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The Most Valuable Baseball Cards In The World In 2021

Baseball cards are a familiar piece of Americana. They fill scrapbooks and bureau drawers and souvenir chests stored in attics. They recall feats of playing perfection, and render baseball’s best players always heroic and forever young.

But baseball cards are more than just mere mementos:  In today’s market, certain cards can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are the 10 most expensive baseball cards in the world, ranked in order from least to most valuable, according to sources such as Ranker, Mental Floss, and Money Inc.

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Roberto Clemente, 1955 Topps

A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the 3000-hit club, Roberto Clemente  passed away in a plane crash while on his way to Nicaragua to help victims of an earthquake that devastated the region. In 2016, the grade 9 PSA card sold for $478,000 at auction, beating a grade 10 PSA 1955 Roberto Clemente in 2012, which sold for $432,000. It’s believed that a grade 8 version of the card would be worth around $430,000 at auction today.

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Willie Mays, 1952 Topps   

In 2016, Willie Mays’s 1952 Topps card sold for $478,000 at auction. Because of his status as a baseball icon, Mays memorabilia is always a big seller:  At the 2016 event hosted by Heritage Auctions, the Willie Mays card being sold was the single most valuable item.

Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman, 1968 Topps 

As the only known perfect copy of this card in existence, the Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman 1968 Topps card went for $612,359 when last auctioned. If the card had been graded a 9, its value would decrease in value to between $20,000 and $30,000.

“Shoeless Joe” Jackson, 1909 American Caramel

Try this one on for size:  “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was the most high-profile baseball player linked to the notorious 1919 Black Sox Scandal, but that has helped, not hindered, the rising value of this baseball card. In 2016, a PSA grade 8 copy of Jackson’s rookie card sold at auction for a whopping $667,149. Worth noting:  The same card with a much lower grade sold for only (!) $86,975 in 2008.

Pete Rose, 1963 Topps

This card sold for $717,000 when last up for auction. Graded a perfect 10 by the PSA, the Pete Rose 1963 Topps card is considered one of the rarest – and most expensive – cards in the world, owing to it’s perfect rating and the fact it bears the name of The Hit King.

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Babe Ruth, 1916 Sporting News

In 2016, this card sold for $717,000 at auction, proving that the Babe is always in high demand among baseball card collectors. With a career that spanned 22 seasons, Ruth captivated sports fans for decades, and continues to be regarded as one of the game’s iconic and most colorful players.

Mickey Mantle, 1952 Topps 

A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case over a million dollars. The Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card was recently discovered and given a PSA grade 9. At auction, experts predicted it could sell for more than $3.5 million dollars, which would have made it the most expensive baseball card ever. Ultimately, the Mantle card sold for $2.8 million, making it one of the most valuable baseball cards in the world.

Honus Wagner, 1909-1911 ATC T206 

Collectors consider this Honus Wagner card the holy grail of baseball cards. Why? The story goes that Wagner made the American Tobacco Company, who came up with the idea to sell cigarettes with baseball cards inside, pull his card from production for reasons that remain unclear. Consequently, only 25-200 Honus Wagner cards exist today, making them extremely rare and unbelievably valuable. Estimates put its value at $3 million.