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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Show off your prized sports memorabilia itemsThe Plain Dealer, July 30th
Do you have a LeBron James rookie card? A Bernie Kosar game-worn jersey? Or maybe a seat from the old Municipal Stadium! We want to see and hear all about your most-prized sports memorabilia. Send us a photo of your favorite sports item...Read more
Juggernaut Index, No. 20: The Kansas City ChiefsYahoo Sports (blog), July 28th
on the move to San Antonio? ? · Cleveland Browns safety Donte Whitner: 'We don't want nice' ? · Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel shows struggles in practice. ? · NFL Training Camp Outlook ? · Virtual Rookie Card: Mike Evans ?. Share this...Read more
Woodstock man amasses collection worth hundreds of thousands of dollarsKingston Daily Freeman, July 25th
Provenzano was lucky enough to have about 1,000 from that time period, including pitcher Nolan Ryan's rookie card as a New York Met, and even earlier ones from the 50s like pitcher Sandy Koufax's rookie card as a Brooklyn Dodger. Beyond that, he had ...Read more
35th National Sports Collectors Convention: Five days of cards, autographs ...The Plain Dealer, July 25th
Hunting for that elusive rookie card? Good chance someone will have it. Like a particular minor-league team from 40 years ago? There's a possibility someone will have a game-used jersey. And this year, said the convention's executive director Mike...Read more
Collect call: 2014 Bowman footballTbo.com (blog), July 16th
The rookie card backs are missing that lead-in, perhaps because we all don't know what's coming next. The base set consists of 110 veterans and the same number of rookies. The box I opened featured 70 veteran base cards and 20 parallels. There were 80 ...Read more
Dime Q&A: Cleanthony Early On 'Melo, Phil & Some Light Rookie HazingDime Magazine, July 14th
LAS VEGAS — Cleanthony Early is a name that grew in the basketball community as result of Wichita State's impressive and unexpected past season. Many projected the 6-7 forward as a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but it was the New York Knicks ...Read more
Griffey Upper Deck rookie cardSportsBlog.com (blog), July 12th
Then the Upper Deck company came along with its 1989 Ken Griffey Jr rookie card, and everything fell apart. Sure I had a few of the Griffey cards, but it started a craze that got out of hand. Instantly, the card was valued at $60, and it was indeed...Read more
The Card Beat: Sports Collectibles News for July 2, 2014The Cardboard Connection, July 2nd
Dennis Eckersley Cards, Rookie Card and Autographed Memorabilia Guide - Dennis Eckersley excelled as both a starter and a reliever. Take a look at his rookie cards, other important cards, autographed memorabilia highlights and more. Marvin Harrison ...Read more