Trading cards for baseball clubs have a market that is in its niche in the collectibles industry. The first cards were slipped into packages of cigarettes in the late 19th century. They were a novelty with ups and downs. Some smokers collected cards bearing their favorite teams and players while others either gave them away or tossed them with the empty pack. Inserting them in cigarette cartons was a promotional effort, but over time, baseball cards have become similar to the stock market with values moving up and down. If the thousands of cards thrown in the trash were found in mint condition, the odds are strong that they’d be valuable vintage collectibles. Currently, values are based on team and player popularity, condition, age, and rarity. Some baseball cards are worthless, but some are worth millions. Topps has been the largest and most well-known producer of baseball cards, but there are a few others out there that made quality renditions. It could pay for you to check your old stash of cards and assess their value now and then. If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, here are the ten most expensive baseball cards from the league of all time.
10. 1933 Goudey #202 Gabby Hartnett Value: 4,446.00
Charles Leo Hartness, aka Gabby, helped the Chicago Cubs win the pennant in 1938. The iconic player was a quiet guy, yet methodical and expert in his skills. PSA Card confirms that a 1933 Gabby Hartnett #202 PSA 8 NM-MT Chicago Cubs Baseball card sold at an auction for more than $4,000. The card was certified as a Grade 8, rare collectible. It was offered at the Memory Lane, Inc. auction house in lot number 218. The winning bidder paid $4,446.00 at the close of the auction on December 2021.
9. Ryne Sandberg Donruss diamond kings #14 Card Auction Price: $4,999.99
This is a rare card in mint condition. While most Ryne Sandberg baseball cards are not valued this high, the rarity makes it a highly collectible card. It’s offered for auction on eBay.
8. 1909-1911 T206 White Border Tom Needham Assessed Value $6,000
The 9 Mint edition of the 1909-1911 T206 White Border Tom Needham baseball card has an assessed value of $6,000 on the market today. It’s rare to find one of these vintage cads in Mint condition though. Needham was born in Steubenville, Ohio on April 17, 1879, and he died there on December 13, 1926. He played for the Chicago Cubs National League from 1909 through 1914 after spending a season with the New York Giants National League in 1908. He was a defensive player with immense skills, but his hitting abilities were weak. His batting average remained low for most of his career, but he was an exceptional player on the field. Despite his lack of hits, he was a fan favorite wherever the manager put him in both infield and outfield positions. After retiring from playing baseball, he became manager of the Newark Bears for the National League in 1917. the Tom Needham T206 is hard to find in the mint condition these days. If you are lucky enough to come upon one, its value is around $,6000.
7. 1887 Cap Anson (Hall of Fame Baseball Card) Assessed Value: $6,440
According to Deans Cards, a Cap Anson hall of Fame baseball card listed from the 1895 Mayo’s Cut Plug Baseball Cards, N300 is valued at $6,440. The card has an SGC 2 – Good grade. Cap Anson is wearing his Chicago Cubs uniform in one card in the set of two, and a suit in the other. this is a rare set of two Cap Anson cards. The card pays homage to one of the early superstars of the game of baseball. He was an accomplished pro baseball player who set a record, becoming the first player in his time to reach 3,000 hits. He accomplished the feat in July of 1897.9.
6. 1909-1911 T206 White Border Mordecai Brown in Cubs Shirt Baseball Card NM-MT 8 Assessed Value: $8,500
The White Border Mordecai Brown baseball card in NM-MT 8 condition has a value of $8,500. He played for the Chicago Cubs NL from 1904 through 1912, then for another season in 1916. The vintage collectible baseball card with his image in a Cubs Shirt is one of the more valuable collectibles with a decent rarity rating. It’s hard to find this card in Mint condition. Brown was one of the most skilled pitchers in the league during his time with the Cubs. He received the nickname “Three Finger” because of a childhood injury that he transformed into a unique way to pitch the ball. He was one of the best of his time, developing a curveball that had never been seen before. Although injured, his throwing hand was one of the most powerful of all pitchers. He participated in several World Series games as a pitcher. Mordecai Brown also managed a team called The Terriers briefly, before returning to the game in 2016.
5. 2016 Topps Chicago Cubs David Ross World Series Auto ONLY 1/1 Card! PSA 10 Auction Price: $10,000
The David Ross Word Series Championship Autographed card is ultra-rare. It is a single card of one in the printing run. The hard-signed autographed baseball card is in Mint condition. David Ross played in the position of catcher for the Chicago Cubs. The card was found on an eBay auction.
4. 2013 Kris Bryant Bowman Chrome Black Wave Autograph card Assessed Value: $20,000
The Bleacher Report shares that Topps released sets of the Blackwave collection of baseball cards. The collection features a limited edition of fifty examples of each card released. When a 2013 Kris Bryant card emerged as a Black Wave autograph edition, most collectors never heard of it. It turned out to be the only example out of fifty released on the resale market. The card was offered at a show and bought by a collector for $850. The card was re-sold within a few months for $1,100. It is the only copy ever released in the Black Wave. A Blue Wave variant of the card emerged in a limited production run. When news of the ultra-rare card spread, its value increased exponentially to $8,000 in 2016. Topps has never released the remaining 49 cards.
3. 1909-1911 T206 White Border Frank Chance (Portrait Yellow) Assessed Value: $37,500.00
PSA evaluates the 1909-1911 T 206 Frank Chance Baseball Card with a white border and yellow portrait at $37,500 for a Mint 9 condition. The lowest price for this card in poor condition is $60. Although not the most valuable, it ranks high. The card is from the 524 cards T206 set. Chance appears three times in baseball cards achieving an impressive average of 96 wins per season when he served as manager from 1905 to 1912 after he retired from playing the game. Frank Chance led the team in two World Series. He and his team won four pennants as manager for the Chicago Cubs.
2. 1954 Ernie Banks Baseball Card Assessed Value: Up to $175, 000
The rookie card of Ernie Banks from 1954 could be worth as much as $175, 000. Cards in pristine or mint condition appraise on the high end. Most examples of this card have at least some value, for example, The Chicago Tribune places the value of this card in a 3.5 out of 10 condition at $450, produced by Topps. Ernie Banks was known as “Mr. Cub” to colleagues and fans. It’s is one of the most popular cards for collectors, honoring his career from the 1950s and ’60s.
1. 1909 T206 Carls Lundgren Chicago Cubs SGC 96 Mint Auction Price: $229,000.00
The 1909 Carl Lundgren Chicago Cubs baseball card SGC6 is the rarest and most valuable. This baseball card is one of the most scarce cards in the T206 series. Only two other examples are known to exist. The card is a 9 Mint condition. It’s a gem to Chicago Cubs fans also rare vintage baseball card collectors. The card listed on an eBay auction for just under $230K.