Few things elicit the adrenaline rush of snagging a legend’s rookie card. The player’s innocence, his untapped potential, and the invariably youthful image all combine to make rookie cards extremely collectible. Plus, everyone loves firsts.

Rookie cards of superstars are especially coveted. Jackie Robinson first appeared on 1948-49 Leaf and Hank Aaron debuted on a 1954 Topps. Roberto Clemente’s first baseball card was also a Topps, printed a year later in 1955.

Collectors have various reasons for obtaining rookie cards. One, no doubt, is an untarnished love of the game or adoration for a particular player, but in recent years, a major motivation has been pure speculation. Some people deliberately invest in the rookie cards of unproven players, hoping they will become stars one day and that their card will skyrocket in value. The most dramatic example of this occurred in the summer of 2010 with the escalation of prices for Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s cards. Before Strasburg had thrown his first major-league pitch, his cards were selling on eBay for thousands of dollars.

Rookie cards tend to be a player’s most valuable baseball cards, but that isn’t always the case. For example, Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps card is widely considered more sought-after than his 1951 Bowman rookie card. Nor is Babe Ruth’s 1915 M101-5 Sporting News rookie card his most desired. In recent years, the historical preoccupation among collectors for rookie cards has been further eroded by the advent of specialty cards, such as game-used-jersey or game-used-bat cards, as well as autographed cards.

Some stars never had rookie cards. Lou Gehrig, for one, debuted in the big leagues in 1923 but did not have a baseball card until a 1932 U.S. Caramel card. Some collectors consider a player’s first card his rookie card—for them, that ’32 U.S. Caramel is Gehrig’s rookie card—while others believe a player’s rookie card must be released during his first season.

In 2006 there was a minor clamor to standardize what constituted a rookie card—card companies complied. Now, no player is eligible to have a rookie card until he is a member of his team’s 40-man roster (as a footnote, a player can still be in the minor leagues and on a 40-man roster at the same time). Once a player achieves this milestone, his first card is given a rookie logo on the front. As for minor league players, they get “first year cards” which mark a player’s pro debut, albeit in the minors.

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2014 Bowman Chrome Red Refractor Kris Bryant Rc Rookie Auto 5/5 Bgs 10 Pristine 1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 7.5 Nrmt+ (pwcc)1952 Topps 311 Mickey Mantle Ungraded Rookie Card Yankees Hall Of Fame 1954 Topps Ernie Banks Rookie Rc #94 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1986-87 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Rc Hof Psa 8 Nm-mt 1994 Signature Rookies Derek Jeter Rc Rookie Signed Auto 6258/8650 Yankees2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Mike Trout Rookie Rc Auto Bgs 9.5 W (2) 10 's2009 Bowman Chrome Refractor Mike Trout Rc Rookie Auto /500 Bgs 9.5 W 101939 Play Ball Ted Williams Rookie Rc #92 Psa 2 Good (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Bvg 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1952 Topps Eddie Mathews Rookie Rc #407 Psa 2 Gd (pwcc)1948 Bowman Stan Musial Rookie Rc #36 Bvg 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Rc #305 Psa 1 Pr (pwcc)2000 Topps Traded Miguel Cabrera Rookie Rc Marlins Signed Auto Mint Condition1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates Rc Rookie Hof Bvg 6 Ex-mt 1993 Sp Foil #279 Derek Jeter New York Yankees Rc Rookie Signed Auto Psa/dna 1948 Bowman Warren Spahn Rookie Rc #18 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1939 Play Ball Ted Williams Rookie Rc #92 Psa 2 Good (pwcc)1986 Fleer Basketball #57 Michael Jordan Hof Rc Rookie Psa 9 Mint Centered 1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr. Rc Rookie Signed Auto Psa/dna2012 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs 46/150 Rookie Rc Auto1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Bvg 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1938 Goudey Joe Dimaggio Rookie Rc #274 Psa 1 Pr (pwcc)1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Rc #305 Psa 3.5 Vg+ (pwcc)1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Rc #305 Sgc 2.5 Good+ (pwcc)1948 Leaf Stan Musial Rookie Rc #4 Psa 3 Vg (pwcc)Bgs 9.5 Gem Mint 2011 Finest Refractors Mike Trout Auto Rookie Rare Orange #/991949 Bowman Duke Snider Rookie Rc #226 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1979 Topps #116 Ozzie Smith Rookie Psa 9 Mint San Diego PadresJoc Pederson 2012 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Rookie Auto #/150 Rc Dodgers1979 Topps Ozzie Smith #116 Psa 9 Rookie Cardinals Hof 50-50 Centered Beautiful2011 Topps Update Gold Mike Trout Angels Rc Rookie 1426/2011 Psa 10 Gem Mint 1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr. Rc Rookie Seattle Mariners Psa 10 Gem Mint2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor Byron Buxton Rookie Rc Auto /150 Psa 10 Gem Mint1968 Topps Nolan Ryan/jerry Koosman Ny Mets Rookie Stars Baseball Card1993 Upper Deck Sp Derek Jeter Rookie Card Signed - No Reserve Psa Mint 9Jorge Soler 2012 Bowman Chrome Rc Rookie Blue Wave Refractor Auto Sp #50/50 $400Jose Abreu 2014 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Auto Rookie Sp /50 Chicago White Sox2014 Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor Jose Abreu Rc Rookie Auto 36/501993 Topps Stadium Club Murphy #117 Derek Jeter Rc Rookie Psa 10 Gem Mint1938 Goudey Bob Feller Rookie Rc #288 Psa 3 Vg (pwcc)2012 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Corey Seager Rc Rookie Auto /150 Bgs 9.5 W/ 101939 Play Ball -- Ted Williams -- Psa 1 -- Hof Rookie2014 Topps Chrome Masahiro Tanaka Rookie Alternate Phone Variation Ssp Yankees 2003 Topps Bowman Heritage Signs Of Greatness Robinson Cano Auto Rookie Sg-rc1949 Bowman Gil Hodges Rookie Rc #100 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1938 Goudey Joe Dimaggio Rookie Rc #250 Psa 1 Pr (pwcc)2011 Topps Update #us175 Mike Trout Angels Rookie Rc Psa 10 Gem Mint2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Addison Russell Ref Auto Rookie Chicago Cubs1938 Goudey Bob Feller Rookie Rc #264 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)1948 Bowman Red Schoendienst Rookie Rc #38 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2011 Finest Refractor Mike Trout Rc Rookie Auto /499 Bgs 9.5 Gem Mint W/ 10Byron Buxton 2013 Bowman Chrome Bgs 9.5/10 Blue Wave Rookie Auto #24/50 Fc42051936 R312 Pastel Photos Joe Dimaggio Rookie Rc #9 Bvg 1 Poor (pwcc)Yasiel Puig Jorge Soler 2013 Bowman Platinum Auto Rookie Refractor #/25 Bgs 9.51985 Topps Tiffany #401 Mark Mcgwire Rc Rookie Usa Baseball Team Psa 9 MintMike Trout /2011 $250+ Mint Angels Gold Rookie #175 Rc Sp 11 Topps Update Rare2013 Bowman Chrome Austin Meadows Rookie Auto Refractor Autograph Rc Draft

Recent News: Rookie Baseball Cards

Source: Google News

Nolan Ryan rookie card, other collectibles the Pennsylvania Treasury's hawking
The Express-Times - lehighvalleylive.com, August 29th

The 1968 Nolan Ryan rookie card is one that I never got around to acquiring as a kid because it was just too pricey for a fellow who's only sources of income came from a paper route and solicitations to his parents. He wasn't my favorite player, but he...Read more

Rare items from Pennsylvania to be auctioned off this weekend in Lancaster ...
FOX43.com, August 28th

Notable items to be sold include a platinum filigree ring with diamonds, an eagle gold piece dated 1912, a Tiffany & Co. gold and platinum diamond-encrusted crescent pin, and a 1968 Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan rookie card. All of the items included in ...Read more

Why a mysterious collector chased a run-of-the-mill 1964 Curt Flood baseball card
ESPN, August 26th

Very few, though, have sought out multiple copies of a single card. Reggie Jackson is rumored to have tried to buy every copy of his own rookie card; one anonymous collector owns more than 300 of the 1,000 copies of Albert Pujols' 2001 Donruss Elite card...Read more

Upper Deck Releases Evgeny Kuznetsov's NHL Rookie Card
Russian Machine Never Breaks, August 19th

For all you Evgeny Kuznetsov superfans, here's some good news. Upper Deck has released the Russian's first NHL trading card as part of the 2014-15 MVP set. They hit eBay last week. In the photo, Kuzya wears a white Caps' away jersey and is in mid...Read more

2014 Basketball Hall of Fame Rookie Card Collecting Guide
The Cardboard Connection, August 8th

Ten new members are joining the Basketball Hall of Fame. The 2014 Hall of Fame class is headlined by former NBA All-Stars Mitch Richmond and Alonzo Mourning. Previous NBA commissioner David Stern also joins the lineup, as does esteemed coaches ...Read more

2014-15 NBA Rookie Card Collecting Guide
The Cardboard Connection, August 4th

Fueling the most anticipation for basketball rookie collectors in recent memory, the 2014 NBA Draft class enters their inaugural season with much excitement and fanfare. Although their first official pack-pulled cards in 2014-15 NBA products are still...Read more

Embiid and Wiggins spend a day in front of cameras at rookie photo shoot
KUsports (blog), August 4th

The NBA gathered up almost 40 members of its 2014 draft class this weekend in New York for a rookie photo shoot. Kansas University products Andrew Wiggins — Cleveland's No. 1 overall pick — and Joel Embiid — Philadelphia's No. 3 pick — of course ...Read more

NBA Rookie Card Photo Shoot
LEX18 Lexington KY News, August 3rd

NBA Rookie Card Photo Shoot. Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers) and James Young (Boston Celtics) were two of 38 rookies in New York on Sunday for an NBA Rookie Card photo shoot. After a day of posing, dunking and goofing around with other rookies, ...Read more