If you’ve ever wondered how much your collection is worth, then a baseball card appraisal service might be the answer for you.
And, although they take on various forms, these types of services all give you the opportunity to have your collection evaluated — in some fashion — by a hobby expert (or experts) and give you a better idea both of what you have AND the cards’ values.
So, how do appraisal services work?
Well, though again they vary in exact form, card appraisals tend to feature the following steps:
- Intake, or card submission
- Card identification
- Card grading
- Card valuation
With these basic components in mind, here are a few of the different types of appraisals that are available in the market today:
Several large dealers offer free online appraisals, which typically start off with you answering some questions through a form on their website and then may progress to phone conversations and likely photo submissions
From there, the dealer will evaluate your cards for condition and develop an estimate of their market value. This is often followed up with an offer to buy your cards, which will of course be below that established market value since the dealers need to turn a profit.
This opportunity to purchase cards from customers is the “payment” in these cases.
Many brick-and-mortar dealers offer the same sort of service, as do some who set up at shows or conventions. In those cases, you’d take your cards to the dealer for physical inspection, and they’d carry out their inspections.
Paid appraisals work much like free appraisals, except you pay upfront for the service rather than just maybe selling your cards to the appraiser (though that’s still an option in many cases).
Paid appraisals tend to lean more toward physical, in-person evaluation of your cards and may even involve shipping them to the appraiser.
A step up from paid appraisals, premium appraisals often involve some form of authentication for the work done and may offer various forms of guarantee.
As the name implies, premium appraisals cost more than free or “mere” paid appraisals, but they get you access to industry experts and can help you move forward with a selling decision with more confidence about the value of your cards.
Best Baseball Card Appraisal Services
OK, now that we know some of the basics about card appraisals and the various types available, let’s check out some of the best appraisal services available:
Just Collect bills itself as “the nation’s top buyer of vintage sports,” and you can bet they generate plenty of leads from their online card appraisal submission form.
Their process is free, but as the tagline implies, Just Collect is only really interested in pre-1980 material, though they do offer some valuable information about newer issues.
All Vintage Cards
Similar to Just Collect, All Vintage Cards lets you begin the appraisal process online, and they also provide several tools to help you catalog your collection so they can get a better idea of what you have.
All Vintage Cards buys cards, too, also with a leaning toward vintage pieces (no surprise given the name, huh?).
Heritage is one of the most well-known and respected auction houses in the hobby, and they regular run out a lineup of some of the most amazing memorabilia and cards you’ll ever seen.
Heritage also offers a free online appraisal service, but with one key difference from the entries above — Heritage only appraises items with an eye toward including them in future auction slates.
You can check out the Heritage intake form here.
This dealer has had a strong online presence for more than 20 years, and during that time, they’ve bought millions of cards from collectors all over the United States (probably the world!).
And, while BaseballCardBuyer.com will develop a price quote as a prelude to purchasing your collection, they also offer straight out appraisals for helping to establish values for the purpose of insuring your goodies.
Check out their quote page here.
Dean’s is another longtime hobby heavyweight, one of the biggest buyers and sellers in the country.
And, like others on this list, Dean’s offers a free baseball card appraisal as a first step toward potentially purchasing your colllection.
You can find more information about Dean’s process, and their appraisal form, here.
Wait — isn’t PSA a grading and authentication company?
Why, yes they are! Probably the best-known and most respected in the hobby, at that.
But PSA also offers a robust card appraisal service that is among the standard-bearers among fine arts and collectibles valuators of all sorts.
Make no mistake, though — this is a paid service, and the cost is compounded by the fact that PSA will only appraise items that they have authenticated, making grading/authentication the first step toward any appraisal.
The payoff is a fully researched appraisal that comes with a complete report of PSA’s findings and is perfect for insurance purposes.
Get started with PSA Appraisals here.
There are, of course, other baseball card appraisal services available to fit any budget, from NO budget to big bucks. And you can find one that will fit your needs, whether that means doing everything online, walking into a store, selling your cards, or ponying up for insurance.
So, while the services above aren’t the only game in town, they are viable options when you need a baseball card appraisal, and thy give you a good idea of what’s possible.