As much as I miss running to the mailbox and grabbing my Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, buying, selling, and collecting cards is far greater these days because of the amount of data we all have at our fingertips, right?
Sure, there are advantages to having one “source of truth” when it comes to pricing your cards.
Meaning when there was only one price in the Beckett magazine, there wasn’t any disputing pricing. Sure, values could go up and down, and people can still guess and hypothesize as to where cards might go moving forward, and therefore maybe they would apply a multiplier on a card, etc.
But for the most part, what was printed was truth.
But now, being able to check a card’s true market value in “real time” in most instances also has a ton of advantages.
With that said, what happens when you don’t have a card for a comparable? What happens in the instances where you have a really scarce and unique card—and perhaps one that’s never been sold before?
That’s exactly what happens with 1/1 cards, and in most cases, while you can’t really pinpoint a particular value, you can do your best to come up with an educational guess.
How Much Are 1/1 Cards Worth?
Like most cards, the value of 1/1 cards is going to depend on a number of factors, and can vary from something as low as a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Factors like player, set, type of 1/1 (auto or plate), rookie year, and more will all be value determining factors of the worth of a 1/1.
I think the question’s intent though is more about how do you put a value on a 1/1 if it’s the only card like it in existence?
But while there might not be anything to truly compare such a card to, here are some things I like to do to try and arrive at a value of 1/1 cards that you can’t simply find comps on.
Check eBay Sold Listings
Even though a card is 1/1, there is still value in checking eBay sold cards and completed listings. On one hand, the card you’re checking may have been sold recently, in which case checking sold listings would help you find what that previous sold price was.
Beyond that, did you know eBay now offers 365 day’s worth of data through their card price guide? Either on mobile or desktop, you can access the price guide to gain deeper insights; far beyond the normal 60 days of data you’re accustomed to seeing via the sold and completed listing filter.
On desktop, just go to your seller dashboard and then click the “research tab.” Plug-in your search term, select “365 days” in the dropdown and off you go:
On the other hand, let’s face it—players have a ton of 1/1 cards out there these days. So, while you might not be able to find the exact card you’re researching, consider these points:
Check Similar Cards from Previous Years
Let’s say you’re trying to research a 2021 Topps Triple Threads 1/1 but can’t find anything on it. How about checking 2019 or 2020 versions? While they aren’t perfect comparisons, these past values can probably at least get you in the same ballpark as your 2021 card.
Check 1/1s from Other Products
Probably a little less valuable but still worth a shot is checking 1/1s from other products in the same year. Now again, not exactly apples to apples, but try to minimize as many variables as possible.
For instance, if the 1/1 you have is a printing plate, then stick to printing plates. If the card you’re researching also has a patch or is a jersey card, keep those things in mind as well.
Check Similar Players from the Same Product
This one is a little tougher because now you have to go a level deeper and figure out what a comparable player is to the player you’re researching. And not even comparable from an on-field perspective, but comparable from a card standpoint. Meaning, there are a LOT of players who do a ton on the field or court and just don’t get any card love.
Anyway, if you’re confident in finding a player comp, it might be helpful to check that player’s 1/1 cards from the same product.
Consult Other Tools & Platforms
And let’s not forget that eBay is no longer the only card player in town, and that there are plenty of transactions happening on social media platforms, Alt, MySlabs, and more.
In addition, it might be useful to check out a tool that can reach even further back than just one year, like WorthPoint. Of course, the only issue is you have to decide if the market is even comparable when you consider what’s going on today with cards versus what was going on a few years ago.
Check eBay current listings
When it comes to comps, everyone is quick to rush to eBay sold listings and rightly so (to an extent). But in many cases, with a 1/1 card, there is a ton of value and knowledge in researching current listings as well. So, even though something similar hasn’t been sold yet, see what others are currently selling their similar cards for, and follow their lead if it makes sense.