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.

1962 Jello Mickey Mantle cardThe 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.

1980 Topps Baseball Wax Box--Bbce Authenticated--Super Box-36 Packs-Henderson RC
1980 Topps Baseball Wax Box--Bbce Authenticated--Super Box-36 Packs-Henderson RC
$1,099.00
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1992 Upper Deck Baseball Edition Complete Set 800 Cards Factory Sealed Box
1992 Upper Deck Baseball Edition Complete Set 800 Cards Factory Sealed Box
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1990 FLEER BASEBALL CARDS 10TH ANNIVERSARY ITEM 411 OPENED CARDS
1990 FLEER BASEBALL CARDS 10TH ANNIVERSARY ITEM 411 OPENED CARDS
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1961 Post Cereal #79 BOX  Billy Klaus  Handcut from Cer EX D286
1961 Post Cereal #79 BOX Billy Klaus Handcut from Cer EX D286
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Topps Micro Baseball  1991 Complete Card set of 792 original box (7082)
Topps Micro Baseball 1991 Complete Card set of 792 original box (7082)
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1990 Topps Box Over 100 Cards
1990 Topps Box Over 100 Cards
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2010 TOPPS CHROME HOBBY BASEBALL 6 BOX LOT ( 1/2 CASE ) 12 AUTOS/ CASTRO AUTO ?
2010 TOPPS CHROME HOBBY BASEBALL 6 BOX LOT ( 1/2 CASE ) 12 AUTOS/ CASTRO AUTO ?
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Michael Jordan Lou Gehrig Eric Lindros Ballstreet
Michael Jordan Lou Gehrig Eric Lindros Ballstreet "B" Sheet Lot 14 Reduced!
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1961 Post Cereal #88 BOX  Whitey Herzog  Handcut from C VG D683
1961 Post Cereal #88 BOX Whitey Herzog Handcut from C VG D683
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1-Box O-pee Chee 1992 Premier Baseball Cards 198 Cards total003
1-Box O-pee Chee 1992 Premier Baseball Cards 198 Cards total003
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1990 FLEER Baseball Factory Set Complete with Factory Seal on Box NIB Rookie HoF
1990 FLEER Baseball Factory Set Complete with Factory Seal on Box NIB Rookie HoF
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2000 TOPPS CHROME SERIES 2  FACTORY SEALED BOX
2000 TOPPS CHROME SERIES 2 FACTORY SEALED BOX
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