Cy Young is considered the grandfather of the great pitchers of the 20th century. Young, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson were the premier pitchers of the first 15 years of the era. Of course, Young's dominance and greatness haven't been forgotten. Baseball's top pitching award was named after him. Cy Young baseball cards and autographs have a very large 'cool factor'. After all, how many die-hard fans have an authentic card from Young's playing days or an autograph of this icon?
No one even comes close to Young’s 511 wins or the fact that he had over 800 decisions, something unfathomable in today’s era. Of course, pitchers were aided by the spit ball and later the scuff ball.
Most Young baseball cards are at least 100 years old. He lived a relatively long life, but his autograph remains in high demand. For a card collector, a Young card or autograph is almost like owning something from one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Collectability of Cy Young Baseball Cards and Memorabilia
Needless to say, anyone who collects icons, especially those who appreciate pitching, wants to add Cy Young to their collection. He dominated in nearly every stat used today to measure the worth of a pitcher.
The challenge for many is the lack of availability of his cards. Most of the pre-war cards made of him were from the years 1909 – 1913.
Autographs are equally challenging to uncover. When Young retired from baseball, he went home to Ohio to work on his family farm. Although he participated in several baseball-related activities, for the most part he stayed out of the limelight.
What is mind-boggling is that despite the extreme scarcity of autographs and authentic cards from his era, Cy Young cards are very reasonable priced, at lower grades. For investors, high grade cards are a solid pick. He's not a name lost to the history books because of his attachment to the award that annually honors the best pitchers in both leagues and his records endure.
Cy Young autographs
Cy Young's career began before the start of the 20th century and he lived into the 1950s, leaving plenty of time for autographs, especially after it became a more popular hobby in the 1920's and 30's. Young autographs are not difficult to find, but there is strong demand.
Authenticated, cut signatures of this Hall of Famer usually start at around $1,500 and go up from there. Well-preserved signatures on baseballs and bats are extremely rare, with selling prices well above listed values.
Click here to see PSA authenticated Cy Young autographs available on eBay.
Original Cy Young Baseball Cards
Young's career straddled the turn from 19th to 20th century but he pitched long enough to appear on issues that are relatively easy to find today as well as some very scarce issues.
Below are some issues from Cy's career that you might consider since they are relatively easy to obtain if you have some disposable income.
Click the title of each card issue to see those cards for sale.
1909-1911 T206: Young appeared on three different cards in the T206 set. The portraits provide an excellent look at the great pitcher, right down to the center part in his hair. Although higher grades quickly vault into the five figures, lower grade cards are attainable for the entry-level investor. Those in lower grade can be had for $250-400. While one shouldn't expect a huge jump in value, even over 5-10 years, it's s hard to fathom any legitimate vintage Cy Young card dropping in price, especially at that rate.
1911 T205: Issued immediately after the T206 cards, these cousins are a little harder to find. There is only one Cy Young card in the set, a portrait shot that really jumps out at you. It's a striking card with the gold borders that give it an ornate, elegant look. High grade examples are especially scarce because of that and are solid investments.
One might push for higher grade, though, just to make sure what you've got is appealing. T206 cards are among the most readily available in higher grades today, thus creating the opportunity for investment.
1911 T3 Turkey Red: This larger sized 'cabinet' card, like nearly all others of this era, is a lithograph picture and prone to corner wear because of the size. Lower to mid-grade examples will cost around $3,500-4,000 but a nice looking low grade example can often be had for a little over $1,000. The T3s are drop dead gorgeous and very popular with collectors.
E Cards: We really like the caramel cards of Young, especially the 1909 E90-1. For every one of these that hits the market, there are dozens of T206s. There are a couple of E cards that show Cy hitting rather than pitching which is interesting. While the E cards aren't as popular with set collectors, they're harder to find and the coolness factor is off the charts. Our favorite is the E90-1 which shows him in his Boston Americans uniform and can be found in low grade for around $1,000 (see that one here).
Sweet Caporal Pins: The little black and white discs seem readily available and are really gaining in popularity. Issued around the same time as the tobacco and caramel cards, they are very reasonably priced, even in high grade. It's hard to imagine these going anywhere but up in value as time goes on.
We're bullish on Cy Young cards without any real preference. Buying the best looking examples in the highest grade is always good advice but even for collectors on a budget, there are some great-looking cards of this baseball icon that will be great to have and hold.