People love to collect things, whether it be stamps or cards, glass cats or in this case vintage baseball cards. Either for the love or collecting or the love of baseball or the player printed on those cards, we can’t help but want to put them in folders or place them in frames.
With the things we love, we put emotional and financial value in them based on rarity and or condition or because they feature our favorite player and their signature. Some people go nuts for certain vintage. The cards can go for ridiculous amounts of money, so let us show you how ridiculous it can get.
WARNING: ALL LINKED IMAGES ARE NOT OF THE SAME CARDS SOLD AT AUCTION, NO VISUAL COPIES OF THOSE BASEBALL CARDS EXIST ONLINE
10 Sandy Koufax: Auctioned at $65.1K
Let’s start with a card that was auctioned at $65.1K, that’s right, that much, we know. The way that cards are judged for the condition is by a numerical grading system. For example, GEM-MT10 means that it’s a grade 10 Gem Mint condition. That’s the best of the best quality, practically indistinguishable from brand new.
This Sandy Koufax 1955 card has a PSA grade of 10. So it’s untouched and unworn at the sides, front and back. Practically perfect in every way. Besides the illustration with eyes that could wake you from the deepest of sleep, the shading of yellow on the card is a nice touch.
9 1914 Ty Cobb: Auctioned at $106.6K
They have odd positions, usually illustrations of iconic sporting moments, but without motion, they look like ballet dances or explosion victims. That being said, sometimes we can ignore this, we're going to ignore it for this card. The 1914 baseball card of player Ty ‘Cracker Jack’ Cobb that sold for $106.6K, makes him look like a knight of the round table. The way that the card captures a stern and almost mythic impression that makes him cooler than the sport would ever make him look.
8 1933 Nap Lajoie: Auctioned at $120K
This card looks like someone traced over the guy’s DUI mugshot and placed a greenish backdrop on it to make it look like there was a grassy, green field back there. Not a great look for the athlete and it makes me question why this card is so valuable. It just doesn’t look nice.
7 1933 Babe Ruth: Auctioned at $125K
It seems fitting actually. The only thing that we would say is a redeeming factor of the card is that the backdrop of the field and the batter’s box looks nicely illustrated, especially the detail of the grass; that’s some nice grass.
6 1948 Stan Musial: Auctioned at $129.8K
The Grade of the card, as the picture shows, is a PSA MT 10, meaning it is picture-perfect, no faults or scuffs. Mint 10 cards of this caliber we understand (the price) but with the poor illustrated ones before, it still boggles us.
5 1951 Mickey Mantle: Auctioned at $162K
What makes it worse is that Mickey’s name is placed over the illustration and in a big black distracting box, ruining the image. What do you think? Do you think that this is an image worth $162K? We don’t think so.
4 1910 Honus Wagner: Auctioned at $218.5K
Right, so this is not what we meant when we said that having a photograph instead of an illustration straight away improves the value and quality of the card. What has happened here is an awful photoshop job before awful photoshop jobs were a thing. we mean just look at this, a sharp cut-out, a bold and harsh red-backdrop, these two images do not go smoothly together.
Additional to the bad composition of the card, we would like to repeat the point that picking an iconic moment or image that was cool at the moment, doesn’t mean that when frozen/paused, the same moment looks as good. It doesn’t, Honus Wagner looks like he’s just angry at his hands. Why are you so angry with your hands? Not worth the auctioned $218.5K.
3 Joe Doyle: Auctioned at $312K
What can I say about this 1910 Joe Doyle card about its design or its price? Well, look at it. It’s an illustration for a start, that should be a red flag as far as predicting the quality of the card. However the illustration isn’t awful, the face of the athlete (Joe Doyle) actually looks like him, and the pose of Joe isn’t dumb.
The image on this card feels like the template that should have been mimicked by all the other cards, shame that’s not the case. This card, which was auctioned at $312K, might look nice, but when you consider what you can get for a quarter of a million dollars, there’s more out there that you should probably buy.
2 1955 Roberto Clemente: Auctioned at $432.6K
Not only does this card make the athlete look like he’s just farted in front of a person that used to respect him, but it also features a terrible secondary image of the athlete that somehow makes him look more awkward. It shouldn’t matter if this card features a PSA Grade 10 or the athlete’s signature, this card shouldn’t have been sold for what it did. It just shouldn’t have. It’s the ugly baby of the baseball card world.
1 1952 Mickey Mantle: Auctioned at $525K
The illustration has been competently drawn and resembles the athlete, but would you think that this card, this Grade 8 card (an almost perfect condition card) would be worth and sold for HALF A MILLION dollars?