Over the past few years, the value of sports cards has increased exponentially, in fact, an eBay report from 2021 suggested that U.S. domestic sales of sports trading cards saw their sales increase by over 140%, with further increases projected over the coming months. Other figures indicate that sports card gross sales have multiplied by four in the past year, with older vintage cards seeing the most considerable increase in price. But sports cards are more than just commodities that can be traded or invested in – they offer that hint of nostalgia, taking many back to their childhood and are an attachment to fan’s favourite teams or players from years gone by.
The nostalgia for sports cards doesn’t stop there. For many, sports cards were the centre of their first business ideas as they traded or sold them in the playground during recess to their classmates. It was at this stage where the concept of high value and low value cards came into play, with a basic understanding of supply and demand. But this sense of nostalgia has always been there, so what has caused the boom in sports card sales in recent years? Let’s take a closer look:
Why Have Sports Card Prices Exploded?
There are a number of reasons why sports card prices have increased dramatically over the past few years. From investment to increased interest in vintage collectables. Let’s look at these factors in more detail:
The Coronavirus Pandemic
The world economy changed dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, with a shift to working from home, entertainment venues closing down, and live sports shut down for a period of time. During this time, people spend more time indoors and often found themselves looking for things to do. With no sports to watch, sports fans found themselves looking for other ways to entertain themselves and spent time looking through their childhood belonging in their attic, stumbling across their vintage sports cards. Adults looking through these sports cards shared their love with their children, sparking a resurgence in their popularity. With so many old, rarer cards being discovered, many turned to online auction websites to see what their cards were worth, meaning that there were more searches, more interest and more sports cards up for sale.
The media also have a huge role to play in the trends that become popular and the goods that sell quickly. Traditional media platforms such as newspapers and tv stations covered the increased popularity of sports cards, as well as showing documentaries such as “The Last Dance” shown on ESPN that played to viewers’ nostalgia when it comes to sports memorabilia. This, combined with trends on social media platforms such as Instagram Stories, TikTok and YouTube, where content creators would open boxes of sports cards live, saw a further increase in popularity of sports cards, leading to a boom in their value.
Sports Cards Are Now Deemed As Viable Investments
Due to the increased value of sports cards, many investment professionals building investment portfolios have turned their attention to sports cards in the hopes of increasing their profits throughout the years. Due to the impact of the pandemic and low interest rates, there is a lack of investment options that are likely to make a good profit, and therefore those looking to build their investment profiles are searching for alternative investments to add to their portfolio.
Those working in investments have a larger budget to work with than average sports card collectors and have therefore increased the demand for sports cards, even more, pushing up prices.
Fractional Trading Has Taken Off
While investors with huge bank accounts are getting involved in buying sports cards, they are not the only financial players getting involved. Fractional trading is becoming increasingly common, and is a great way for those to own a stake in expensive sports cards without having to put up the full amount of money it is worth. This means that smaller, everyday buyers can own a share of specific sports cards that they choose and can trade this share with others like a traditional stock.
This removes the financial barriers to owning the sports cards that are the most valuable, with many trading agencies also grabbing a piece, adding a fractional share to their portfolio that they can keep or trade later down the line.
How Much Are Sports Cards Selling For?
The value of sports cards is dependent on which player is on it, and the year the sports card is from, amongst other factors. What is definitely evident is that their value is increasing, with an article from Yahoo News reporting that over 70% of the biggest sports card sales ever happened in the past two years.
The most expensive sports card to ever be sold was the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA card, of which there were only six made. Known as ‘The Mick’, Mantle paid for the New York Yankees, scoring over 500 home runs in his career. In January of last year, the rare card sold for $5.2 million – a record high. While this price is rare, other sports cards are selling for record prices, particularly rookie cards of famous players such as Michael Jordan, which sold for auction last year for an impressive $738,000.
Currently on the market is a 1958 Topps Hank Aaron Braves Psa 8.5 Sports Card, which is on sale for $147,000, reduced from its original price. Hank Aaron is known for hitting more home runs than any other major league baseball player. Click for more information about Hank Aaron.
The sports card price boom has occurred through a combination of the covid pandemic lockdowns, investors looking for creative investment prospects and the proliferation of sports cards on social media. While most sports cards have increased in price, it is the vintage, early sports cards that tend to have the higher sales, but this depends on the card itself. So, get rummaging around your loft or basement and see if you can stumble across a real investment opportunity.
Scott Trick has collected sports cards since the early 80’s and because of his love for collecting he started the website https://sportscardsauthority.com/. His favorite players are Robin Yount and Hank Aaron, but he cherishes all sports and all cards like they are art.