J&J’s Sports (GotBaseballcards.com, established in 1991), located in Loganville, GA, are experts at auctioning sports cards. At our facility at 2970 Rosebud Road in Loganville, we have over 10,000 feet of sports cards and collectibles. We have been selling online since 1998, and have a proven track record of assisting collectors all over the globe with maximizing the resale of their prized cards. Through our relationships with PSA, SGC, BGS, and CGC, we are able to also get your cards professionally graded. Once the cards are graded, we can then determine the fair market value to price them at before we auction them off.
We are also a national representative for Huggins & Scott Auctions and can facilitate consignments with them on your behalf, but in most cases on sports cards, autographs, and memorabilia, we are able to auction them through our eBay account (seller gotbaseballcards), where we have an extensive email list of bidders, and through our vast social media network, can feature your prized items across the web to bring maximum exposure to them. We typically feature upwards of 300,000 items through our ebay portal, and have over 142,000 positive feedback in over 25 years on the site.
We annually sell well over 7 figures through our eBay store, including thousands of items for consignors all over the country. If you are located in metro Atlanta, you can bring your items in for us to review, or you can also mail items to us but we recommend that you contact us first for approval as to which items to send.
If you visit our consignment page, there we provide more details on our rates and consignment terms. We look forward to assisting you as well!
Brooklyn entrepreneur Morris Shorin’s four sons—Abram, Ira, Joseph and Philip— revive the family’s struggling tobacco-distribution business by creating Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. They actually borrow the now-famous Topps moniker from a small Chattanooga candy company of the same name that they bought. The name neatly doubles as their goal to be “tops” in selling penny-apiece tabs of gum called “change-makers.”
1947 – Forever Blowing Bubbles
Topps takes aim at competitor Fleer’s Dubble Bubble with Bazooka, tagged as “The Atom Bubble Gum.” The chewy pink pads will be wrapped in jokey comics, starring eye patch-wearing Bazooka Joe and his motley crew, beginning in 1953. Topps will become a leading candy maker, famous too for Ring Pops, Push Pops and other confections.
1949 – The First Topps Cards
Topps stakes its first claim in American hobbyist culture with 252 Magic Photo Cards (images magically appear when blank 7/8″ x 1 3/8″ cards are moistened and exposed to light), which are actually freebies inside packs of gum. Featured among sports stars of the day are 19 baseball greats, including Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby and Cy Young.
1950 – Cowboy Leads the Pop Culture Parade
Fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy—popularized in books, radio, TV and movies—is the lone star of Topps’ first in a pantheon of popular culture card sets, giving kids cardboard collectibles of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Mars Attacks!, Star Wars, Pokémon, Garbage Pail Kids and Desert Storm, as well as Wacky Packages and other sticker products.
1951 – Teaming Up with the National Pastime
Topps becomes a permanent fixture in America’s most popular sport of the day by releasing its first series of baseball cards. The so-called Blue Backs and Red Backs, with 52 cards in separate sets, or decks, are designed to let kids play a game of card-baseball. Along with a photo and bio of a player, each 2” x 2 5/8” card has an at-bat result, such as “single,” “double,” “fly out” and so on. Although unique among subsequent Topps sets—and packed with taffy, not bubblegum—these historic cards establish the company as the leader in the upstart baseball card game.
1952 – Modern Baseball Card Era Begins
Topps creates its first annual set of baseball cards—and ushers in an everlasting love affair between the company and collectors. The set features 407 cards, each measuring 2 5/8” x 3 3/4”, and is released throughout the year in six series. Topps salesman turned executive Sy Berger designs the standard-setting cards—the first with team logos and simulated player autographs on the fronts and bios and stats on the backs—at his kitchen table in Brooklyn. Unlike today’s computer-aided designers, he uses a ruler and scissors to cut out pieces of cardboard to mock up prototypes. Kids clamor for wax packs containing six cards and a slab of bubblegum for a nickel. Along with Willie, The Duke and a slew of other future Hall of Famers, the superstar of the still-much-sought-after set is a young switch-hitter from Spavinaw, Oklahoma—Mickey Mantle.
1954 – Collecting Hobby Breaks New Ice
Kids everywhere start collecting and trading baseball cards—along with clothespinning doubles to bicycle wheels for that unmistakable flapping sound. Topps expands the hobby by introducing its first National Hockey League set, 60 cards highlighting players from the four U.S.-based teams, the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. The set—designed with All-American red, white, and blue colors—is anchored by Rangers defenseman Harry Howell (whose card #1, marred by rubber bands kids wrapped around sequential stacks, becomes rare), the Red Wings’ Alex “Fats” Delvecchio (#39, who eventually wins three Lady Byng Trophies) and his teammate and the game’s most popular player, Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe (his card #8 is the most highly valued of this seminal set).
1960 – Stars Align for Topps and Kids
The first Topps All-Star Rookie team—rookies from the 1959 season—appears in the card series, designated with a gold trophy symbol of a batter on a top hat and the phrase “Selected by the youth of America.” In an interesting twist, Topps does not actually poll kids, but instead works with network of loyal retailers to pick the winners.
1962 – Expanding with the Times
The Sixties are rapidly becoming a decade of change in American culture—from long-haired hippies to moon-landing astronauts—and Topps leads the way within its popular niche. After its 1961 baseball cards welcomed the American League’s two new teams, the Angels and Senators, its ’62 set includes the National League’s expansion Mets and Colt .45s (Astros three years later).
1966 – Culture, and Topps, Goes Pop!
Along with sports, America’s kids are glued to Sixties TV too. Topps is tuned into what kids love—not just athletes, but superheroes too—with a bevy of popular culture card sets celebrating small-screen hit shows such as Batman, The Green Hornet, Lost in Space, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Superman. Today those pop culture cards evoke baby boomers’ memories of their wonder years, which they’re all too happy to share with their kids and grandkids.
1974 – Fueling Rookie Fever
Baseball is in the midst of monumental change in 1974, with the AL’s designated-hitter rule a year earlier and free agency a year later. Card collectors are becoming more savvy, too, valuing players’ rookie cards more than ever. Furthering that trend, Topps releases its first Traded series in late ’74, stacking it with rookies called up from the minors and players who changed teams during the season.
1989 – Leading the Pack
By the late 1980s, the baseball card hobby is booming and Topps is at the forefront. At the same time, collectors’ interest in sports nostalgia and memorabilia is rampant, another trend Topps is nurturing. The company had shelved the Bowman brand after purchasing its early rival in 1956, then in ’89 releases a set of Bowman baseball cards. While harking back to the 1953 Bowman design—right down to the larger 2 ½” x 3 ¾” size and up-close player photos—innovative stats on the back make the set a modern-day hit.
1990 – Read All About It!
Topps launches Topps Magazine, a fan-friendly quarterly that profiles superstars, tracks up-and-coming minor leaguers and red-hot rookies and generally celebrates the booming card-collecting hobby. Top sportswriters sit down with perennial All-Stars, from Ken Griffey to Nolan Ryan. Readers look back at Topps’ greatest hits, sneak peeks at new cards, enter dozens of contests to win valuable prizes and welcome expert advice on building their collections.
1992 – Out with the Old, in with the New
Even though Topps is synonymous with bubblegum cards printed on gray cardboard and sold in wax packs, the company has never rested on its laurels. Collectors have long complained that the gum and wax stains cards, detracting from their value. So Topps moves beyond all three traditions, dispensing altogether with the ubiquitous pink chew, switching to white card stock and sealing cards in plastic wrappers. Keeping its finger on the pulse of the marketplace, Topps makes other advancements in the early ’90s, such as the premium Stadium Club (1991) and super-premium Topps Finest (1993) brands.
2000 – Brave New Worlds
Topps celebrates the new millennium by leading collectors in two 21st-century directions. In the regular baseball set, they randomly insert 10 relic cards featuring not only photos of star players but also actual tiny pieces (mostly bases) of their home stadiums. Inspired by the burgeoning online and investing worlds, multi-sport eTopps cards are offered as IPOs (Initial Player Offerings) on a members-only website. Investors track market prices that rise and fall based on the player’s real-time performance, and buyers and sellers of cards negotiate online via eBay.
2012 – Another App-ropriate Innovation
Topps pushes the digital envelope by unleashing a trio of smartphone apps for its baseball and football devotees. Topps Pennant is for stats freaks, capturing the play-by-play and box scores from over 117,000 MLB games, from last night’s results back to 1952. Topps HUDDLE and Topps BUNT lay down an interactive, fan vs. fan game that marries the science of fantasy sports with the art of card collecting, bringing the thrill of chasing your sports heroes to your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
2016 – Topps Now
Utilizing on-demand printing technology, Topps introduces a daily trading card product that captures the greatest moments from sports and pop culture… as they happen.
2018 – The Living Set
Topps pairs the beloved 1953 Topps Baseball design with the incredible hand drawn artwork of artist Mayumi Seto to create one of the industries most exciting products in recent years. What is a “Living Set”? It’s a trading card set that starts with Card #1, but does not have a final card. It’s not tied to any specific season or era… but lives on year after year. It’s the first cross-generational product that can be collected and traded for years to come.
While some are icons that have been sought after by collectors for decades, others are only a few years old and represent players whose careers are still developing.
In 2000, a baseball card made history when it became the first sports card to sell for more than $1 million. Two decades later, the list of most expensive sports cards includes 20 that have cracked the $1 million threshold, with cards featuring stars from baseball, basketball, football and hockey.
The following cards make up the current list of the most expensive sports cards ever sold. While some are icons that have been sought after by collectors for decades, others are only a few years old and represent players whose careers are still developing. Overall, the list makes it clear that sports card collecting is a hobby that is alive and well and more profitable than ever.
If you need assistance getting your cards graded with PSA, SGC, CGC, or BGS, just visit our grading page!
Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps – $12.6 million
On Sunday, August 28, 2022, a Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps card shattered the record for most expensive sports card when it was sold for $12.6 million by Heritage Auctions.
The 1952 Mickey Mantle card, which has been referred to as the Chairman of the Cardboard, is an iconic card for a number of reasons. For one, it is impossible to deny the superstar status of the player it features. Mickey Mantle is known as one of baseball’s greatest sluggers and a legendary switch hitter. He holds the record of being the only player in history to hit 150 home runs as both a right-handed and left-handed batter.
Scarcity is another reason the card carries a multi-million-dollar price tag. As the story goes, the Mantle card was issued as part of the second series of Topps cards released that year. By the time they hit the shelves, the kids who bought sports cards had shifted their attention to football cards. Many of the boxes of cards that contained Mickey Mantles reportedly languished on shelves until they were thrown in the trash.
Finally, the 1952 Topps set was the first set put out by the beloved sports card company. These factors have led to the card being one of the most famous and sought-after cards in history. For information on other Mickey Mantle cards graded by CSG, click here.
Honus Wagner T206 – $7.25 million
Legend says it is a card that never should have been printed. Apparently, baseball legend Honus Wagner did not want his name associated with cigarettes, so he did not agree to appear on the baseball cards issued by the American Tobacco Company between 1909 and 1911 as part of its T206 set. But somewhere between 50 and 200 Wagner cards were printed prior to Wagner’s refusal. Today, they are considered the Holy Grail of baseball card collecting.
The Honus Wagner T206 has held onto the record for most expensive sports card since August 2021, when one was sold for $6.6 million. Nearly a year to the day of that sale, in August 2022, an example sold for $7.25 million in a private sale.
Wagner played major league baseball from 1897 to 1917, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He led the National League in batting for eight seasons, a record that still stands today. He also led the league in stolen bases five times, a feat that earned him the nickname the Flying Dutchman. In 1936, he was one of the first players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Steph Curry 2009 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph – $5.9 million
Longtime fans of the NBA know that the game has changed in recent years. The new style of gameplay is fast-paced and marked by a ton of three-point shooting. Some have dubbed it the NBA’s 3-point revolution. Steph Curry, the superstar point guard for the Golden State Warriors, is one of the revolution’s principal architects.
Considering the role that Curry has played in changing the NBA, it seems fitting that a Steph Curry rookie card recently made headlines as part of a new kind of sports card transaction that promises to change the way sports cards are sold. In July 2021, alternative asset investment platform Alt announced it had acquired a 51 percent stake in a 2009 Panini National Treasures Steph Curry Rookie Patch Autograph. Alt reports that the card, which is a 1-of-1 that features the NBA’s logoman patch, is valued at $5.9 million. Alt did not share how much it paid for the majority ownership nor details about others who own shares of the card.
Curry was selected by Golden State in 2009 as the seventh overall pick in the draft. He led the Warriors to become NBA Champions in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and was named the NBA MVP in 2015 and 2016. He holds the record of being the fastest player in the league to achieve 2,000 career three-pointers and the record for being the fastest to score 100 three-pointers in a season.
LeBron James 2003-04 Rookie Patch Autograph Upper Deck Exquisite – $5.2 million
It seems fitting that the most expensive basketball card ever sold would feature the highest-paid basketball player in the history of the sport. LeBron James, who played his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003-2004, has career earnings of more than $390 million over his 19 seasons in the NBA. His Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Patch Autograph (RPA) card set a record in April 2021 when it sold for $5.2 million.
The James RPA card, which is numbered 7 of 23, features a photo of a very young looking 18-year-old James, his autograph, and a patch from a white, gold and red Cavaliers jersey. The 2003-2004 Upper Deck Exquisite collection is considered the set that launched the high-end sports card craze. The LeBron James rookie card was the ultra-rare chase card that collectors were after when paying $500 for the five-card packs.
Luka Doncic 2018-2019 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph – $4.6 million
The 2018-2019 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Luka Doncic is a fantastic card with a fantastic story. The card features Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic, who is well on his way to being one of the all-time NBA greats. In only his third season, he surpassed a record set by Michael Jordan for the most consecutive games with 20 points, five assists and five rebounds.
The card that sold for $4.6 million in early 2021 is a one-of-one that features as its player-worn patch the NBA “logoman” section of the Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks jersey. It shows Doncic in action directing traffic on the court and includes his signature in blue ink.
The card first appeared to the world during a “live break” video streamed by Layton Sports Cards in Apopka, Florida. The purchase of the card was announced via Instagram on Luka Doncic’s birthday, February 28, 2021. Then in October 2021 the authenticity of the signature on the card was called into question. In an exposé published in The New York Times, it was revealed that some collectors believe Doncic’s mother is responsible for the signature. She denies the accusation.
Patrick Mahomes 2017 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Platinum – $4.3 million
After only four seasons in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes has already compiled an impressive list of records. He was the youngest quarterback ever to be named Super Bowl MVP, the youngest to play in two Super Bowl games and the fastest to achieve 4,000 passing yards. His dominance in the game has already led him to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in history.
Off the field, Mahomes holds a significant record, as well. At $4.3 million, his 2017 Panini National Treasures Rookie Patch Autograph Platinum card is the most expensive football card ever sold. It topped the next closest card, which features a rookie Tom Brady, by more than $1 million.
The Mahomes Rookie Patch Autograph (RPA) card is impressive. It is a one-of-one rookie card from the popular Panini National Treasures collection that features an NFL Shield logo on the patch incorporated in the design. As with all RPAs, the patch comes from a jersey that was “player worn.”
Babe Ruth 1933 Goudey #53 – $4.2 million
The iconic 1933 set of baseball cards issued by the Goudey Card Company includes four Babe Ruth cards. The #53 card, which is also known as the “Yellow Ruth,” is the most cherished because it is the most difficult to obtain in good condition. The Yellow Ruth that sold for $4.2 million in July 2021 was considered to be in top condition, especially for a card issued nearly 90 years ago.
The four Ruth cards included in the 240-card 1933 Goudy set are differentiated by the colors that are used as their backgrounds. The Red Ruth and Yellow Ruth both show the Sultan of Swat from the waist up with a bat over his shoulder. Twice as many copies of the Red Ruth were printed, making it less valuable to collectors. The third Ruth, known as “the batting pose,” zooms out to show Ruth standing on the field and swinging a bat. The fourth card features a more casual pose and a green background.
Babe Ruth was already a superstar by the time the 1933 set was issued. He had won the World Series seven times and led the American League in home runs 12 times.
For information on examples of this card graded by CSG, click here.
Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor Autograph – $3.9 million
In the world of baseball cards, the top sellers have always been the classics — Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. Mike Trout is an exception to that rule. When the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Mike Trout Superfractor Autograph sold for $3.9 million in August 2020, it became the most expensive sports card ever sold, surpassing by nearly $1 million the previous record held by a 1909 Honus Wagner card.
Bowman’s Superfractor cards are a variant of the refractor card, which has a reflective coating that displays a rainbow pattern when viewed at a certain angle. The Superfractor is the rarest variant and is a one-of-one card. The Mike Trout Superfractor denotes its one-of-one status with a gold “1/1” on the back of the card and features Trout’s autograph in blue ink on the front.
Surprisingly, this was not a true Mike Trout rookie card. While 2009 marked the first year that Trout appeared on an MLB card, his true rookie season with the Los Angeles Angels did not occur until 2012. He broke numerous league and franchise records that year, including being the first rookie to hit 30 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season, and was named the Rookie of the Year.
Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee – $3.75 million
Any discussion about iconic rookie sports cards must include the 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky is professional hockey’s undisputed GOAT and often included on lists of the top ten professional athletes of all time. When his rookie card sold for $3.75 million in May 2021, it surpassed by nearly $2.5 million the previous sales record for a hockey card, which was also a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky.
O-Pee-Chee is a Canadian brand whose card releases track closely with what Topps issued in the US. There are both O-Pee-Chee and Topps versions of the 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie, with the same image, card number and stats included on both cards. To collectors, the O-Pee-Chee card has been more desirable because less examples in good condition have been offered for sale. The highest selling Topps version of the card sold for $720,000 in December 2020.
For information on examples of this card graded by CSG, click here.
Tom Brady 2000 Playoff Contender Championship Rookie Ticket Autographed Card – $3.1 million
There are 44 Tom Brady rookie cards. Only one of them bears his autograph. Is it any wonder that the 2000 Panini Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie is considered by many to be the “holy grail” of football cards? At least six versions of the card sold for more than $1 million in 2021, with the most valuable one fetching $3.1 million in June.
Panini’s Contenders football cards are one of the most popular lines of NFL cards. Each year the series features a handful of Rookie Ticket Autograph cards that are favorites of collectors. The Tom Brady Rookie Ticket Autograph, of which 100 were issued, features Brady in his white New England Patriots jersey in action and about to pass. The card that sold for $3.1 million is numbered 8 of 100.
Tom Brady, considered the GOAT when it comes to professional football, has led his team to a Super Bowl victory seven times, been named the Super Bowl MVP five times, earned the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award three times and was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2005.
For information on another sought-after Tom Brady rookie card graded by CSG, click here.
Babe Ruth 1916 M101-4 Sporting News – $2.46 million
Look at any list of the greatest baseball players of all time and you will find Babe Ruth in the top spot. The Sultan of Swat, as Ruth came to be known, is considered one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game. In 1916, however, Babe Ruth was a rookie pitcher for the Red Sox who had yet to achieve superstar status.
As a result, the Babe Ruth card issued that year by the Sporting News did not receive the same attention as those featuring Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and other all-stars. Only six of the cards are known to have survived, which certainly played a role in the recent record sale of one of them for $2.46 million. The card, which was found to have better centering and printing than any yet offered to the public, exceeded the next highest price by more than $1 million.
The card is simple compared with the design of modern cards. The only text notes Ruth’s name, position and team. The back of the card is blank. The picture is a photo that shows the 21-year-old having just delivered a pitch. Ruth had a 23-12 record that year as a pitcher, his 1.75 ERA ranking the best among American League pitchers.
Recently a new employee asked me to tell him more about our long history in the hobby. Here is the letter I shared…..
My Collecting History as a child & teenager>>
I started as a collector as an 8 year old in 1976 and was a very serious collector in the late 70s up until products were released in 1983. By the early 80s, I was buying full boxes of Topps from a local candy wholesaler. In 1981, I both went to my first card show and visited my first card store while on vacation (summer of 1981, I was 12). I thought that guy had the coolest job on the planet and could not believe someone could run a full-time business selling sports cards. The vision for my own store was born that day.
In 1983, I started dating and started high school that fall, and did very little with cards except for putting up a few boxes of Topps each year. In 1987 our hobby was “trending” nationally and the late 80’s card “boom” was on and I got back into the hobby big-time. I started devouring every sports card publication I could, I started attending every card show I could, and even started promoting shows in 1988 in two locations (Snellville and Rome where I was in college).
Store History >>
By the time graduation was approaching, I had a business degree and was planning on going to work for a sporting goods company in their management program. Instead, a college friend (Jeff Porter) I had done many shows with called me up the week before graduation and offered me the chance to open a store with him in Avondale Estates,GA. He graduated the year before me and went to work for someone else who had decided to close his store in the spring of ‘91 and offered us the chance to buy his showcases, existing “start-up” inventory, and we could sign a short 6 month lease for his 500 foot location.
Honestly, we had no business opening the business as we had no plan, no money, very little inventory, a lousy location, the internet did not exist for 7 more years, etc, but my mom told me that if this is what I wanted to pursue, this was the perfect time (3 months before I was getting married, no kids, etc). We opened the business and struggled from the very beginning. Within the first year, my partner left the day to day operations to start another business and we hired Ron Lee as our one part-time employee in 1992. Then came the baseball strike of 1994 where there was no World Series and basically collectors nationwide had no desire to support anything related to baseball players or their cards. Thankfully, other sports had started trending in demand (1989 to be exact was the year that other sports started getting recognition, as before that they were basically worthless).
The Big Buyout>>
I decided in 1995 that if the business was going to survive or truly succeed, I needed to go it alone as the owner so I bought my partner out for $7500 (with a loan from my parents). Then in 1996 I read the book “Over the Top” by Zig Ziglar which changed my life more than any book besides the Bible. It taught me both business and life principles that I started applying and with great help from Ron, the business started improving to the point that in 1998 I relocated to a bigger location (1100 feet) in Snellville. 1998 was a landmark year for the business as we not only relocated, but we also started selling on ebay in December of that year and applied to become an authorized PSA dealer and authorized SGC dealer (BGS did not exist for 3 more years).
The economy was very good in the very late 90s (the “tech boom”) and there was money flowing into our industry. We had a good run until 9/11 in 2001.
The Dreadful Early 2000s>>
Our industry and countless others suffered financially from all the fear in our economy. 2002-2003 were very tough years, but I believed there were great days ahead for us so we relocated again in late 2003 to a 3200 foot space in Snellville. In hindsight, it was a lousy business decision at the time as we were already in a lot of debt, could not afford the rent, and honestly we struggled for the next 10-11 years including years where the business was well over $100,000 in credit card debt and had a failed attempt at selling to a buyer (2011) who was smart enough to get out after 3 months.
The card industry was not “trending”. It was not even an afterthought when it came to collecting. I would attend trade conferences year after year and compare notes with other shop owners about who had the most debt to pay off and how they were surviving, etc. It was a very depressing time. Why I did not get out when I was younger, I honestly don’t know other than I still loved what I did, and could not imagine throwing in the towel.
In 2009, we were forced to relocate as the owner of our building wanted to use it for other purposes, and we got a much larger space (6500 feet) for the same price we had been spending on our previous location that was half that size. Even so, we continued to struggle as there was just not enough demand for cards, coupled with the fact that I was burned out, and just kept doing to same things rather than innovating as needed.
In 2011, after my failed attempt to sell the business, we downsized to 2800 feet in an attempt to survive. I negotiated our rent down from $2300 to $600/month and this was critical to our survival. In time as we started making some progress on our debt, we began to expand again by renting the adjacent spaces next to our 2800 foot space. By the time we left that shopping center in 2018, we had close to 6000 feet again and the hobby was beginning to catch on nationally.
The Big Bold Step Forward>>
In early 2018 I was actively looking for a location to relocate to, either to purchase or rent. Our current building was our #1 candidate, but the original price tag was $595,000 and there was no way I could qualify for a loan of that size, nor did I want to take that much risk. Numerous other locations that I tried to rent continued to fall through, sometimes on the very day I was ready to put money down. I kept saying God must be opening a window somewhere because every door is being shut. 6 months after my wife Jane & I first viewed the building, I got a call from my realtor and the selling bank finally caved and accepted our offer of $412,000. I still had to jump through countless financial hoops to pull this off including a $200,000 bank loan, a $100,000 personal loan from my parents, and a $50,000 credit card loan.
Little did I know that when we closed on the building on 8/31/18, that our hobby was only 18 months away from an explosion unlike anything we’d ever seen. As I often tell collectors, the pandemic did not cause the boom in our industry, it just added fuel to the fire. Our industry had been getting better and better (from my analysis) since about 2015, but it went super nova for about 2 years from early 2020-early 2022. Now since that time, we’ve seen a huge pull back in record prices over the last two years; however, our hobby is still incredibly strong. Our retail store continues to improve as collectors travel from all over the country to visit us, and both our submissions to grading companies and consignment businesses continue to be strong. As we continue to fulfill our mission in a way that is incredibly unique to our industry, I believe God will continue to bless our efforts.
Why are we so different?
1. Most stores in our industry have no desire to handle any cards for customers (for grading or consignment). They don’t want the risk, they don’t want the headaches, it’s “not worth their time” as I’ve heard many store owners say.
2. Many stores in our industry are eager to buy collections at the lowest price possible for them (not necessarily the fairest price to both parties). Following our model of SERVING our customers, our first responsibility is to help educate them on the best way to maximize their $$. One of the father/son teams that recently came in our store wanted to sell their cards. They had loads of high grade Mantle, Aaron, Clemente, etc. I told them point blank “Do not sell me your cards and do not sell them to anyone else.” I told them that if they did, they could be leaving countless $$ on the table by not seeing what the cards would grade first. They agreed, and instead we are now grading and taking their cards on consignment which creates small profit centers for us, but also ensures that they do not get taken advantage of.
3. Understand that what is a common practice for our company is nearly unheard of in our industry. I would say that 99 out of 100 stores would make an offer to purchase any nice collection that they are offered, but in many cases that could create WIN/LOSE. I’ve been there and done that and learned my lesson. I missed out on a huge, massive, phenomenal collection a few years ago as we thought the seller just wanted to sell, and instead we lost out to someone who offered to consign with them. That day I said to myself that would never ever happen again. I’ve learned it is best to LEAD with service. We LEAD with educating the seller and advising them as to the best steps to take with their cards. We now go for WIN/WIN every single time. That way we never miss out on a collection. Granted, we’ve had times when the seller only wants an offer so in those instances, I come up with an offer but only after educating them on what we think is the best path forward for their cards.
My vision to continue to survive (and hopefully continue to succeed) in the midst of this ever- changing landscape is to focus more and more on our mission that I laid out a few years ago. Our mission goes far beyond the accolades we have received as Topps retailer of the. year (awarded in 2019) or being inducted into the industry “hall of honor” (awarded in 2022).
“To honor God in all we do as we serve collectors both locally and globally.”
Now to break this mission down, we have to understand there is more to it than just operating with integrity. It involves focusing on serving and assisting our clients by helping do things for them that they cannot do for themselves. Recently when we had 3 huge collections arrive nearly at the same time on the same Friday, I called it the biggest day in our history, not because it generated a single sale, but in a short period of time we were able to assist 6 individuals (one couple from Michigan and two fathers/sons from metro Atlanta) with well over $125K worth of cards. All of them needed help both understanding the value of their collections and understanding what to do with their cards to maximize the value. In each circumstance, we are now both grading their cards and planning to either buy them or consign them after they are returned. This could be financially life changing for each group. That means so much to me that we get to help them and that they did not get taken advantage of as I’ve heard so many horror stories from sellers who did. I know there are countless more out there, both locally and globally that we can assist. We just have to continue to get our name out there, strive to continue to provide the best service in the industry, and they will find us. Thanks for reading!
Centering: 50/50 all around on front. 60/40 or better on back. Corners: Perfect to the naked eye and Mint under magnification. Edges: Perfect to the naked eye and virtually free of flaws under magnification. Surface: No print spots. Flawless color, devoid of registration or focus imperfections. Perfect gloss, devoid of scratches and metallic print lines.
BGS 9.5 GEM MINT
Centering: 50/50 one way, 55/45 the other on front. 60/40 or better on back Corners: Mint to the naked eye, but slight imperfections allowed under magnification. Edges: Virtually Mint to the naked eye. A speck of wear is allowed under intense scrutiny. Surface: A few extremely minor print spots, detectable only under intense scrutiny. Deep color, devoid of registration or focus imperfections. Perfect gloss, devoid of scratches and metallic print lines
BGS 9 MINT
Centering: 55/45 both ways on front. 70/30 or better on back. Corners: Mint upon close inspection. A speck of wear is allowed under intense scrutiny. Edges: Virtually Mint to the naked eye. Unobtrusive specks of chipping on the borders are allowed. Surface: A handful of printing specks or one minor spot. Very minor focus or color imperfections. Clean gloss with one or two tiny scratches barely noticeable to the naked eye. One faint, unobtrusive metallic print line is allowed.
BGS 8 NRMT/MT
Centering: 60/40 both ways or better on front. 80/20 or better on back. Corners: Sharp to the naked eye, but slight imperfections allowed under close examination. Edges: Relatively smooth borders. Specks of chipping visible to the naked eye are allowed. Surface: A few minor print spots. Very minor color or focus imperfections. Solid gloss with very minor scratches detectable only upon close inspection. Or a subtle metallic print line.
BGS 7 NRMT
Centering: 65/35 both ways or better on front. 90/10 or better on back. Very slight diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Very minor wear on two or three corners is allowed. Edges: Slight roughness, minor chipping or very minor notching is allowed. Surface: A few noticeable print spots or minor speckling is allowed. Minor color or focus imperfections. Very minor border discoloration. A very minor wax stain on back. Solid gloss with a few minor scratches detectable upon close inspection. A few metallic print lines.
BGS 6 EX/MT
Centering: 70/30 both ways or better on front. 95/5 or better on back. Slight diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Fuzzy corners, but free of dings and fraying. Edges: Moderate roughness, moderate chipping or minor notching is allowed. Surface: Noticeable print spots. Minor color or focus imperfections. Minor border discoloration and color or focus imperfections. Minor wax stains or extremely subtle ink marks. Relatively solid gloss with minor scratches, but devoid of scuffing. Noticeable metallic print lines.
BGS 5 EXCELLENT
Centering: 75/25 both ways or better on front. 95/5 or better on back. Slight diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Four fuzzy corners, a touch of notching or a minor ding is allowed. Edges: Noticeable roughness – but no layering. Very slight notching or noticeable chipping is allowed. Surface: Noticeable print spots. Minor color or focus imperfections. Minor border discoloration. Minor wax stains or very light ink mark. Some gloss lost from surface with minor scratches, but devoid of scuffing.
BGS 4 VG/EX
Centering: 80/20 both ways or better on front. 100/0 or better on back. Moderate diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Slight notching or layering, or moderate dings are allowed. Edges: Readily chipped or notched and/or slightly layered. Surface: Heavy print spots. Hairline creases. Moderate color or focus imperfections. Moderate border discoloration. Moderate wax stains. Very light ink mark or tape stain. A good deal of gloss lost from surface. Very minor scuffing or an extremely subtle tear in the form of a touch of broken surface paper.
BGS 3 VG
Centering: 85/15 both ways or better on front. 100/0 or better on back. Moderate diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Slightly rounded or noticeably notched corners with slight layering is allowed. Edges: Heavy notching, moderate layering or heavy chipping is allowed. Surface: Heavy print spots. Very minor creases. Noticeable color or focus imperfections. Noticeable border discoloration. Noticeable wax stains. Light ink mark or tape stain. Very little surface gloss. Minor scuffing or a very minor tear.
BGS 2 GOOD
Centering: 90/10 both ways or better on front. 100/0 or offcut on back. Noticeable diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Noticeably rounded or heavily notched corners with moderate layering. Edges: Severely chipped, notched or layered. Surface: Severe print spots. Noticeable creases. Noticeable color or focus imperfections. Noticeable border discoloration. Heavy wax stains. Moderate ink mark or tape stain. A surface devoid of gloss. Noticeable scuffing or a noticeable tear.
BGS 1 POOR
Centering: 100/0 or offcut on front or back. Heavy diamond cutting is allowed. Corners: Heavily rounded or heavily notched with noticeable layering. Edges: Destructive chipping, notching or layering. Surface: Severe print spots. Heavy creases. Severe color or focus imperfections. Heavy border discoloration. Severe stains. No original gloss. Heavy scuffing or a severe tear.
HALF POINT GRADES INFO
Please note that Beckett Grading Services provides final grades in half-point increments (i.e., 10, 9.5, 9, 8.5 etc.). Cards that are assigned a grade with a half-point increment typically share characteristics from both the level above and the level below the actual grade given.
BGS AUTOGRAPH GRADING SCALE
A beautiful, boldly signed autograph that appears nearly perfect to the naked eye. Under normal viewing, it looks like an aesthetically- pleasing autograph.
This is a signature that is also very pleasing, but has slight imperfections that barely detract from the autograph. Very light bubbling or micro scratching is allowable, but no yellowing, fading, or smearing. Positioning should be nearly perfect – with just the very tips of a letter or two cut off or hidden.
At this level, some flaws begin to stand out slightly. Signature is still solid and pleasing, but might be somewhat bubbled throughout, or have areas of minor scuffing/scratching that detracts from the aesthetic beauty of the signature. Only lightly visible yellowing or fading or smearing is allowed. A cut signature may only have 10% of the signature hidden (or missing, when referring to a sticker autograph). Only a very small tip of the signature may run off or bleed onto the edge.
Flaws are evident, including heavy bubbling throughout, noticeable scratching, minor but noticeable yellowing or fading, small but obvious portions of smeared ink. Up to 20% of a cut autograph may be hidden, or 20% of a sticker auto may be missing. A portion of the signature may run off the card or may bleed onto the edge.
Heavy flaws are easily visible and highly distracting, including bubbling to the point of portions of the autograph being essentially invisible, extremely distracting scratching, yellowing or fading, or significantly smeared ink on multiple areas of the autograph. Up to 35% of a cut autograph/sticker may be hidden/missing. Several letters of the signature may run off the card, bleeding onto the edge or opposite side of the card.
Very heavy flaws that highly distract from the autograph, including portions of the autograph being completely removed or invisible, catastrophic scratching throughout the entire autograph, extremely heavy yellowing, massive fading of the entire signature, smeared ink throughoutthe entire autograph. Over 50% of a cut autograph/sticker may be hidden/missing.
A “virtually flawless” card. 50/50 centering, crisp focus, four sharp corners*, free of stains, no breaks in surface gloss, no print or refractor lines, and no visible wear under magnification.
10 GEM MINT
55/45 or better centering, sharp focus, four sharp corners*, free of stains, no breaks in surface gloss, no print or refractor lines, and no visible wear. A slight print spot visible under close scrutiny is allowable if it does not detract from the aesthetics of the card.
Is a card that at first glance appears to be Gem Mint 10 upon close inspection it may have a tiny flaw(s) that keeps it from grading GEM MT 10.
60/40 or better centering, sharp focus and four sharp corners*. A minor flaw may exist upon close examination. A minor flaw may be, but is not limited to: a slight nick to one corner, a small gloss break or surface scratch, a minor print line or minor refractor line, a minor focus or color imperfection, or a small print spot.
65/35 or better centering, four sharp corners*. A few minor flaws may exist upon close examination. A minor flaw may be, but is not limited to: a slight nick to one corner, a small gloss break or surface scratch, a minor print line or minor refractor line, a minor focus or color imperfection, or a small print spot.
65/35 or better centering, corners sharp to the naked eye but may exhibit slight wear under closer examination. A few small flaws may exist upon close examination. A small flaw may be, but is not limited to: very minor wear on one corner, a gloss break or surface scratch, a print line or refractor line, a focus or color imperfection, or a print spot.
70/30 or better centering, a few small flaws may exist upon close examination. A small flaw may be, but is not limited to: very minor wear on one corner, a gloss break or surface scratch, a print line or refractor line, a focus or color imperfection, or a print spot.
70/30 or better centering, slight wear on some corners, minor scratching, some print spots or speckling, and print lines or refractor lines are acceptable. Card may exhibit a slightly skewed (diamond) cut.
An EX/NM card that exhibits high-end overall quality and eye appeal.
75/25 or better centering, slight fuzzing of corners may be evident, skewed cut may be more evident, focus or register may be off, and slight notching of edges may exist.
An EX card that exhibits high-end overall quality and eye appeal.
80/20 or better centering, minor rounding or fuzzing of corners, roughness or chipping along edge (no layering), one VERY slight surface or “spider” crease may exist on one side of the card, gloss may be lost from surface with some scratching that does not detract from the aesthetics of the card.
A VG/EX card that exhibits high-end overall quality and eye appeal.
85/15 or better centering, corners are slightly rounded with modest surface wear. Light hairline crease may show on one or both sides. A light tear or surface break may exist.
A VG card that exhibits high-end overall quality and eye appeal.
90/10 or better centering, corners more rounded–but not excessive, stronger creasing may exist. Poorer focus, registration, and discoloration, and staining are more noticeable.
A GOOD card that exhibits high-end overall quality and eye appeal.
Centered 90/10 or better. This card usually exhibits one or more of these characteristics: heavy print spots, heavy crease(s), pinhole(s), color or focus imperfections or discoloration, surface scuffing or tear, rounded and/or fraying corners, ink or pencil marking(s), and lack of all or some original gloss.
Centered 90/10 or better. This card usually exhibits several of these characteristics: heavy print spots, heavy crease(s), pinhole(s), color or focus imperfections or discoloration, surface scuffing or tears, rounded and/or fraying corners, ink or pencil marking(s), and lack of all or some original gloss, a small portion of the card may be missing.
This card usually exhibits many of these characteristics: heavy print spots, heavy crease(s), pinhole(s), color or focus imperfections or discoloration, surface scuffing or tears, rounded and/or fraying corners, ink or pencil marking(s), and lack of all or some original gloss, small portions of the card may be missing.