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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1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson Rookie Rc #79 Psa 4 Vgex (pwcc)1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Gai 7.5 Nrmt+ (pwcc)1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose Reds Rc Rookie Psa 8 Nm-mt " Looks Undergraded "1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)1954 Topps Al Kaline Rookie Rc #201 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1939 Play Ball Ted Williams Rookie Rc #92 Psa 4 Vgex (pwcc)1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Psa 2 Gd (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 3 Vg (pwcc)1937 O-pee-chee Joe Dimaggio Rookie Rc #118 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1954 Topps Al Kaline Rookie Rc #201 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron Rookie Psa 4.5 Beauty!!1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron Rookie Rc Psa 5 Ex "centered" 35688a Rb11954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)1954 Topps Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #128 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Bvg 4.5 Vgex+ (pwcc)1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie # 311 Psa 51957 Topps Brooks Robinson Rookie Rc #328 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Rc #305 Bvg 5.5 Ex+ (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 4.5 Vgex+ (pwcc)1954 Topps Ernie Banks Rookie Rc #94 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Bvg 2 Gd (pwcc)1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Psa 2 Good Rookie Card1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 5.5 Ex+ (pwcc)1991 Topps Desert Shield Chipper Jones #333 Bgs 9.5 Rookie Braves Hof1959 Topps Baseball Card Complete Set Of 572 Mantle Mays Clemente Gibson Rookie1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle Rookie Rc #253 Sgc 1/10 Fr (pwcc)1948 Bowman Stan Musial Rookie Rc #36 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1963 Topps Baseball Set Rookie Stars Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds + #5372015 Usa Stars & Stripes Baseball Kris Bryant Auto Jersey Rookie Card 9/991948 Swell Sports Thrills Setbreak Jackie Robinson Rookie #3 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)2011 Bowman Chrome Bryce Harper Rookie Rc Bcp111 Autograph Bgs 9.5 With 10 Auto2010 Bowman Aflac All American Bryce Harper Rc Rookie Bgs 9.5 W/ 10 Auto1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 5.5 Ex+ (pwcc)1982 Topps Cal Ripken #21 Baseball Card Psa 10 Gem Mint Rookie Rc1954 Johnston Cookies Braves Hank Aaron Rookie Rc #5 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1968 Topps Nolan Ryan Rookie #177 Bvg 8!1955 Topps #164 Bob Roberto Clemente Pirates Rc Rookie Hof Psa 4 Vg-ex2015 Immaculate Shadowbox Kris Bryant Rookie/rc Auto/worn Logo Patch Relic #1/11984 Donruss #248 Don Mattingly New York Yankees Rc Rookie Psa 9 Mint1993 Derek Jeter Upper Deck Sp Premier Prospects #279 Rc Rookie Bgs 9.51951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie Rc #305 Sgc 4/50 Vgex (pwcc)1973 Topps Break 615 Rookie 3rd Basemen/schmidt Rc Nm++A.j. Reed 2014 Bowman Chrome Rc Rookie Refractor Autograph Sp Auto Mint $1002015 Topps Chrome Kris Bryant #112 Bgs 10 Pristine Rookie Cubs1955 Topps Roberto Clemente Rookie Rc #164 Psa 4 Vgex (pwcc)1967 Topps #581 Tom Seaver Rookie Psa 4 Vg/ex1954 Topps Ernie Banks Rookie Rc #94 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1971 Topps #26 Bert Blyleven Minnesota Twins Rc Rookie Hof Psa 8 " Pack Fresh "Francisco Lindor 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph Auto Rookie Rc C8412#82/99 Carlos Correa 2015 Immaculate Autograph Patch Logo Rookie Rc Sp Patch1948 Leaf Warren Spahn Rookie Rc #32 Psa 3 Vg (pwcc)1943-48 Parade Sportive Jackie Robinson Rookie Rc #89 Bgs 5 Ex (pwcc)2008 Prime Cuts Buster Posey Autograph #/249 Jersey Relic Rookie Auto Rc2015 Bowman Chrome Refractor Luis Severino Rc Rookie Auto 40/499 Yankees1968 Nolan Ryan Rc Psa 7 Nm Hof Rookie1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie Rc #35 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)

Recent News: Rookie Baseball Cards

Source: Google News

Demand for McDavid rookie card still very high
630ched.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, $486100
Forbes, 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 auction
Arizona 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 market
CBSSports.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 bucks
Globalnews.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 released
Edmonton 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