He’s at the top of the game, a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, the epitome of a five-tool player. He’s drawn comparisons to the game’s historical elite, legends like Willie Mays, Rickey Henderson and that Cardboard God, Mickey Mantle. Yet this humble legend of the lumber prefers to let his bat do the talking. And judging from his stats, he’s the loudest in the league. He is, quite literally, a big fish in a small SoCal pond.
From the moment this transcendent talent started to set the league ablaze, his rookie cards have seen similarly scorching values. Mike Trout, the consensus best in the game, is among the most widely collected of modern players. And as the hobby goes, such popularity tends to come at a cost – for collectors, that is. Predictably, Trout rookies tend to come at a steeper price than cards of many of his contemporaries. In fact, there have even been ultra-rare, serial-numbered variants that have sold for six-figure prices.
Fortunately, there are rookie cards of the athletic center fielder that Trout fans can add to their collections without having to financially swim upstream. And many of them reside within Mike Trout’s rookie set on the PSA Set Registry.
We’ve plucked four of the more affordable rookie cards from the shallows of Trout’s eight-card rookie set. Let’s jump in and go for a swim.
2011 Finest #94
- PSA population: 193 PSA GEM-MT 10
- Average cost for PSA 10: $400
Besides his power and defensive prowess, the 6-foot-2 center fielder is known for his blazing speed. He’s even been clocked at over 20 mph. That’s a fast fish. This card celebrates that speed, a key part of Trout’s game. As one of the more affordable additions of the set, 2011 Finest can be yours for around $400 in PSA 10. For those looking to get into the Mike Trout mania, this card is a great place to start.
Don’t sleep on this Trout card. Though it’s among the most affordable in the set, it’s still a favorite with collectors.
You gotta love Finest…since 1993 and the beginning of the refractor craze, Finest has been the hallmark of ultra-premium sets.
— Andrew Culp (@wxdroid) July 25, 2019
It’s true; the design and overall look of the card are hard not to dig.
2011 Bowman Chrome Draft #101
- PSA population: 1,040 PSA GEM-MT 10
- Average cost for PSA 10: $350
In this Bowman offering, the five-tool stud is seen gearing up to place bat on ball with his trademark quick, short-armed swing. The popularity of the card is reflected in the second largest population of PSA 10s on the list, at 1,040 and counting. (Take a wild guess which card on this list has the largest population.) Though not hard to come by, this sought-after rookie issue is another great place to start your Trout collection. Pictured is the Chrome version, but the card is also available in a paper version.
Some collectors are drawn to the crisp image of Trout looking primed to crush the baseball.
2011 Bowman Chrome #175
- PSA population: 388 PSA GEM-MT 10
- Average cost for PSA 10: $600
Like many Trout rookies, this card comes in a school of Trout variants that can keep even the most completionist of collectors up at night. For the sake of keeping these cards in the “Starter Kit” wheelhouse, however, we’ll focus on the pictured base version of this card. With its glossy surface and black on red aesthetic, it’s no wonder why the card is a huge draw among collectors, a fact reflected in its $600-and-climbing value. Note the comparatively small PSA 10 population; those black borders are prone to chipping and can make for a tough grade.
Compared to the Mike Trout card everyone is talking about, it’s easy to overlook this eye-catching Bowman Chrome issue.
I feel the Trout Bowman Chrome #175(Red Shirt) card is under rated. I also believe it to be the rarest of the RC cards shown and I hope that will help it’s value in the long run!
— James Kambic (@JKambic) July 26, 2019
2011 Topps Update #US175
- PSA population: 4,196 PSA GEM-MT 10
- Average cost for PSA 10: $800
It’s been compared to the contemporary version of Ken Griffey Jr.’s iconic ’89 Upper Deck rookie, in that it inspired a whole new generation to collect. And despite a tremendous print run, the card seems to defy the conventional “rarity equals value” mindset. With each career benchmark and Hall of Fame comparison, prices continue to soar. This is, without a doubt, Mike Trout’s most popular rookie card, and the case can be made that it’s established itself as the most popular rookie card in today’s game.
Mike Trout’s modern classic, true to form, also comes in a slew of parallels – 14 total – all of which see the righty following through a mighty swing. If you were to forgo the set and just aim for one card, look no further; this is the Trout card to add to your collection. Will it prove to be that generational, pop culture hit akin to, say, the ’52 Topps Mantle? Only time will tell. But the power-hitting, speedy center fielder has made a pretty convincing case thus far.
Just look at what some members of the PSA social media community had to say. Words like “iconic,” “timeless” and “Holy Grail” are used to convey the card’s importance in the hobby. That’s a pretty strong case.
The 2011 Topps Update is a timeless classic. Sleek design, white borders, and a true iconic card, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle of our generation.
— Beth Dumas (@chubeans) July 26, 2019
This collector eloquently summed up all of the reasons the Topps Update is Trout’s most popular issue:
The name Mike Trout reverberates throughout the game, the hobby and even into the mainstream. As the consensus best player in baseball today, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, collector or not, who hasn’t heard of him. Yes, in terms of price point some of these cards stretch the limits of our typical Starter Set inclusions. But these Trout rookies are on the more affordable side, and if the trend continues you might want to grab your net and start scooping up those fish cards sooner rather than later. Why not get your feet wet and try your hand at Mike Trout’s Rookie set on the PSA Set Registry?Start Your Set Today
*PSA Population Report stats and pricing reflective as of June 2019.