Swinging for a Homerun with the 39 Ted Williams Rookie

Published August 23, 2020

So, literally two days after making my initial investment on the Rally Rd platform – the 1986 Topps Jerry Rice rookie in SGC 10 Gem Mint condition – I found myself back on the platform investing once again in a piece of sports card history; this time picking up shares in the 1939 Playball Ted Williams in SGC 8.5 Near Mint/Mint condition.

Now I know, you all are probably thinking ‘I thought Paulie was a prospector’, and I am, however, passing up an opportunity to invest in a great piece of baseball history is something I just couldn’t pass up, and while prospecting is the mainstay of my speculating activities, I invest on occasion as well. Unfortunately, the ’39 Ted Williams was another limited share offering, only allowing each investor to purchase ten shares in the offering – I would have loved to pick up 100 shares of this item as I think that the resurgence in baseball card collecting over the last several months will result in a huge increase in the value of this card.

Looking at historical sales data, this ’39 Ted Williams has seen a steady increase in value. The last recorded sale of this card was in March of 2019 selling for $20,400 – which was a decrease in sales value over the two previous sales, both in 2018, however the continuing uptrend over the last ten years provides hope for a steady increase in overall value. The graph below outlines the reported sales of the ’39 Ted Williams over the last ten years, starting in September 2010 to the last sale in March of 2019.

Looking at the sales data over the last ten years we can see that there has been a total value increase of nearly 412% with the sale in September of 2010 bringing in only $4,959.09 and the last recorded sale in March of 2020 bringing in a hefty $20,400 – There are some anomalies in the sales history of this card, especially the December 2016 sale in which this card fetched a gigantic $89,000 sale. I would be interested to know the story behind that sale and the buyer’s thoughts when they ended up unloading the card for a 71% loss over the purchase price.

This gigantic difference in purchase over sale price is prime example of why proper research is important when making any investment. If the purchaser had reviewed the sales data for the previous three sales of this card, they would have seen that the card fetched an average sales price of only $28,193 (July 18, 2016 at $34,585 – May 17, 2016 at $29,995 – May 15, 2016 at $20,000).

All of the data for sales represented above is for the SGC 8.5 Near Mint/Mint card, of which there have only been nine cards graded in this condition by SGC. A quick look at the population report on SGC shows that 8.5 Near Mint/Mint is the highest grade of any 1939 Playball Ted Williams specimen graded by SGC, with the remaining 354 cards graded by SGC returning a grade of 8 or lower.

*Disclaimer: Investing in trading cards, comic books, memorabilia, and any other item involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Cardboard Prospector does not provide financial advice, and none of our articles or opinions should be construed as financial or investment advice. We do not guarantee results from your decision making based on our opinions and content. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence prior to making any investment.


I started collecting cards when I was about 8 years old, with my passion being baseball cards. I grew out of collecting in my teens and spent the better part of my 20’s focusing on education and career. Now in my mid-30’s I have dove back in to collecting and now prospecting and investing in cards and comics as well. I like to write about ways to collect and invest and share my experiences in the collecting and investing world of sports cards and comics. I am also an avid cigar enthusiast and you can get cigar reviews and information on my sister site Cigar Informer at https://www.cigarinformer.com

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