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The Value of That Box of Baseball Cards Your Mom Tossed? If You're a Child of the '50s, Try $6,500

As Father's Day Looms, More Boomers Look to Recoup the Treasures of Their Youth

Moms across America better hope there's no civil suit.

According to a recent study by Beckett Media, the acknowledged authority on the trading card hobby for over 20 years, the value of the baseball cards found in a typical shoebox in the late '50s would equal thousands of dollars today.

"If you take a typical kid who lived in middle-America back in 1957 as an example, we figured he'd have kept roughly 100 cards in a shoebox," says Beckett Price Guide analyst Rich Klein. "That's a fair assumption given the size of a youth shoebox and the dimensions of the cards from that era."

"Taking into account how Topps seeded cards in packs during this time, the print runs of the cards, including double-printed and short-printed versions, and the probabilities of pulling 'stars' from packs, we estimated that the average shoebox in the summer of 1957 had an 80/20 mix of common cards and stars, which would have included names like Mantle, Mays or Aaron. With those parameters in mind, that collection would have fetched about $8.65 back then. Today, in good condition, it would go for about $6,500 -- a 74,900-percent increase. In other words, Mom has a lot of explaining to do."

According to Beth Grimsley, senior manager of web commerce for, the web's leading retailer of trading cards, more and more aging boomers are going online to try to re-claim some of this lost treasure.

"Our research has shown that an increasing number of our customers are between the ages of 40-55 and looking to re-connect with the items they loved when they were kids," says Grimsley. "Just like vintage toys have become hot at many online auction sites, we've seen adults who really aren't collectors but want to buy an item or two that they cherished as kids and have never really forgotten."

To better service these customers, Beckett has launched the "Beckett Time Machine," a tool designed to aid Father's Day gift givers looking to push just the right nostalgia buttons. Visit it at

"You can plug in your father's birthday and be directed to a page of gift ideas that will appeal to the 10-year-old in him," says Grimsley, "We'll direct you to a page of items that were popular when he was 10-15. They're items that either your father owned or wished he had. And no, you don't have to spend $6,500 to make him happy -- there are plenty of items available for under $20 that will bring a smile to his face."

Based in Dallas, Beckett Media LP, an Apprise Media company, is the leading publisher of sports and specialty market collectible products in the U.S. Beckett operates ( ), the leading online destination for sports collectible enthusiasts, and is the premier publisher of monthly sports collectibles magazines. Beckett, considered the world's most trusted source in collecting, currently publishes 14 magazines. Its flagship title is the popular Beckett Baseball magazine. The company also operates Beckett Grading Services, the award-winning third-party professional sports card grading service. The company was founded in 1984 by Dr. James Beckett.

Source: Beckett Media LP
Date: May 27, 2005

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