Nostalgia Surge Boosting Value of ’80s and ’90s Baseball Cards

Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card has doubled in value since March

Nostalgia Boosting Value of ’80s and ’90s Baseball Cards
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel baseball cards display. (Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty)
Universal Images Group via Getty
By Evan Bleier / May 18, 2020 11:38 am

In the summer of 1989, Upper Deck’s Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card established itself as a phenomenon that any baseball fan worth his or her salt would want in their collection. However, securing a Griffey card was no easy task and many amateur collectors, many of whom were buying baseball cards with their allowances at the time, were unable to get one.

Now, more than 30 years later, those collectors are getting paychecks instead of handouts from their parents for doing chores and are in a much better position to afford to shell out cash for an in-demand card like Griffey’s.

That seems to be happening during the lockdown, as baseball cards are having a renaissance and many people are giving their old collections a second look.

“People are home sorting out their closets,” avid baseball card collector and MLB pitcher Pat Neshek, currently a free agent, told The Wall Street Journal. “They’re reminiscing. A lot of this surge for non-vintage (post-1970 cards) are people who are bored at home buying cards they couldn’t have when they were younger, totally nostalgia driven.”

That nostalgia-driven demand has led Griffey’s Upper Deck rookie card to double in value since March, and it is now selling for approximately $1,400. Demand for the cards of Griffey peers like Randy Johnson and Frank Thomas have also caused their cards to increase in value, though not to the degree of Griffey’s.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Daily Brief

News From Around the Web

June 4, 2020 June 3, 2020