By Candice Choi, AP Personal Finance Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The boxes of baseball cards you so carefully collected are invaluable for the memories they evoke. But do they have any real value?
Many collectors hope their hobbies will one day bring them a fortune. And with the recent sales of Batman and Superman comic books for about $1 million each, the fantasy of a big windfall may have crossed your mind.
Here's what anyone with a collection, or looking to start one, should know.
SIZING UP VALUE
Three big factors generally determine a card's value: the player pictured, the card's condition and its rarity.
Hall of Famers and marquee names are obviously more sought after, but even a player no one remembers can command thousands of dollars.
That's because collectors aim to complete sets, or obtain all cards issued in a given year or edition. So a 1963 card of a forgotten player can still be valuable.
A card's condition can also produce big swings in price, but more on that later.
You should also know that vintage cards — generally those from before 1970 — are in greater demand since they're harder to come by.
Cards from after that era are easier to find because companies started ramping up production, notes Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas.
Collectors in later years also realized cards could be valuable, so it's easier to find modern cards in good condition.
That said, even relatively new cards can still have value. A 1993 Derek Jeter rookie card in near mint condition, for example, can be worth about $350.