How To Collect Baseball Cards

So you want to start collecting? My beginner’s guide to the hobby

Even though I seldom share information about my baseball card collecting interest in my everyday life, when I do, there are two things I regularly hear: “I have some old cards stashed away somewhere, I wonder what they are worth” and “I would like to get into it, but I don’t know where to start.” All different types of collectors can be found in the hobby, from those who PC (personally collect) vintage cards to those who collect their favorite prospects, as well as those who prefer to chase IP autographs (in-person) and the increasingly popular flipper who is looking to make a few extra dollars.

Regardless of your motive, there is almost certainly something for you out there somewhere.

What should my first step be?

Do you have a favorite player that you’d want to acquire memorabilia from?

  • (prospects, rookies, veterans, hall of famers).
  • Collecting is all about personal choice and what you enjoy doing, therefore there is no right or wrong way to go about it at all.
  • Topps is the only firm in the world that has been granted a baseball license (which was just recently renewed).
  • Bowman is a division of the Topps corporation that specializes in prospect and rookie card production.
  • Leaf is another firm that, while being unlicensed in all sports, produces some attractive trading cards.
  • Online shopping is also an option.
  • They will, however, include limited-edition items available exclusively in retail locations as an incentive to purchase, in addition to the added benefit of convenience.

Hobby- A business that sells baseball cards, such as a local card shop (LCS), sells the more costly hobby boxes, which include guaranteed hits, that are more expensive than regular boxes.

Jumbo and Super Jumbo- These boxes look and function similarly to hobby boxes, but they are far more costly and contain significantly more hits.

It should be noted that hobby and jumbo boxes are also available for purchase online from merchants such as blowoutcards.com.

Grading Sending cards to one of two grading firms (Beckett or PSA) and submitting them for a number grade from 1-10 is one way to ascertain the condition of a card.

Since lately, PSA has expanded its services to include signature grading as well.

Despite the fact that cards can be submitted to any business, Beckett is more focused on current cards, whilst PSA is more concerned with antique cards.

Not only may this raise the value of the card, but it can also provide protection once the card has been placed in the plastic slab of ice.

Obviously, Ebay is the first and most apparent option.

comc.com(Check Out My Cards) is another excellent alternative if you are seeking cards at a lower cost and without the need to pay a recurring delivery fee.

When you are ready to have everything you have purchased shipped to you, the cost is as little as $3.99 per package!

to 4:00 p.m., there is a Collectibles exhibition in the Atlanta region called the East Cobb Sports Collectibles Event.

You may view their schedule by clicking on the link below.

Ebay is the place to visit if you want the most up-to-date sales information.

When it comes to determining the value of a card based on recent sales, Ebay comps are regarded to be the best alternative.

Then scroll down until you see a box that reads “Show Only” and “Sold Items.” If you check that option, you will see recently sold goods that match your search criteria.

Suggestions for Collections: Inquire about signing autographs of your favorite players—these are typically affordable and a terrific way to learn more about your company.

Bobbleheads Baseballs signed by the players or other memorabilia Sets of a new product in its entirety (Bowman for example) Autographs from members of a champion team (such as the 1995Atlanta Braves) During each home stand, they are handed away at Suntrust Park and may be a great collecting idea for children.

A excellent way to get autographs from players is to have their ticket stubs from important games. Photographs of you with your favorite athletes Send me a tweet with any questions or images of your favorite item using the handle @slmsolo.

8 Survival Tips for Collectors Returning to the World of Sports Cards

Even though I seldom share information about my baseball card collecting interest in my everyday life, when I do, there are two things I regularly hear: “I have some old cards stashed away somewhere, I wonder what they are worth,” and “I would like to get into it, but I don’t know where to begin.” All various sorts of collectors can be found in the hobby, from those who PC (personally collect) old cards to those who collect their favorite prospects, as well as those who like to seek IP autographs (in-person) and the increasingly popular flipper who is looking to make a quick cash.

  • Everyone, regardless of their reason, will most likely find something they enjoy.
  • I don’t know where to begin.
  • In the event that you have a preferred squad and desire a variety, what level of collectibles are you looking for?
  • So, you want to start a collection of modern-day playing cards, historical playing cards, or memorabilia.
  • Company Topps and Panini are the two most well-known trading card manufacturers.
  • The only firm that is permitted to include club names and emblems on its baseball cards is Topps, as previously stated.
  • Topps is unable to use the names or logos of the NFL or NBA since Panini possesses the sole licensing for those two sports, and vice versa.

Card Boxes Come in a Variety of Designs In retail retailers such as Target and Walmart, only a few baseball card goods, such as the Topps Series 1 set, may be found.

As an incentive to buy, they will include limited-edition items available exclusively in retail locations, as well as the added benefit of convenience.

If you own a baseball card store, or if you work at a local card shop (LCS), you can purchase the more costly hobby boxes, which include guaranteed hits.

Jumbo and Super Jumbo- These boxes look and feel similar to hobby boxes, but they are far more costly and contain significantly more hits.

In addition, hobby and jumbo boxes are available for purchase online from vendors such as blowoutcards.com.

Grading Sending cards to one of two grading firms (Beckett or PSA) and submitting them for a number grade from 1-10 is one way to ascertain the condition of the card.

Since lately, PSA has expanded its services to include signature grading.

Beckett is more focused on current cards, whilst PSA is more focused on historic cards, despite the fact that both companies accept submissions.

Once the card is placed in the plastic slab, it may not only boost its worth, but it can also provide protection.

Obviously, Ebay is the first and most apparent selection.

comc.com(Check Out My Cards) is another excellent alternative if you are seeking cards at a lower cost and without the need to pay recurring shipping charges.

You may get a shipment of everything you’ve purchased for as little as $3.99 when you’re ready to receive it.

to 4:00 p.m., there is a Collectibles exhibition in the Atlanta region called the East Cobb Sports Collectibles Show.

Below is a list of their upcoming performances.

For the most up-to-date sales statistics, Ebay is the place to check out.

If you’re trying to determine the value of a card based on recent sales, Ebay comps are generally considered to be the most accurate alternative.

Then scroll down until you see a box that reads “Show Only” next to “Sold Items.” You will see recently sold goods that match your search criteria if you check that box.

Ideas for a collection: Inquire about signing autographs of your favorite players—these are typically affordable and a terrific way to learn more about your company.

Bobbleheads Baseballs or other artifacts signed by the players.

A good way to get autographs from players is to have their ticket stubs from important games. Images of you with your favorite athletes Questions or pictures of your favorite item can be sent to me through Twitter @slmsolo.

1. Don’t Chase Everything

When taken as a whole, there are a large number of new items available. Whatever you gather, don’t even think about trying to collect everything. Even if you win the Powerball lottery, you’ll never be able to escape the rabbit hole. It was possible to genuinely follow everything associated with your favorite club or individual up until roughly the mid-1990s. In fact, you could probably piece together every major set, including inserts, if you tried hard enough. Cards were also far less expensive per box back then.

  • The number of autographs was restricted to a bare minimum.
  • Do you see where I’m heading with this?
  • Despite the fact that there are only a limited number of firms who produce them, each release is meant to appeal to a specific sort of collector.
  • It’s just not doable at this time.
  • A good objective should be feasible, therefore be realistic in your expectations.
  • Is there a certain player?
  • Autographs?

Begin with this.

Essentially, you’re seeking for a niche inside a niche in order to find success.

There’s no need to buy every single thing on the market if you notice a huge list of options before of you.

To a certain extent, sampling is beneficial.

However, you should not feel obligated to invest in every product.

Choosing the singles method may not provide the same level of charm, but it will assist you in narrowing down your collection’s emphasis.

Among these are theBeckett Marketplace andeBay, to name a couple.

Most of them are directed at pretty particular audiences.

Others go after folks who are solely interested in signatures.

Everything is different this time around. Consequently, even when there is a huge list of new releases almost every week, take a look at them and ask yourself what the product’s target audience is and whether or not it is consistent with how you want to collect.

2. Yes, Some Cards Are Very Expensive

With the exception of a number of exceptions, new sports cards are no longer sold for a dollar a pack. However, this is to be anticipated. What could be more difficult to comprehend is the extent to which some things have risen in price. It all started with Upper Deck Baseball, which broke the dollar barrier in 1989. Packs increase in price until they reach $5. After that, we were promised an autograph every pack, and all sorts of additional barriers were broken. It has only been in the last decade or so that things have really begun to heat up.

  1. It was then 2012-13 Panini Flawless Basketball that became the first team to reach $1,000.
  2. A collection of Upper Deck All-Time Greats Master Collection cards from 2016 cost around $15,000.
  3. Yes, there has been an increase in pricing.
  4. There are card collectors out there who have the financial wherewithal to spend hundreds of dollars on cards without giving it much thought.
  5. It is a matter of personal preference.
  6. I accept the reality that the top-tier items are out of my price range and move on with my business.
  7. These high-priced items are similar to every other set that is released in that they are not for everyone.
  8. With so much variety available, focus on the things that you enjoy doing.
  9. The same may be said if it’s a clearance box from the previous year (bonus tip: being patient frequently pays off).

3. You’re Probably Not Going to Retire Off of That Stash of ’80s Cards

The 1980s and early 1990s saw the creation of some truly spectacular sets. They also created a large number of playing cards. If you’ve been putting away a collection of playing cards for the past 30 years as part of your retirement fund, you’re sure to be let down. There are few exceptions, but for the most part, trading cards from this era are difficult to sell for a reasonable amount of money. The explanation for this is a simple matter of supply and demand. The majority of people that desire 1991 Pro Set Football have it.

Simply said, there is an abundance of stuff available, but no one is interested in purchasing it.

Get a feel of what it was that piqued your interest about collecting. Everything, with the exception of that pesky money-making element, is taken care of by simply enjoying the cards.

4. Making Money Isn’t Easy

Some people enter the world of sports cards with the expectation of making quick money. However, you will likely discover very soon that making money isn’t as simple as simply opening a box, selling what’s inside, then going on to the next box and pocketing the earnings. The process of making money off of sports cards is difficult – at least not in any substantial quantity. Those who are most successful in producing money in this field, like those in any other industry, seek for chances. They fill in the holes that other people aren’t filling.

  1. What are the requirements of local collectors, if you’re concentrating on them?
  2. Even if selling is a sporadic aspect of your collecting (as it is for the vast majority of us in some form), take the time to research the best location and method of selling for you.
  3. If you’re buying a box only on the basis of the possibility of a return, you’re likely to lose money soon.
  4. Consequently, if you’re searching for a business opportunity, do your homework beforehand.
  5. In this sense, the worst-case situation of being assigned to a scrub player doesn’t appear to be as horrible.
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5. Take Your Time

Sports card collecting is a popular pastime among those who want to make quick money. While it is possible to make money, you will most likely discover very soon that it is not as simple as ripping open a box, selling the contents, moving on to the next box, and pocketing the cash. The process of making money off of sports cards is difficult – at least in terms of earning a large sum. Those that are most successful in producing money in this field, like those in any other industry, search for new chances.

  • That is also critical in this situation.
  • What can you provide that is unique if someone is searching for you online?
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that this might be a costly pastime at the present.
  • Burnout can occur fast after experiencing substantial financial losses on a few of occasions.

You should stick to what you love and what is within your financial means if you’re here solely for a recreational reason. In this sense, the worst-case situation of being assigned to a scrub player doesn’t appear to be so terrible.

6. Where Did All the Card Companies Go?

A large number of producers produced goods for a wide range of sports during the heyday of the industry. Exclusive agreements are now in place with all five of the main North American sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS). Topps is synonymous with baseball. Basketball and football are available from Panini (starting with 2016 products). Upper Deck is devoted to hockey. All other leagues and organizations are able to benefit from these exclusives as well. It should be emphasized that Panini holds an MLBPA license, however that agreement only permits them to utilize Major League players and not MLB emblems or trademarks in their products.

The hobby industry is no longer as large as it once was.

7. Beyond the Box

The Internet has radically altered the hobby in a variety of ways. The most significant development over the past several years has undoubtedly been the growth of group breaking. If you’re not acquainted with the concept, the fundamental notion is that cards are opened by a dealer offshore and then delivered to you to play with them. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one of the most popular is when you purchase a case break and receive all of the cards for a specific team. These pauses serve a variety of functions, several of which might assist you in narrowing your collection’s emphasis.

  • Perhaps you’d want to have a look at a product that might otherwise be out of your price range.
  • Maybe you just want to hang out and take a chance on a cheap squad made up of the leftovers from the previous season.
  • Online breaks are also beneficial since they may foster a sense of belonging among those who participate.
  • Sports, collecting, celebrating a good draw, and berating a bad box are all acceptable activities.
  • A number more things to consider if you’re considering on a group vacation.
  • Watch them online, either in real time or in recorded form on YouTube, to determine whether their style is a good fit for you.
  • Some breakers have been in business for a number of years and have a wealth of expertise and information to share.
  • They can all be rather distinct, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  • It is possible that you will not receive a card at all.

Just be certain that you understand the conditions of the purchase before proceeding. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to ask them. The chances of getting the answers you desire are little to none; you can always locate another code breaker to get you out of your jam.

8. Some Things Never Change

Despite all of the changes that have occurred in the world of sports cards, certain things have remained constant. If you’re fortunate enough to have a card shop in your neighborhood, it’s likely that it’s a gathering place where you can talk about the things you enjoy (and the players you don’t). Despite this, card shows are still excellent venues to locate bargains and meet new people. The thrill of receiving a new card featuring a favorite player is still there and accounted for. They may not have played in decades, yet there is a significant probability that they are included in today’s merchandise.

Keep that in mind and hang on to it.

Are you a collector who has returned to the game?

What piece of useful advise would you provide to someone who is just starting out in their hobby?

How to Start a Baseball Card Collection

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Creating a baseball card collection is a great way for a passionate collector who is also a die-hard baseball fan to combine their two hobbies together. The steps outlined here will guide you through the process of starting a baseball card collection that will keep you interested for years to come.

  1. 1Become as knowledgeable as you possibly can about baseball. When you open a pack of baseball cards, you can get an Albert Pujols or a John Maine, depending on who you are looking for. If you want to have a thorough grasp of the players who are behind the cards, you need conduct some study. 2 Make a decision on the sort of collection you desire. Interested in collecting the Topps set from 2007, a set featuring your favorite player or team, or a rookie set? It’s possible that you’ll only want to buy random cards. Advertisement
  2. s3 Choose a greeting card company. Look at the company’s website (some of which are linked below) for card designs, special inserts, and checklists to determine whether the set is something you’d be interested in purchasing. Advertisement
  1. 1Purchase a baseball card pricing guide to help you figure out how much your cards are worth. When you are an ardent collector or have trade with friends in mind, this may be a very handy tool for increasing your collection and expanding your options. If you can’t afford it, check out a copy from your local library
  2. 2purchase the playing cards. Look online for the location of your nearest baseball card store and make a visit to your local dealer. Examine certain cards that you are interested in investing in, or that you are simply interested in collecting for the sake of collecting. Part of the shopping process is actually seeing and feeling things in person
  3. 3 Visit the MLB.com team stores and eBay to purchase merchandise. Often, you may find cards at a lower cost. Additionally, marketing platforms such as Craigslist might be utilized.
  • Only purchase eBay cards from sellers that are reputable. Topps maintains an eBay site called the Topps Vault, where they sell some of their older trading cards. If the cards are being sold by a firm that is not well-known, look at the feedback for that vendor. If you see remarks such as “it took 3 months to arrive” or “the card looked different from the picture on the website,” be cautious of the vendor. The phrases “card was received in one week” and “(name of vendor) sent me the card depicted” are examples of positive feedback.
  1. 1Make sure to keep your cards safe. Purchase a 3-ring binder as well as plastic card-holding sheets to keep them safe. In order to benefit from the most modern technology for retaining stored cards in excellent shape, use card-holding sheets that have just recently been manufactured. 2 It is important to get your cards graded by one of the top grading firms, such as SGC, PSA, GAI, or BVG/BGS, in order to maintain the condition of the card. Advertisement
  1. Preserve the integrity of your playing cards. In order to keep them safe, get a 3-ring binder and plastic card-holding sheets. In order to benefit from the most modern technology for retaining stored cards in excellent shape, use card-holding sheets that have just recently been produced. 2 To ensure that your cards remain in good condition, get them graded by one of the best grading firms, such as SGC, PSA, GAI, or BVG/BGS. Advertisement

Create a new question

  • Is it possible to make a living investing in baseball cards? Is it possible for me to live off the money I make from it? No, it could take a long time before you make a significant amount of money from investing in baseball card collections. Make it a hobby instead, and use the money you earn to pay for luxuries like baseball games, travel, new electronic devices, and other such things as you wish. Question: What kind of boxes should I purchase to store my collection in? Answer: They are available for purchase at hobby stores. You can usually find them for between $1 and $5. Simply request a shoe box from them, and they will understand what you are referring to. QuestionCan you tell me where I can find cheap baseball cards for less than $0.75? Owen StrandCommunity AnswerOn eBay, you can find baseball cards at a variety of price points. You can also sell them on that website. Is it necessary to place the card in a separate plastic sleeve before inserting it into the page? Question Yes, you can, but it is entirely optional. SeanTheBoss103Community AnswerYes, it is entirely optional. You can keep them in a variety of containers, ranging from a shoe box to a specialized card binder.

Inquire about something There are 200 characters remaining. Include your email address so that you may be notified when this question has been resolved. SubmitAdvertisement

  • Exchange items with your buddies! As long as you have faith in them, you should be open to exchanging trade cards with them. Look for baseball conferences that are held in your region. Their inventory is almost certainly comprised of the card(s) you are looking for
  • For those considering a career as a card dealer, a speedier and more convenient method of building their collection will be required of them. In the event that you do not require certain cards, purchasing them in large quantities is recommended. It’s important to constantly remember to have fun and to save your cards until they reach the $1000 category.

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  • Do not conduct business with those who are not trustworthy. There are far too many people who miss out on precious cards because of this
  • Do not throw away any cards. In the same way as Lastings Milledge is today, he might be tomorrow’s Hank Aaron. Spending large sums of money on baseball cards is not recommended. Card-buying opportunities with additional funds, such as job bonuses for adults and allowances for children Maintain the condition of your rookie cards. They have the potential to become All-Stars in the future. Try to avoid getting on the “hot” rookie card bandwagon when it comes to collecting. Cards of Chris Shelton from last year, which cost for $50, are now selling for roughly $5. If you like playing with your cards, don’t worry about assigning grades. Avoid trying to con your pals into making poor transactions since they will be trapped in a plastic “shell” that will be very difficult to remove. Once they understand that they have been fooled, they may seek vengeance, refuse to trust you in the future, or break up their common bond.

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Things You’ll Need

  • A 3-ring binder
  • Card protection sheets made of plastic
  • And a pen. A computer (which is optional)
  • And The use of an optional baseball card price guide
  • Optional: a video game based on baseball.

About This Article

Thank you to all writers for contributing to this page, which has been viewed 40,385 times so far.

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Did this article help you?

As a consequence of the recent increase in the value and popularity of sports cards, there has been an influx of new collectors, some of whom are returning to a hobby they enjoyed as children, and others who are completely new to the hobby. What you rapidly discover, especially if you have been away from the place for a lengthy period of time, is that the environment has altered significantly. Prices have increased, corporations have merged, card varieties have increased in number, exact values have become more difficult to track down, purchasing cards may be problematic, and the list goes on.

In this post, I’ve assembled a number of different tutorials that will help you have a better understanding of the world of contemporary card collecting and help you get started.

There is a plethora of material available, and this is intended to be simply a taste; thus, if you come across something different than what I have provided here that you find useful, please let me know by contacting me.

Learning the Landscape

The Hobbit Lark is Andrew Harner’s latest project (hobbylark.com) If you’re ready to go back into baseball card collecting after a lengthy hiatus, this is a great place to start. Andrew talks you through virtually every aspect of card collecting, from the many sorts of cards that are available to how to focus your collection to the various methods of purchasing cards. Even if I use a word or phrase in this post that you are unfamiliar with, Andrew will most likely provide an explanation in his piece.

  • Baseball Card Genius is an article written by staff () This is a really useful piece that can immediately orient you to the current card company environment, at least in terms of baseball cards, and will save you a lot of time.
  • So, do businesses like Upper Deck, Leaf, Fleer, Score, Donruss, and the like, still exist?
  • There will be a discussion of which firms are still in business and which have gone out of business, as well as what a card company used to be like, what it is like now, and what the company’s signature card looks like.
  • While the traditional method of visiting your local card store (LCS) is dwindling away, navigating the massive large box retail sector may be a complete and utter headache.
  • BaseballCardPedia is a website dedicated to baseball cards () It is exactly what it says on the tin: a wikipedia-style site dedicated to everything related to baseball cards.
  • However, if you are seeking for information on just about everything that has to do with baseball cards, you should begin your search with this site.
  • Sports Collector Daily is a website dedicated to collecting sports memorabilia () The information provided on this website will assist you in being more informed about everything that is going on in the world of sports cards.
  • If you are interested in antique cards, they also offer a section titled “Vintage Sports Card News” that will keep you up to date on all of the latest developments in that field.

To get to those portions of eBay’s site quickly, I also prefer to use their “ending soon on eBay” and “discount corner” features, both of which are available on their website.

Buying and Valuation

The Connection with Cardboard () Despite the fact that I use this website virtually every day, it is not one of my favorites. It may be used for a variety of things, but the feature that I find most useful is the ease with which you can find out exactly what is in a certain brand or kind of card (within the past five years). Do you want to know what the Bowman 2017 set checklist looks like? It will tell you which players are included in the set, how the parallels are numbered, which inserts are included in the set, which autos are included in the set, and other information.

  1. It’s a really simple method of looking at all of the cards in a given set and seeing what it has to offer.
  2. eBay ()I know, it’s startling, but if you use eBay correctly, you can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to locate the current market value for the card in your hand or the box of cards you wish to buy.
  3. Select “Sold Items” from the drop-down menu after scrolling down until you see “Show Only” on the left-hand side of the screen.
  4. If you’re seeking to purchase wax or buy into breaks, you may also browse on eBay, but you may be able to find better deals elsewhere (Facebook Groups, card shows, etc.).
  5. Blowout Cards Are you looking for a 2001 Bowman Chrome Hobby Box to add to your collection?
  6. On the whole, their rates are acceptable, especially if you don’t want to go looking and deal with the possibility of packages getting damaged during delivery or someone scamming you.
  7. Pre-Order and New Release sections are particularly useful since they will inform you of what has already been released and/or what is scheduled to be published in the near future.
  8. It’s really simple: simply key in the player’s name (make sure you spell it right) and the card number, and the site will display both photographs and values of the card, as well as parallels of the card, in a logical order.
  9. It’s a simple approach to complete your collection of a certain player while also narrowing down your search for a specific card or set of cards.
  10. To use their online price guide, or to use their website in general, you should expect to pay a fee.
  11. Nonetheless, their content is reliable, and their pieces are well written, and you will profit from browsing through it on a regular basis.

Never hesitate to contact out and offer me the URL of a site that you’ve come to rely on. I’ll be happy to review it!

Sports card collecting is booming, but it looks a lot different than you might remember

The last sports card show I went was in Augusta, Maine, around 30 years ago, and it was the last one I visited until lately. I don’t recall the precise year when this happened. However, I do recall that former Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley was pleasant enough while sitting in a folding chair and signing autographs for a dollar or two a piece. This is what I recall more vividly: These were the most sought-after cards because they featured slugging Red Sox prospect Phil Plantier, who would eventually sign with the Padres and play fewer than 200 games for the team before becoming outfielder Phil Plantier.

  1. Consequently, I’d been gone from the scene for a long when I purchased a $5 ticket — forgoing the $30 VIP option, which would have let me inside the building earlier — and dropped in on the Causeway Card Show on July 10 at the Big Night Live venue at the TD Garden.
  2. The Augusta Civic Center did not have a single chandelier when it opened thirty years ago.
  3. Thousands of people visited the Causeway Card Show in July, according to organizers.
  4. I was not disappointed.
  5. In February 2021, eBay stated that sales of sports cards on the site climbed by 142 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, with more than 4 million cards sold.
  6. Scott Edwards, who was working at a stand for Empire sports cards at the Causeway event, explained that people were either at home cleaning out their attics or on eBay out of boredom.
  7. ‘”People were at home, cleaning out their attics, or fooling around on eBay out of boredom, or maybe they were simply daydreaming about a better time,”‘ says the report.
  8. The opportunity to make a penny.

In the unlikely event that you’re the luckiest of the lucky, you could just find yourself opening a package of cards that might completely transform your life!

An intrusion of irrationality

Earlier this year, a single 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Basketball rookie card of Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic — the only one of its type — sold for $4.6 million, which is more money than some of Doncic’s colleagues earn in a year’s pay. In a live “break,” Layton Sports Cards in Florida discovered the card, which features Doncic’s autograph and an NBA logo patch. The card was discovered during a live “break,” which is the process of opening packs on camera or at a show in the hopes of uncovering an expensive rarity.

  • These two James cards, which belong to California collector Aaron Davis, are worth more than $7 million when purchased as a pair.
  • In April, a 2003 LeBron James Exquisite Collection patch card sold for $5.2 million, the highest price ever paid for one.
  • The demand for cards pushed general retail companies like as Target to sell out of their stock, as people rushed to acquire $20 boxes of cards in order to either open them in hopes of a rare hit or resale the unopened bonanza for a huge profit on eBay.
  • Target began selling gift cards only online in May.
  • “However, the insanity of the last year and a half has been driven by a money pursuit rather than a card chase.” The people who are lined up at Target at 4 a.m.
  • “They’re complete moron.” ‘”When it comes to collecting, there is always an element of irrationality.
  • The people who are lined up at Target at 4 a.m.
  • “They’re complete moron.”‘ Jeff Katz is a collector, author, and former mayor of the New York town of Cooperstown.

Besides people getting nostalgic during the pandemic, “rich people and foreign investors” were the biggest draw, according to Bill Simmons, whose The Ringer podcast network now includes a sports-card investing podcast and who himself opens — or “rips,” as the term is used — packs with his son on Instagram.

You had wealthy individuals proclaiming, “I want every baseball Hall of Famer from the 1950s,” and they were willing to pay top dollar for whatever their quest may have been.” Other things that were happening were these organizations banding together and making investments in various projects, almost like a sort of card hedge fund.

  1. They were treating it almost as if it were a piece of art that they were purchasing.” The Mantle card from the inaugural Topps collection, a vibrant depiction of the young Yankee, is instantly recognizable as art by anybody who has ever seen it.
  2. In the world of sports cards, the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is regarded as the “Holy Grail of sports cards.” It is displayed here as part of a memorabilia exhibit ahead of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Denver in July.
  3. After receiving an enormous quantity of cards to grade during the pandemic, PSA had to temporarily cease submissions and just recently began accepting cards again; according to Sports Collectors Daily, the backlog reached more than 1 million cards in May 2020.
  4. The cards acquired by some of the high-end group investors, on the other hand, are never seen by the investors; they are kept in a safe deposit box until the time comes to sell them.
  5. In exchange for a hefty financial outlay, “you may pretend that you hold a really precious card,” he explained.
  6. You will receive that proportion of the earnings if the card is sold, and you will be unable to claim ownership of any part of it if the card is not sold.
  7. Customer Blaise Eshghi, who was energetically operating the table at the Causeway exhibit, remarked that clients love the immediacy element of it.

It seemed efficient and soullessly unpleasant to me. According to him, it’s “like day trading,” and they’ve received more than a million entries. “That appeals to a wide range of people.” At the Causeway Card Show, collectors explore the assortment of cards on display. BRANDI BISHOP BRANDI BISHOP

Some still do it for love

Sporting card popularity has had past boom periods, notably in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card was so highly sought for that it became and continues to be recognized as iconic within the hobby. The majority of other cards from that time period — as well as those who made bets on them — did not fare as well. It is now referred to as the “junk wax” era, because the cards were overproduced to the point that their value was virtually non-existent.

  • “And then the market went into a tailspin.” There are still card collectors who acquire cards because the images on the cards correspond to their enthusiasm for the sport.
  • Harris, co-author with Brendan Boyd of the warm and funny 1973 classic “The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book,” attended a show in Chantilly, Va., which was held on the same day as the Causeway.
  • ‘I adore Dennis Eckersley,’ I say.
  • In order to pass the time, I went on eBay and spent around $25 to buy 50 Eck cards in various outfits from various years, just for the sake of collecting them.” To the ones who are selling them, they have no significance.
  • JOSH REYNOLDS OF THE BOSTON GLOBE COMMENTARY Ryan Fagan, a baseball writer for The Sporting News, is a collector who lives in the nostalgic nook of baseball memorabilia.
  • It’s a beautiful lens through which to view baseball and card collecting, and it serves as a gentle reminder of the reasons why a fan would have become interested in the activity in tandem with the sport in the first place.
  • The pack of the day is: Topps Series 2 from 1993 share your favorite anecdote about one of these players or about these cards in the comments section.
  • Because there is a chance of receiving a $300 gift card, “you’ll pay $10 a box for some of the more scarce current items,” he explained.
  • “And you can turn around the same card ungraded for $300 immediately,” says the author.
  • The cards are judged by humans, and the rush of submissions during the epidemic necessitated the hiring of additional staff.

It is just not feasible for the graders to be objective in the same way. A 10 in the eyes of one grader can be a 9 in the eyes of another. The difference in price between a common and a rare card might be hundreds of dollars.

A modern reckoning

Observe Chad Finn tearing through an entirely new box of sports cards. 11:34 This video has Chad Finn going through a box of sports cards that he got at the Causeway Card Show in July. (Photo courtesy of Chad Finn/Globe Staff) I’ll admit that, given the fact that my last card show experience was more than 30 years ago, I was a little concerned about whether the Causeway card show in a nightclub approach would be enjoyable or if it would turn out to be the kind of disaster last seen on the Island of Dr.

  1. But I was relieved to discover that it would be the former.
  2. Dealer Ed Pacheco agreed, saying, “It was a nice time.” “They do a fantastic job with this,” he remarked of event producers Chris Costa and Timmy Tens, who were present at the event.
  3. BRANDI BISHOP BRANDI BISHOP The bar and the picture booth, which was sponsored by Maker’s Mark, looked to be a hit with the crowd.
  4. I saw that most of the faces in the audience looked like.
  5. The Causeway Card Show was a nice surprise in terms of its diversity, which included a significant number of women.
  6. The transaction for the $37 box of 2020-21 Panini Contenders Basketball that I purchased for ripping as part of this project was handled by him, as well.
  7. I couldn’t fathom how that could be possible.
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On one of the tables, a rookie card of Tom Brady was valued at $35,000 dollars.

One of the cards on another table, a 2011 Mike Trout Cognac Diamond Anniversary card, with a price tag of $7,000.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the majority of the dealers had the same idea: sell rare cards of popular current players for the highest potential price.

I avoided the temptation to purchase a lonesome autographed N’Keal Harry for $8, instead adding a crisp recent Bobby Orr Canada Cup card ($1) and a second-year card of Cam Neely in that hideous ’80s Canucks uniform ($3) to the basketball box I’d just purchased, and then heading out the door.

It wasn’t until later that I realized how striking a contrast there was between the Causeway show and those Olbermann told me about from the hobby’s formative years in the early ’70s.

Particularly memorable was an exhibition held in the basement of a union hall on Astor Place in Manhattan in 1973, which according to Olbermann was the second event ever held in the history of the hobby.

People had seen it previously when they were children, but they hadn’t seen it since they were children, and they were surprised to see that there are baseball cards from 1910 available for purchase.

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How Baseball Cards Got Weird

I was sitting on the couch, beer in hand, watching baseball one night not long ago, after my 3-year-old kid was finally sleeping and my wife had prudently retired to bed. I was enjoying the game. It’s not quite baseball, to be honest. When I turned on my laptop, I went straight to breakers.tv, where I prepared to see a pair of rubber-gloved hands in East Wenatchee, Washington, open a full case of baseball cards, which had more than 4,000 cards in total. If it sounds like the only thing that could possibly be more tiresome than sitting through four hours of pitching changes and batters calling time, I understand your skepticism, and I share it.

  • Bill Clinton was president at the time and Barry Bonds was a speedster with some pop.
  • I found myself looking at the finely framed hands of Billy Byington, the proprietor of Gargoyle Card Breaks, despite the fact that I knew better.
  • I’d bought a stake in the cards, just like the other dozen or so people who had signed up for this “break.” I’d purchased the rights to any cards featuring members of the Oakland Athletics for $18.75, and I was looking forward to it.
  • However, I’d heard that this collection had a few throwback cards dedicated to Oakland old-timers whom I was familiar with (Dennis Eckersley and Reggie Jackson), and the A’s were priced more competitively than my home-town Red Sox were at the time.
  • Apparently, some breakers tear open the packs and rummage through them at the pace of a blackjack dealer, pausing only to show off the most valuable cards, as I subsequently discovered.
  • This intermission appeared to be going on for nearly as long as a full-length baseball game.
  • A little more than an hour into the break, dad pulled out a baseball card picturing Rickey Henderson, the boisterous Oakland leadoff man who had established stolen-base records during my formative years.

“Boom!

Another wave of applause greeted the rookie during the break’s live chat room, which was moderated by the other players.

With the limited-edition Henderson card in my possession (or, at the very least, having witnessed Byington unwrap it), I had a familiar sensation, one I hadn’t experienced since the days I’d spent opening packs at Gilbert’s: the excitement of the chase.

Essentially, it’s an analog pastime in a digital era, a fan’s display of loyalty to a sport whose attendance is steadily declining while its cultural importance is rapidly diminishing.

There is a tale behind the baseball-card industry, and it is a story about scarcity.

Vintage trading cards were traded via the mail by completist collectors looking to complete a set of vintage trading cards.

It wasn’t until the 1970s, when Baby Boomers began looking for old favorites from their childhood, that the worth of particular performers began to skyrocket.

They fondled them, flipped them, and wedged them between the spokes of their bicycles before heading off to college and losing shoeboxes full with cards due to flooded basements and spring cleaning, among other things.

By the end of the 1970s, the value of that same 1952 Mantle had risen to about $1,000.

Almost 21 billion baseball and other sports cards were purchased by roughly 18 million persons in the United States in 1991, resulting in a $2 billion expenditure to obtain nearly 21 billion baseball and other sports cards.

Producing companies had oversupplied the market with cardboard, maybe in an effort to get new products in front of Baby Boomers and their children.

There would be no scarcity associated with those billions of new cards, unlike the scarcity associated with the antique market.

The Wall Street Journal revealed in 1993 that officials at Topps had sold off large quantities of stock the year before, just before the firm produced its first quarterly loss in more than a decade, prompting the company to file for bankruptcy.

The cards of Hall of Famers from the 1960s and previous years preserved their value, but new goods had become almost worthless by the late 1990s, according to industry experts.

It was discovered that scarcity might be created artificially.

All 1952 Mickey Mantles were extremely uncommon, and one with sharp edges and clean writing was even more unusual than the others.

The rise of third-party grading businesses, which emerged late in the boom years, provided a solution to the subjective nature of condition assessment.

When card owners sent their cards to the firm, specialists with jeweler’s loupes meticulously assessed their quality, encased them in a tamperproof plastic block, and stamped a grade on them, the corporation promised to play the role of objective arbitrator.

As long as uniform assessments of condition are in place, trading cards on auction sites such as eBay may be done without worry of being duped or defrauded.

Every time the firm evaluates a card, it enters the grade into a publicly available database, which has had a significant impact on price.

In 2016, one card sold for $717,000 at an auction.

For this reason, even cards from the boom years have had their value restored, providing they obtain the highest possible grade from PSA.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s rookie card from that era is among the most sought-after of all.

Only roughly 5 percent of the more than 70,000 coins that have been graded by PSA are Gem Mint 10 coins.

G rading brought scarcity back to the market, and the credit card businesses that had weathered the financial crisis took note.

In most cases, these “hit cards” have a signature, a relic, a reflective coating, a die-cut edge, or any combination of the above features.

At the time of his rookie card debut in 1989, all of the Ken Griffey Jr.

Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese phenomenon, featured on at least 2,700 separate rookie cards created by only two firms last year, Topps and Panini, a significant increase over the previous year.

The most valuable and valuable Ohtani card ever sold for $184,056 in September of last year, before his rookie season had even ended and only three months after it was pulled from a $170 box of Bowman Baseball cards, a popular Topps offering, when it was pulled from a $170 box of Bowman Baseball cards.

The market for new hit cards has been fueled by a new generation of young buyers who have flooded the market in recent years.

With a global network of clients, Chiong is a high-end broker-dealer and card-buying consultant who works with clients all over the world.

The woman said to me, “I went from one luxury business to another.” On the day I met her, she had $1 million worth of stuff posted on eBay, and she was selling it all.

Some people are re-collecting the cards that once filled their childhood closets, except this time they are looking for ones in Gem Mint 10 condition; others are lured to the limited-edition hit frenzy that has swept the nation.

This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention drew the largest crowd it has seen since 1991, a testament to the hobby’s resurgence.

The pastime today competes in an entertainment environment that includes platforms such as Twitch (which has elevated video gaming to the level of a spectator sport) and DraftKings (which allows people to wager on sports) (a blend of fantasy sports and gambling).

Despite my best efforts, I was unable to stop myself from going back for more with Rickey Henderson, and this was well after the requirements of this story had been met in terms of reporting.

Nobody who is serious about collecting enters a break wanting to get their hands on a seasoned great, let alone a favored journeyman shortstop.

Others choose not to collect their hit cards, instead trading them back in for instant credit (to be used toward future breaks) or consigning them to the breaker, who will grade them and sell them for cash at the end of the tournament.

The construction of a “bank style” vault in Oregon, operated by PWCC, a card consignee that bills itself as the world’s “largest seller of investment-caliber trading cards,” was completed this year.

Although it’s more secure than a shoebox, I think I’d miss my playing cards too much. The following story appears in the print edition of the November 2019 issue under the heading “How Baseball Cards Got Weird.”

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