Cards are hot right now. You’ve probably got some laying around in your parents basement. OMG ARE THEY WORTH ANYTHING?
It’s pretty easy to figure that out. Let’s go!
The Junk Wax Era
From 1987-1994, cards got super popular and manufacturers tried to capitalize on it by making a ton. Cards in this era were way over produced, making the vast majority of them worthless. Damn.
Rookies have all the value
Junk Wax or not, all you’re really looking for is rookies. I won’t get into it now, but those MJ cards you have laying around are probably nearly worthless. If it’s an ’86 Fleer rookie – different story. Look for rookies.
Seeing How Much Cards are selling for on eBay
Ok, got a rookie from someone notable that’s in decent shape? Let’s check it out.
- Go to Ebay and search for exactly what you’ve got: 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie #57. Get all the details. The year, brand, player, number in the set, and of course “rookie” if it’s a rookie, for good measure. If you want more details on the structure and taxonomy of cards, check out my basketball cards 101 post.
- If the results generally look like the card you’ve got in your hand, great. But the list prices on what you’re seeing isn’t what you’re looking for. You need to filter and sort.
- Filters: Scroll down in the filter options and select Completed and Sold listings. This is now going to filter your search for actual completed auctions and Buy It Nows.
- Sort: Sort the results by Ended Recently
So, what’s your card worth?
You are now looking at a list of what real people have recently paid for your card. Take some averages, and you’ve got the market price of your card. Done. Note: If it was a Buy It Now listing that accepted an offer, there’s no way to know the exact price the card sold for.
What are these cases and PSAs?
A lot of old cards being sold on eBay are graded. That is, the owner has had a 3rd party grading service give the card a grade on a scale of 1-10 and slap it in this nice bulky case known as a slab. I doubt your mom submitted your basement gems to PSA or BGS while you were away at college, so you should look specifically for raw/ungraded cards in order to understand the value in it’s current state. The older the card, the less likely it grades well just cuz… life. If your card has any value and looks pristine, send it in to PSA! If it pops a 9 or 10, the value will multiply significantly.
Did I have any valuable cards laying around?
I had a stack of 4 Vlade Divac rookies, but not much more than that. Thanks for nothin moms.