The Most Valuable Sports Cards of All Time


The hobby of sports trading cards can trace its beginnings to the late 19th century. Although they're famously known for being part of packages that contained bubble gum, some of the earliest sports trading cards were used as advertising tools to get patrons, including young adults, to purchase tobacco products like cigarettes. Some early athletes despised this practice and would not allow their faces to adorn trading cards, making any cards upon which they did appear scarce and adding to their value.

That's not the only reason sports cards become valuable. The players themselves have much to do with it. The better a player is, the more valuable his ? and in a few cases, her ? card can become, especially their rookie card, which is the first time that a player appears on a card for a particular trading card brand.

Another reason sports cards can become valuable is when there is a limited run of them available. That is the case for many recent cards that have high-dollar amounts associated with them. Other cards become valuable because not many of them exist any longer. For whatever reason, certain cards from across many different sports have brought in astronomical figures when put up for auction in recent years.

Here's a look at 30 of the most valuable sports trading cards.