The last game didn’t exactly provide a storybook ending, but it didn’t have to. So many of us grew up watching Chipper Jones and took for granted we were watching a legend in the making. Even with the hype that surrounded him as a high school senior, you would have never dreamed that Larry Jones Jr. would go down in history as one of the greatest switch hitters and third basemen of all time. With his career now in the rearview mirror, Chipper Jones rookie cards and their place in the hobby are coming into focus.
His first cards hit the market during an era in which the card companies cranked out more cards than ever before. It’s led to a shallow market for them. There’s demand, but the supply seems virtually never-ending. Ungraded, base Jones rookie cards often go without bids even when priced at $1. There has been a bit of a run in Chipper’s final big league season. He went out on a high note, with a solid season that helped the Braves reach the (very short) playoffs. If you were sitting on high grade lots, singles or low numbered autograph cards from recent years, you probably chose the final month to sell them because fans were joining collectors in buying them.
Of course, there are other options beyond the high print run base cards for those willing to spend more money.
The 1991 Topps Desert Shield Jones Rookie Card #333 appears to be the most commonly listed high end card. A BGS 9 example sold last week for $660. Ungraded, but nr mint-mint copies bring $200 and up. From an investment standpoint, there’s a chance this one could push higher. The same goes for the 1991 Topps Tiffany Jones Rookie. An 8.5 will bring $75-100 while a 9.5 brought $450 on Friday.
His standard issue 1991 Topps rookie card, which pictures him in his high school uniform by the way, sells for around $17 in a mint 9 holder and $40-50 in a 9.5.
The Jones 1991 Upper Deck rookie is even cheaper. While BGS 10 Jones rookies often bring $125-175, PSA 10s have sold recently for less than $40. A good investment? Don’t look to score a windfall, but when you can buy a regular issue ‘10’ of a Hall of Famer for that price, it’s tempting.
The strongest sales of Chipper Jones cards are reflected in recent sales of his low numbered autographed relic cards. Prices are all over the board and tend to reflect personal preference but they are strong sellers in numbers of less than 10 at $200-400 each and often more for those numbered to three or less.
Jones’ retirement has given us all a chance to focus on just how amazing his career has been. I don’t think anyone has a doubt he will have a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Nobody can predict for sure the future values, but the cards are priced low enough that taking that gamble won’t break the bank.