Are Any 1970s Baseball Cards Worth Anything?

If you have a box of 1970s baseball cards sitting in your attic or basement, you might be wondering if there are any gems in your collection.

Everyone has heard stories of old baseball cards fetching hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars at auction but are there any cards from the 1970s that are worth that much money? 

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In this article, we will look at whether 1970s baseball cards are worth anything, and if so, which ones?

Baseball Cards Of The 1970s

Let’s begin by looking at the history of baseball cards in the 1970s. During that decade, the majority of baseball cards sold in the traditional wax packs with a stick of bubblegum model were made by Topps.

There were some cards released by Hostess and Kelloggs as well, but the majority of sets were produced by Topps. 

The 1970s fits in an odd space when it comes to baseball cards.

The sets of the decade didn’t have the variety and interesting designs that became popular during the 80s and 90s, but the cards aren’t as rare and valuable as the sets of the 50s and 60s, either.

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t valuable, however, as cards in the 70s were produced in much lower numbers than the cards of today, making them rarer and harder to find.

Although baseball was popular in the 70s and has never been unpopular, the decade wasn’t the best for baseball either.

The 70s didn’t have the same star power as the leagues of the 40s and 50s and the so-called Golden Era of baseball ended in the 1960s. 

Are Any 1970s Baseball Cards Worth Anything?

The vast majority of baseball cards of any decade are not worth more than a few cents or if you’re lucky, a few dollars.

Cards from the 1970s are no different. However, many kids that would have collected cards during the 1970s are now adults with disposable income and are at the perfect age for collecting cards of childhood nostalgia.

Some individual cards will make you a tidy profit and we will talk about some of those later.

What Makes A 1970s Baseball Card Worth Money?

The condition of a baseball card is always going to have a huge influence on whether a card is worth anything or not and this is especially true of 1970s cards. 

By the 1980s, sports card collections started to become more organized.

Even young kids took to displaying their cards in plastic wallets and sleeves and this means that many cards from the 1980s onwards are in near-mint condition.

However, this was not the typical method for storing cards in the 1970s.

Many kids kept their collections instead of disposing of the cards but they typically kept their collections in shoeboxes, tins, or any other storage box they could find. 

This means that there are a lot of cards from the 1970s out there, but many of them are not in the condition that collectors want.

If you have cards considered to be low-grade or mid-grade condition cards, you will find a very crowded marketplace where rare cards change hands for decent, but not life-changing, amounts of money.

What Type Of Cards Are Worth The Most Money?

As we stated earlier, the 1970s didn’t have the same variety in the lines of baseball cards that the 1980s had. 

The 70s still had rookie cards, however, and like every other decade, these are typically the cards worth the most money.

Rookie cards or Hall of Famers are always a good investment when it comes to baseball cards and the cards of the 70s are no different.

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Rookie cards are typically worth more than any other cards because each player only ever has one rookie year. As there is only one year where you can collect these cards, they instantly become rarer and more valuable.

If you have a rookie card of a player that was elected to the Hall of Fame on their first or second ballot, you may well have a valuable card.

There are a few other types of cards from the 70s that you should look out for, too.

Cards from the late careers of legends such as Roberto Clemente or Willie Mays or the prime seasons of Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, and Johnny Bench can also attract big money.

Valuable 1970s Cards

Here are some of the most valuable cards of the 1970s. They should give you a better idea of which cards in your collection are likely to be worth money.

1971 Topps Bert Blyleven Rookie Card #26

Although a Hall of Famer, it isn’t Blyleven’s record that makes this card as valuable as it is. This card was released in 1971 and is one of a series of cards released with black borders.

This set of cards with black borders is one of the rarest sets of the 1970s and one of the most difficult to find in mint condition. 

1971 Topps Dusty Baker, Don Baylor, and Tom Paciorek Rookie Card #709

This is another 1971 card with black borders. This trio of rookie outfielders is valuable due to the black borders and the rarity of the run.

1973 Topps Mike Schmidt, Ron Cey, and John Hilton Rookie Card #615

The only thing better than one rookie on a card is three rookies on a card.

Schmidt is one of the best sluggers in baseball history but unfortunately, he didn’t receive a solo rookie card. Instead, you get this trio of third basemen on a card together.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, most baseball cards from the 1970s are not worth much money. Condition is key with cards from the 1970s as there are so many available on the secondary market in low-grade or mid-grade condition.

Rookie cards of Hall of Famers are the most valuable, but there are also some cards of baseball greats that can sell for decent amounts of money.

Bruno Breen
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