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So you just inherited a sports card collection. This is what to do.

Stacks of binders, sealed boxes, complete sets, and the stench of old cardboard overwhelm the room. You are now stuck with a sports card inheritance you know very little about, with no idea where to begin. 

This guide is targeted towards newcomers to trading cards and will cover the basic steps of researching, managing, and selling your inherited sports card collection.

Key Steps To Managing Your Inherited Sports Card Collection

  1. How to Identify Your Cards
  2. How to Find Completed Sports Card Sales
  3. How to Sell Your Cards
  4. Where to Sell Your Cards
  5. Hold or Grade?

Step 1: How to Identify Your Cards

Sports cards are generally broken down into 4 eras. Pre-War (1941 and older), Vintage (1942 – 1979), Modern (1980 – 2010), and Ultra Modern (2011 – Present). 

On the back of most trading cards, you can find the manufacturer’s name, card number, and year of production, as highlighted in the example below.

The back of a 2022 Topps Series One #99 Aaron Judge baseball card. The back of a sports card can tell you a lot about the card itself, including the manufacturer, set, card number, player name and often more information.

This information is the foundation of how to research and value your cards.

Step 2: How Much is My Collection Worth?

Once you can accurately identify what cards you’ve inherited, it’s time to assess how much your collection is worth. One of the most common ways collectors research the value of recent sports card sales is through marketplace databases such as eBay or 130 point.

By searching for individual sports cards on eBay, you can get a sense of the value of your inherited collection.

Another option is going to a local card store or trade show, where you can ask for consultation from a trusted dealer or shop owner.

Step 3: How to Sell Your Cards

The next step in this process is to figure out how to sell your inherited collection and the path most convenient for you. 

Posting single cards for sale online can be one of the best routes for maximizing your profit. Selling cards in groups or “lots” can also be an efficient way to move the bulk of your collection. If your time is extremely limited and you are not overly concerned about value, selling the entire collection to someone in person can be the ideal option for novices.

Step 4: Where to Sell Your Cards

Online marketplaces have become the go-to place to buy and sell sports cards. Although it can be time-consuming and most marketplaces charge a seller’s fee, selling cards online provides the largest audience of potential buyers.  

On the other hand, If you’d prefer not to sell online, bring your inheritance to a local card store or trade show where you can negotiate with someone who actively participates in the hobby.

Local card shops can be one option to consider if you’d like to sell your inherited collection.

If you want more information on established online marketplaces to sell, here’s a more in-depth look at where you can sell your cards online.

Step 5: Hold or Grade Cards

Now, It’s possible that you may not want to sell your inheritance for sentimental reasons, and would rather keep or grade the cards.

Depending on the condition, submitting your cards to be graded by a reputable company can add value and provides proof of authenticity. Submitting cards for grading on your own can be a daunting task for beginners, but most local card shops and reputable dealers offer grading services for collectors. 

If you’re interested in submitting your cards for grading, check out our article on how to grade sports cards.


Managing the inheritance of a loved one can be an emotional and frustrating time, with so many questions about what you have, its value, and the best course of action.

After reading this guide, I hope to have given you the direction to manage your inherited sports card collection confidently. And who knows, your inheritance could be what introduces or welcomes you back into the world of sports cards and collectibles.

Tyler Holzhammer

Tyler Holzhammer is a NJ-based collector and sports card content specialist. Previously working with Goldin Auctions and Sports Card Investor, his hobby expertise includes writing, social media management, buying, selling, and grading. As a die-hard Los Angeles Rams and St. Louis Cardinals fan, Tyler's personal collection centers around Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Albert Pujols, and Yadier Molina.

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