Collecting baseball cards can be a fascinating hobby. If you are a collector, you know about the thrill of opening a new package: the smell, the numbers, the stats, the designs, the colors... It is all very attractive to the eye. As you may expect, some of the most valuable cards portray famous, successful Yankees’ players.
Here are some of the most expensive baseball cards of New York Yankees’ players, and one of Mariano Rivera that is surprisingly cheap:
1952 Mickey Mantle Topps card
Those in the baseball cards collection business will tell you that Mickey Mantle is maybe the most collected player in the sport. There is something about the Mick that captivated generations.
In April 2018, the 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps card, graded a PSA 9 (it stands for Professional Sports Authenticator) sold for $2.88 million. That is the second highest amount of money paid for a card, second only to the $3.12 paid for a 1909 Honus Wagner card in 2016.
This Mickey Mantle item is not a rookie card, but it is by far the most valuable one of the Yankees’ number 7. It was sold by former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis and auctioned by Heritage Auctions.
1993 SP Derek Jeter rookie card
Now elected to the Hall of Fame, Jeter was a hot rookie in the mid-nineties. Of all his rookie cards, this is arguably the most valuable one: it can go for up to $180,000 if it is in Gem MT 10 condition.
1938 Goudey #274 Joe DiMaggio card
So far, no surprises regarding the most frequently collected Yankees players, right? When it comes to value, Joe DiMaggio’s skill, charisma and worth really set him above the rest of his peers.
The design of this Joltin’ Joe card is definitely different and unique. DiMaggio was featured twice in the 1938 Goudey set. However, this one is the most valuable of the pair.
According to GMA Grading, people who want this card can expect to pay around $12,000 if it is in NM 7 condition.
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth baseball cards
The Yankees player that is up there with Mickey Mantle in baseball card popularity is, of course, Babe Ruth. There is no need to mention that his cards are very expensive. The average baseball fan doesn’t have one.
Ruth’s 1933 Goudey cards are among the most valuable in the industry. Since they are extremely old, they can be worth nearly $10,000 even if they aren’t in mint condition.
1948 Bowman #6 Yogi Berra rookie card
Yogi Berra was among the most popular Yankees players. He played in very successful teams and is considered the greatest catcher in the history of the club.
Bowman featured Yogi in a 1948 set of baseball cards, in which the Yankee legend is portrayed following through on a huge cut and looking into the horizon. For fans, this is a truly valuable piece.
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle rookie card
While the 1952 Topps card is arguably more valuable and expensive, the 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle #253 is the only recognized rookie card of The Mick.
Mantle is portrayed ready to bat in this card, which is considered very artistic and nicely designed. However, according to this article in Old Sports Cards, Mantle’s rookie card “often suffers from print lines, poor centering and wax stains on the back.”
Acquiring one of these cards in NM-7 or higher would require, logically, a big investment of nearly $10,000.
1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig rookie card
In the 1920s and 1930’s, Babe Ruth dominated the scene for the Yankees, but he wasn’t alone. Along with the Babe, Lou Gehrig was terrorizing American League pitching staffs with his immense talent at the plate.
Gehrig’s figure in the league was huge, and so was his popularity. A quiet, respectul and well-educated gentleman, he was also the idol of generations.
It is widely considered that the 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig rookie card is worth around $6,500 in NM-7 condition.
There are tons of other Mantle, Ruth, DiMaggio and Gehrig’s cards that are also considered very expensive and valuable.
Other players with notable baseball cards are:
1984 Donruss Don Mattingly rookie card
Don Mattingly didn’t win any World Series with the Yankees like the gentlemen named above. However, he was a formidable player for the franchise and was a very talented ballplayer, both offensively and defensively. The 1984 Donruss is his most valuable rookie card, and it can be found for $100 in mint condition.
1992 Bowman Mariano Rivera rookie card
Rivera is the only unanimous Hall of Famer in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is, however, a very affordable card, usually sold for around $25.