The Value of Rookie Cards & Error Cards

Someone counting out hundred dollar bills

Sports card collectors know that the value of a card generally goes up when scarcity and demand are involved. For the most part, the most expensive or in-demand cards include high-performing athletes that people are looking to add to their collection, whether we’re talking about Tom Brady, Mickey Mantle, or LeBron James. 

But there are some other cards that can fetch a decent price: rookie cards and error cards. But what is the value of rookie cards? What makes error cards sought after? 

Let’s talk about trading card price guides and go over some examples to illustrate why your collection might be worth even more with these cards. 

Outlining the Value of Rookie Cards and Error Cards: Traits That Make Them Valuable 

Rookie Cards

As you’ll discover, rookie cards are often the most sought after. These cards are highly valuable, given that there may be a limited number in circulation when card-makers first decide to create cards for various rookies. This inherent rarity, along with the potential for the player to grow in value throughout their career, is what can add to the value of rookie cards. This is especially true for rookie cards from back in the day. 

Take, for example, the 1979 O-Pee-Chee of Wayne Gretzky, which sold for an impressive $465,000. Because he became such a valuable player, and because his cards were rare (and in good quality in the case of the one that sold), a simple rookie card turned into a major windfall for the collector. 

While base cards of modern products can carry some nice values, typically it is the parallels and autographed cards of these players that fetch the highest resale value. For older cards (early 1990’s and prior), the value of rookie cards varies greatly based on the condition it is in. For example, 1986 Michael Jordan PSA 10 rookie cards have been fetching around $300,000 at recent auctions. However, these same Michael Jordan rookies that are rated a PSA 8 have only been averaging $7,500. If you have a scarce rookie of an elite player and the card appears to be in mint condition (well centered, sharp corners, smooth edges and a clean surface), it might be worth getting it graded to increase the value. 

Error Cards

But what about error cards? Error cards are often worth more because of the fact that there were misprints and other production issues that are distinct on the card. 

However, it all comes down to scarcity. If there were a ton of error cards produced and then corrected, the card may not be worth much, especially if it doesn’t feature a player that people are looking to add to their collection. However, much like the value of rookie cards, the value of an error card can go up if there were a limited amount produced, if the player is highly sought after, and if the card is in stellar condition. 

One excellent example of this is the 1990 Frank Thomas No Name Topps Error Card #414, which sells for thousands of dollars now due to the absence of his name on the card, even though you can get a corrected version for only a few dollars. 

Put simply, whether you’re assessing the value of rookie cards or error cards, you’ll find that those that are rare, feature the right players, and are in great condition are going to fetch the best prices. 

Build Your Collection of Sports Cards With Giant Sports Cards

While looking at trading card price guides can be a great way to learn more about various types of cards and why they’re valuable, you can only potentially find these in your collection if you’re actively building your collection. 

Giant Sports Cards offers all the newest releases at the lowest prices so that you can continue growing your collection with ease. Discover new sports cards and sign up for our newsletter to get $10 off your first order today!