risen at an astounding rate. Massive returns have set off a veritable frenzy among collectors, who are eager to place bids on a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311any 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311.

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The card shows a fresh-faced, iron-jawed Mantle gazing over his right shoulder into the distance. He rests a bright yellow bat on the same shoulder. He dons classic Yankee chic.

The iconic star-studded Topps nameplate contains a laser-printed Mickey Mantle autograph. A small Yankees logo rests inside a square yellow border. The white outer border and thin black sub-border are a tasteful touch.

There’s nothing too flashy about this card. However, it’s clear that much thought went into the card’s design. It is, quite simply, the most valuable baseball card ever printed.

Any collector would leap at the chance to purchase a copy, preferably for a price that is less than that of a private island.

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3 High-Growth Baseball Cards: Buyers Rating and Investment Outlook

When we make a Top 3 list, we’re not messing around. We have plenty of articles detailing cards for entry-level hobbyists. The Mantle, Ruth, and Cobb cards we’ve listed here are for heavyweights.

Investment Rating: Buy (5 out of 5)

Ownership Disclosure: None

Risk/Return Analysis: Ultra Low Risk/High to Ultra High Return

Top-Rated: We feel the 1909-11 Ty Cobb T206 Green Portrait at high grades will have the top return on investment (ROI) moving forward (BUY ON EBAY).

With that said, the condition always matters. You may be able to secure a lower-graded or ungraded copy of one of these cards at a price that works for you. For cards this special, even a low grade may be worth your consideration.


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