Written By: William Morales
If someone were to ask you “What’s up?”, your answer better be “Sports cards are up!” because they are BOOMING. Those baseball cards you begged your mom to buy you at the dollar store when you were seven years old might actually be enough to cover you for life. Let’s hope you can find that binder and blow the dust off them before it’s too late.
Since the start of the pandemic, trading cards have hit on all-time high in value and continue to grow each day. Gary Vaynerchuk, the entrepreneur and motivational speaker, predicted this entirely when in 2019 he said: “I’ve been talking about how sports cards are coming back in culture. I really believe that in certain categories, they’re going to explode in value in the next few years and could make a great alternative investment.” (Garyvaynerchuk.com)
In a very similar fashion to the stock market, sports cards (and Pokémon cards) have structured a market of their own, where cards are traded in a supply-and-demand system. Based on the stature and rarity of a specific card, it could sell for a nickel or two, or it could possibly sell for literal millions. Many aspects come into account when selling and opening cards: popularity, potential, manufacturing, and grading. Cards are being bought and sold to either collectors who love these players and want to complete sets, or to traders, who buy cards and are seeing it increase in value for years to come.
Two different types of cards are the most common to sell for big profits: Superstars and promising rookies. The first is more understandable to the public eye. Players like Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and others, will go for more money based on the rarity of the specific card. Base cards come in unlimited quantities, while numbered cards, varying from 1/500, 1/100, or even 1/1 (meaning how many cards were made), go for more depending on how many were released. The other attention-grabbing cards are the youngsters that are shaping into the next big superstars. In the NBA, freshmen and sophomores like Ja Morant, Lamelo Ball, and Zion Williamson are going for hundreds even with unlimited quality. If you are looking to purchase one of these with a signature or limited quantity, be prepared because you will most likely see 3 zeroes at the end of that number.
Many sellers are comparing the sports card market to the day-trading stock market due to the volatility of these cards. To put this into perspective, last week the most expensive card transfer of all-time happened. In one year’s, time, from March 2020 to March 2021, this card increased in value by nearly 100%. The card that broke the record sold for a whopping $2.25 million dollars. The unanimous G.O.A.T. of football and now the G.O.A.T. of sports cards, Tom Brady, was the card that was sold. The card sold in March, at the very beginning of the pandemic, sold for $1.32 million due to its 1/100 rarity, a 9/10 grading, the autograph, and the fact that it’s Tom Brady and it was from his rookie year. The identical card, although a different serial number, sold this march for double the value due to the longevity the card has been around and because of Tom Brady’s seventh ring. But this jump in price was amplified due to the volatile leap in trading card value.
Now, I will repeat myself. If you ever had sports cards as a kid, go find them and check to see if there is any value there. The Tom Brady card was printed in 2000, so it’s very possible it’s stashed away in some box in the attic. Even Pokémon cards have jumped in value; fan favorite first edition Charizard’s, printed in 1999, are selling for near $50,000 currently. The value is high right now but could hit rock bottom at any second. Take advantage of these times, when sports memorabilia is the heat of the market.
If you’re looking to start your sports cards journey check out the following links to buy and sell sports cards: