Most Valuable Ryne Sandberg Baseball Cards

Ryne Sandberg is a Hall of Famer mostly known for his years as a Chicago Cubs second baseman. He spent 15 seasons with the organization and retired twice. 

Sandberg was one of the most popular baseball players in the 1980s and 1990s, which coincided with the trading card boom and collapse. Sandberg appears in dozens of baseball cards from the era. 

Ryan Sandberg Baseball card collage

You can find cheap Ryne Dee Sandberg trading cards worth less than a dollar and rookie cards worth thousands. Use the following guide to learn more about the most valuable Ryne Sandberg baseball cards. 

Who is Ryne Sandberg?

Ryne “Ryno” Sandberg is considered one of the greatest players to play for the Chicago Cubs. He never reached the World Series, but he made 10 consecutive appearances at the All-Star games and won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves awards. 

When he retired in 1997, Sandberg led the league with his .989 fielding percentage. His batting average was .285. Sandberg also hit 282 home runs during his career. 

In 2005, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He later worked as a coach for two separate minor league teams and spent a couple of years as the manager of the Phillies.

The popularity of Ryne Sandberg has helped his baseball cards remain valuable collector items. Ryne Sandberg’s baseball cards can be divided into groups based on the era of his career:

  • Ryne Sandberg Minor League Cards (1980-1981)
  • Ryne Sandberg Rookie Cards (1982-1983)
  • Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs Cards (1984-1994)
  • Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs Cards (1996-1997)

You can find cards from any of these periods, but the Minor League cards are becoming more difficult to find, which adds to their value. Several releases from the 1990s are available in large quantities, resulting in lower prices. Here is a detailed look at the most valuable Ryne Sandberg baseball cards and memorabilia.

Ryne Sandberg Minor League Cards

Some of the most valuable Ryne Sandberg cards come from his time in the Minor Leagues. He started playing for the Helena Phillies in the Pioneer League in 1978 at the age of 18. A year later, he switched to the Class A Spartanburg Phillies, which was a part of the Western Carolinas League. 

In 1980, Sandberg started playing for the Reading Phillies. The Reading team was a Class AA team and part of the Eastern League. 1980 was also the first year that Sandberg appeared on a baseball card.

Phillies Sandberg card 1980

The 1980 Reading Phillies TCMA #22 Ryne Sandberg card sells for hundreds to thousands of dollars. The card features a black and white photo of Sandberg on the front and a short bio in blue writing on the back. The stats only cover his year in Spartanburg and omit his year in Helena. 

The 1981 Oklahoma City TCMA #17 Ryne Sandberg card is often as valuable as the card from the previous year. It includes a full-color photo of Sandberg on the front and stats for the 1980 season on the back.

TCMA #17

Ryne Sandberg was also one of many American players to play in the 1981 Winter League for the Venezuelan Baseball League. Sandberg appears in three cards from the 1981 Winter League set:

  • #233 Ryne Sandberg
  • #269 Sandberg/Carrion
  • #270 Sandberg/Dernier/Matuzek

The Venezuelan League cards fetch top dollar, even in a lower condition. A #269 card with a PSA rating of EX-MT (6) sold for $5,000. 

Venezuelan #269

Ryne Sandberg Rookie Cards

In 1981, the Philadelphia Phillies called Ryne Sandberg up from the Minor Leagues, where he was playing with the Oklahoma City 89ers. 

Sandberg played 13 games with the Phillies. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs before the start of the 1982 season in what is considered one of the most uneven trades in baseball history. The Phillies traded Sandberg and Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus.

Shortly after his trade to the Cubs, the organization released a set of team cards. The set included Ryne Sandberg’s first rookie card. Eight other cards came out the following year. 

Here is a breakdown of the Ryne Sandberg rookie cards:

  1. 1982 Red Lobster Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card #23
  2. 1983 Fleer #507 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card
  3. 1983 Topps #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card
  4. 1983 O-Pee-Chee #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card
  5. 1983 Donruss #277 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card
  6. 1983 All-Star Game Insert – Ryne Sandberg
  7. 1983 Thorn Apple Valley Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card
  8. 1983 Topps Stickers #328 Ryne Sandberg 
  9. 1983 O-Pee-Chee Stickers #328 Ryne Sandberg

These cards range in value from a few dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the condition.

1982 Red Lobster Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card #23

The 1982 Red Lobster Ryne Sandberg is technically the first rookie card released for Ryne Sandberg’s professional career. He started with the Chicago Cubs in 1982, originally playing third base. 

#23 Ryne Sandberg Red Lobster card

The Cubs released a team set of cards, which included rookie Ryne Sandberg. Red Lobster sponsored the release of the cards, and the restaurant’s logo appears on the back. 

1983 Fleer #507 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card

The Fleer #507 Ryne Sandberg rookie card is often one of the highest valued cards from Sandberg’s rookie seasons. Sandberg is shown rushing toward first base moments after hitting the ball. 

Ryne Sandberg Fleer #507 1983

The card features an off-white background that makes it look a little drab compared to other cards of the era. However, the card can sell for over $1,000 in “Gem Mint” condition. 

1983 Topps #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card

Collectors refer to the 1983 #83 Topps Ryne Sandberg rookie card as the official Sandberg rookie card. It is the most iconic of the various rookie cards and often one of the most valuable. 

1983 Topps Ryne Sandberg

The card includes a full-color photo of Sandberg in his Cubs outfit with long sleeves. A smaller headshot appears in the lower section of the card, to the left of his name and position. 

The back of the card includes a detailed stats section. It also mentions that he completed two home runs and four runs in a game against the Pirates on April 23rd of that year. 

1983 O-Pee-Chee #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card

The 1983 O-Pee-Chee #83 card is virtually identical to the 1983 Topps #83 card. However, it includes English and French writing. 

O Pee Chee £83 Ryne Sandberg

The front of the card includes Sandberg’s position in English (3rd base) and French. The back of the card also includes French translations of Sandberg’s career highlights. 

1983 Donruss #277 Ryne Sandberg

Donruss was not the most successful trading card company. But the 1983 #277 Ryne Sandberg card is still a very popular option for Sandberg rookie cards. They tend to sell for approx $220 for a PSA 9.

1983 Donruss #277

The card features a full-color photo of Sandberg at bat. You can clearly see the “23” below his left arm and the Cubs mascot on his left shoulder. 

1983 All-Star Game Insert – Ryne Sandberg

The 1983 All-Star Game insert included Ryne Sandberg, even though he did not play in the All-Star Game. 1983 was the year that Chicago moved Sandberg to second base as a starter. His starting position allowed him to appear on the All-Star ballot and the insert.

1983 All Game Insert Ryne Sandberg

The 1983 All-Star insert is not a card. It was a large poster featuring multiple players. As the “cards” were not perforated, many people chose to cut the poster into individual pieces. The All-Star insert is also distinct for abbreviating Ryne’s first name.

1983 Thorn Apple Valley Ryne Sandberg

The 1983 Thorn Apple Valley #23 rookie card is part of another set of team cards released by the Chicago Cubs. As with the Red Lobster set from the previous year, the Thorn Apple Valley set includes the name of the sponsor on the back of the card.

1983 Thorn Apple

The front of the card includes a full-color photo of Sandberg preparing to take a lead on the basepath. As with the Topps rookie card, Sandberg has long sleeves and the home uniform. 

1983 Topps Stickers #328 Ryne Sandberg

Topps released baseball card stickers for many years, including the 1983 MLB season. The #328 sticker for Ryne Sandberg does not sell for as much as the paper rookie card of the same year. 

1983 Sticker #328

A mint condition Topps Sticker #328 may sell for $10 to $20. It includes a full-color photo of Ryne Sandberg facing the camera while holding a bat and smiling. The back of the sticker includes an advertisement from Topps.

1983 O-Pee-Chee Stickers #328 Ryne Sandberg

O-Pee-Chee released a second Ryne Sandberg card in 1983. Again, the Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions are almost identical.

1983 O Pee Chee

The front of the sticker includes the same photo that appears on the Topps sticker. However, the back includes an advertisement for O-Pee-Chee instead of Topps. As with other O-Pee-Chee cards, the back includes English and French.

Which Ryne Sandberg Cards Are Most Valuable?

The most valuable cards include rookie cards and cards from Sandberg’s year in the Minor League. However, cards from Sandberg’s first run with the Chicago Cubs are also quite valuable when sold in mint condition. 

The most valuable cards after the rookie season include:

  • 1985 Topps Tiffany #460 Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1986 Topps #690 Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1989 Topps #360 Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1990 Donruss Diamond Kings #14 Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1991 Donruss BC-7 Highlights Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1992 Topps #387 All-Star National League Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 1992 Topps #110 Ryne Sandberg Card
  • 2005 Upper Deck Hall of Fame Autograph Ernie Banks/Ryne Sandberg
Ernie Banks Ryan Sandberg Auto 2005

Mint condition cards, printing errors, rare cards, and commemorative cards tend to sell for the most. An authentic autograph can also significantly increase the value of a card. 

Cards with Printing Errors

Mint condition cards from Sandberg’s playing days fetch a higher price tag if they include a printing error. For example, Donruss released the 1990 Diamond Kings #14 card without a period in the end “inc” on the back of the card. The error increases the value of the card.

A good condition ungraded card can fetch over $100.

Donruss #14 Sandberg error card

A Fleer 1990 Ryne Sandberg card (#40) also features an error. It sells for over $1,000. 

Rare Ryne Sandberg Cards

Rare cards are also often more valuable. The 2008 Panini Sticker set for the Venezuelan Baseball League included two cards that combine as a mini puzzle to create a larger image of Ryne Sandberg. Cards #249 and #250 can sell for over $60. 

Cards from specific sets or eras may also become more collectible. For example, the Topps Tiffany baseball cards released between 1984 and 1991 are considered higher quality compared to the standard Topps cards of the era. 

1985 Topps Tiffany #460 Ryne Sandberg

The 1985 Topps Tiffany #460 Ryne Sandberg card sells for $300 or more. The 1985 Topps #713 Ryne Sandberg card includes the standard design and often sells for less. 

Commemorative Baseball Cards

Cards that commemorate special events also hold more value. The 2005 Upper Deck Hall of Fame card featuring Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg commemorates the induction of both players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Autographed cards in mint condition are around $500.

We have included a photo a couple of paragraphs above.

Ryne Sandberg Card Value Depends on Card Condition 

Ryne Sandberg played with the Cubs from 1982 to 1994 and again from 1996 to 1997. Any cards from this period can sell for hundreds of dollars. However, the value depends largely on the condition of the card. Even the cheaper wax cards can sell for over $100 when presented in mint condition.

Game Used Memorabilia 

Ryne Sandberg cards featuring game-used memorabilia may be worth several hundred dollars. Several releases from Topps and Panini sell for close to $1,000.

Game-used memorabilia includes baseball cards featuring pieces of materials used during actual games. The materials typically come from pieces of the player’s jersey.

Ryne Sandberg signed baseball

For example, the 2010 Topps Sterling Ryne Sandberg Game Used Jersey card is worth close to a thousand dollars. 

What Are the Least Valuable Ryne Sandberg Cards?

The 1990 Fleer #625 Ryne Sandberg card and other cards from the same period tend to have the lowest prices. You can often get cards released between 1989 to 1991 for $1 or less. 

1990 £625 Fleer

What are the Most Valuable Ryne Sandberg Topps Coins?

Topps released several series of metallic baseball coins in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 1988, 1989, and 1990 Topps Coins featuring Ryne Sandberg often sell for $1 to $5, depending on the condition.

The 1987 Topps Coins #41 Ryne Sandberg typically sells for $55 to $100. A PSA grade of 10 may increase the price to several hundred. 

Ryne Sandberg Topps Coin

Ryne Sandberg Action Figures and Collectible Toys

Along with cards and coins, Ryne Sandberg appears in several toys, including the Kenner’s Starting Lineup series of figures and McFarlane Toys figures. 

A Special Edition 1991 Ryne Sandberg Starting Lineup figure with a card and coin can sell for over $100 in great condition. However, figures from earlier or later releases tend to sell for much less.

For example, the standard edition 1991 Ryne Sandberg Starting Lineup figure sells for about $10 – $20.

Ryne Sandberg action figure (standard)

Who Grades Ryne Sandberg Cards?

Many baseball card buyers and sellers rely on authentication and grading completed by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). The PSA is the largest and most-respected third-party organization that grades trading cards. 

The PSA authenticates, grades, and encapsulates cards. The encapsulated card includes a label with the card’s grade and certification number.

The grading system includes a numerical scale with 10 being the highest score:

  • PR 1 (Poor) – The card may include major creasing and discoloration
  • FR 1.5 (Fair) – The card may show extreme signs of wear and some creases
  • Good 2 (Good) – The corners of the card may show rounding while the surface may show scuffing 
  • VG 3 (Very Good) – The card may show rounding at the corners and moderate surface wear
  • VG-EX 4 (Very Good-Excellent) – The card can show slight rounding and minor surface wear
  • EX 5 (Excellent) – Only very minor rounding at the corners 
  • EX-MT 6 (Excellent-Mint) – Only slightly graduated fraying at the corners or very minor surface wear
  • NM 7 (Near Mint) – Only shows slight surface wear upon close visual inspection
  • NM-MT 8 (Near Mint-Mint) – Very slight wax stain or fraying at one or two corners
  • MINT 9 (Mint) – Perfect condition with only a single minor flaw that requires close inspection
  • GEM-MT 10 (Gem Mint) – No imperfections

The cards that fetch the highest prices tend to have a grade of EX-MT 6 or higher. These cards are in close to mint condition and are unlikely to include noticeable surface wear. 

Finding cards with a grade of 9 or 10 is more difficult, as printing imperfections are enough to lower the quality of the card to an 8. 

How to Get Sports Cards Graded

Along with grading baseball cards, the PSA grades and authenticates other collectibles and memorabilia. The organization also offers resources to help you determine the value of your trading cards. 

Instead of a PSA grade, you may find some Ryne Sandberg cards with an HGA grade. The Hybrid Gaming Approach (HGA) is a newer organization that offers several distinct features, including creating digital copies of trading cards and using higher-quality slabs and sleeves. 

Conclusion

Ryne Dee Sandberg trading cards do not command the same value as the rookie cards for Nolan Ryan. However, some of the older Fleer, Donruss, and Topps baseball cards from Sandberg’s first few years are worth thousands of dollars in mint condition.

Ryne Sandberg was a leading Chicago Cubs second baseman. If you want to own the most valuable Sandberg cards, look for mint condition cards, rookie cards, and cards featuring printing errors.

Bruno Breen
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