Lou Gehrig, known as the “The Iron Horse”, was a legendary mainstay of the New York Yankees. His consistent performance and good nature helped elevate baseball from the depths of the 1919-20 Black Sox scandal, back into the hearts of millions of Americans. His untimely death in the summer of 1941, from ALS (what would later be called “Lou Gehrig’s disease”), weighed on the hearts of baseball fans and every day citizens of the world. In many ways, his death marked the end of an era. The best Lou Gehrig baseball cards and autographs are extremely desirable and have proven to be a worthwhile investment for those who can spend time finding top quality items at the lowest possible price.
Collectibility of Gehrig Cards and Memorabilia
Gehrig played his entire career with his hometown team, the New York Yankees. His cards are snapped up by buyers who collect Yankees’ players but in reality, Gehrig is simply an icon to baseball fans more than 75 years after his playing career came to an end. His durability lends well to collectors of Cal Ripken, as they expand their collections to the man with whom he'll forever be identified.
Even though he did not achieve 500 home runs or 3,000 hits, coming up just short with each, collectors often add Gehrig to their lifetime home run or hit player subsets. Obviously, collectors of Hall of Fame players find Gehrig a must while those who admire his courage and appreciate his stature in the game are drawn to Gehrig's original cards and memorabilia.
Investing in Gehrig Cards
Unlike Mickey Mantle or Roberto Clemente, Gehrig’s career took place between two incredible eras: The tobacco card era, and the post-war era. A large chunk of his career was played during the Great Depression. As a result, production runs from card makers were limited, reducing the population of available Gehrig cards.
Cards that earn a grade of 7 or higher are challenging to find. Those investors, who are lucky enough to obtain high-grade versions of his cards, can feel comfortable knowing that they should continue to appreciate over time. Click the links below to see Gehrig cards and autographs for sale on eBay.
Best Lou Gehrig Cards and and Autographs to Watch
1934 Goudey #37 -- This card features an excellent portrait of a smiling Gehrig and is one of the most beautiful cards of the pre-War era. The 1933 and 1934 Goudey baseball sets are in high demand with investors, simply because they are so heavily populated by Hall of Fame inductees. As always, buying the highest graded example you can afford is good strategy. Gehrig has a second card in the set, but it's this one that seems to resonate most with collectors for its striking look. Still, buying either is a winning strategy. Gehrig's place in American history is secure.
1933 Goudey #160 - This issue shows Lou in a batting stance. Fairly easy to obtain for the investor, expect to pay close to $7,000 for a near mint 7, $4,000-$5,000 for a nice '6' and $2,000-$3,000 for a card in the '4' area. The old Goudey Gehrig cards aren't rare but are always desirable. Again, if you can afford cards at higher levels, do consider them but don't hesitate to grab a nice-looking Gehrig no matter what the label says.
1933 DeLong #7 - Not nearly as popular with collectors as the Goudeys---or is it? It's extremely hard to find in anything beyond the VG (3) or VG-EX (4) range so you'll have some competition if one comes up. The DeLong set is attractive and rare--and the Gehrig card is underrated compared to some of his more readily available issues.
Gehrig appears on few other cards, but all are collectible and worthy of attention including issues like this 1925 Exhibit card, which essentially serves as Gehrig's rookie card since no gum cards were issued until later in his career.
Lou Gehrig autographs are among the most prized--and a solid investment if you can be patient. Obviously, his death at a young age means there simply aren't that many out there. Gehrig has a beautiful autograph, unlike today's scribbling stars.
Single-signed baseballs are rare, but dual signed Ruth-Gehrig balls are fairly "common" if you can use that term. Look for Gehrig autographs that have been authenticated by PSA/DNA or James Spence but also read the story behind the signature and you can also try autograph experts like Jim Stinson for a 'quick opinion'. Lou Gehrig baseball cards and autographs will simply always be in demand by fans and collectors and will likely continue to rise in value.