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SPORTS CARDS On The Cheap! - This Week's Top 5 Pickups

May 27, 2021 6 min read

SPORTS CARDS On The Cheap! - This Week's Top 5 Pickups


Today’s video I am going to be sharing with you 5 cards I have been picking up lately and why I have been buying them.

These are low end cards which is what I tend to focus on.  If you are looking for someone to showcase some high valued cards that cost $10,000 or so to get into, I am not your guy.

I feel much more comfortable buying and selling low end cards, so that is what I focus on.

I think most people are probably in this boat.  The idea of spending thousands of dollars on a card scares a ton of people.  What if its value drops in half?  What do you do then?  They feel safer buying lower end cards that they understand and have less risk with.  Then getting them graded and selling them.  That’s the plan.

Also, keep in mind I run a business that has to tailor to many different customer tastes and budgets.  What I will talk about today are not necessarily for my collection, but to serve those customers.  None of these cards I would consider “investments,” just fun cards to give as gifts or cheap cards to have in one’s collection.  Never under estimate that usage for cards.  Majority of us think people buy cards as investments or to add to their collection.  But there is a huge market out there for gift givers who are looking for cards on a budget.  A very small percentage of the sports card world are high end collectors.

My goal of this video is to get you thinking about some other cards you can do this process with, but ungraded cheap cards and then get them graded to sell.  I am not necessarily recommending these 5 specific cards, just telling you what I have been buying to hopefully stir up some ideas in your head on cards you can buy cheap, grade them, then sell them.  Again, always do what is best for you.

#5 on this list.  Ken Griffey Jr 1991 Upper Deck Card #555.

Over the last 90 days this card has sold as a PSA 10 anywhere from $57 - $244. 

PSA 10 pop oddly is pretty low on this card at 220.

Why am I buying this card?

it is Ken Griffey Jr.  Most everything Ken Griffey Jr sells.  According to Market Movers, Sports Card Investor’s software program, of the cards they track on him and other baseball players, Griffey was the 6th best selling player in the last 365 days.  Very likeable player.  How many of us pretended to be Griffey at the plate as kids?  Or climb the outfield wall trying to rob a home run?   Lots of us.  A very collectible player.

Very cheap card to get into.  I have been buying them ungraded at $2 each.  In my experience, about 15% of the ones I have looked at were gradable.  Issues I found were bottom right corner issues, top right surface issues, occasional centering.  But most were centered well.  Occasional print stain on them.

The greenish/blue color to the card makes it ideal for a CSG green slab.  I think it will look sharp in one of those.  Just a reminder, when looking at cards to buy ask yourself, who’s slab will this look good in?  Doesn’t always work out because of the various team colors, but if you can get one to match up, I think it adds a ton of value.

$2 card buy + $12 to grade bulk with CSG = total cost with shipping back and forth to be around $15.  With a PSA 10 averaging around $150 and a PSA 9 last 2 sales being at $50 and $59, I think this is an easy card to sell as a CSG 9.5 for $30 + ship.  I definitely don’t think it is a card you are going to lose money on but you aren’t going to be able to retire selling it.  But profit is profit any way you slice it.

#4 Yadier Molina Red Prizm and Optics

Why am I buying these cards?

I highly recommend finding Prizm baseball cards with a color parallel that matches the uniform.  Trout for example.  These cards just look stunning. 

One thing to keep in mind is Panini isn’t licensed by MLB, just the MLB player’s association, so they can’t use MLB logos.  However, this works really well with the catchers since the gear they are wearing covers up all the logos anyway. 

I would agree most Prizm baseball cards suck because of that; but you can occasionally find some nice-looking ones of them and also Optic.

Of the red prizms I have looked at I was fairly happy with those.  Almost a decade old card and one or 2 had scratches on them.  Very shocked to see that.

Pricing is cheap.  I have been picking these red prizms and optics for under $5, a few of them numbered to /99 and /299.  Pop reports on those are extremely low of course.

I also have been picking up his 2012 base Prizm, which is the 1st year of Prizm.  Those ran about $2 ungraded and have a pop of just 5 and sell for $50-$100 as a PSA 10.  As we have seen with Trout 2012 Prizm and other players, there is some value to this set.  Haven’t seen Molina’s 2012 Prizm cards in person yet to report about the condition.

I sent the red Prizm and Optics off to CSG bulk to get graded at $12 each.  Not the best choice because their green slab sort of clashes with the red color of the Prizm and optic parallels, but hey, its $12 to graded a card.  I like that.  Plus, I am thinking I can at least get $30 or for each if I get a CSG 9.5.


#3 Joe Rogan 2011 Topps #87

Why am I buying this card?

UFC cards in my opinion (if you pick your spots right) are very undervalued.  I just think Joe Rogan has extremely high potential.  Very popular podcast, he’s at all the fights, everyone knows who he is, huge social media following. 

Pricing was pretty good.  I was able to pick these up for about $8 each.

Design was very solid.  He is in the ring; image has a green towel in it which I thought would look good in a green CSG slab.  Back does have a black border which I thought would be an issue.  However, about 30% or so seemed to be gradable.

Being an older card, these probably won’t be popping up too much.  Not many UFC cards have been made in the past.  So pop reports probably won’t be too high.

Rogan I think will sell very well.  Let’s say I get a CSG 9 due to that black border on the back.  $8 for the card, $12 to grade.  Into the cards at about $20.  You can’t tell me these won’t sell for at least $40 or more?  Plus, they will look nice in that CSG green slab.


#4 Lewis Hamilton 2020 Topps Chrome Refractor #142

Why am I buying this card?

Lewis Hamilton is an international superstar.  Huge social media following.  Formula one has some very high-end buyers.  1st year of F1 Topps Chrome.

Refractors are very sought after by collectors. 

Cheaper alternative to his most popular one from the set, card #1.  Refractors I was picking up anywhere from $15-$50 depending on condition.

I like the fact that this card is from the British Grand Prix, which is where Hamilton is from.  Hometown card.

I did run into some issues with this card.  The 2020 Topps Chrome refractors, at least the ones I have looked at for him have had a ton of surface issues.  Sapphire ones seem to be ok.  But the refractors have been a mess.  Maybe got 2 or 3 graded with none of those I thought that would get a 10.  If you can check with seller on condition 1st these are a good buy.  Just make sure you do your homework on that surface condition.

I used SGC to grade these.  Thought the black slab would look sharp.  Tuxedo look, F1 high end customers wear Tuxedos.  I don’t know if that is a good analogy but let’s just go with it.  $25 for the card on average + $28 for grading, with shipping probably at around $55 graded.  Assume I get an SGC 9.5, I think these are definitely sellable at $100.


#5 The Rock 2018 Topps #79

This is just one of many cards I have been picking up on him, and definitely the cheapest.  I can recommend this strategy with any Rock cards.

Why am I buying The Rock?

Very popular.  Huge social media following.  Very likeable.  Always in the media.  Not only a popular wrestler, but actor as well of course.  His Bumble bee Miami card has just taken off as we know.

Just not many cards of his out there and very few have been graded. 

Pricing.  Some are more expensive than this, but I was about to pick up the 2018 Topps for about $5 each.  Sent them off to CSG for grading.  Will be into them for about $17 or so.  I just think those are an easy sell at $35-40 simply because The Rock transcends so many genres and is popular to so many different people.

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