“I’m sorry to tell you this, but your cards aren’t worth anything.” That’s unfortunately been my response to many people when they ask what their cards are worth.
I understand why they ask. The sports card market has been growing for the past few years and really took off with the pandemic. With most things shut down in 2020, people looked for fun things to do, new hobbies to get into, and for alternative investments. Opening, collecting, trading, and investing in sports cards covered those bases. With the sudden increase in demand for sports cards, the prices of cards went up too. It seemed as though each week, a new sports card was setting record high auction prices.
The news of these record prices makes people think usually one of two things. “I wish I would have held onto my cards from when I was younger” or “My old sports cards are valuable!”
Unfortunately, most of the people who have the 2nd thought will not find value in their cards, but rather disappointment, maybe even more so than those who didn’t keep their cards. This is especially true if their cards are from 1987-1994. Those years are considered The Junk Wax Era of sports cards. During that time, card manufacturers flooded the market with supply. With the sports card hobby booming in the late 80’s, printing cards was like printing money for these card companies. On top of that, many people were buying cards specifically for the purpose of holding as an investment, which means they didn’t even get to enjoy opening them. With all supply and very little demand, cards from this era are mostly only good for fires.
There are a few exceptions to this era, such as the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie and the 1993 SP Derek Jeter to name a couple. Even with these exceptions, the value will depend mostly on the condition of the card. For example, the Griffey Jr. Rookie card can go from $50 in near mint condition(PSA 7) to $2,500 in Mint condition(PSA 10).
I'd like to be the bearer of good news as well, so If you have a sports card and you’re having trouble figuring out the current market value, send a DM to Duggs Den on twitter (@DuggsDen) and I’ll see if I can help.