Gotta Collect ‘Em All: The Most Expensive Sports Cards

For most kids who collect sports cards, the goal is to have the largest collection in the neighborhood. For sports card experts, and people who have been collecting memorabilia professionally, amassing a large collection isn’t necessarily the goal anymore. Instead, they focus on accumulating a collection that has value.

In case you’re thinking about getting into the game or just need some collecting inspiration, here are some of the sports cards that are considered the most valuable in history.

1. Honus Wagner 1909-1911 Baseball Card

If you’ve never heard of Honus Wagner, don’t be alarmed. Although he’s one of the most eminent figures in baseball history, his career ended in the 1910s, so it’s understandable if you’ve never heard of him.

In 2007, a card manufactured by the American Tobacco Company featuring Honus Wagner sold for an unbelievable $2.8 million to an anonymous collector. It’s thought to be one of only 57 that still remain in existence.

Wagner himself stopped the production of the card because he didn’t want children to have to buy packs of cigarettes in order to collect his trading card. Since these cards sell for so much money, you’d have to start searching auction houses like Christie’s in order to find your own.

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2. Babe Ruth 1914 Baseball Card

One of the first homerun kings of baseball was Babe Ruth. His nickname was “the Sultan of Swat” and he played most famously for the New York Yankees.

However, the early years of his career were spent as a pitcher in Baltimore. It was his home town, but he wasn’t there for long, which makes this 1914 card from Ruth’s rookie season in Baltimore extremely valuable. There are two different colors of the same card — blue and red — both of which show a very young Ruth and note his position as a pitcher.

In 2013, auction house Robert Edward Auctions sold a red version of the card for $450,300.

3. Roberto Clemente Rookie Card

Roberto Clemente was one of the top baseball players of the 1950s, but unlike many other players, he only had one rookie card. It was made in 1955, when he was playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After that, he went on to win 12 Gold Glove awards, and appeared in a remarkable 12 All-Star Games. His untimely death at 38 cut short a remarkable MLB career.

One of his 1955 rookie cards, which was manufactured by Topps, sold for an unbelievable $432,690 at auction in 2012. Even reprints of the original are selling on eBay for thousands of dollars.

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