Not every card is created equal. Some otherwise common, modern sports cards valued at less than $100 “raw” can be worth thousands of dollars after authentication and grading. It’s a concept not exclusive to rare, vintage cards. Landing a rare PSA 10 (gem mint) grade can be a windfall for sellers. Now, PSA has compiled a list of modern era cards that benefitted from high grade rocket fuel.
The company’s “15 Modern Card Prices That Will Blow Your Mind” slideshow tracks eye-popping sales prices of cards that normally sell for much less. It’s a list aimed at all collectors, but especially those under the approximate age of 45 who continue to hear that all of the cards from their childhood might as well be given away or dumped in the trash.
It’s not always true.
“Many people who collected cards in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s may think those cards they so feverishly collected growing up are now worthless,” said PSA President Joe Orlando. “You might be shocked to learn that idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the cards from those decades can be worth incredible amounts today in top grade,” said PSA President Joe Orlando.
PSA 10 grades are not handed out often since they require the stars to align on corners, centering, focus, gloss and other printing factors taken into account by graders, but the gap in value between PSA ‘Gem Mint 10 and a PSA ‘Near Mint-Mint 8 (cards that at arm’s length often look perfect), is often thousands—or even tens of thousands of dollars.
For example, the 1971 Topps (#341) Steve Garvey rookie card often sells for about $30 in “raw” or uncertified form, but one that was graded PSA Gem Mint 10 sold in an auction for more than $25,000. That black-bordered card of a non-Hall of Fame player is only number five on the list, however.
Here are five of PSA’s “15 Modern Card Prices That Will Blow Your Mind.”
Card High Raw Book Value: PSA 10 Auction Price:
1) 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky #18 $800 $94,162
2) 1993 Upper Deck SP Derek Jeter #279 $150 $33,842
3) 1975 Topps Robin Yount #223 $ 50 $25,790
4) 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt #615 $150 $25, 541
5) 1971 Topps Steve Garvey #341 $ 30 $25,393
“These are standard, modern cards, not serial numbered, no game-used swatches or autographs. They are mainstream cards, ones that collectors were accustomed to seeing during the 1970s to early 1990s, with zero manufacturing scarcity. That fact makes these prices even more remarkable,” said Orlando.