Alternative Investments: Collectibles and Trading Cards

Be apart of and understand the evergrowing trading card industry.

Posted by Matthew Speier on April 5, 2021

As more people look to find quick and easy ways to turn a profit, the rise of alternative assets— NFT’s, precious metals, or cryptocurrencies—took a major leap during the coronavirus pandemic. However, in the world of collectibles, sports cards, and other trading cards, the industry is currently undergoing its biggest boom yet.

Dealing with a live-sports drought during 2020, sports fanatics were in dire need to entertain themselves while their favorite baseball or basketball team went on hiatus. Fans went through their storage to uncover any of their old sports cards from their childhood hoping to find something expensive. With more and more attention being focused on sports cards, marquee celebrities and entrepreneurs decided to enter the industry, broadcasting the hobby into more of a profitable business. Celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg, Steve Aoki, and Gary Vaynerchuk, just to name a few, are using their multi-million follower social media platforms to promote sports cards.

Understandably, the sports card market is very complicated to explain to non-collectors. The common question asked by outsiders is always: “Why are pieces of cardboard worth money?” Very comparable to the art industry, the buyer of a card is investing in a player’s career, just as art buyers are interested in the artist.

Now, the question is “How do you make money with sports cards?” There are many things to consider when investing your money into this industry. Additionally, the direct correlation between an athlete’s production does not necessarily mean a jump in his or her value. Just like stocks, there are trends that a collector has to be aware of before buying and selling. Factors such as team location, player’s likability, and longevity, just to name a few, all directly influence value.

As a collector for the past five years, I have never seen the sports card market more volatile than where it stands today. A prime example of the volatility in the market is shown in Michael Jordan’s Fleer 1986-87 rookie card. In pristine condition, this card was available for around $32,000 in December of 2019. Fast forward a year, the same exact card sold for $211,560 in December of 2020. And only two months after that, the card is selling consistently for more than $700,000 dollars.

Although Michael Jordan has not played basketball since 2003, his rookie card has climbed in value in record fashion. A byproduct of the industry’s recognition from investment professionals and top financial advisors to everyday sports fans, the market as a whole has increased in every facet.

The ability for this market to be open to people of all ages and all backgrounds gives incredible accessibility to those who are unfamiliar with the stock market and other standard assets. Kids who spend their nights watching highlights of their favorite hockey player to their favorite soccer team can devote time into researching and investing in whomever they choose.