Prospecting Aaron Judge Cards for Investment Profit

A couple of weeks back I was perusing eBay looking for some potential gold and came across a listing for a lot of 27 Aaron Judge cards, many of which appeared to be parallel cards and inserts, and at least one of which was a rookie card. I was skeptical at first, simply because the listing description literally read “Aaron Judge 27 Card Lot!!! Yankees!!! Must See!!!!. Condition is Like New”. There was only one listing photo, which I have included below, and as you can see, many of the cards were stacked up on one another and you really couldn’t see what you were getting.

The listing was a true auction, and after reviewing the seller’s feedback, which is 100% positive with over 2,000 transactions, I decided to take the risk and throw down in a bidding war. When I entered the auction, the bid was at $5.00, so I placed an $8.00 bid and was immediately outbid – the high bidder must have wanted the lot – it took another bid and I was in the lead at $11.50 – I was willing to throw down $1 per card and had entered a max bid for $27.00, but the other bidder must have lost interest, or not wanted to chase the card lot and I won, at $11.50 and $6.00 shipping – a $17.50 investment overall – not bad for 27 Aaron Judge cards, providing a per-card cost of about $0.65 per card!

I was pleasantly surprised when the package arrived and I found that all of the cards were in great condition, with only one of the lot having a dinged corner (bummer), but overall, a great looking bunch of cards. I immediately set out to identify and value the cards in their loose/raw condition. The following are the cards that were included in the lot;

  1. 2017 Topps Update – Aaron Judge #US166 (Throwing) Rookie Card
  2. 2018 Topps Series 1 – Aaron Judge #111
  3. 2018 Topps Baseball – Highlights Insert – Aaron Judge #AJ-20
  4. 2019 Bowman’s Best – Refractor Parallel – Aaron Judge #25
  5. 2020 Diamond Kings – Aaron Judge #116 (x3)
  6. 2020 Diamond Kings – Artists Palette Insert – Aaron Judge #AP-10 (x2)
  7. 2020 Diamond Kings – Gallery of Stars Insert – Aaron Judge #GOS-1
  8. 2020 Diamond Kings – DK 206 Insert – Aaron Judge #DK2
  9. 2020 Topps Opening Day – Aaron Judge #31
  10. 2020 Topps Series 1 – Aaron Judge #7
  11. 2020 Bowman – Aaron Judge #2
  12. 2020 Topps Big League – Flipping Out Insert – Aaron Judge #FO-11
  13. 2020 Topps Big League – Aaron Judge #203 (x2)
  14. 2020 Panini Select Baseball – Silver Prizm – Aaron Judge #94 (x4)
  15. 2020 Panini Select Baseball – Sensations Insert – Aaron Judge #S-1 (x2)
  16. 2020 Panini Select Baseball – Moon Shots Insert – Aaron Judge #MS-13
  17. 2020 Panini Prizm Baseball – Aaron Judge #64
  18. 2020 Panini Prizm Baseball – Teal Wave Prizm Parallel – Aaron Judge #64
  19. 2020 Panini Prizm Baseball – Star Gazing Insert – Pink Prizm Parallel – Aaron Judge #SG-9

I was doubly pleased when my research showed that all of the cards had a raw selling price of at least $1.00 with some of these cards fetching prices in the $3 range in raw condition. This means that should I resell all of these cards in raw condition, I can at least double my initial investment. However, this card lot was purchased as a prospect, with the ultimate goal of turning these into graded pieces and fetching even higher resell prices. The below graph shows the raw card selling prices based on sales data available for the last three sales of the card.

It is important to note that I was unable to find any sales data on the 2020 Prizm Star Gazing Pink parallel – there have been many sales recorded of the other parallels of this card, including the blue, red, orange, etc., however, the pink parallel has no recent sales history on eBay and no sales data was produced on for this card either.

Now, turning our attention to graded card values, I researched the sales prices of these cards in PSA 10 and PSA 9 grades and have included a graph of the sales data below.

As you can see from the sales data, there are not a lot of the cards in this group which have come up for sale in PSA 10 or PSA 9 condition (or PSA anything for that matter). I was able to find sales data on only four of the cards, including the 2017 Topps Rookie, the 2018 Topps Series 1, the 2019 Bowman’s Best Refractor, and finally the 2020 Topps Series 1 card. Despite a small pool of data to compare, we can see that the sales figures are significantly higher for the PSA cards over raw. For example. The 2017 Topps Rookie card had an average sales price of just under $4.00 in raw form, while the PSA graded specimen has an average sales price of almost $40.00 – a ten-fold increase over raw. The other cards show similar statistics with graded card prices hitting 10 to 15 times the raw card equivalent.

Now, some of you might be asking, ‘where’s the huge profit potential on this?’, and I hear you – making $40.00 on a card isn’t that big of a deal (I have raw cards that sell for that), however, when you look at the volume of cards I was able to pick up in this transaction, and the per card price, the profit margins are quite large. ‘What about grading fees?’ you might be asking, and yes, we have to factor that in as well. I have a trusted PSA submission partner that I use, in which I can get my cards graded at $17.00 per card, including return shipping and insurance – a huge price break over direct submission to PSA, plus shipping and insurance through them. So, with an average per card price of only $0.65 in this lot, plus the PSA grading fee of $17.00, that only puts a per card investment of $17.65 per card. For a card which sells in graded condition at $40.00, that equates to more than a $22.00 profit. You multiple this by 20 plus cards and you’re sitting on a pretty good return!

The moral of the story here is that you don’t have to run out and spend gobs of money on a hot player or an already graded card in order to turn a profit. If you are willing to have patience, look for the really great deals, and then wait the time for a grading submission, you can make large profits over and over, with a minimal initial investment.

*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.

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