Buying and collecting baseball cards is a hobby that I have enjoyed for over 30 years. It has given me countless hours of time spent with my children, teaching them the greats of the game. These are my tips on how to buy baseball cards.
The first thing you will want to consider when making the decision to buy baseball cards is, “Why am I buying?” The main reason I buy baseball cards is to collect them. After receiving my first pack of Topps trading trading cards for a birthday present, I was hooked for life. I have been buying cards ever since, and literally thousands of cards later, I look forward to the next set as much as I did the first.
Many people, especially dealers, buy cards as an investment. Looking at cards as an investment can easily be compared to investing in stocks. Just like the the tech bubble investors remember all too well, baseball card prices suffered a similar fate in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The big three card producers, Topps, Fleer, and Donruss were joined by producers such as Score and Upper Deck.
The card market literally became over saturated with millions of prints. Throw in a 1994 player strike, internet pressure, a steroid scandal, and baseball card values have plummeted over the last 20 years. Overall industry sales have taken a similar drop. Sales in the early 90’s were counted in the billions of dollars. In 2008, sales were around $200 million.
The good news for those who buy baseball cards as an investment is that cards that are graded by professional grading and authenticating companies like Beckett, BGS and PSA, have either maintained, or risen in value. Graded rookie cards and autographed baseball cards have done very well.
Basically, buying baseball cards as an investment requires as much research and due diligence as would be needed to make any other investment decision. Although I have traded a few cards here and there, I have never actually sold any. I would definitely be considered “just a collector”.
There are many reasons people buy baseball cards. Whether you are buying them for the fun of it (like me), as an investment, or any other reason, you should always think about your own reason before you buy. Don’t forget, baseball cards make a great gift idea for any age and anytime.
Where to Buy
The internet offers you literally millions of baseball card options with a simple click. In recent years I have been making an increasing number of card purchases through internet sites such as Amazon and Sports Memorabilia.com. If auctions are your thing, sites like eBay give you the opportunity to bid on cards against other buyers. You may be buying from other collectors, investors, or dealers, so always make sure you do some homework on the seller.
A lot of dealers have also set up their own sites, giving you the opportunity to browse their entire collection.
The internet is a great place to start when your looking for baseball cards. It has never been easier to find and purchase that special card you’ve been looking for that no one seems to have. Just remember to buy from a reputable retailer or seller. Always make sure the seller offers a return guarantee.
The local hobby shop is still my favorite place to go when I’m looking for baseball cards. Hobby shops will usually offer a wide variety of baseball cards as well as many other trading cards. Many also offer a good selection of older cards too.
Owners of hobby shops are usually very knowledgeable when it comes to trading cards. They can be a great source of information. They will most likely be more than happy to help you set up your card collection and help you with any questions you may have. They will assist you in finding a certain card and help you with pricing your collection. Hobby shops are definitely a great place to make your next card purchase.
Retail stores like Kmart, Target, and Meijer often have a small section dedicated to trading cards. While you are not going to get nearly the selection you would from a hobby shop, you can usually find some big mark downs on large box sets. A few years back, my local Kmart had a whole shelf full of cards in a can. This was a special edition made by card maker Pinnacle. They had these cans on clearance for 99 cents a can, so I did what any collector would do and bought almost the whole shelf!
Although I have no intention of ever selling any of them, I have seen them going for anywhere between $2 – 20$ for unopened individual cans.
Retail stores may not offer the best selection, but from time to time you can find good deals that just can’t be beat anywhere else. If you are anything like me and very rarely go “shopping”, looking for deals on baseball cards is a great way to spend your time at the store while receiving “shopping credits” with your better half. 🙂
If you enjoy spending time with other people who share your interests, joining a card trading club can be a very enjoyable way to buy and trade cards. You can check with your local hobby shops to see if they have any trading clubs that you may be interested in. If not, ask if they would be interested in forming one. I almost guarantee they will be happy to assist you.
If meeting in person is not your thing, try doing a Google search for online baseball card trading clubs. You are going to find a lot of clubs that you can join and most of them are free. The same rules apply here: Before you buy or trade any card, do your homework on the seller. Most of these clubs already have systems in place to verify traders and sellers.
Remember when buying and trading online that there will be shipping costs involved. Make sure to include these when you are trying to figure out if you are getting a deal or not. That card you want may be a few dollars cheaper online, but you may end up paying more for it after shipping costs.
Card shows are a great place to check out the latest cards coming out and a wide variety of vintage cards as well. Look into upcoming events at places like your local flea markets and card or hobby shops. Lots of dealers and other collectors will have booths and tables set up for you to check out their latest offers. And bonus, they are usually willing to negotiate with you on the prices.
Card shows are a great place to look for baseball cards when you are looking for those hard to find cards, and are looking to get them for a great price.
There are many different ways to buy baseball cards. Here I have discussed a few of my personal favorites. Don’t let yourself become restricted to only one source. Remember to always shop around a little until you find exactly what you are looking for. Don’t settle!
If you are looking for autographed baseball cards, always buy from reputable retailers like Sports Memorabilia.com. They are a Google trusted store. Always make sure you are provided with a certificate of authenticity and a grading from a service like PSA. And don’t forget the return guarantee!
You can check out my review of Sports Memorabilia.com by clicking Here.
I hope you have found this article informative and helpful. Should you have any questions about how or where to buy baseball cards, or if you would like to share your own favorites, please do leave a comment below and I will get back with you a.s.a.p. Thanks for stopping by. ~Jeremy