Tim Raines’ Rookie Cards are easily affordable … unless they’re graded


Update: Raines was voted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday night along with 1991 rookies Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez.

If Tim Raines makes it into the Baseball Hall of Fame later today, he just might be one of the easier Cooperstown residents to collect based on his early cardboard.

He’s got just four regular-issue cards and one team-issued release from his Rookie Card season of 1981 and all but one of them can be easily found for a few bucks. These quickly printed and often roughly cut gems of the past are not easy finds in high grade, though — even straight out of packs opened today — so graded copies have been where the biggest action has been of late.

Raines appears on cards in the 1981 Donruss (No. 538), Topps (No. 479), O-Pee-Chee (No. 136) and Topps Traded (No. 816) sets, while an Expos postcards set also includes the guy who’d later be known as Rock that year. When it comes to raw copies, well, there have been some impressive bulk auctions, but there’s nothing compared to the high-grade copies — which aren’t easy to get when those raw 1981 cards are submitted for grading — when it comes to sales.

But first let’s check out the pop report.

Of nearly 2,500 1981 Topps cards submitted to PSA, just 120 received a 10 grade, while 886 of them graded a PSA 9. The most-common grade is a PSA 8 at 1,028 copies. The Traded card is a much tougher one to find in a slab with just 760 copies graded and 70 of those a PSA 10. On that one a PSA 9 is the most-received grade at 338 copies.

The Donruss card also is a tougher find in a slab with just 814 total graded but of those 188 copies received a 10. The most-received grade there is a PSA 9 at 358 copies.

The toughest by far though? O-Pee-Chee and that’s likely because many people don’t consider their rough-cut cards worth grading. A total of just 99 copies have been graded with four getting a PSA 10, while 47 got a PSA 9 and 38 got a PSA 8.

For BGS, there have been a total of 388 Donruss cards graded (three 10s), just 18 O-Pee-Chee cards (eight 9.5s), a total of 308 Topps cards (one 10) and just 84 Topps Traded cards (one 10) graded.

And about those sales? The asking prices on current auctions for graded cards are steep, they’re not in touch with actual sales. Here’s a rundown of 10 impressive graded Raines RC sales on eBay:

Topps Traded PSA 10 $509.99
Topps Traded PSA 10 $476.01
Topps PSA 10 $449.99
Topps Traded PSA 10 $449.99
Topps PSA 10 $349.99
Topps PSA 10 $299.99
Topps Traded BGS 9.5 $249.99
Topps BGS 9.5 $240
Topps Traded BGS 9.5 $170
Donruss PSA 10 $134.99

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