History of Baseball Cards


The oldest and most popular category of sports trading cards; baseball cards have been produced since the late 1860’s. Originally included in packs of chewing gum, tobacco, and cigarettes as a marketing tool; baseball cards were not mass produced until the 1930’s.  The early tobacco cards are among the most collectible cards in the sports collectible hobby, due both to their age and scarcity.  The 1933 Goudey set is considered by collectors to be one of the first mass produced baseball card sets, and features the first cards for some of the game’s greatest stars: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  The 1934 Goudey set is smaller, but also very popular.

The production of baseball cards declined during the Second World War, but exploded again in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Between 1948 and 1955, the baseball card industry was dominated by the Topps and Bowman companies. The rivalry ended in 1955 when Topps purchased Bowman in a dispute primarily over Bowman’s exclusive contract with Mickey Mantle.  Topps essentially monopolized the industry until the early 1980’s, with only limited competition from companies such as Fleer and Leaf.

Fleer sued Topps over Topps’ exclusive agreements with Major League Baseball and in 1981, Fleer and new company, Donruss, re-entered the baseball card industry. Combined with an explosion of interest in the hobby, the arrival of new competition (including Upper Deck in 1990) spurred what has been dubbed the “Age of Overproduction.”   The value of baseball cards declined drastically as the market was flooded with new sets.

In the late 1990’s, with a declining customer base and sagging card prices, card companies began including ‘memorabilia cards’ in their sets, featuring game-used pieces of jerseys, bats, gloves, and even bases. These insert cards have been largely responsible for revitalizing interest in the hobby. In late 2009, Major League Baseball signed an exclusive contract with Topps, granting Topps the sole right to use MLB team logos. The long-term effects of this contract on the industry remain to be determined.

1995 Topps Series 1 One Set Baseball Wax Pack Box FACTORY SEALED Spectra Light
1995 Topps Series 1 One Set Baseball Wax Pack Box FACTORY SEALED Spectra Light
$24.94
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2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Baseball Hobby Box
2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Baseball Hobby Box
$47.50
Time Remaining: 33m
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1989 Topps Rack Pack Box- Randy Johnson Rookie year
1989 Topps Rack Pack Box- Randy Johnson Rookie year
$9.99
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PINNACLE 1992  SERIES 1 BASEBALL CARDS BOX OF 36 PACKS
PINNACLE 1992 SERIES 1 BASEBALL CARDS BOX OF 36 PACKS
$30.00
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2 Box Lot of 2006 Topps Series 2 Baseball Cards Hobby
2 Box Lot of 2006 Topps Series 2 Baseball Cards Hobby
$64.00
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2 Box Lot of 2006 Bowman Heritage Baseball Cards Hobby
2 Box Lot of 2006 Bowman Heritage Baseball Cards Hobby
$80.00
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(3) 1990 UPPER DECK Baseball Foil Boxs Lot
(3) 1990 UPPER DECK Baseball Foil Boxs Lot
$18.99
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2003 FLEER BOX SCORE #29 GREG MADDUX BRAVES POP 3 PSA 10 B1457330
2003 FLEER BOX SCORE #29 GREG MADDUX BRAVES POP 3 PSA 10 B1457330
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2005 Bowman Heritage Baseball Hobby 3 Box lot  Matt Kemp Justin Verlander Rookie
2005 Bowman Heritage Baseball Hobby 3 Box lot  Matt Kemp Justin Verlander Rookie
$309.95
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1991  and 1992 SCORE BASEBALL SETS  FACTORY SEALED BOX RETAIL  2 SET LOT
1991 and 1992 SCORE BASEBALL SETS FACTORY SEALED BOX RETAIL 2 SET LOT
$8.00
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1986 DONRUSS POP-UP PUZZLE & CARDS ALL-STARS 36 COUNT
1986 DONRUSS POP-UP PUZZLE & CARDS ALL-STARS 36 COUNT
$12.95
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3 allen ginter 2013 box toppers wonders of the world   no dups   lot
3 allen ginter 2013 box toppers wonders of the world no dups lot
$4.99
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