Rookie Card Year: 1985
Investment Rating: 6.5
Mark McGwire cards and autographed memorabilia once ruled the hobby. Unfortunately, the values of his cards and memorabilia fell with his public reputation. Allegations of PED use severely tainted his record-breaking season of 1998 when he became the single-season home run king, even if his reign was short-lived.
McGwire's lone rookie card is in 1985 Topps Baseball. The card features McGwire as a member of Team USA's 1984 Olympic team. A Tiffany version of the card featuring glossy card stock, was also produced. Player collectors are also fond of McGwire's minor league card, 1985 Chong Modesto A's.
McGwire's rise to superstar status paralleled the introduction of memorabilia and autographed cards. Mark McGwire's first memorabilia card was included in 1999 Upper Deck Black Diamond product as part of the Piece of History insert set. In 2002, Upper Deck signed an exclusive agreement with McGwire that would bring the first certified Mark McGwire autograph cards. Although he was featured extensively in their products, his signature is still considered quite rare.
At the height of McGwire's popularity, the cost of his autographed memorabilia was astronomical. Single-signed baseballs, bats and jerseys routinely sold for $500 to $3,500. Once he became a member of the 500 Home Run Club, the demand for his signature on multi-signed items increased significantly. Often McGwire would refuse to sign such items. So those authentic 500 Home Run Club pieces that did have his signature quickly escalated in value.
Since his congressional hearing on PEDs, McGwire has shunned the limelight and does not participate in autograph signing events. In late 2013, Topps announced that they had signed an autographed deal with the slugger for many of its 2014 products. These are his first signed MLB-licensed cards since 2003.
Top Mark McGwire Cards
During it's heyday, this card sold for well into the four figures with a high grade from PSA or BGS. How the mighty have fallen. Today it can be found for a small fraction that. Raw copies are easily found for under $20 and it's unlikely it'll ever rebound. This card is still on of the most iconic rookie cards of the 1980s. It often appeared in mainstream news coverage about the hobby during McGwire's pursuit of the home run record.
The 1985 Chong Modesto Mark McGwire has two versions. One has his last name spelled correctly. An error version uses the common mistake, "McGuire." The misspelled version can still sell in the $150 range. However, this reflects a significant decrease in value from where it once was. Both cards have been copied and reprinted significantly over the years, further dragging values down. If you're looking for this minor league gem, opting for a professionally graded card that has been authenticated by a reputable third-party service like SGC, BCG, or PSA is highly recommended.
Topps Tiffany cards were only available in factory set form. The sets themselves are easy to spot as they come in distinct royal blue boxes. But once they're opening, the differences are a little less obvious. Topps Tiffany cards are printed on a thicker card stock with a high-gloss finish. Much more rare, the 1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire commands a significant premium over the base version.
One of several cards McGwire has in the product, autographs from the Chirography subset, have always been popular with collectors. The regular version of the card is numbered to 50 while a Gold parallel is limited to 25 copies. Other than the numbering, there is very little difference between the two.
Mark McGwire Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Mark McGwire's authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Mounted Memories and Tristar. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Mark McGwire Cut Signature Exemplar
Mark McGwire Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Mark McGwire signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- A very hard to decipher signature in terms of letter-by-letter analysis.
- The signature consists of several looping letters and rounded lines, written on an even horizontal plane.
- The first character looks like a backwards and over-sized "r."
- The next character looks like a lover case cursive "l," which is followed by a larger more oval-shaped letter.
- A smaller version of the "r" shape intersects the larger oval "l" shape.
- Next is a small looking 's" shape, with a large tear-drop shaped loop below the horizontal plane.
- A near horizontal line extends to the right and finished the name.
- McGwire items are often found with numerous inscriptions.
Mark McGwire Signed Baseball Pricing
Mark McGwire Signed Bat Pricing
Mark McGwire Signed Jersey Pricing
Mark McGwire Signed Photograph Pricing
For general information and player statistics about Mark McGwire, visit: