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10 Most Expensive Sports Cards In The World

Last updated on November 6, 2020 by
most valuable sport card in the world

The sports card industry rakes in more than $1 billion each year for card retailers and manufacturers. Collecting sports cards might seem like an outdated hobby, but they’re more valuable than ever.

Baseball and basketball sports cards take the lead; 20 out of 25 of the most expensive sports cards fall into these categories. The most sought-after sports cards are worth six and seven figures each.

Whether you’re interested in buying or selling, check out the list below of the top ten most expensive sports cards in the world. Read on to discover the current value, population reports, and the unique history of each card.

1. 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph

Mike Trout is a center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels and an eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star. Trout was picked by the Angels during the 2009 MLB draft and is nicknamed the Millville Meteor.

The 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor holds the record for being the most expensive sports card in the world. Superfractor baseball cards are known for their unique gold background that’s emphasized by a circular pattern.

Value

This incredibly rare baseball card was purchased for a whopping $3.9 million.

Population Report

Population reports show that there’s only one 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph card with a Becket Grading Score of Mint 9.

Date Of Sale

This exclusive 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph card was sold on August 23rd, 2020. The card was sold at a private auction, and the buyer’s name was not disclosed.

Card Trivia

In 2018, gambling consultant David Oancea – AKA “Vegas Dave” bought the card for $400,000. Friends and family were skeptical of his purchase, but Oancea predicted the card would eventually sell for $4 to $5 million. His intuition certainly worked out in his favor!

2. 1909 T206 Honus Wagner

1909 T206 Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner was a prominent player who played 21 seasons of Major League Baseball. His career spanned 20 years from 1897 to 1917, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

The 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card was distributed by the American Tobacco Company. The exact number of cards produced is unknown, but it’s estimated that only 50 to 200 cards were made.

Value

This card is the second most expensive sports card in the world and was purchased for $3,323,760. It broke the $2.8 million record sale of the Gretzky Wagner card in 2007.

Population Report

There is only one 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card with a PSA EX 5 score.

Date Of Sale

This valuable sports card was last sold on October 1, 2016, through Goldin Auctions.

Card Trivia

Wagner is the source of this card’s limited production. He reportedly prevented the American Tobacco Company from producing additional copies.

The exact reasoning behind Wagner’s involvement remains a mystery. Some speculate that he didn’t want to encourage youth to purchase tobacco. Others say he wasn’t satisfied with the payment he received for his likeness being used.

3. 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle is a household name among baseball fans, and this recording-breaking card is incredibly treasured. The sale of the card made headlines multiple times due to the staggering price tag.

Value

$2,932,287 is the most recent sale price for this card. In 2016, the card was purchased for $1,135,250.

Population Report

Recent population reports list 2,372 of these valuable cards. However, only six are graded with a PSA 9. Only three cards hold the prestigious Gem Mint 10 grade.

Date Of Sale

The most recent sale took place on April 19, 2018. At the time, the sale set a record for a post-WWII card.

Card Trivia

Evan Mathis, a retired NFL lineman, sold this card to help purchase his family’s dream home. The former football player is an active sports card dealer.

This sports card is very rare today, but many of them were disposed of in 1960. Sy Berger, co-designer of Topps baseball cards, dumped three trucks full of 1952 Topps cards into the Atlantic Ocean.

At the time, the cards weren’t considered valuable and Berger got rid of them to open up space in the Topps warehouse.

4. 2013-14 National Treasures Giannis Antetokounmpo Logoman Autograph

2013-14 National Treasures Giannis Antetokounmpo Logoman Autograph

Basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo is dubbed ‘The Greek Freak’ and ‘Greek Wonder’ by fans due to his astounding skill and height. The 25-year-old plays for the Milwaukee Bucks after being selected during the 2013 NBA draft.

The 2013-14 National Treasures Giannis Antetokounmpo Logoman Autograph holds the record for the most expensive basketball card in the world. The card is incredibly rare, and Antetokounmpo’s Rookie cards are coveted by collectors, too.

Value

The card most recently sold for $1,857,300.

Population Report

There’s only one copy of the  2013-14 National Treasures Giannis Antetokounmpo Logoman Autograph card, and it’s graded BGS Mint 9/10 for the autograph.

Date Of Sale

The most recent sale of this card took place on September 20, 2020, through Goldin Auctions.

Card Trivia

The 2013-14 National Treasures Giannis Antetokounmpo Logoman Autograph broke the record for the most expensive basketball card just six weeks after the record was set in August 2020.

5. 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Red Refractor Autograph

2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Red Refractor Autograph

Mike Trout is an active Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels. The young center fielder is an eight-time MLB All-Star. The 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Red Refractor Autograph is one of the two most modern expensive sports cards in the world.

Value

The card was recently purchased for $922,500. Before that, it was bought for $400,000 in 2018. The most recent sale broke the record for the most valuable modern-day sports card.

Population Report

Population reports state that there are five of these rare sports cards with a BGS score of GM-MT 9.

Date Of Sale

The 2009 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Red Refractor Autograph card was sold on May 20, 2020, through Goldin Auctions.

Card Trivia

The card was purchased by David Oancea, the seller of the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph – AKA the world’s most expensive sport’s card.

6. Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph

Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph

Lebron James is an internationally recognized name among basketball fans. James has broken numerous NBA records and won several MVP awards throughout his career. Two separate cards featuring the LA Lakers player are among the most expensive sports cards in the world.

Value

The Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph card was last purchased for $1,845,000.

Population Report

There are only 23 copies of this card, and this particular copy is 14 out of 23. Becket Grading graded it a Gem Mint 9.5.

Date Of Sale

This prestigious basketball card was last sold on July 18, 2020.

Card Trivia

The sale of the  Lebron James 2003-04 Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph set two sale records – one for modern-day sports cards and one for basketball cards. Leore Avidar, a tech company CEO, is the current owner of the card.

7. 2003-04 Exquisite Michael Jordan, Lebron James Dual Logoman

2003-04 Exquisite Michael Jordan, Lebron James Dual Logoman

Michael Jordan and Lebron James are arguably considered the most talented basketball players of all time. Jordan, a retired NBA star played 15 seasons and won six championships as part of the Chicago Bulls. James has been an active NBA player for seventeen years.

Value

The 2003-04 Exquisite Michael Jordan, Lebron James Dual Logoman recently sold for $900,000.

Population Report

Only one of these unique basketball cards exists. It’s graded a BGS NM-MT+ 8.5, meaning the card is considered ‘near mint to mint condition’.

Date Of Sale

The  2003-04 Exquisite Michael Jordan, Lebron James Dual Logoman was recently sold in February 2020 through Goldin Auctions.

Card Trivia

The 2020 price of this card set records for both modern-day card sales and basketball card sales. The card was purchased by Nat Turner, a collector of prestigious basketball cards.

8. 1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank

1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank

Eddie Plank, also known as ‘Gettysburg Eddie’, played for the Philidelphia Athletics for most of his career. Plank was a three-time World Series champion and is featured on the Philidelphia Baseball Wall Of Fame.

The T206 series of baseball cards were issued by the American Tobacco Company from 1909 to 1911. Plank’s card is considered one of the rarest cards from the set and certainly one of the most expensive.

Value

A 1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank card graded PSA 7 was last purchased for $779,548.

Population Report

Population reports for the 1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank card vary based on the card condition. There are up to 100 cards in various conditions reportedly in circulation. There is only one card with the value listed above, and it’s graded a Near Mint 7.

Date Of Sale

The card was sold during the summer of 2012 via private sale.

Card Trivia

Like the T206 Honus Wagner, the reason behind the rarity of T206 Plank cards is unconfirmed.

9. Babe Ruth 1915/16 M101-5 Sporting News (Blank Back)

Babe Ruth 1915/16 M101-5 Sporting News (Blank Back)

Babe Ruth is a name synonymous with American baseball. Ruth was a two-time MLB All-Star winner, seven-time World Series champion, and won dozens of other awards. Additionally, the baseball star broke numerous records for batting, home runs, and more.

There are several Babe Ruth baseball cards in circulation, and many are undoubtedly popular and valuable. However, the Babe Ruth 1915/16 M101-5 Sporting News with a blank back stands out as one of the most expensive sports cards in the world.

Value

This coveted baseball card was purchased for $717,000 through Heritage Auctions.

Population Report

PSA population reports state that there are only three Babe Ruth 1915/16 M101-5 Sporting News with blank backs in Near Mint 7 condition.

Date Of Sale

This particular Babe Ruth 1915/16 M101-5 Sporting News card was last sold on August 28th, 2016.

Card Trivia

Several versions of this card feature various company advertisements on the back of the card. As the title suggests, this specific card has a blank back.

10. 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle

1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle

Another Mickey Mantle baseball card ranks among the most expensive sports cards in the world. Sports card experts and fans often compare the 1952 Topps card and the 1951 Bowman. Heritage Auctions describes the comparisons as a ‘friendly sibling rivalry’.

Value

This coveted baseball card was purchased for $763,616 via Heritage Auctions.

Population Report

A recent population report states that there are just over 2,000 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle cards. However, there are just three cards with a PSA score of Mint 9.

Date Of Sale

This valuable edition of the Mickey Mantle 1951 Bowman was sold on April 20, 2018.

Card Trivia

While Mickey Mantle baseball cards, in general, are very popular, the 1951 Bowman card is the only recognized Mickey Mantle rookie card.

Are Your Sports Cards Valuable?

The ten most expensive sports cards in the world are truly worth a fortune. Each one has a rich background and the conditions have been preserved carefully.  If you’ve got your own sports card collection, the staggering price tags above may pique your curiosity.

Fortunately, you can easily discover if any cards you have are worth money. Check the value of your own cards using the Sports Market Report’s Price Guide found on the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) website.