Trading cards and memorabilia are an aspect of the sports industry that is worth millions, with thousands of different types and a massive range of value and prices.
Hockey cards are no different, and if you’re a hockey fan who has ended up with a large collection of sports cards over the years, you may be wondering what to do with them. Specifically, what should you do with the old ones?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you should sell them, or do something else with them, we’ve got a guide below that’s all about the worth and value of old hockey cards. So, read on and find out!
How Valuable Are Your Old Hockey Cards?
If you’re like most collectors, you have a collection of old hockey cards hidden away in your attic or basement somewhere.
The question is: what should you do with them? Do they still hold value? Or are they just gathering dust?
The answer depends on how valuable the card was when it came out, and whether it has been graded by an expert.
If you bought the card for $10 at a garage sale 15 years ago, then that card probably holds only sentimental value. But if you paid $100 for the same card today? Then it would be worth much more.
How Much Value Do Your Old Hockey Cards Have Today?
When we talk about “old” hockey cards, we mean cards from before the 1980s. By this time, there were already hundreds of different sets of cards available.
Most of these early-1980s sets had fewer players than current sets. For this reason, some of those early-1980s cards are worth less than their current counterparts.
This is understandable – if there’s less to collect, they’re not going to be as desirable!
In fact, many people think that the best way to collect hockey cards is to buy older cards.
This is because newer cards are often harder to find and therefore more expensive.
But even though some of those early-80s cards may not be as valuable as their modern counterparts, some can still be really quite valuable.
For an astonishing example, a Wayne Gretzky’s rookie card sold for – wait for it – $3.75 MILLION in 2021. So if you have any of those cards, or any old cards in general, keep them safe!
So What Should You Do With Your Old Hockey Cards?
Most experts agree that selling your old hockey cards can be a good idea. In fact, it might actually help you to free up space in your collection and bring in some funds at the same time.
Of course, you shouldn’t always expect to make a lot of money from selling your old hockey cards. Some will be worth more than others. But you you never know, you could be sitting on a sizable chunk of change.
So now you know what to do with your old hockey cards. It’s time to clean out your attic or basement and start looking through your collection – ready to work out their individual values.
Valuing Your Old Hockey Cards – What Affects It?
But how do you work out the value of a hockey card? There are three main factors that determine the value: rarity, condition, and scarcity. Let’s take a look at what each of those terms mean.
Rarity refers to the number of copies of the card that are in existence – the amount that were ever made.
There are only so many Wayne Gretzkys, Sidney Crosby’s, Joe Sakic’s, etc., so the rarer the card, the higher its value. The fewer there are of a card, the rarer it is.
Condition refers to how well a card looks. A perfect card will look exactly like the original printing plate – they call this “mint” condition. Similarly, a near-perfect card will show very few signs of wear.
Next, an average card will show some wear but nothing major. Finally, poorly printed cards – or poorly looked after cards – will have a lot of flaws.
Scarcity refers to how hard it is to obtain a particular card. It can often be easier to get a complete set of cards than it is to get the single card that you want.
Finding Out A Hockey Card’s Value
If you’re thinking about selling your old hockey cards, here’s a quick guide to figuring out what they’re worth.
Step 1: Look Up The Rarest Cards In Your Collection
Start by checking out the top cards in your collection. These are the ones that are most likely to bring the highest prices.
Looking up the names online can help you find out what’s likely to be worth the most when it comes to selling them.
Step 2: Check Out Other Players Top Cards
Next, check out other players’ top cards. What cards have they been selling, and what have they got paid for them? Perhaps you have the same cards in similar condition! This will give you an idea of how much they could make.
Step 3: Compare Prices Across Different Sets
Compare prices across different sets. Are certain sets more popular than others? If so, which ones are the most popular? Which sets are least popular? Perhaps you have those sets, or at least most of the cards within them.
Step 4: Think About Selling Online
The internet is a great resource for selling your cards because it will allow almost anyone to see your product listings.
Rather than limit your audience to just the people who live nearby, or perhaps the people who could see an advert for your collection in a magazine, instead the internet can be seen the world over. Which means more potential buyers!
If you choose to use the internet, make sure you use a site that you know is safe. eBay is a very popular one for selling sports cards.
Also, make sure your price is sensible – if you go higher than it’s worth, the buyers aren’t going to bite. Think of it like fishing! You need a sensible bait for the fish to be attracted.
You can also choose how you deliver the final item – in person? Or via the mail. If you mail it, make sure that the envelope is tracked.
These are valuable items and you want to know that they’ve made it there in one piece.
On the other hand, if you deliver the card in person, you can connect with the buyer and they can see firsthand that the item they’ve bought is genuine.
Should I Get My Vintage Sports Cards Graded?
Now, there is an extra step you can take that could make your cards more attractive to buyers – and that’s grading. Card grading is the process of submitting your cards to a third-party service.
They inspect it and check that it’s authentic, and also rank it in terms of its condition. They then give the card a general grade, put it in a nice holder, and give it a catalog number.
Some people believe that grading your cards is important, while others say that it’s not necessary. There are certainly benefits to it, but also cons too.
The Pros And Cons Of Grading Your Cards
• It gives your collection a sense of completion.
• It lets you display your collection.
• It makes your collection look better.
• It could lower the value of your collection. Imagine if the cards turn out to be less authentic, or worse condition, than you thought!
• It takes time and effort.
• It’s expensive.
And there you have it! If you’re a keen sports card collector who has ended up with a large collection of old hockey cards, you now have an idea of what is best to do with them.
You should very probably sell them, particularly online. When you do, make sure that you know what they’re likely to be worth!
For added quality, you can have them graded, but as you have seen this can have its downsides. You can read more about becoming a grader, and also more specifically signature verification in our other articles.
Either way, you should get some money out of your old hockey cards! And that’s always worth it.