Top 4 Important Insights from Mike Trout Rookie Card Value Analysis

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I recently wrote a post on Mike Trout Rookie Cards and while I was writing that post, I identified several interesting insights related to Mike Trout rookie card value and how his cards have appreciated over time.

Because I felt like the insights were helpful to me, I thought I would share them here with you. By sharing them, I hope to provide you with insights that will help you make more informed rookie card purchase decisions. So, here they are. My top 4 insights from my Mike Trout rookie card value analysis

1. At least 8 Mike Trout Rookie and Prospect Cards are valued at more than $1,000

First, I found that the value of at least 8 Mike Trout PSA 10 base rookie or prospect cards is more than $1,000, excluding parallels and refractors.  

RankCardTypePrice*
12009 Bowman Chrome Draft #BDPP89Prospect$5,679
22009 Bowman Sterling Prospects #MTProspect$4,922
32009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition #57Prospect$4,383
42011 Bowman Chrome #175Rookie$2,654
52011 Bowman Sterling #22Rookie$2,607
62011 Topps Update #US175Rookie$2,400
72011 Topps Finest #94Rookie$1,320
82011 Bowman Draft #101Rookie$1,311

*Prices are estimates based on historical transactions as of November 2020

Not only are 8 cards valued at more $1,000, but 3 cards are valued at more than $4,000. Of the cards that are valued at more than $4,000 all of them are Mike Trout prospect cards from 2009, while his rookie cards are less expensive.

Implication for rookie card investing:

Since the value of at least 8 Mike Trout rookie and prospect cards is more than $1,000, investors should consider buying multiple card brands of players who they are investing in.

For example, I believe Fernando Tatis Jr. and Bo Bichette will both have strong MLB careers and therefore, I am buying Topps Chrome, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Sterling, and more of both players.

2. At least 3 Mike Trout Rookie or Prospect Cards have a greater than 50% annual return since 2012

Second, I found that the value of at least 3 Mike Trout PSA 10 base rookie or prospect cards appreciated at more than 50% annually since 2012, excluding parallels and refractors.

RankCardValue: 2012*Value: 2020*CAGR
12011 Bowman Chrome #175$50$2,50054%
22011 Topps Update #US175$50$2,40054%
32009 Bowman Chrome Draft #BDPP89$450$18,00051%

*Prices are estimates based on historical transactions as of November 2020

Not only did 3 cards appreciate at more than 50% annually since 2012, but the cards were a mix of both rookie and prospect cards, as well as cards that could be purchased at prices from $50 – $450 in 2012.

For example, the Mike Trout 2011 Topps Update #175 was sold for only $50 in 2012, while the Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft # BDPP89 was sold for $450 in the same year.

Implication for rookie card investing:

Since at least 3 Mike Trout rookie or prospect cards appreciated at more than 50% annually since 2012, the conclusion is the same as the previous point: investors should consider buying multiple card brands of players who they are investing in.

In addition to buying multiple brands, it is also interesting that the lower price point cards, the 2011 Bowman Chrome and 2011 Topps Update, appreciated more than the higher price point card, the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft. Therefore, investors who want to invest in a specific player do not need to buy the most expensive card of that player to realize a return on their purchase.

3. Appreciation on the value of Mike Trout Rookie and Prospect Cards varies, despite having similar values in 2012

Third, I found that Mike Trout Rookie cards appreciated at different rates since 2012, despite having approximately the same purchase price in 2012.

RankCardValue: 2012Value: 2020CAGR
12011 Bowman Chrome #175$50$2,50054%
22011 Topps Update #US175$50$2,40054%
32011 Topps Finest #94$50$1,40045%
42011 Bowman Draft #101$50$1,00039%

Of the 4 rookie cards analyzed, the annual growth rate varied from 39% – 54% since 2012. For example, the 2011 Bowman Draft #101 appreciated at only a 39% annual growth rate, while the 2011 Bowman Chrome #175 appreciated at a 54% annual growth rate.

The difference in annual growth rate at least partially driven by the difference in PSA 10 population: the 2011 Bowman Draft #101 has 1,168, while the 2011 Bowman Chrome #175 has 441.  

Implication for rookie card investing:

Since Mike Trout rookie cards appreciate at different rates since 2012, investors need to consider the brand of rookie card when making investment decisions.

For example, the 2011 Topps Update #US175 appreciated at 54% because it is the flagship Mike Trout rookie card, while the 2011 Bowman Chrome #175 appreciated at 54% because of the low PSA 10 population. Therefore, investors need to consider both ‘true rookie card’ classification as well as card supply when buying cards.

4. Card values are significantly higher than they were in 2012, even when adjusted for inflation

As I discussed earlier in this article, at least 4 PSA 10 base Mike Trout rookie cards were bought and sold for $50 in 2012, that is equal to ~$57 today when adjusted for inflation and is cheap relative the price of baseball rookie cards today.

In order to conclude this is a cheap price, I compared the baseball statistics and card prices of Mike Trout in 2012 with Luis Robert in 2020 because Luis Robert was the hottest MLB star in the 2020 season.

PlayerYearAgeGHRRBIHR / GRBI / GBA
Mike Trout20122013930830.220.600.326
Luis Robert2020225611310.200.550.233

After I compared the baseball statistics, I made several observations, specifically Trout…

  • Was 2 years younger than Luis Robert in his rookie season
  • Had a better batting average, as well as more HRs and RBIs per game than Luis Robert
  • Won the AL rookie of the year and finished 2nd in MVP voting, while Luis Robert only finished 2nd in AL rookie of the year

After looking at the baseball statistics, I then looked at card prices and found that a PSA 10 base Topps Chrome Luis Robert rookie card is valued at ~$110. In comparison to Mike Trout’s rookie cards in 2012, even after adjusting for inflation, Luis Robert cards are double the value. Double! And this price is despite poorer stats from Luis Robert during his rookie season.

Implication for rookie card investing:

Since baseball card values are significantly higher than they were in 2012, investors need to set realistic expectations for expected value growth and be cautions.

To set realistic expectations for expected growth, investors need to consider the length they plan to keep the card and how well they expect the player to perform in the future.

For example, the above analysis would indicate that demand for baseball cards is significantly higher today than it was in 2012, but there is no guarantee that demand will continue to be at this level. As a result, an investor who is planning to hold the card for multiple years needs to account for the possibility that overall demand for baseball cards may decrease, and as a result the value of your card will also decrease.

Conclusion from Mike Trout rookie card value analysis

I shared 4 important insights in relation to the value of Mike Trout rookie cards and showed how those insights can help you make more informed card investment decisions.

And here is a recap of the 4 most important insights for you to know:

1. At least 8 Mike Trout Rookie and Prospect Cards are valued at more than $1,000

Action: Investors should consider buying multiple card brands of players they are investing in (e.g., Topps Chrome, Bowman Chrome, etc.)

2. At least 3 Mike Trout Rookie or Prospect Cards have a greater than 50% annual return since 2012

Action: When buying multiple card brands, investors can buy at a variety of price points because if a player performs well, all his cards will appreciate, not just the most expensive cards.  

3. Appreciation on the value of Mike Trout Rookie and Prospect Cards varies, despite having similar values in 2012

Action: When buying multiple card brands, investors need to consider “true rookie card” status and card supply via population reports (e.g., PSA Population Report)

4. Card values are significantly higher than they were in 2012, even when adjusted for inflation

Action: Investors need to set realistic expectations and be cautious with investing in modern rookie cards  

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