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.

2011 PLAYOFF PRIME CUTS HOBBY BASEBALL - 5 BOX CASE
2011 PLAYOFF PRIME CUTS HOBBY BASEBALL - 5 BOX CASE
$630.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2011 TOPPS LINEAGE HOBBY BASEBALL BOX - HOF AUTOGRAPH ?
2011 TOPPS LINEAGE HOBBY BASEBALL BOX - HOF AUTOGRAPH ?
$55.50
Time Remaining: 30m
2014 TOPPS SUPREME HOBBY BASEBALL - 3 BOX LOT/ 2 AUTOGRAPHS PER BOX
2014 TOPPS SUPREME HOBBY BASEBALL - 3 BOX LOT/ 2 AUTOGRAPHS PER BOX
$188.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2011 TOPPS ALLEN & GINTER HOBBY BASEBALL 12 BOX CASE
2011 TOPPS ALLEN & GINTER HOBBY BASEBALL 12 BOX CASE
$699.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2010 TOPPS CHROME BASEBALL HOBBY 3 BOX LOT / 2 AUTOS PER BOX
2010 TOPPS CHROME BASEBALL HOBBY 3 BOX LOT / 2 AUTOS PER BOX
$125.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2013 BOWMAN DRAFT PICKS & PROSPECTS HOBBY BASEBALL - 12 BOX CASE
2013 BOWMAN DRAFT PICKS & PROSPECTS HOBBY BASEBALL - 12 BOX CASE
$697.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2010 TOPPS CHROME HOBBY BASEBALL - 2 BOX LOT / 4 AUTOGRAPHS - STANTON AUTO ?
2010 TOPPS CHROME HOBBY BASEBALL - 2 BOX LOT / 4 AUTOGRAPHS - STANTON AUTO ?
$88.00
Time Remaining: 30m
1997 Score Board Mickey Mantle Shoe Box Collection
1997 Score Board Mickey Mantle Shoe Box Collection
$89.00 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 30m
2012 TOPPS SERIES 2 HTA JUMBO BASEBALL - 6 BOX CASE
2012 TOPPS SERIES 2 HTA JUMBO BASEBALL - 6 BOX CASE
$335.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2013 TOPPS SERIES 2 JUMBO HTA BASEBALL - 6 BOX CASE
2013 TOPPS SERIES 2 JUMBO HTA BASEBALL - 6 BOX CASE
$335.00
Time Remaining: 30m
2011 PANINI LIMITED HOBBY BASEBALL BOX ( 2 OR 3 AUTOGRAPHS )
2011 PANINI LIMITED HOBBY BASEBALL BOX ( 2 OR 3 AUTOGRAPHS )
$50.95
Time Remaining: 30m
2012 TOPPS SERIES 1 JUMBO BASEBALL - 2 BOX LOT
2012 TOPPS SERIES 1 JUMBO BASEBALL - 2 BOX LOT
$127.00
Time Remaining: 30m

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