Baseball cards have been a popular collectible for more than a century. Whether the collectors are kids trading with friends on a playground or adults spending their weekends scouring through baseball card shows, their goal is the same: to own the most valuable baseball cards possible.
In 2016, a family was cleaning out the long-abandoned home of their great-grandparents when they stumbled upon seven Ty Cobb baseball cards. The cards are part of the T206 lot, one of the most valuable baseball card lots in existence. Until what has been dubbed “The Lucky Seven Find”, there were only 15 previously known copies of the T206 Ty Cobb Tobacco Back card.
Stories like this inspire collectors. With a little luck, anyone could find the rarest baseball card.
But what are the most expensive baseball cards?
Professional Sports Authenticator grades the quality of baseball cards and tracks their sales. PSA also speculates on the values of authenticated rare cards that have not been sold (seen below in parenthesis). According to PSA (with help from Bleacher Report), here are the most valuable baseball cards ever sold:
- 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner, the most valuable baseball card, recently sold for $3.12 million (speculated PSA value: $7.5 Million)
- 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle sold for $1.13 million ($2.5 Million)
- 1915-1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie Card sold for $717,000 ($1.35 Million)
- 1909-11 American Caramel Joe Jackson sold for $667,189 ($600,000)
- 1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card sold for $588,000 ($600,000)
- 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth sold for $575,000 ($900,000)
- 1909-11 T206 “Bat Off Shoulder Ty Cobb” sold for $488,425 ($280,00)
- 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente sold for $478,000 ($400,000)
- 1909-11 T206 N.Y. NAT’L Hands up Joe Doyle Misprint sold for $414,750 ($550,000).
This card mislabels the New York Highlanders as a National League team. This misprint may be the rarest baseball card. PSA reports the existence of 9.
- 1954 Topps Henry “Hank” Aaron sold for $358,500 (200,000)
1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb Portrait Red Background with Ty Cobb Back These are the cards of “The Lucky Seven Find.” One of the lower graded cards of the find sold for $240,000. The best conditioned of these cards, however, are valued at $1 million, but have not yet sold.
1909-11 T206 Eddie Plank White Border This card is part of the T206 lot (the rarest baseball card lot) along with several others on this list. Due to a poor printing plate, even fewer of these cards were produced than the others. A card with an EX-MT 6 grading (out of a possible 10) sold for $188,000, while PSA values the higher quality cards at $675,000.