Best vintage baseball card

Hobby & Collectibles

Vintage baseball cards are divided into two types: pre-war and post-war. Pre-war cards feature players before WWII, and post-war cards feature those who played after WWII through 1980.

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Which vintage baseball cards are best?

Baseball was first played in 1846 and has become a sport millions of fans love. Baseball cards have been around since before World War II. Featuring cherished players like Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, these collectable cards provide statistics and fun facts about each player.

If you’re a vintage baseball card lover, the Topps 1987 Baseball Wax Pack Trading Card Box is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a vintage baseball card

Vintage baseball cards are divided into two types: pre-war and post-war. Pre-war cards feature players before WWII, and post-war feature players after WWII to 1980. Rookie cards are the most collectable and valuable. Some baseball cards are a part of subsets, and while they are fun to collect, their value is about half that of post-war and pre-war vintage cards.

Before purchasing a vintage baseball card, there are a few things you should consider. 


First and foremost, before purchasing a vintage baseball card, you should set a budget. This will determine the types of vintage cards you can afford. Rookie cards, for example, can become costly, especially if they are in top condition or feature a player that is well-known. Cards featuring Hall of Fame players or ones that are extremely popular are highly collectable, which also increases the price.

If you purchase a lot of variety packs, one idea to create revenue for collecting is to sell cards that are duplicates. 

Rookie cards

It’s important to understand what a rookie card is because they are the most recognizable when investing. When a baseball player is featured on a rookie card, it means it is that player’s first year playing in the major leagues, the highest level of competition. These cards are typically more valuable than other vintage baseball cards because they are more difficult to come across in top condition, especially when a player is featured on a number of cards later in his career.

If a player who started in the minor leagues moves up, their minor league trading cards can be valuable, as well. While these cards are scarcer than others, they are worth more when it comes to trading. 


Almost all sports cards have a grading system, which is why it’s important to understand how it works, especially if investing. This system provides and assesses a card’s value.

For baseball cards, there are three grading companies which are considered to be of the highest quality: PSA, BGS and SGC. PSA is the highest value of the three but the most expensive; BGS costs less than PSA and looks the best, especially if it’s a BGS Black Label; SGC is the cheapest and has a fast return, though it’s value isn’t much. 

What to look for in a quality vintage baseball card

Purchasing a vintage baseball card is exciting, especially if it features your favorite player. When searching for a quality vintage baseball card, consider elements like eye appeal and condition, as they are a large factor in determining a card’s value. 

Eye appeal

Eye appeal is a feature that should be examined before purchasing a vintage baseball card. Cards that fall under PSA, BGS or SGC grading have a higher eye appeal and are worth more compared to others.

Vintage baseball cards that are free of tears and smudges and still look glossy increase in value, though older cards that may have a bent corner or tear can actually be more valuable. This is especially true if it features a well-known player or is from a limited edition series. 


In order for a baseball card to be considered vintage, it has to be classified as either pre-war or post-war. Pre-war cards are the oldest and feature the “caramel” card, with the American Caramel Company set being the most popular. Additionally, they are the rarest and hardest to find. Many collectors do not want to sell them because of their increasing value. 

More post-war cards were produced than pre-war, with PSA having graded more than 255,000. Whichever type of vintage baseball card you prefer, keep in mind that in general, pre-war cards are more likely to be graded.


Many baseball cards have subsets, which have a different design than traditional cards from the year of release. Subsets are typically sold anywhere from 10-40 cards per pack and feature players that have similar characteristics. For example, one subset may consist of top pitchers or league leaders, while another may feature rookies and base stealers. Subsets typically don’t have as much value as other baseball cards.

How much you can expect to spend on a vintage baseball card

Vintage baseball cards aren’t cheap. The older the card, the more expensive it is. Mid-grade vintage cards can range between $2,000-$3000, while sets from the 1960s are generally worth $1,500-$2,500.  

Vintage baseball card FAQ

What is considered a vintage baseball card?

A. Baseball cards that were sold before 1980 are considered vintage and are classified into two categories: pre-war and post-war. Pre-war baseball cards are considered the oldest and are of more value, while more post-war cards were produced and are not typically as rare or valuable.

Should you have a vintage baseball card professionally graded? 

A. This simply comes down to your collection goals. If you’re looking to sell a vintage baseball card quickly, having it professionally graded isn’t a must. However, if it’s of the highest quality and/or dates before WWII, it may be a good idea. Keep in mind that there are some collectors that actually prefer vintage baseball cards that aren’t kept in plastic.

If you choose to get cards professionally graded, it’s best to do your research because some graders are inexperienced and overestimate the value cost. 

What are the best vintage baseball cards to buy?

Top vintage baseball card

Topps 1987 Baseball Wax Pack Trading Card Box

Topps 1987 Baseball Wax Pack Trading Card Box

What you need to know: For those who are vintage baseball card fanatics, this pack is for you. 

What you’ll love: Featuring Topps 1987 vintage baseball cards, some sets include rookie players like Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro. The set comes with 36 packs and is packaged in a Topps box. It also includes 17 Bubble Gum cards. 

What you should consider: This set is a little more expensive than others. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top vintage baseball card for the money

Vintage MLB Baseball Cards From the Late 80's and Early 90's

Vintage MLB Baseball Cards From the Late 80s and Early 90s

What you need to know: These vintage baseball cards will bring nostalgia from the 80s and 90s. 

What you’ll love: Each pack is unopened and unsearched, including vintage cards from popular brands like Score and Upper Deck. It also includes some MLB Hall of Fame players, such as Ozzie Smith and Tony Gwynn. 

What you should consider: Some reviews stated the product arrived later than the expected delivery date. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 - Replica

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 – Replica

What you need to know: Beloved Yankee player Mickey Mantle is featured on this replica 1952 vintage baseball card.

What you’ll love: Sold at a reasonable price, this replica vintage baseball card looks like the real deal. Featuring bright colors, Mickey Mantle stands out from the green background. The orange border at the top highlights the card’s grade, year it was released, and includes the card number of the set it belongs to. Additionally, Mantle’s autograph adds a nice vintage touch.

What you should consider: This vintage baseball card is a replica and sells fast.

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy


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Tessa Schaal writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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