It is very typical for most sports fans to collect sports cards during their childhood. When I was a kid, my dad passed down his card collection to me. This is how I originally got into collecting sports cards as a kid, mainly baseball and hockey cards. I recently came across those boxes and binders of cards sitting under my bed and out of curiosity I decided to look into what they could be worth online. Unfortunately I came to realize that I didn’t own any 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie cards, 2005-06 Sidney Crosby Upper Deck Young Guns rookie cards or Lebron James rookie cards and well… you get the point.
However, this did make me realize one thing: the value of some of these sports cards is unbelievable and from what I have been hearing, apparently the hobby has gained popularity and entered a “boom” in the last few months??? This is what eventually dragged me back into the hobby of collecting sports cards.
Now that I have had so much extra time in social isolation and recently got back into the hobby, I decided to dig further and analyze the sport card market. As a result I was able to identify numerous rookie cards from all sports that I feel are strong investments, and I decided to start a series based on my findings. All cards I include in this series are in my opinion, currently undervalued and possibly provide lots upside for the future. With that being said I can guarantee you that I will continue investing in all of these cards on this list.
**NOTE THAT CARD PRICES DISCUSSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND ALL DISCUSSION OF VALUE IS MY PERSONAL OPINION**
Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves) – 2018 Topps Chrome RC #193
Ronald Acuna Jr. is a rising star in MLB who plays for the Atlanta Braves. After winning the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Award and helping lead the Braves to back-to-back National League East division titles (2018 and 2019), Acuna has proved that he is destined for stardom in the Major Leagues.
Acuna Jr. has numerous valuable rookie cards such as his 2017 Bowman Chrome Prospects Rookie Card #BCP127, 2018 Topps Series 2 Rookie Card #698 (his bat is up in the image), 2018 Topps Update Series Ronald Acuna RC #US250, and the super short print version of his 2018 Topps Series 2 Rookie Card where his bat is down in the image (#698) which even when ungraded has sold for hundreds of dollars on eBay.
One of his rookie cards that I feel is currently undervalued, provides lots of upside, and is extremely affordable is the 2018 Topps Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. Rookie Card #193. You can find these ungraded on eBay for around $15-$25 USD. When graded a PSA 10, I have recently been seeing them go for anywhere between the range of $50-$70 USD on eBay. Although this is definitely the most popular rookie card of Acuna’s and definitely not one of the most rare, I would still expect the value of this card (ESPECIALLY graded PSA 10s) to increase in value as Acuna matures and goes on to become one of the top players in baseball. If you are looking for an affordable rookie card of Acuna Jr. with lots of upside, then this is the one for you!
Just think… if the Braves can pull through and win a championship this season, or even if Acuna wins a World Series at some point during his career, this would obviously increase the value of all his baseball cards (especially rookie cards). Hell, Acuna could even go-off this year and go on to lead the league in Home Runs which would also substantially boost his card value!
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Bo Bichette (Toronto Blue Jays, MLB) – 2016 Bowman Chrome Draft
Being a Jays fan and having watched Bo Bichette closely last season, I have no reason to believe Bichette won’t become a star in MLB. I mean the kid already broke multiple franchise records in his first season with the Jays after being called up to the big leagues in late July of 2019. Bichette is extremely talented and has as much potential as the other young superstar Blue Jay, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who’s first season in the bigs happened to overlap with Bichette’s. Bichette is a part of a very young and exciting Toronto Blue Jays organization which has an extremely bright future ahead of them.
I continuously invest in Bo’s prospect and rookie cards on a regular basis and I would consider an investment in any of Bo Bichette’s prospect and rookie cards a good one. However, I definitely think that his 2016 Bowman Chrome Draft (#BDC-74) card provides the most upside. This is one of Bichette’s first two debut MLB cards along with his regular 2016 Bowman Draft card. Most collectors prefer the shiny Bowman Chrome cards over the paper versions which is why Bowman Chromes are pricier and more sought after. The 2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Bo Bichette was selling for anywhere as low as $4-$8 USD per card in April 2020 and since the end of January I’ve seen 2016 Bo Bichette Bowman Chrome 1sts graded PSA 10 sell for as low as $35 USD on eBay.
More recently their value has increased a little bit and currently they have been selling for around $50 USD on auction (still very reasonable for a Bowman Chrome Draft PSA 10 if you ask me!) but if you are looking to buy now they can be listed anywhere north of $80 USD (***UPDATE THE LAST TWO PSA 10s HAVE DRASTICALLY INCREASED AND SOLD FOR OVER $112 USD + SHIPPING***).
If you are high on Bo Bichette like myself, look into getting his true base rookie card which would be the 2020 Topps Bo Bichette Rookie Card #78. Although Bichette did see some time in the show at the end of last season, he will be eligible for Rookie of the Year in the upcoming 2020 season and could most definitely end up winning it.
Pete Alonso (New York Mets) – 2019 Topps Pete Alonso Rookie Card (#475)
Pete Alonso had an outstanding rookie season and I am shocked that his flagship 2019 Topps Pete Alonso Rookie Card (#475) is not worth more at the moment. In 2019 Alonso made the NL All-Star Team, won the Home-Run Derby, broke the league’s rookie home run record, and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. That is a very impressive resume for a star bound player who is entering only his second MLB season, and I honestly feel that most of his rookie and prospect cards are super undervalued right now.
A big upside with Alonso’s base Topps rookie card is that it is found in the same set as many other base rookie cards belonging to many star-destined players such as Fernando Tatis Jr. RC (#410) and Eloy Jimenez RC (#670). The 2019 Topps Pete Alonso Rookie Card (#475) ungraded has recently been selling for around $10 USD buy now and on auction. When graded a PSA 10 it has been going for about $70 USD.
***NOTE: CONSIDER LOOKING INTO SHORT PRINT VARIATIONS OF THIS CARD. THEY SELL FOR ABOUT THE SAME (SOMETIMES LESS) AND ARE MORE RARE TO FIND***
Nate Pearson (Toronto Blue Jays) – 2017 Bowman Chrome Draft and 2017 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto
The second Blue Jay on this list is perhaps one of the best up and coming starting pitching prospects in Major League Baseball. Scouts have said that he was the best pitcher in the minors last season which is definitely believable as he has a career SO/9 ratio of 10.65 in the minors so far. It is hard to predict when Pearson will get the call up to the major leagues but when he does he will be the guy everyone is watching closely.
If you are looking to invest on a low budget then getting the 2017 Nate Pearson Bowman Chrome Draft card is affordable (under $10 USD ungraded) and has potential upside. However, if you want to spend more money on a Nate Pearson card with even more potential upside then look into the autographed version of the 2017 Nate Pearson Bowman Chrome Draft (typically sells for around $50 USD ungraded on auction. Yeah… that’s for an autographed card of perhaps the best pitching prospect in baseball).
Keep an eye out for more articles like this in the future. Make sure you follow @the_BRKDWN on Twitter as well as myself @ajflegs to stay up to date on all kinds of awesome sports content!