Nicknamed the “Iron Man” for playing 2,632 consecutive games, Cal Ripken Jr. is a one-of-a-kind player.
Not only for his career longevity, which in itself is quite the accomplishment, but Ripken had the stats to back up his Hall of Fame career including 19 All-Star appearance in his 21 years in the big leagues.
It’s no wonder that despite his rookie card coming in the early 1980s, the ones with a high graded value can be worth quite a bit. Here’s three that we like in particular.
1982 Topps Traded #98T
Despite the Topps Traded card not technically being Ripken’s rookie card, it is treated as such by many collectors since his 1982 Topps card is shared with two lesser players.
This card was also distributed only in the traded sets in 1982, making it scarce to begin with. And the traded sets themselves weren’t produced en masse, making this Ripken card even more rare.
That’ll do wonders for the card’s value, which is currently being sold for more than $2,000 in Gem Mint condition.
Value (as of March 2017): $2,100 (PSA Graded GEM MINT 10)
1982 Topps #21
There’s a much more abundant supply of this rookie card that makes it less valuable than the aforementioned Topps Traded card. But it’s hard to find in great condition.
It is also a multi-player “Future Stars” card.
Nevertheless, with Ripken at the centre, this card still holds its value well.
Value (as of March 2017): $700 (PSA Graded GEM MT 10)
1982 Donruss #405
A nice clean looking portrait card that is affordable for many collectors to add to their collection.
The Donruss version also has the same issue as the other rookie cards of that era – many were poorly cut and therefore off-centred.
But unlike the other two, a PSA Graded 10 card is still within more collectors’ price range.
Value (as of March 2017): $250 (PSA Graded GEM MT 10)