Sports Card Price Guides

You can spend lots of money buying price guides, or waste lots of time searching online… or use this simple tool. We’ll show you how to quickly get an accurate estimate of what your cards are worth.

Collectors who are active in #thehobby have a general idea of what their cards are worth, and if they need to do a price check they usually have a go-to source for pricing information; either a Beckett magazine, a book, or website. If you’re new to collecting, or just getting back into the hobby, you’ll need to find your source for pricing information. This article the most popular ways collectors look up the value of their cards.

Looking your cards up online

This is the free option. You can quickly search for your card on eBay and get an idea of what your card is selling for. The downside to the eBay approach is that it’s cumbersome to look up a bunch of cards, and the results you get back have a lot of junk in them; reprints, card lots, variations that are not your card, etc.

There are other card auction sites out there, small independent ones and big ones. But those site just can’t compete with the volume on eBay… it’s got the most card buyers and sellers in one place, and it’s built on a platform people trust.

eBay doesn’t exactly make it easy to look up the price of you card. It’s not a price guide. It’s focused on selling you something that’s currently for sale, but you can browse through historic auctions and find items just like yours, that have recently sold. That will give you a rough estimate of what your item might go for today on eBay, the world biggest online marketplace.

The first step in searching through ebays

Using eBay is easy. Just go to their website and type a description of the card into the search box. be descriptive, like “1990 Topps Alan Trammel #707”. Include the year, brand, player name, and card number. This will give you search results for cards that are currently up for auction. This includes your traditional auction (with and without reserves) and your “Buy it now” listings. It’s not the best estimate for prices. What you really want to know is, how much did this card sell for recently.

The current bid prices on the traditional auction listings isn’t a good estimate of price because it’s ituction items changes, especially in the last few minutes the auction is open. And “Buy it now” listings are often set by a dealer above what it would sell for at auction, in hoping to sell it to a person who doesn’t want to deal with auction and just wants to it now.

You want to see what your card actually sold for. Look for the eBay filters… checkboxes in the left column and click on “Show only: Sold listings”. This will give you the auctions where the item sold.

Checkboxes to search for sold listings on eBay

The benefit of using eBay to see what your card has sold for is that it’s real market data. It’s not based on a secret algorithm. It’s what real people recently bought the card for. You get the most recent prices. Cards start selling on eBay the day a new set is released, you don’t have to wait a month to get a print publication. Price guides that are released every month, 6 months, or perhaps once a year, are already out of date the moment they’re printed. Card prices fluctuate, they go up and down, and eBay is the closest thing to represent what your card is worth today.

Looking your cards up in a price guide

This is the option you have to pay for. Most price guides come from an era of print publications. They charge for the print publication or the online edition. Their pricing information isn’t free. The card prices listed in the price guide are based on a proprietary and secret formula.

When I first started collecting cards I’d buy the baseball cards price guide and hockey cards price guide every couple of months as they came out. I went “by the book” so it was important for me to have the latest publication. The book in my case was a Beckett price guide, a printed magazine for baseball, basketball, hockey, football and other major sports. Beckett gives you a high and a low value, and arrows to indicate increasing or decreasing value. I’d use the price guide to get a general sense of what the card was worth. I’d buy and trade cards based roughly on what was in the book. But the book was inflated. The actual prices I paid for cards at card shows was much lower. Later when online auction sites appeared I discovered even better deals. Remember, your cards are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them today.

As I got older I learned that the book didn’t mean much when it came to a real world deal. The prices in a guide are often inflated or give a false impression of what your card is worth. Go to a card show and you’ll learn the price guides don’t reflect prices. Go online to eBay and search for cards and again you’ll see the price guide values are way off. The price guides aren’t an accurate reflection of the market, and don’t take into account the particulars elements of your card that make it worth more or less.

There are other sports card price guides out there, besides Beckett. It seems like Beckett is used most often by collectors of modern cards. I’ve noticed some dealers and collectors of vintage cards use other price guides like the “Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards“. The Catalog gives you card prices for three conditions: Near Mint, Excellent, and Very Good. It’s printed yearly and covers cards from 1863-1980.

17 thoughts on “Sports Card Price Guides”

  1. Thank you all for doing this. It really means a lot. I know it was a huge undertaking to take this on & do all that long, hard work. It’s very appreciated.

    1. We drink our own kool-aid… we wanted a tool to look up card prices so we built one. May as well share it, right?

      Thanks for using our website!

      1. I have a Pete Rose Red manager baseball card and I have absolutely no idea if it is even worth anything can you help me out?

        1. Hi Laurie! You should try searching your Pete Rose card using our search bar on the homepage. Use the checkboxes to select the cards most similar to yours, and we’ll give you the average price! Let us know how it works!

    1. There are a few companies making price guides… Beckett is probably the one you’re thinking of. You can buy them at places that sell cards like hobby shops. If you want to look up vintage cards, you’ll have to get a different price guide. You probably can buy them online… but personally I don’t like spending money to get data. I’d rather just look it up online.

      I created Mavin so people like yourself don’t have to buy a price guide, that like a phone book, is out of date by the time it arrives in your hands. A better solution, in my opinion, is to use Mavin to search for your cards. We use real, up-to-date, pricing data to give you an accurate estimate of your cards value. It’s not out of date. It’s not based on a secret formula… it just tells you what cards, just like yours, have sold for recently.

      Try it and let me know what you think. We’re in the process of continually enhancing it based on people feedback.

      1. have 2 sets of 1992 limited edition baseball cards. one is the hologram “grand slam cards (26). the other is diamond kings (perez water color reproductions) (26). the 1st includes ken caminite, marquis grissom, felix jose, fred mcgriff, albert bell, jack clark, robin ventura, sid bream, ryne sandburg, cal ripken jr., luis poloma, paul o’neil, kal daniels, cecil fielder, howard johnson, brian mcrae, jose cansecom, matt nokes, will clark, jay brunner, dale murphy, greg vaughn, barry bonds, kent hrbrek, joe carter, ruben sierra, and a 1993 roberto alomar. wondering if they’re worth a bunch or nada, thx Ed

        1. Hey Ed! Have you tried searching for your cards on Mavin? Simply type the card into the search bar, use the checkboxes to select listings most similar to yours, and we’ll give you the average price! Let us know how it works!

  2. While stationed at Camp Pendleton in the mid 90’s, our neighbor had a yard sale and we bought all of his baseball cards, crates of them! I am just now starting to sort them and appreciate your website to assess their value.

  3. How current are your prices sown when I look up a card? I know there are a lot of websites that are not updated often. So is yours?

    1. Great question, Tom. We use eBay’s listings in our search results so our site is “updated” every single day. Unlike other price guides, you know where the information is coming from AND you know that the results are real-time.

    1. Hi Brian, thanks for your question! We will be writing a guide on how to list your cards on eBay soon. In the meantime, you should try using Mavin to find out what your cards are worth. Simply type the card into the search bar, use the checkboxes to select listings most similar to yours, and we’ll give you the average price! Let us know how it works!

  4. I have a babe ruth baseball cards. Has a picture of him just hitting. Babe ruth at bottom.

    On the back side .it says #3 baseball greats.has full name too.under that. Born and died dates.under picture and outfielder -bstn-N.Y. (AL) Bstn (NL)_1914-1935, Batted left.below that it has allallhis stats.

    1. Hey Frank! Have you tried searching for your card on Mavin? Simply type the card into the search bar, use the checkboxes to select listings most similar to yours, and we’ll give you the average price! Let us know how it works!

  5. I have many boxes of unopened, complete sets of Topps Baseball Cards still in original cellophane wrappers dating back
    to the 70’s and every year there after.. I also have many boxes of loose cards, that were bought in packs. These were my sons, who has passed away,he
    received them every Christmas. I live in Michigan and how do I go about finding
    someone or someplace that would be interested in buying them.

    1. Hi Marva. Thanks for your comment, your collection sounds very interesting! First, try searching for your cards using our site to get the average price. Based on that information, you can list your cards on ebay knowing you have competitive prices!

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