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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Demand for McDavid rookie card still very high630ched.com, November 21st
Even though he started his NHL career almost 2 months ago now, the demand for the Connor McDavid rookie card is still very high. Wayne Wagner from Wayne's Sports Cards and Collectible says that they will normally sell the card in store, but because of ...Read more
McDavid Mania Spreads as Fans Search for Connor McDavid Rookie Cards in 2015 ...GlobeNewswire (press release), November 20th
CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Connor McDavid's recent injury hasn't stopped hockey fans from running out to collect his first League-licensed rookie card. The highly anticipated McDavid 'Young Guns' card is available exclusively ...Read more
Mickey Mantle Rookie Baseball Card Sets New Record On Ebay, $486100Forbes, November 12th
This Mantle sold on eBay for $486,000, a new all-time record. His true rookie card is actually his 1951 Bowman (Photo by PWCC). “Mantle rookies in any grade are appreciating ridiculously,” said John Goodman, who runs Goodman's Vintage Sports Cards, ...Read more
How much did someone (Yankees fan?) pay for record-breaking Mickey Mantle ...NJ.com, November 9th
That set both a record for the Mantle rookie card and the price of a card on the auction site. "There's a supply-and-demand imbalance with this card," Brent Huigen, who sold the card through his business PWCC, told ESPN's Darren Rovell. "What we've ...Read more
Babe Ruth rookie card sale hits a home run at auctionArizona Daily Star, November 7th
A very rare Babe Ruth rookie card sold for $204,000 this year at Robert Edward Auctions in New Jersey. 2015-11-07T06:30:00Z 2015-11-24T10:31:05Z Babe Ruth rookie card sale hits a home run at auctionBy Danielle Arnet The Smart Collector Arizona Daily ...Read more
Connor McDavid's rookie card is already selling for $250 on marketCBSSports.com, November 6th
The world of sports collectibles remains fascinating. The sports memorabilia that seemingly everyone has gotten their hands on at least once in their lives are trading cards. It's the gateway to a bigger addiction for some, a passing hobby of one's...Read more
Connor McDavid rookie card released, fans paying big bucksGlobalnews.ca, November 5th
The cost to purchase a case that would guarantee a McDavid rookie card was $1,099.95. There's one, maybe two McDavid cards in each case. “It's crazy, right? That's what my wife thinks, too,” said Stubbington with a smile. “But I've been saving up for a...Read more
Connor McDavid mania resumes as Edmonton Oiler rookie card releasedEdmonton Journal, November 4th
Connor McDavid's much-anticipated rookie card, from the Upper Deck Series 1 Young Guns, hits collectibles shops Thursday morning in Edmonton, and there's only one way to guarantee you'll get your mitts on one. “If you bought a case of 12 boxes, you ...Read more