There is a wide range of factors that can influence something’s value. For example, the costs of the materials tend to have an effect on value. Similarly, the costs of making something available for purchase by interested parties tend to have an effect on value as well. However, it is important to note that people’s willingness to buy something is by no means guaranteed to be bound by these factors, meaning that something that cost very little to make can still sell for enormous sums of money. For proof, look no further than baseball cards.
Why Have Baseball Cards See a Surge in Recent Times?
Chances are good that people have heard stories about the potential selling prices of baseball cards. After all, this kind of thing gets trotted out by a wide range of publications for a wide range of reasons from time to time. In particular, people might have heard stories about the most expensive baseball cards out there, with an excellent example being the T206 Honus Wagner that managed to sell for $3.12 million in 2016.
What is interesting is that baseball cards seem to be selling for bigger and bigger numbers. Some of that can presumably be explained by inflation. However, that is far from being capable of explaining everything. To return to the example of T206 Honus Wagner baseball cards, it wasn’t that long ago when one example sold for $451,000 in 1991, which should make it clear that there has been a huge jump in their value within a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, it is important to note that the aforementioned $3.12 million wasn’t a one-off because such cards have sold for multi-million figures on more than one occasion in recent years. In other words, T206 Honus Wagner baseball cards are just that valuable.
On top of this, it should be mentioned that while T206 Honus Wagner baseball cards were hailed as the most valuable of the valuable for quite some time, they have since been beaten out not once but twice. In August of 2020, a Mike Trout rookie baseball card managed to sell for $3.93 million, thus making it more valuable than the T206 Honus Wagner baseball cards by a considerable margin. However, it didn’t manage to hold the title for very long because it was soon beaten out in November of 2020 by a Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card that sold for $5.2 million. So far, nothing more expensive has shown up, but it seems safe to say that said baseball card won’t be holding on to its position forever anymore than its predecessors did.
As for why this record was broken not once but twice in 2020, well, it is important to note that this isn’t a coincidence. Simply put, the COVID-19 crisis forced a lot of people to stay at home for months and months. As a result, many chose to either start new hobbies or return to old hobbies, which in turn, means that many took up the collecting of baseball cards. Something that has had a wide range of effects on the hobby as a whole. Some of these effects have been positive in nature. For instance, there has been a real injection of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, other effects have been less so, as shown by the normal customers who have sometimes been priced out of their hobby by the sheer competition generated by eager buyers. Chances are good that this trend won’t last forever, but for the time being, it is definitely making its presence felt throughout the hobby and even a bit beyond the hobby.
Some people might be curious about the factors that determine the price of a baseball card. If so, they should know that some of those factors are more important than others:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, rarity is one of the most important factors. This is because when there are a lot of people who want to buy the same thing, their competitiveness will cause the price of that same thing to rise because they will pay higher and higher price until their competitors have been priced out. In contrast, if there is a great number of the desired item available, there is no point because everyone will be able to grab a copy at a lower price. Some collectible cards are rare because they were printed in limited quantities for whatever reason. However, it is interesting to note that there are also some collectible cards out there that are rare because they are the products of printing errors.
Of course, the available quantity of something won’t mean much unless people actually want to buy it. Unfortunately, what makes people want to buy something can see enormous variation from case to case. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a claim of great value to become self-reinforcing. Something that can be seen in how lowered prices can actually lessen the demand for luxury goods because that damages their image as high-end, high-value products that can be used to showcase the owner’s wealth. Moreover, demand is something that can see serious changes over time, meaning that something that isn’t particularly valuable now but become so decades and decades down the line. Having said that, interested individuals should be very careful about buying collectible items that are touted as having significant upward potential in the future because there are many, many stories of people regreting such purchases.
Naturally, the condition of the collectible card is extremely important as well. If someone has a collectible card that is in perfect condition, they can expect to receive either all or almost all of its theoretical value when it is sold. In contrast, every single imperfection is going to deduct from that figure, with particularly glaring imperfections being particularly damaging in this regard. Simply put, there is a very good reason why people who collect cards often put them in sleeves as well as make use of other protective methods.