Top 25 Most Valuable Rookie Baseball Cards

mobile baseball rookies
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Out of the top 10 most expensive trading cards ever sold, baseball has 5 on the list due to its rich history as a sport and strong collector base. The nostalgia for these cards spans the history of the sport, and brings some fascinating stories and the rediscovery of MLB legends. 

Below is a list of the 25 most valuable baseball rookie cards spanning Babe Ruth and Mike Trout. Each card tells a story about the player and his accomplishments, as well as imagery that can sweep holders back to a specific time period of the sport.

1. Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps #311 $24,731 - $15.71 million

mickey
CardLadder

A 1952 Topps PSA 10 Mickey Mantle is the holy grail rookie card in baseball card collecting. There are only 3 PSA 10s in existence and are estimated to be worth anywhere between $15,000,000 and $30,000,000. There have been no recent sales of this card despite a PSA 9 copy selling for $5.2 million in January 2021. 

A PSA 1 copy of the card is valued at just over $24,000. 

Originally, many more copies of this card had been produced, but due to lack of interest, the producers dumped an estimated 300-500 cases of the 1952 Topps set into the ocean. 

Technically, the 1951 Bowman #253 is the first Mickey Mantle card, but this is the first Topps produced Mante card, it is widely recognized as his key rookie card and is valued accordingly. 

Mantle, a Hall of Famer, played 18 seasons for the New York Yankees and is a 7-time World Series champion. 

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is rare across its population - there are just 3 PSA 10s in existence, 6 PSA 9’s and only 35 PSA 8 copies. 

Recent sales: 

PSA 7: $350,000

PSA 2: $60,000

PSA 1: $24,700

2. Hank Aaron 1954 Topps #128 $1,800 - $7.09 million

hank
CardLadder

Hank Aaron played in the MLB for 23 seasons and is second all-time in home runs. He’s won 1 World Series and made a record 24 All-star appearances.

There are just 2 PSA 10 copies of his rookie card in existence and it’s projected to be valued at just over $7 million. A PSA 1 copy is valued at $1,792. 

There are 25 PSA 9s in existence and 193 PSA 8 copies.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8: $52,021

PSA 7: $15,200

PSA 6: $16,211

3. Babe Ruth 1914 Baltimore News $600,000 - $5.9 million

babe
PSA

Before there was Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron, there was Babe Ruth who played 22 seasons, his 714 home runs and is a 7-time World Series Champion. 

Ruth’s style of play also had a lasting impact on the game of baseball and the fan experience. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in a season, and his power-hitting style helped put the Yankees franchise on the map. Attendance doubled after Ruth came to the Yankees. 

Ruth arrived in New York by way of the trade from the Boston Red Sox, the 2nd worst trade in MLB history. 

Ruth’s “prospects” card from 1914 features him during his time in the minor leagues. The Baltimore News card depicts him as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, which is valued at $5.94 million and is being offered by Collectable as a fractionalized investment opportunity. 

A PSA 1 copy of the card is valued at $600,000

There’s just 1 copy each of a PSA 1, PSA 2, and PSA 4. 

4. Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP80 1/1 Superfractors $5.56 million

trout
CardLadder

Mike Trout has played 11 seasons so far in the MLB, and while he hasn’t yet won a world series, there’s data to support him being the best player in history. He’s under 30 years old and has an astonishing .305 batting average with 310 Home Runs and 816 RBIs so far in his career. 

He’s a 9-time MLB all-star and has won the American League MVP 3 times, finishing second in four other seasons. 

Trout is the first modern player on the list, which means an introduction of rookie cards with parallels. Parallels are shorter print cards that have different visual characteristics. In this case, we have a population of 1 Superfractor card. 

The card last sold for $3.84 million but is currently valued at $5.56 million.

The base version of this card is worth $10,587 in its lowest grade of a BGS 9. 

Recent sale: $3.84 million

5. Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey #53 $5,075 - $4.22 million

babe2a
CardLadder

The 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth is widely recognized as his professional rookie card despite other cards released prior to this set.

There are no PSA 10 copies of Ruth’s 1933 Goudey card, there’s just 1 PSA 9 copy and 14 PSA 8 copies.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 4: $19,000

PSA 2: $15,350

PSA 1: $5,000

6. Jackie Robinson 1948 Leaf #79 $6,886 - $2.98 million

jackie
CardLadder

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the MLB, winning the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1947 and the most valuable player in the National League in 1949. He also won 1 world series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962

There aren’t any copies of this card in a PSA 10 grade. There are 7 copies in a PSA 9, and 40 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 4: $25,000 (best offer accepted)

PSA 5: $29,750 (best offer accepted)

PSA 2: $10,351

7. Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey Action #144 $6,978 - $2.71 million

babe2
CardLadder

The 1933 Goudey set, widely recognized as Ruth’s official rookie card (despite it being released later in his career) contains four Ruth cards. Some variations are rarer and more desirable than others. 

There aren’t any PSA 10 copies of this card, there are 4 PSA 9s and 32 PSA 8s.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 4: $18,655

PSA 3: $13,200

PSA 1: $5,600

8. Roberto Clemente 1955 Topps #164 $1,984 - $1.51 million

roberto
Curio Cards

Roberto Clemente played 18 seasons of major league baseball, all for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente died at a young age in a plane crash, and shortly after his death, he was elected into the Hall of Fame. The mandatory 5-year waiting period for the hall of fame inductions was waived for Clemente given his on-field accomplishments and tragic death. 

Clemente won two World Series, was the National League MVP, won 12 gold gloves, and had 3,000 career hits. 

There are 0 copies in a PSA 10 grade of his 1955 Topps rookie card, 11 copies in a PSA 9, and 123 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 7: $21,100

PSA 7: $19,750

PSA 6.5: $9,409

9. Willie Mays 1951 Bowman #305 $2,896 - $1.43 million

mays
CardLadder

This 1951 Bowman Willie Mays card comes from the same set as Mickey Mantle's first card. It is Mays’ only rookie card. 

Mays had a highly accomplished career and was the first player in MLB history to smash 50 home runs and steal 20 bases in one season. He’s also just one of 18 players to hit four home runs in one game. 

He’s a 24-time All-star, 2-time MVP, and a one-time world series champion and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979. 

There aren’t any PSA 10 copies of this card, and there are just 8 copies in a PSA 9 grade and 76 copies in a PSA 8 grade. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 6: $18,100

PSA 5: $16,978

PSA 5: $14,878

10. Nolan Ryan & Jerry Koosman 1968 Topps #177 $400 - $1.34 million

ryan 1
CardLadder

Nolan Ryan is the first pitcher on this list (unless you count Babe Ruth’s 17 games as a pitcher) and holds the record for most strikeouts in a career all-time. He also holds the record for the most no-hitters pitched (7), most wins as a pitcher (324), and has thrown 100 MPH fastballs. 

The Hall of Famer has a storied career and there’s just 1 copy of his 1968 Topps rookie in a PSA 10 grade, 66 in a PSA 9 grade, and 737 copies in a PSA 8. 

There’s just 1 copy of this card in a PSA 10, 66 in a PSA 9, and 737 in a PSA 8.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8: $5,499

PSA 7: $3,054

PSA 7: $3,000

11. Pete Rose 1963 Topps #537 $828.15 - $561,130

pete
CardLadder

Pete Rose played the most games of any player in the MLB (3,562) and holds the record for most hits (4,256). He was a 17-time NL All-star and won 3 World Series. He is not a Hall of Famer, as he was banned from the game of baseball due to gambling

There’s just 1 copy of this card in a PSA 10, 30 copies in a PSA 9, and 421 copies in a PSA 8.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 9: $77,114

PSA 8: $14,800

PSA 8: $12,313

12. Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 $161 - $515,963

reggie
CardLadder

Reggie Jackson is a two-time World Series MVP, and a five-time World Series winner. Over his 21-year career, his teams have won 11 divisions and 6 pennants. 

He also led the AL in home runs in 4 seasons and won league MVP in 1973. 

There is 1 PSA 10 copy of his rookie card, 41 copies in a PSA 9 grade, and 559 copies in a PSA 8. 

A PSA 1 copy of this card is currently valued at $161.76. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8.5: $9,750

PSA 8.5: $8,300

PSA 8.5: $7,852

13. Yogi Berra 1948 Bowman #6 $325.90 - $489,346

yogi
CardLadder

Yogi Berra played 19 seasons, was an 18-time All-Star and won 10 World Series. He spent 18 seasons with the New York Yankees and has the most World Series rings of any Major League baseball player.

There is 1 copy of this card in a PSA 10 grade, 10 copies in a PSA 9, and 108 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8: $11,012

PSA 8: $7,700

PSA 7: $3,263

14. Derek Jeter 1993 SP Foil #279 $250 - $483,888

jeter
CardLadder

Derek Jeter is a 5-time world series champion (including 1 World Series MVP award) and had over 3,000 hits during his career with the New York Yankees. Jeter was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2020 and is currently the CEO of the Miami Marlins. 

There are 21 copies of this card in a PSA 10 grade, 611 in a PSA 9 grade, and 9,077 in a PSA 8 grade. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 9: $18,600

PSA 9: $16,300

PSA 9: $15,000

15. Harmon Killebrew 1955 Topps #124 $100 - $378,729

harmon copy
CardLadder

Harmon Killebrew spent the majority of his 22-year career with the Minnesota Twins and is 12th all-time for Home Runs. The Hall of Fame first baseman played in one World Series, but the Twins lost to the Dodgers in that series.  

There’s just 1 PSA 10 copy of his rookie card, 66 copies in a PSA 9 grade and 737 copies in a PSA 8 grade. A PSA 1 copy of this card is valued at $101.04 currently.

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8: $2,895

PSA 7: $1,133

PSA 5: $475 best offer accepted

16. Mike Schmidt, Ron Cey, & John Hilton 1973 Topps #615 $95.52 - $369.410.47

schmidt
CardLadder

Mike Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies as a 3rd baseman, was a 12-time All-Star and a one-time NL MVP. He also led the National League in home runs 8 times. He was also the World Series MVP in the Phillies’ first-ever franchise World Series Victory. 

There are 6 PSA 10 copies of this card, 250 PSA 9 copies and 1,509 PSA 8 copies. 

Recent Sales:

PSA 9: $10,000 (best offer accepted)

PSA 9: $6,999

PSA 9: $6,600

17. Bob Gibson 1959 Topps #514 $342 - $363,576

gibson
CardLadder

Bob Gibson played 17 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals and is the second pitcher on our list. He’s a 9-time All-Star and a 2-time World Series champion with a 2.91 career ERA. 

He’s also known for his 1968 season, where he had a 22-9 record, 13 shutouts, 268 strikeouts and an astonishingly low 1.12 ERA. It’s recognized as the best statistical full season for a pitcher of all-time. 

There are 3 copies of this card in a PSA 10 grade, 31 copies in a PSA 9, and 381 copies in a PSA 8.

Recent Sales:

PSA 9 (OC): $5,855 best offer accepted

PSA 7: $2,486

PSA 4: $800

18. Roy Campanella 1949 Bowman #84 $977 - $357.594

roy
CardLadder

Roy Campanella played for the Brooklyn Dodgers for 10 seasons as a catcher and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1969. His career was tragically cut short after being paralyzed in a car accident. 

Campanella is also credited for paving the way for the MLB to break the color barrier. 

There are 2 PSA 10 copies of this card, 18 PSA 9 copies, and 122 PSA 8 copies. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 5: $1,474

PSA 5: $1,385 best offer accepted

PSA 4: $849.95 best offer accepted

19. Tom Seaver & Bill Denehy 1967 Topps #581 $716 - $348,780

seaver
CardLadder

Tom Seaver was a Hall of Famer pitcher for the New York Mets finishing his career with 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts and a 2.86 earned run average. 

Seaver was part of the 1969 Miracle Mets World Series winning team and holds the record for consecutive strikeouts (10) in a single game. 

There are 3 copies of this card in a PSA 10, 91 copies in a PSA 9 and 583 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 8: $5,300

PSA 8: $4,091

PSA 3: $900

20. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Chrome #150 1/1 Superfractor $301,048

ohtani
CardLadder

Ohtani is in just his 5th season in the MLB but is making waves as a successful two-way player

He’s currently batting .269 with 37 home runs and is 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA as a pitcher. Ohtani is breaking records on the mount and at the plate. 
This card is just a population of 1 and recently sold at Goldin Auctions. A base version of this card in a PSA 9 (pop 214) is valued at $99.96 and has sold for as low as $50 raw (ungraded).

21. Mike Trout 2011 Bowman Chrome #175 Superfractor 1/1 $299,578

trout2
CardLadder

This card was released in 2011, two years after his 2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects card, but is still considered to be a rookie card (and is branded as such on the top left of the card). 

This is another 1/1 Superfractor and is graded in mint 10 condition.

The base version of this card is valued at $398.66 in a PSA 8 grade (pop 203), $783.01 in a PSA 9 grade (pop 1,127) and $2,521 in a PSA 10 (457 copies). 

22. Ted Williams 1939 Play Ball #92 $2,702 - $295,331

ted
CardLadder

Ted Williams played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox despite missing seasons in his prime due to military service. He’s sometimes referred to as the “greatest hitter of all time”. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1966 and finished his career with 521 Home Runs (20th) .344 batting average (11th) and was a 2-time MVP and 19-time All Star. 

There aren’t any PSA 10 copies of this card, there are just 12 PSA 9s and 88 PSA 8 copies. 

Recent Sales:

PSA 4: $6,975 best offer accepted

PSA 3: $5,495

PSA 1: $2,999

23. Sandy Koufax 1955 Topps #123 $539 - $272,416

koufax
CardLadder

Sandy Koufax compiled a 165-87 record over his 12-year career with an earned run average of just 2.76 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. He had to end his career early due to an elbow injury. In 1963, Koufax won 25 games with a 1.88 era and 11 shutouts. He won the Cy Young Award and NL MVP that season. Koufax won 2 World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and put up phenomenal performances in each series. 

There aren’t any copies of this card in a PSA 10, and just 23 copies of this card in a PSA 9 and 240 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recently Sold: 

PSA 4: $1,553

PSA 2: $749

PSA 2: $750

24. George Brett 1975 Topps #228 $121 - $162,568

brett
CardLadder

George Brett is a Hall of Fame 3rd baseman who played 21 seasons with the Kansas City Royals. He helped the Kansas City Royals win its first World Series in 1985 (he homered 3 times and hit for an average of .348). He’s a 13-time All Star and holds the 2nd highest batting average (.390) for a single season. 

There are 10 copies of this card in a PSA 10 grade, 307 copies in a PSA 9 and 2,784 copies in a PSA 8. 

Recent Sales:

PSA 8: $660

PSA 8: $529 best offer accepted

PSA 7: $284

25. Ernie Banks 1954 Topps #94 $418 - $144,624

banks
CardLadder

Ernie Banks was a 14-time All Star, 2 time NL MVP and 2 time NL home run leader for the Chicago Cubs. Although Banks never won a world series with the Cubs, he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1977 and was named to the MLBs All-Century team in 1999. 

There aren’t any copies of this card in a PSA 10, there are 14 copies graded PSA 9 and 145 copies graded PSA 8. 

Recent Sales: 

PSA 7: $12,000 best offer accepted

PSA 4: $1,499

PSA 1.5 (MC): $409

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked