If you play fantasy baseball, you no doubt had Ronald Acuna Jr. in your crosshairs this spring (that is, if you were lucky enough to have your league’s No. 1 or 2 pick).

The Atlanta Braves’ five-tool star draws constant attention not only from fantasy baseball aficionados, but from collectors, who are paying healthy sums for his memorabilia. You’ll find Buy It Now transactions showing prices like $12,500 (for a 2018 signed Topps Chrome Red Wave Refractor graded PSA 10) and $7,500 (for a 2018 Chrome Sapphire graded PSA 10).

Ronald Acuna Jr.'s 2019 Topps Chrome rookie card.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 

At auction, values trend lower, but don’t count on them staying there. Here’s a look at prices of three recent items:

  • $5,600 on 38 bids for a 2017 Chrome Green Shimmer autograph card graded BGS 9.5, one of only 99 made.
  • $5,000 on 37 bids for a 2018 Chrome Gold Wave signed card graded PSA 10, one of only 50 produced.
  • $4,300 on 40 bids for a 2017 signed Chrome Refractor graded 9.5, from an edition of 499.

For collectors who gravitate to the legends, it doesn’t get much better than this: a 2021 Topps Heritage Real One Dual Autograph card featuring the signatures of Acuna and Hank Aaron. Topps issued only 25 copies of this beauty; one example, ungraded, recently sold for $2,100 in a Buy It Now deal.

HOOP HEAT

Boxes of unopened 1986-87 Fleer basketball cards sell for stratospheric prices; they’re into six figures, driven by the likelihood of a Michael Jordan rookie card (or cards!) inside. Jump two years ahead of that set and you’ll find more affordable — albeit still pricey — boxes. Example: In early March, 95 bids sent the price of an unopened box of 1988-89 Fleer cards to $13,100. The box was authenticated, sealed and graded 9.5 by GAI.

Once upon a time, interest in Fleer’s 1988-89 set was flat. But the state of today’s market is escalating product even from the hobby’s “overproduction years.” In recent months, we’ve seen multiple examples of unopened 1988-89 Fleer basketball boxes sell for auction or Buy It Now prices between $10,000 and $16,000. This newest example is within that range.

Amazingly, we’ve seen individual cards from the set sell for similar figures. You can guess which player is commanding premium prices: Michael Jordan. His Airness’s 1988-89 base-set Fleer card, if graded 10, is drawing prices as high as $10,000 to $12,000.

Jordan’s card from Fleer’s 1988-89 All-Star subset, meanwhile, is going for even higher prices. One PSA 10 specimen recently brought $13,200 on 56 bids; another fetched $12,600 on 35 bids.

A 1988 Fleer Michael Jordan

1988 Fleer Michael Jordan 

You need to go back only seven years to find Jordan’s 1986-87 Fleer rookie selling at sub-$20,000 prices.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you’ve seen any number of names that stick in your head … unusual, eye-catching monikers we don’t see every day. Think Boof Bonser, Razor Shines, Coco Crisp and, going back to the early 20th century, Urban Shocker.

Now baseball gives us Akil Baddoo, the rookie Detroit Tigers left-fielder who turned heads in Week 1 of the 2021 campaign. Baddoo, a Rule 5 draft pick, became the first player in modern MLB history to club a homer, a grand slam and a walk-off hit in his first three career games (that’s according to Elias Sports Bureau). After a week in the majors, the lefty-hitting Baddoo sported a .455 average with seven RBI in four games.

A 2018 Bowman 1st Akil Baddoo.

Akil Baddoo

His rookie feats have sent collectors looking for Baddoo booty. Among the relatively few choices on eBay: a 2018 signed Bowman Chrome card, available in multiple variations, including Refractor in different colors. In early April, we saw Baddoo-signed Refractors sell for $529 on 46 bids and $513 on 32 bids (both were graded BGS 9.5). We also saw a signed Chrome Green Refractor sell for $482 on five bids and a “plain” signed Chrome fetch $455 on 55 bids.

Baddoo’s 2018 Chrome cards, by the way, show him with his original organization, the Minnesota Twins.

FOXX FIX

Baseball’s rich history is loaded with memorable sluggers, from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle, from Hank Aaron to Mike Trout. Sometimes, we lose sight of certain names — until a killer item hits the online auction block. Consider Jimmie Foxx.

Nicknamed “The Beast,” Foxx was overshadowed by Ruth early in his career, which spanned 1925 to 1942. As he entered his prime, he was elbowing his way into Ruth’s stratosphere. In 1932, for example, he hit 58 HRs with 169 RBI and a .364 average. In 1933, he won the Triple Crown with 48 HRs, 163 RBI and a .356 average. By the time Foxx retired in 1942, he had amassed 534 homers to go with a .325 average.

A 1926 Exhibits Jimmy Foxx card.

Jimmy Foxx 

Multiple items sold on eBay recently reminded us of Foxx:

  • A late-1920s Exhibits postcard graded PSA 4.5 brought $9,500 in a Buy It Now deal. It pictures him in a stretching pose at first base, reaching for a low throw.
  • A 1933 World Wide Gum card of Foxx (No. 29 in the set) brought $4,839 on 36 bids. It had a grade of PSA 6.
  • A 1941 Play Ball hand-cut card graded PSA 8 fetched $1,932 on 35 bids. It’s one of only two 1941 Play Ball Foxx cards that PSA has ever graded that high.
  • A 2014 Topps Tier One Game-Used Bat Knob card got away for $1,625 on 19 bids. As the card’s title suggests, it features the actual knob sliced from a gamer bat Foxx used during his career.

Top 10 Online Auctions

1. $340,100 on 60 bids: 1958 Alifabolaget (soccer) Pele (PSA 8)

2. $187,100 on 77 bids: 2003-04 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection LeBron James, #15/250, auto (BGS 9.5)

3. $175,100 on 60 bids: 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James Refractor (PSA 10)

4. $144,544 on 145 bids: 1961-62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain (PSA 8)

A 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain.

5. $140,200 on 54 bids: 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky (PSA 9)

6. $124,200 on 26 bids: 2019-20 Panini National Treasures Zion Williamson Stars and Stripes, #18/30, auto patch (BGS 9)

7. $121,100 on 65 bids: 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan (BGS 9.5)

8. $117,800 on 100 bids: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (BVG 6)

9. $117,100 on 85 bids: 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady Refractor (PSA 9)

10. $115,100 on 111 bids: 2003-04 Topps Chrome Dwyane Wade Gold Refractor, #47/50 (PSA 10)

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

Seeing a Jerry Rice rookie card sell for $100,300, per our “next 10” list, might amaze some. But if you read Online Auctioneer regularly, you’ll know it represents quite a drop. Yes, just a couple months back, we reported on a 1986 Topps Rice sell for $125,655.

Both cards were graded PSA 10, and both were listed by eBay seller PWCC Auctions. So, what happened in the past 60 days to cause a $25,000 drop in price?

A 1986 Topps Jerry Rice.

There’s no conclusive answer, of course. But timing may be at play; the higher-priced Rice rookie sold the same week as this year’s Super Bowl. Perhaps the big game radiated some heat on the most desirable football card of the 1980s.

Anyway, on to our list of items placing just outside our Top 10:

  • $110,099 on 38 bids: 2019-20 Panini National Treasures Zion Williamson Stars & Stripes, #3/30, auto patch (BGS 9)
  • $105,178 on 99 bids: 2003-04 Topps Chrome LeBron James Black Refractor, #272/500 (BGS 9.5)
  • $100,300 on 181 bids: 1986 Topps Jerry Rice (PSA 10)
  • $95,100 on 50 bids: 1986-87 Fleer Sticker Michael Jordan (PSA 10)
  • $94,100 on 81 bids: 2008 Topps Chrome LeBron James, #26/50 (PSA 10)
  • $92,019 on 41 bids: 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady Rookie Ticket, auto (BGS 9)
  • $90,100 on 56 bids: 1996-97 Topps Finest Kobe Bryant Gold Refractor (PSA 10)
  • $85,101 on 89 bids: 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tiger Woods, #400/900, auto (PSA 10)
  • $85,100 on 65 bids: 2015-16 Upper Deck Authentic Connor McDavid, #516/999, auto (BGS 10)
  • $85,100 on 46 bids: 2009-10 Topps Chrome LeBron James Gold Refractor, #32/50 (PSA 10)

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