Baseball cards can be good investments

Vindication! For more than a decade, I’ve been focusing my collection on rookies and vintage, two things I always felt would maintain their value. And while I am not all about the money, I do believe that in some way these cards are investments, as well as a form of entertainment. But in this poor economy, I do spend less on baseball cards, and I know for sure that I have cut back on posting stuff on eBay simply because I know I am not the only one hurting for cash.

Over the weekend, the auction for New York Yankees memorabilia fell flat on it’s face, due in part to the struggling economy. Jose Molina’s home run ball, the final one blast at Yankee Stadium, was yanked from the auction block after no one hit the $100,000 minimum bid. There also were other items that either didn’t sell or sold for much less than anticipated.

This ESPN The Magazine article addresses the Yankee auction, and then discusses baseball cards in this unstable economy. At one point in the short piece, T.S. O’Connell of Sports Card Digest is quoted as saying, “Rarity is not the end-all of determining value. You want something that’s reasonably attainable, and something you can connect with emotionally.” The author then specifically mentions cards from the 1950s and 1960s as good investments.

Amen! I’ve been preaching this for years now. Vintage is a sleeping giant in this hobby. Hundreds of dollars are spent every day on Bowman Chrome rookie/prospect refractors — some numbered as low as 5 and 1 — of guys who have not even sniffed the majors, yet for about $250 you can own a so-so condition 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie, a card still revered in any condition as one of the greatest the hobby has seen.

And while I’ll agree that there is a short window of opportunity to make money on those no-name Bowman Chrome rookies/prospects, time has shown, and will continue to do so in the future, that vintage cards are the key to this hobby, even in tough economic times.

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