How do I go about determining the value of old basebcall cards?
Whether it’s something you inherited or pulled from the closet after years, it’s always exciting to discover the value of old baseball cards.
Finding a source with integrity
When it comes to the value of old baseball cards, there are unfortunately dishonest or unscrupulous individuals who look to take advantage of those with less knowledge.
Book value VS. Market Value
Looking to a price guide like Beckett or Tuff Stuff can give you a basic idea of what cards are worth, but it can also be a little misleading.
It’s important to consider the market for the items in question. A better method to determine the price your cards might fetch on the open market is looking to online marketplaces like eBay. With eBay, you can check the value of recent sales fairly easily:
Go to Ebay.com
Search for your item
Go to the left-hand sidebar, and from the Show only section, select Sold listings.This will filter results to show the final price of completed sales on eBay.com, and should give you a better idea of the sum your item could realistically fetch.
Make sure your itemis searchable.
Determining the condition of sports cards
Beyond scarcity, condition is one of the greatest determining factors of the value of old baseball cards. Looking for wear and damage is something you can do on your own, and will give you a good idea if there are any issues that might affect the price of the items you’re hoping to sell. To find any wear and damage, look closely at four areas of your sports cards:
These should be sharp and well defined. As you evaluate the corners of your cards, look carefully for fraying, rounding off, and tears.
Examine the edge of your card straight on. Damage could include imperfections in the finish, dents, or wear due to improper handling.
Check the surface of your card for any bends and creases, as well as any areas where the finish is imperfect. Also check for defects from when the card was originally printed.
The older the card, the less precise the equipment used to print it. This can sometimes lead to cards being printed off-center on the stock. Check the borders to ensure the width is the same on all four sides.
Production errors such as marks or imperfections.
Services for graded cards
While the above methods for checking the value of old baseball cards are important for your own knowledge, they might not help much on the open market. For that, most savvy collectors look to grading services. These services, for a fee, will evaluate your cards and assign them a grade — which will impact the price. The most reputable grading services are: