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.

2007 BABE RUTH UPPER DECK MASTERPIECES 5X7 BOX TOPPER*NEW YORK YANKEES**
2007 BABE RUTH UPPER DECK MASTERPIECES 5X7 BOX TOPPER*NEW YORK YANKEES**
$3.00 (2 Bids)
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2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Hobby Sealed Box 4 AUTO / MEMORABILLIA
2008 Donruss Americana Sports Legends Hobby Sealed Box 4 AUTO / MEMORABILLIA
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Upper Deck 1991 Edition MLB Baseball Cards Box FACTORY SEALED
Upper Deck 1991 Edition MLB Baseball Cards Box FACTORY SEALED
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2004 Topps Finest Baseball HOBBY Box Topper Pack Gold X-Fractor Uncirculated
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1986 Donruss Leaf Pack Lot of 5 Card Fresh Wax Baseball Packs Box Unopened
1986 Donruss Leaf Pack Lot of 5 Card Fresh Wax Baseball Packs Box Unopened
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1982 Donurss Baseball Empty Wax Pack Display Box
1982 Donurss Baseball Empty Wax Pack Display Box
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2014 LEAF FAMOUS FABRICS BIG APPLE HOBBY BASEBALL BOX / 1 OF 1  CUT SIGNATURE
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1992 Upper Deck Minor League Factory Sealed Box
1992 Upper Deck Minor League Factory Sealed Box
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2013 Topps Series 2 MLB Baseball Massive 36 Pack Factory Sealed Hobby Box
2013 Topps Series 2 MLB Baseball Massive 36 Pack Factory Sealed Hobby Box
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1988,1989,1990 Fleer & Score Baseball wax 36 ct. unopened 4 boxes original owner
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(12) 3200 COUNT 4 ROW HALF LID BASEBALL CARD CARDBOARD STORAGE BOX HOLDERS
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1990 Score Baseball Complete set PLUS Rookie And Traded FACTORY SEALED BOX
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