Topps is one of the biggest names in the trading card world. It started out in the 1930s selling convenience store products like chewing gum, candy, and, of course, sports trading cards.
For decades, it was the biggest company in the world for trading cards in sports like American football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer.
Topp’s fans go crazy for their trading card products and some older cards can end up being pretty valuable due to how rare and desirable they are.
The most expensive Topps card of all time was a Mickey Mantle baseball rookie card. It was first sold in 1952 but was won at an auction in 2021 for $5.2 million!
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of Topps’ other most famous and expensive cards and finding out exactly what it is that makes sports trading cards so valuable.
Is The Topps Mickey Mantle Card The Most Expensive Of All Time?
Believe it or not, the $5.2 million price tag on Topps’ Mickey Mantle rookie card isn’t the biggest in sports card history.
That title belongs to the T206 Honus Wagner card, which was originally produced in 1911. This card was sold in 2021 for a staggering $6.6 million, over a million dollars more than the second most expensive card ever.
It is believed that this card only had between 50 and 200 copies ever produced, making it one of the rarest and most sought-after cards in the world.
Another reason for this cards’ incredibly high price was how prolific a baseball player Honus Wagner was in his day.
Wagner racked up 3420 hits and 723 stolen bases in his career. He was also one of the first players to be inducted into the baseball hall of fame, back in 1936.
Even if you spend your whole life researching, collecting, and selling sports trading cards, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever make a sale as big as this one!
Most Expensive Topps Cards Ever
Of course, there are plenty of other sports trading card manufacturers other than Topps, all of whom have the potential to create iconic and highly valuable cards.
However, these are some honorable mentions for the most expensive Topps cards of all time:
- 1955 Sandy Koufax Rookie Card – $369,000
- 1955 Roberto Clemente Rookie Card – $1.1 million
- 1954 Hank (Henry) Aaron Rookie Card – $645,000
- 1954 Ernie Banks Rookie Card – $144,000
- 1953 Mickey Mantle – $396,000
- 1952 Willie Mays – $478,000
- 1953 Willie Mays – $132,000
- 1952 Andy Pafko – $250,000
- 1952 Eddie Mathews Rookie Card – $250,000
- 1952 Mickey Mantle – $5.2 million
As you can see, rare and exclusive Topps cards have the potential to sell for hundreds and thousands of dollars if they are kept in good condition.
However, most of the top 10 combined don’t even come close to the price for Mickey Mantle’s 1952 card!
What Makes A Sports Trading Card Valuable?
If you’re wondering why certain cards are so much more valuable than others, then keep reading. We’ll tell you exactly what makes each type of trading card worth so much money.
A rookie card is basically any new or young player who has just made their debut with a team. These types of cards are extremely popular because they allow collectors to get their hands on a piece of history.
The best way to value a rookie card is by looking at its rarity. If a player has been around for a long time, then he will probably already have several versions of his rookie card.
The higher the number of copies of the card that exist, the less valuable it becomes. For example, if Babe Ruth were still alive today, he would likely have dozens of different versions of his rookie cards from throughout his career.
Now, obviously, not every rookie card is going to be worth anywhere near the millions of dollars we’ve already seen. However, the ones that do sell for such high prices tend to be very special.
In fact, many people consider the first baseball cards produced by Bowman Gum to be among the most valuable pieces of memorabilia in existence.
Including the first set of Bowman Baseball Cards, there are currently only four known examples of the first-ever baseball cards. They sold for a combined total of $4.6 million back in 2006.
Of those four cards, one was purchased by a private collector for $1.7 million and another was bought by an anonymous buyer for $2.5 million.
Of course, these two cards are far too expensive for most people to own. But, if you did happen to buy either of them, you’d be able to display them proudly in your home.
Hall of Fame Cards
When it comes to collecting sports cards, few things are as exciting as getting a piece of memorabilia into the Hall of Fame.
When players enter the Hall of Fame, fans can finally put a face to the name. And, when they do, the value of the card skyrockets.
As soon as a player enters the Hall of Fame, all the major companies start printing commemorative cards featuring him. Some of these cards even include a hologram sticker.
If you collect baseball cards, then you’ve probably heard of Joe Morgan. He’s considered to be one of the greatest second baseman of all time.
Morgan played for 19 seasons, including 13 years with the Cincinnati Reds. During this time, he won three World Series titles and seven Gold Glove awards.
He also became the first second baseman ever inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
And, since entering the Hall of Fame, Morgan’s card has become incredibly valuable. In fact, it’s now worth over $100,000.
Another great thing about collecting baseball cards is that retired players often end up being some of the most valuable cards in existence.
These guys used to play professionally, but they’re no longer active. Instead, they spend their days doing other things, typically still in the world of baseball.
But, when they do take the field again, they usually wear a uniform that includes a patch honoring their previous teams.
For example, Ken Griffey Jr., who spent his entire professional career playing for the Seattle Mariners, wears a patch on his jersey that honors his former team.
Griffey’s card is extremely rare because there aren’t very many of them out there. It’s estimated that just 1,500 or so are left in circulation.
Griffey’s card is also highly sought after because it features the retired outfielder wearing a full beard. This is something that Griffey rarely wore during his playing days.
The last time he sported a full beard was in 1994 when he was a member of the Chicago White Sox.
There are actually several versions of Griffey’s card, each of which features the bearded version of the athlete.
Collecting baseball cards isn’t just fun. It’s also a way to make money.
You don’t need to have any special skills to get started. All you really need is a hobby and a few dollars.
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll find that it’s easy to build up a collection. You might not sell every single card you acquire, but you could easily turn a small investment into a nice profit.
So, what are you waiting for? Start collecting today!