Pete Rose Rookie Card Market Guide

Posted on 3/3/2023

Find out about trending fair market values for Pete Rose rookie cards and learn how grading can help enhance the quality of your sports card collection.

Pete Rose will always be remembered for establishing the MLB's all-time hitting record, with 4,256 hits during his remarkable 23-year career. Rose is also the MLB’s all-time leader in games played (3,562), at-bats (14,953) and outs (10,053), making him as famous for his longevity as he is for his signature energetic play style, which earned him the nickname "Charlie Hustle." In more than two decades on the field, he made the All-Star team 17 times, won three World Series championships, an NL MVP, two Gold Gloves and a host of other titles. While he was embroiled in controversy as a manager after his playing career came to an end, interest in Rose and his sports cards has remained high.

Rookie Batting Average King

In 1960, Rose joined the Class-AA Dayton Amateur League, achieving an astounding .626 batting average. This got the attention of Cincinnati Reds talent scouts, and Rose was eventually signed to the team in 1963, as he made his major league debut.

Rose began his tenure with the team that April. He finished the season with a .273 batting average and the National League Rookie of the Year Award. In 1965, Rose achieved more than 200 hits, a feat he repeated in 10 different seasons. Plus, he earned a .312 batting average that season, marking the first of Rose’s 15 years batting .300 or more. In 1969, he tied his career-best record of 16 homers in a season.  

Charlie Hustle and the Big Red Machine

During the 1970s, the Cincinnati Reds were known as the "Big Red Machine," thanks to powerhouse hitters like Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez and Joe Morgan. In 1973, the Reds made it to the National League Championship against the New York Mets. Although the Mets won, Rose walked off with the season’s MVP honors. With Rose, the Reds went on to win two World Series championships: in 1975 against the Boston Red Sox, where Rose won World Series MVP, and in 1976 against the New York Yankees. After joining the Philadelphia Phillies, Rose won his third World Series in 1980 when the Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals.

Following his few years in Philadelphia, Rose played one season with the Montreal Expos before returning to the Reds for the last three seaons of his career where he served as a player-manager. Rose brought an end to his playing career in 1986. However, he continued to manage the Reds until 1989, when the story broke that he'd been active in illegal baseball gambling. Rose also served a five-month prison sentence in 1990 for tax evasion. After numerous investigations and court cases, Rose was officially and permanently placed on baseball's ineligible list in 1989 and was also banned from Hall of Fame eligibility.

Are Pete Rose Rookie Cards Valuable?

As a great player whose legacy has been affected by scandal, Pete Rose remains in the news, although unfortunately not always for his baseball records. Yet his superb hitting skills, adept fielding and history of championships, alongside numerous records, have earned him a huge following. Today, fans continue to clamor for his early rookie cards, which are becoming increasingly hard to find in top condition.

Investment Potential for Pete Rose Rookie Cards

Rose played at a time when players typically only had two or three rookie cards issued during their debut season. Plus, he played in the minor leagues for a very short time, and a card wasn't issued for his Class AAA career. As a result, collectors only have four Rose rookie cards to choose from — Rose’s official rookie card, plus its Venezuelan version, his Rookie of the Year card and an "oddball" card issued by Kahn’s Wieners.  

Thanks to huge demand and extremely limited availability, Rose's rookie cards can carry a hefty price tag today. And as long as collector interest remains keen in Rose and the Cincinnati Reds, there should always be plenty of demand for his early cards, particularly rookie cards in top-notch condition.

Top Pete Rose Rookie Cards

There’s only one official Pete Rose rookie card: the iconic 1963 issue by Topps, where Rose shares the spotlight with Ken McMullen, Al Weis and Pedro Gonzalez. In addition, there’s also a second-year Topps card that celebrates Rose’s selection as Rookie of the Year.

Fortunately for collectors, Kahn’s Wieners also issued their own version of a first/second year card for Rose in 1964. On top of that, there’s a Venezuelan version of the Topps #125. For sports card enthusiasts, looking for these two additional cards can add a bit of excitement to the treasure hunt.

These are the cards to look for:

  • 1963 Topps #537
  • 1964 Topps #125
  • 1964 Kahn’s Wieners
  • 1964 Topps #125 (Venezuelan)

Since there weren’t more rookie cards issued for Rose, some companies have issued their own retro-themed cards celebrating Rose’s rookie year. New collectors might see these cards and be fooled into thinking they’re originals from 1963 or 1964, especially since they’re styled to replicate the look and graphics of these early cards. When you see these commemorative cards on the market, keep in mind that they were issued decades after Rose retired, and they won't have the value or historic interest of Rose's original early cards.

Also, you might occasionally see "fan-art" rookie cards on eBay and other auction sites. Sellers create these cards by copying old rookie photos of Rose and printing them onto customized private-issue cards. While these fan-generated cards can be fun to own, they do not have the historical or monetary value that genuine, official Rose baseball cards have, especially cards produced during Rose's playing years.

Here’s a look at the fair market values for Rose's rookie cards and how they're trending on popular tracking sites like SportsCardsPro, PriceGuide.Cards and Sports Card Investor. These fair market values are continually updated, so be aware that prices can change daily.

1963 Topps #537 Pete Rose/Pedro Gonzalez/Ken McMullen/Al Weis ($717,000)

This historic card is highly sought-after by collectors and is considered one of the most valuable baseball cards in the entire sports card industry. In fact, the value of this one card can account for a third of the value of the entire 1963 Topps set. The 1963 Topps #537 features a blue banner with the words "1963 Rookie Stars," with headshots of Pete Rose, Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen and Al Weis featured in red circles against a bright yellow background.

Be warned: Since this is an extremely valuable card, there are lots of counterfeits on the market. If you’re looking to buy one, make sure to purchase a graded, authenticated example from a reputable seller.

At SportsCardsPro, Ungraded trends at $1,030, Grade 7 at $4,104, Grade 8 at $14,990 and Grade 9 at $61,046. Grade 9.5 trends at $67,152, and Gem Mint at a staggering $717,000.

PriceGuide.Cards shows Ungraded trending at an average price of $411 and Graded at an average price of $1,804, with a Graded top price of $150,001 (grades unspecified).

At Sports Card Investor, prices are trending at a low of $1,499 and a top price of $150,000 (grades unspecified).

1964 Topps #125 Pete Rose ($36,000)

Although this was issued as a second-year card, it celebrates Rose’s Rookie of the Year Award, making it a desirable addition to any Pete Rose rookie collection. It features a headshot of a young Rose, on the field and smiling at the camera, with a graphic of the Rookie of the Year trophy on the lower right.

This appealing card is a great alternative for collectors who want a Rose rookie card but can’t afford tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for the elusive 1963 Topps #537.

Sports Card Investor shows prices trending at a low of $114 and a top price of $36,000 (grades unspecified).

At PriceGuide.Cards, Ungraded trends at an average price of $76. Graded trends at an average price of $405 and a top price of $34,500 (grades unspecified).

At SportsCardsPro, Ungraded trends at $153, Grade 7 at $1,375, Grade 8 at $3,843 and Grade 9 at $4,227. Grade 9.5 trends at $6,034, and Gem Mint at $22,212.

1964 Kahn's Wieners Pete Rose ($4,335)

This fun rarity features a great shot of Pete Rose bunting the baseball. Interestingly, there aren’t any other graphics, and there isn’t any lettering on the front — just the photo shot with a facsimile signature.

Although this is officially a second-year issue, it still serves as a desirable early card for enthusiasts who are starved for another rare Rose rookie card to add to their collection.

A search of online auctions shows sales trending at around $300 for Grade 3, $610 for Grade 5 and $4,335 for Gem Mint.

1964 Topps #125 Venezuelan ($2,350)

Issued for the Topps Venezuelan market, this is an exact copy of the US version. It can be tough to find an example in good condition without manufacturing flaws or condition issues, so when these cards hit the market in top shape, they can go for a pretty penny.

A search of online auctions shows sales trending up to $420 for Grade 1 and up to $2,350 for Grade 4.

Where Can I Find Pete Rose Rookie Cards?

You can find Rose's rookie cards and all types of memorabilia at sports shows, sports memorabilia retailers and online auctions. These are the most popular online auction sites for sports cards and collectibles:

Further, by searching Google, social media pages and collector forums, you can find out about sports cards and memorabilia shows coming to your area.

How Are Pete Rose Rookie Cards Graded?

Grading is vital when buying and selling Pete Rose rookie cards. Professional grading bodies like Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG) assess the cards and assign them a score based on the condition. Cards that score higher will often sell for more due to their authenticity and recognized grade. Sports cards are graded according to a numeric grading system ranging from Ungraded to Perfect 10. Here's how it works:

Perfect 10:This card is graded Gem Mint across all four grading criteria: corners, surface, edges and centering. It's the absolute best a card can be and is flawless even under 10x magnification.

Gem Mint: Gem Mint cards are perfect, with sharp corners, vibrant coloring and no damage or stains.

Grade 9.5: Near-Mint condition, typically with just one minor flaw.

Grade 9: Excellent condition, with just a couple of minor flaws.

Grades 8 and below: These have condition damage or flaws and are priced lower.

Raw or Ungraded: Raw cards have just been pulled from their packages and are new to the market. Ungraded cards haven't been through the grading process and may or may not be new to the market.

Sports card values are fueled by three components: rarity, condition and collector demand. However, collector demand is the prime factor that ultimately determines value. A card may be exceedingly rare and in flawless condition, but if there’s no collector interest, its value will stagnate, and it might even be virtually unsellable.

On the flip side, a card that’s more common and in lesser condition may be worth far more, especially if there's a lot of collector interest in that particular player.

Online auctions can fuel values as well. There’s a certain excitement about auctions that often compels people to bid record amounts for sports cards, and a bidding war between two enthusiasts can cause prices to skyrocket for a specific card, even long after the auction has ended.

Should I Get My Sports Cards Graded?

Professional grading can authenticate your cards and give them a recognized quality level. During the grading process, a certified expert evaluates each card by identifying any condition issues or manufacturing flaws. The card is given a grade that reflects this quality level, and the information is entered into an international database.

Typically, graded cards are easier to sell than Ungraded, and often have higher values because their quality is certified and established. And even if you don’t plan to sell your cards, grading can give them an authenticity that’s recognized throughout the industry and the collector’s market.

Many collectors who have no intention of selling their cards get them graded for their own personal satisfaction, as well as for posterity. By getting your cards graded, you’ll have a collection that’s certified authentic, with an established quality that will always be recognized by future generations. For further information on CSG's 10-point Grading Scale and to find out more about our industry-leading services, visit

*Any mention of "investment potential" is for entertainment only and should not be construed as investment advice. The Certified Collectibles Group does not provide investment advice and is not liable for any buy, sell or trade decisions made by any parties.

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