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There are so many different sports cards but whether you consider yourself a collector or investor first, one subset of sports cards remains the most popular – rookie cards of our favorite athletes.
It represents the start of a promising career of all the players but of course not all rookie cards are created equal.
The more popular rookie cards will vary over time with some players making a name for themselves with spectacular stats while other rookie cards have become iconic with the players having hall of fame-like numbers already.
Notable Graded Rookie Cards Over The Years
Beyond the player, the value of rookie cards can also skyrocket if they are in good condition and graded by reputable companies like PSA, SGC, or Beckett. So what is the most sought after rookie card? Here are a few names of such graded rookie cards below.
- Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5 – sold for $12.6 million
- Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 9 – sold for $5.2 million
- LeBron James 2003-04 Rookie Patch Auto – sold for $5.2 million
- Luka Doncic 1:1 Logoman Auto – sold for $4.6 million
- Patrick Mahomes 2017 Rookie Auto BGS 8.5 – sold for $4.3 million
- Mike Trout 2009 Superfractor Auto – sold for $3.9 million
- Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee – sold for $3.75 million
The Most Watched Graded Rookie Cards
For those wondering or looking for high-end rookie cards currently on the market. The go-to marketplace is still eBay. Here are some of the most watched and valuable graded rookie cards for sports collectors currently listed on eBay below.
Other Popular Rookie Cards To Chase
1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card
The 1986-87 Michael Jordan rookie card is one of the most iconic and sought-after cards in the industry. It is particularly valuable due to its scarcity. Check out the video to see how many PSA 10s are available.
1979-80 Wayne Gretzky O-Pee-Chee Rookie Card
Wayne Gretzky’s O-Pee-Chee rookie card is another highly valuable card watched and graded by collectors. The 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee card is particularly rare, as it was only released in Canada.
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie Card
The Mickey Mantle rookie card is iconic and in particular the 1952 Topps card always gets headlines whenever it’s up for auction. Even low-grade cards are fairly valuable.
1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card
Ken Griffey Jr.’s rookie card is one of the most popular cards in the industry. The 1989 Upper Deck card is particularly iconic and will always have a special place in the hobby. Check out the video below to find out why it’s so popular.
2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie Card
The GOAT of football, Tom Brady’s rookie card has become increasingly valuable over the years. The 2000 Playoff Contenders card is particularly valuable due to its scarcity.
As mentioned earlier, not all rookie cards are created equal. Some players go on to become legends in their respective sports, while others fade into obscurity.
But for collectors and investors alike, the value of a rookie card goes beyond the player’s performance on the field. The condition of the card and the grading company also play a crucial role in determining its worth.
Over the years, many rookie cards have achieved legendary status and sold for insane prices at auctions.
If you missed the list above, the most notable of these include Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps SGC 9.5, which sold for a staggering $12.6 million, and LeBron James’ 2003-04 Rookie Patch Auto, which sold for $5.2 million.
Let us know what your favorite rookie card is and how much you’d be willing to pay for one!
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