As collectors, we’re always looking for the next big thing.
That’s true at any time but the start of a new year always brings along all sorts of re-evaluations from collectors. Some will maintain their current course and change little, if nothing. Others will switch gears. And others will start looking for some bargains that may be had. Others still will just watch from afar and enjoy the view.
Whichever direction you’re headed at the start of this new year, here are some cards that I think are worth keeping an eye on in 2019.
Ty Cobb T205
Truthfully, I’ve been calling for this one to rise in value for a while now. And it has certainly gone up as other Cobb stuff has in the past few years. However, it still trails the T206 Cobb green background card by a mile in terms of value and that’s despite being harder to find and being from a very popular set.
T205 isn’t quite T206 with collectors by any means, but it is still a very popular tobacco issue. At some point, I have to believe that it becomes more valuable. Many collectors that pursue T206 cards ultimately find their way to the T205 set and T205 is consistently one of the most desirable tobacco sets that is sought after.
The Cobb T205 card is still very affordable for many collectors, particularly in lower-grade condition. Currently, Those graded 2-4 are still under $3,000 and still significantly below their T206 green background counterparts. You can occasionally even get them a little cheaper.
It’s a new year but I remain very high on this card’s long-term prospects.
(All) T206 Hall of Fame Portraits
In the pre-war world, there’s not much that is hotter than the T206 set. Prices continue to soar and big premiums, in particular, are being paid for high-grade stuff.
I have maintained for years that the cards are not terribly rare but that has not slowed the momentum on them one bit. Portrait pose cards, especially those of Hall of Famers, are red hot. With prices at all-time highs, this may not be the perfect time to buy. But if you see a bargain at this point, you may want to snatch it up. Your best bargains, if you’re not looking for a specific player, will be found in the lesser names, such as Hughie Jennings and Miller Huggins.
Even if you’re not particularly in the market for a T206 portrait of a Hall of Famer, it will still be interesting to track how these sell in the new year.
E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson
With prices around $10,000 for even half-decent low-grade examples, this card is not going to be in everyone’s budget. Me? I’m watching mostly out of curiosity.
A Jackson PSA 8 sold in 2016 for nearly $670K and, to date, there are only two examples graded that high before things drop down to a PSA 5.5 (it is worth noting that an SGC 7 exists, per their pop reports).
Could one of the PSA 8s be the next million-dollar card? Given what the card sold for in 2016, my guess is not yet. But as additional high-grade examples aren’t being found, it’s a card that still has tremendous potential in the future. Jackson, of course, is not a Hall of Famer, but his cards obviously are valued as if he was one.
There was speculation at the time that the card might fetch that much. That didn’t come close to happening but it will be interesting to watch what happens when one of the two PSA 8s hits the auction block.
Autographed Pre-War Cards
After the shocking discovery of several forged T206 and 1933 Goudey autograph cards as uncovered on Net54, this might not be the best time to start investing heavily into autographed pre-war collectibles. But all eyes will certainly be on them in the marketplace in 2019.
I’ve speculated, as many others likely have, that the market for them will change. Based on the number of cards that were found to be fakes, my guess is that, at least in the immediate future, we’ll see less of these offered for sale as auction houses and retailers do some additional due diligence. But when those types of cards hit the market, it will certainly be popcorn-worthy viewing. Will prices come down or will buyers strike while speculation abounds?
We won’t know that until we see what kind of material surfaces at auction houses.
1935 Goudey Babe Ruth
A final high-profile card worth keeping an eye on in 2019 and beyond is the Babe Ruth 1935 Goudey card.
While Ruth’s 1933 cards (all four of them) have surged in value, the 1935 Goudey Ruth has been left mostly in the dust. Low-grade 1933 Goudey Ruths usually top $1,000 and you can get a low-grade 1935 Goudey Ruth for about half that. What gives?
Ruth’s 1935 card is certainly less popular for a few reasons. Chief among them is that it isn’t a solo card as he is pictured with three other players on the card. It pictures him in pinstripes–but in the final year of his career with the Boston Braves. Still, the card is far rarer than Ruth’s 1933 Goudey issues and he was left out of the 1934 Goudey set, so that isn’t an option (even though he did make an appearance in the 1934 World Wide Gum set).
The card is a legitimate Ruth gum issue that isn’t frighteningly common like his 1933 Goudey cards. My guess is that, at some point, it will become more valuable. Right now, it’s among the better bargains in cards that date from Ruth’s career–and really, one of his most important.