But, despite having a fantastic career, Schilling has been kept out of the Hall of Fame for non-baseball reasons. Whether or not you agree with him or his politics, though, Schilling is an all-time great pitcher who deserves to have his plaque in the Museum at Cooperstown, NY.
It's only a matter of time before Schilling joins former teammates and World Series teammates Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez in Cooperstown. Sadly, 2020 would not be his year to make the trip to upstate New York. Schilling would fall short by only a few votes, as he would only get 70 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote, 5 percent short of the required 75 percent.
Leading up to the 2020 Hall of Fame Class announcement, Curt Schilling baseball cards were understandably a hot item. Of course, as it is with players in any sport, Curt Schilling rookie cards were particularly hot items. As it turns out, there is just one official rookie card for Curt Schilling.
1989 Donruss has the distinction of having Curt Schilling’s first major league rookie card. It's considered his "true rookie" in the eyes of many collectors. There are 1990 cards that could be considered rookie cards, including the 1990 Bowman Tiffany, which is also popular among collectors. But, this is the first card with Curt Schilling in an MLB uniform. So, this is the key Curt Schilling rookie card that collectors and investors target.
Of course, being released in the heart of the “junk wax” era, the true Curt Schilling RC is ridiculously plentiful. Still, thanks to being on the cusp of being elected to the Hall of Fame, the Curt Schilling Donruss rookie card has been gobbled up in recent years. The reason baseball card collectors have been stockpiling these cards isn’t because they are worth much themselves, though.
The true value of the Curt Schilling Donruss rookie card is when it receives a high grade from the PSA trading card grading company. With Schilling’s Hall of Fame vote coming so close to induction, the value of his PSA 9 mint and PSA 10 gem mint graded cards has increased dramatically.
There was a flurry of activity on January 21st, when the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 announcement was made. Also notice that after the announcement that Schilling had fallen short, the price of his PSA 9 card didn’t fall much if at all.
However, even with a peak between $25 to $30, most sold closer to $20. Keep in mind that the average cost of grading a card with PSA is around $12, not including shipping & return shipping costs. While the raw version of a 1989 Donruss Curt Schilling is typically $2 or less, that’s not a huge profit margin.
Still, from the $14 sale to the $24.50 sale, that’s a 75 percent increase, which is a nice return on investment for those who bought the raw card in bulk and had them graded. It is important to note that because of Schilling’s apparent Hall of Fame call in 2021, there will likely be many more raw copies sent in to PSA for grading. This is because now the card offers an easy profit.
As of January 2020, there are 2114 PSA 9 examples, which is a fair amount. It’s likely we’ll see hundreds more graded before then as the demand will likely be much higher come early 2021. Late December may again be the time to buy.
On the other hand, let’s look at the PSA 10, which is the true benchmark of how modern rookie cards are valued.
What’s interesting about this trend is the huge sales that came right before and right after the Hall of Fame 2020 Class announcement. They came from Buy it Now listings, the first for $147.95 and the second for $121.95. The next highest sale was $93.49. In fact, the overall price trend was only about 40 percent. You would think the PSA 10 copies would sell for far more. So, it would seem, this card in PSA 10 is generally underpriced. In fact, a range of $125 to $150 seems to be a fair peak if and when Schilling actually gets the Hall call, which is rather likely.
Is the PSA 9 even worth investing in at this time? If it follows the same trend, and the ratio of PSA 9 vs PSA 10 remains about the same, it’s possible there’s still money to be made. But, you’d have to buy raw lots of the card and send them for grading, hoping for a good mix of PSA 9 and PSA 10.
Now that we see what the market has been paying for this card, let’s go over a couple of things. First of all, Schilling is no hobby icon like Derek Jeter. He’s also more of a Hall of Fame lock than Larry Walker was, who barely squeaked in with his last year of eligibility. The other major factor with Schilling is that he has this one true rookie card. Most other upcoming Hall of Fame candidates and recent inductees had several rookie cards during the “junk wax” era. Schilling has several 1990 “rookie cards” but none of them are actual rookies. So, the market will be focused on a singular card, which could cause prices to get a bit out of control.
The 1989 Donruss Curt Schilling Rookie Card is going to be a fun card to watch going into the 2021 Class for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But, it will also be interesting to see how the card’s market develops over the course of the 2020 season. Where do you think this card’s prices will end up?