It’s fun to fantasize about what life would be like after winning the lottery. After setting life up for comfort, paying off a mortgage, making sure finances would last the rest of my life, etc., I’ve wondered how my collecting habits would change. After getting auction catalogs, browsing sold items on eBay, or walking around the National Sports Collectors Convention; it’s clear there are already plenty of whales in the hobby with million-dollar incomes purchasing sports cards, so this exercise has some practicality to it. This post is a listing of cards I would buy if I had $1M to spend on sports cards.
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle
I would start with a nice, well-centered mid-grade 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. A PSA 5 is around $58000
Running Total: $58000
1986 Fleer Basketball Box
A BBCE authenticated box of 1986 Fleer is around $125000.
Running Total: $183000
1954 Bowman Football Box
TonyeTrade has a box of 1954 Bowman 5 Cent packs listed for $71500.
Running Total: $254500
1952 Topps Baseball Wax Pack
I found this 1952 Topps Wax Pack on eBay for $55000.
Running Total: 309500
1969 Topps #25 Lew Alcindor
A PSA 9 Alcindor rookie is $39000.
Running Total: $348500
1953 Topps #1 Jackie Robinson
In July, 2019, a 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson graded PSA 9 sold for $52000 (I suspect the price would be higher today).
Running Total: 400500
1979 OPC #18 Wayne Gretzky
It’s time for another 6-figure card. $100k for an OPC Gretzky rookie.
Running Total: $500500
1986 Topps #161 Jerry Rice
Of the 1980s football rookie cards, I’ve always preferred the Jerry Rice. And for $38600, I could buy a Gem Mint copy.
Running Total: $539100
1970 Topps Basketball Wax Box
1970s Basketball Wax is tough to find. This box is a cool $66000.
Running Total: $605100
1958 Topps #66 Bobby Hull
Hockey needs representation in a high-end collection too. This Bobby Hull is $60000.
Running Total: $665100
1966 Topps #35 Bobby Orr
The classic Orr Rookie. $40000 for a PSA 8.
Running Total: $705100
1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente
Another baseball classic for $35000.
Running Total: $740100
1951 Bowman #253 Mickey Mantle
If you have a 1952 Topps Mantle, you should probably have his true rookie card as well, and a PSA 7 will only run you $35000.
Running Total: $775100
1957 Topps #77 Bill Russell
A basketball legend’s best card. For $30000.
Running Total: $805100
1961 Fleer #8 Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt’s 1961 Fleer can be yours for $30000.
Running Total: $835100
1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan
A sensible Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Basketball Card, $30000 for the GOAT.
Running Total: $865100
1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays
The 1951 Bowman WIllie Mays is another post-war classic, $20000.
Running Total: $885100
1933 Goudey #181 Babe Run
And finally, a pre-war card. My favorite Babe Ruth, for just under $100k (97).
Running total: $982100
And there you have it, just under $1M of sports cards. I think it would be sensible to use the rest of the money for a secure storage solution.
A few other considerations if prices dropped or I spent even more money on baseball cards: T206 Ty Cobb Green Portrait, 1948 Bowman George Mikan, 1952 Topps Baseball Complete Set, 1951 Bowman Baseball Complete Set, and PSA Pack Runs from all sports.
What would you buy? Let me know down in the comments or over on Twitter.