The Original NFTs: Your Guide to Baseball Card Investing


Lukas Werner

A strategically chosen set of baseball cards can yield surprisingly profitable results in this increasingly popular, low risk stock market.

Brooks Coleman, Staff Reporter

Want an effective way to make money over time?

You may have heard recently about NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, which are pieces of digital art that can be bought, sold, traded, and copyrighted.

Look no further than the original NFTthe baseball card.

Many people have forgotten about baseball cards cardboard cutouts of baseball players. These cards used to be incredibly popular among middle and high schoolers, but saw a decline in popularity as the internet replaced paper items like magazines and newspapers.

However, they’ve seen a recent renaissance as a form of investment,  re-emerging as a low-risk investing option like a beginner’s stock market.

But How Do I Invest In Baseball Cards?

Investing in baseball cards is shockingly simple, functioning much like the stock market. The value of a specific stock fluctuates based on the real-life performance of the company. Here’s an example: You buy a share of Dutch Bros, and then they introduce their lineup of holiday drinks the next day. Because Dutch Bros is selling more drinks, their company becomes more valuable — and so does your share. You can then sell this share and end up with more money than you originally paid.

Baseball cards work the same way. The difference is that the cards’ value is more based on how well a player performs. If you bought, for example, a Shohei Ohtani rookie card before his MVP season, you would have made a pretty good amount of money. This is because Ohtani had a historically good season, which made him the most recognizable player in the league. If a player performs well in real life, their respective card’s value and demand will increase. To make money on your investment, you should choose the cards of players who are in position for a breakout year, which is a year that is a significant improvement from the rest of their career.

What if My Investment Doesn’t Work Out?

If your player underperforms and your investment fails, don’t worry. You can usually make back what you paid for a card by selling it on eBay, especially if the card was cheap to begin with. This is what makes baseball cards such a low-risk investment. 

How Can I Find Cards To Buy?

eBay is the most common marketplace for baseball cards. They just recently unveiled a feature in the eBay app called Price Guide, which shows the price history of various cards. The website I like to use is, which shows the lowest price for individual cards as well as an organized list of eBay listings for each card.

Which Cards Should I Invest In?

Here are 4 cards to start out with.

Julio Rodriguez

“J-Rod” is one of MLB’s top prospects. His wealth of natural talent should make for a meteoric rise through the Seattle Mariners minor league system. However, since he is still at the Double-A level, his card is relatively cheap, sitting at around 2-5 dollars per card. If he makes it to the majors and becomes the star that many think he will be, his card will appreciate greatly in value. This is a really good card to invest in with the potential for a very high payoff and the risk attached is relatively low. You just have to be willing to wait for a little while, as he may not arrive in the majors until 2023.

Jonathan India

India came out of nowhere this year to become the National League Rookie of the Year. However, most people still don’t know who India is which means his card is still pretty cheap. India is a very good player who is unfortunately stuck in Cincinnati, but if he makes the All-Star game this year, his card will become significantly more valuable. This is the perfect time to buy an India card.

Wander Franco

This one is significantly more expensive than the previously mentioned cards; however, if you want a safe investment, this is about as good as it gets. Franco has been heralded as MLB’s next big thing from the moment he was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays. This was made even clearer with his fantastic rookie year. Barring a career-threatening injury or death, Franco is a mortal lock to become a superstar very soon — possibly as soon as next year. If you’re willing to open up your wallet a little bit, Franco is as close to a sure thing as it gets. 

Adley Rutschman

Adley Rutschman grew up in Oregon. He attended Sherwood High School before moving on to star as a catcher for the Oregon State Beavers. By the time he was finished, he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the first overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, heralded as the best catcher prospect since Buster Posey. Many expected him to be called up to the majors last year but it didn’t happen. His card is very cheap right now, and he is expected to arrive in the majors this year. If he performs as well as many expect, his card value will be going up. Buying the Oregon native’s card is a very safe bet.

If you’re hesitant about losing money on investments, then the risk-free baseball card market is perfect for you. No matter what you want to accomplish with investing, the baseball card market has something for everyone.