Baseball cards have been a collector favorite for nearly as long as the sport has been around. Originally packaged with goods like gum or tobacco, baseball cards soon became a commodity all by themselves. There are a wide range of cards available, and typically, the fewer of any particular card, the more coveted it is. The following list details the 5 most coveted baseball cards ever.
1. Honus Wagner
of the Pittsburgh Pirates
The 1909 T206 #366 (with white border) Honus Wagner card is considered the most coveted baseball card in existence. It’s reported that there are about 100 still in existence, with just ten being in good condition. Wagner, the second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was reported to have demanded that all of his cards be pulled from production because he objected to cigarettes. In 2000, (in the last reported auction sale for this card), a Wagner T206 was sold for $1.1 million.
2. Babe Ruth
of the New York Yankees
The 1933 Goudey #53 Babe Ruth baseball card is one of the most coveted and valuable of all time. This card was released by the Goudey Gum Company of Boston, through the Big League Gum series. Some of the earlier cards (including this one) still called him George Herman “Babe” Ruth. According to the April 2005 SMR Price Guide, this card will fetch just over $100,000.
3. Ty Cobb
of the Detroit Tigers
The 1914 E145-1 Cracker Jack #30 baseball card featuring Ty Cobb, nicknamed (contradictory to his behavior throughout his career) “The Georgia Peach”. This hall of famer’s card was found inside Cracker Jack boxes, and features the notorious Cracker Jack red background and beautiful, vivid coloring. Because the Cracker Jack cards were placed inside the boxes unsealed, most are in bad shape, but a great condition card can bring in anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000.
4. Joe Jackson
of the Chicago White Sox
Also included in those famous Cracker Jack cards with the red backgrounds was the 1915 E145-1 Cracker Jack $103 “Shoeless Joe Jackson” card. He is as famous for the alleged “World Series scandal” as he is for his .408 batting average. One of these cards recently sold for about $26,000; a huge amount more than the SMR Price Guide estimated worth. While this card may not fetch that large of a sum again at auction, it’s estimated to be worth about $5,000 to $9,000.
5. Nap Lajoie
of the Philadelphia Phillies
When the 1933 Goudey Gum Company created the 1933 set, the Napoleon Lajoie card wasn’t with it. Those who wanted the card had to write a letter requesting it and these days, would be glad they took the extra step. With the majority of the cards being destroyed, very few of this one exist, and most aren’t in great condition. That’s why this card could easily pull in between $20,000 and $30,000 at auction.
For those who love baseball cards, these are the “holy grails,” cards that are often dreamed about but rarely ever seen, even in full collections.