1980s Rookies Proved Unworthy Long Term

It was the height of the rookie card frenzy and there were plenty of investors, but buying most 1980s rookie cards didn’t pan out for those hoping for a windfall in the 21st century.

If you bought Cal Ripken Jr. rookie cards for a buck or two in 1982, you’ve done OK. Rickey Henderson wasn’t bad either. Beyond those two, most 1980s rookie cards have proven to be a less than stellar long-term investment.

Buying and selling rookie cards during the era in which the players were actually on the field worked out well for a lot of people skilled at knowing how to time the market, but those who stuck away factory sets and stacks of rookie cards have been disappointed with their current market value.

A combination of factors have led to a bear market for anyone trying to sell–and that includes a lot of 1980s kids now looking for a payoff as they become bill-paying adults.

The Wall Street Journal even delved into the 1980s market with a story of its own this week.