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Are Wrestling Cards Worth Anything?

Last Updated: 16.05.22


If you are passionate about this sport and you’re already checking out some nice Adidas shoes for wrestling, you might also want to know more about the cards that go around the market and whether they are worth anything or not. Wrestling card prices have varied throughout the years and the conditions the card is in matters, as well.

Wrestling cards are trade cards, also called collectible ones, and are usually small-sized items made of thick paper or paperboard which show the image of a famous wrestler. Other information you may find on these cards is the wrestler’s name, his/her autograph and the name of the collection the card belongs to.

Actually, a wrestling card’s value is given by the collection it belongs to, the fame of the wrestler it portrays alongside his autograph, and the overall condition it is in. The better these cards have been preserved throughout time, the more they are worth now. Collectible cards are also being sold worldwide, so if you have a big passion for them, and wrestling ones fall in this category, you can share it with people across the world.


A little bit of history

Since wrestling is a type of sport that gathered many fans throughout time, there’s some history related to it when it comes to cards as well. If you are still new to collecting such items, you might not be familiar with the fact that the first image of a professional wrestler was printed on a card as early as the 1800s.

That is when Allen & Ginter Co., a company based in Virginia that is known as the first producer of tobacco cards suitable for trading and collecting, issued its first set of such items. Then, in 1890, the company became part of the larger American Tobacco Company which continued the trend of producing cards into the 1900s.

These items featured not only wrestlers, but also an extensive selection of representatives from many different sports and domains, including baseball players, boxers, or actresses. However, the fact remains that the world of wrestling was well represented within the sets.

This means that collectors who are truly passionate, have the chance to find items that actually represent a part of history and culture. Of course, as the years went by and collecting cards became increasingly popular, other tobacco companies started producing them as well, going as far as the United Kingdom.

Wrestling cards history

We’ve already mentioned the first cards and the 1800s, but it was not until 1955 that dedicated wrestling cards were issued for the first time. Parkhurst Products, a company located in Toronto, Canada, was the first one to create a set of 75 cards, fully-colored, that featured the most prominent fighters of that time.

Great names such as Whipper Billy Watson, Lou Thesz, or Verne Gagne were featured among these. A year later, another even larger set comprised of 121 cards was released and included famous wrestlers such as Bobo Brazil, Johnny Rougeau, Gorgeous George, or Don Leo Jonathan.

These sets contained both portraits of wrestlers, as well as images of exciting in-ring action, and they still remain one of the very few but reliable sources that avid collectors have today to remember wrestling’s history and its development during that area.

Of course, the trend of producing collectible cards has maintained throughout the 60s, had a bit of a pause in the 70s, but then picked it up again starting with the 80s, and continues even today. What has fundamentally changed starting with the 2000s is the way that people collect and trade these items, given the rise of the internet and the interconnectivity it brought with it.


Why do people collect wrestling cards?

From a collector’s point of view, collecting sports cards is close to collecting art pieces. People that collect sports cards never think of these cards like they are some unusable items, just keeping them for the possible future worth. Wrestling cards are perceived as bits of wrestling history laid out on a very small piece of paper.

Having a printed image of the person that once was your role model and who has inspired and influenced you is a big deal to some people. If that card also comes with an authentic and original autograph, all the better. This type of cards, usually also come with information about the wrestler and about the most important championships he or she has won.

So, collecting these items is like putting together small pieces of wrestling history. The bigger the collection, the closer a collector is to have a large scale image of the wrestling history throughout time. Some people also keep them hoping their value will increase by a significant percent, and they will become a big deal in the future.


How can we get them properly evaluated?

Online resources could be one option of finding out how much similar cards cost. The one thing to be avoided here is to rely too much on your own judgment when it comes to evaluating your own cards. There is a known fact that we stop being objective and feelings start getting in the way when we evaluate a personal property. Basically, we over evaluate our property.

Another thing you could do would be to search for a specialist, this would ideally be a person that knows all about the specific type of wrestling cards you are collecting. Still, having received a more than qualified opinion on the right price of your items does not ensure you actually selling them at that price. Just like any other market out there, wrestling cards’ market fluctuates.

Talking about it with your fellow wrestling card collectors might be another way to go about getting your cards evaluated. This way you will get an objective opinion on the cards’ worth without taking the time and effort to actually go see a specialist on the topic. Fellow collectors may also give you a pretty good idea of where the market is at any given time.

Cards as an investment

Given that sports cards, in general, can be priced as high as over a million dollars,  for some people collecting them is not a hobby anymore, but an investment opportunity. While this type of activity certainly comes from being passionate about a certain sport, if you have a strategy and you learn how the value of these cards appreciates throughout time, you can benefit from it.

Seasoned collectors are a growing group that considers their cards to be investments, similar to art pieces. While it’s true that, just like the stock market, their prices can fluctuate throughout the years, most of the times this follows a positive trend for investors.

There’s both nostalgia and market data involved, which makes card collecting a hybrid type of investment somewhere between art and stock. What made this activity reach such a level was also the fact that a single recognized grading system was established for highly-valued items.

The Professional Sports Authenticator can rate your card on a scale from 0 to 10, and many times this will also determine its price. Of course, whether you go through the trouble of having a card professionally assessed depends on the trends that you see within communities and on the market as well.

However, if you do feel that you might have a winner, don’t hesitate to learn more about this fascinating hobby, and get a professional’s opinion on it.





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October 18, 2020 at 5:28 am

Given that sports cards, in general, can be priced as high as over a million dollars, for some people collecting them is not a hobby anymore, but an investment opportunity. While this type of activity certainly comes from being passionate about a certain sport, if you have a strategy and you learn how the value of these cards appreciates throughout time, you can benefit from it.

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