What Has Caused the Sports Card Market to Boom?

Nobody quite knows what caused this market boom, but it is most likely a combination of a few things. First, and the least likely reason, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to look back through their old collections and regain interest. The rise of new collectors is noticeable, but it most likely isn’t the cause of sky-high prices. However, it could be contributing to the empty shelves, but those are most likely caused by another group of people. The flippers. Flipping is nothing new, people buy things at cheap prices and sell them for more. It’s been a thing in the video game community or sneaker community for a while. Recently, however, especially in the basketball card market, the flippers are buying everything they can at retail price and turning around on eBay and selling it for double, triple, and sometimes four or five times the price. And people will pay it. Flippers have made it nearly impossible to walk into a Walmart and purchase a box of basketball cards. Even going to card shops, the product will naturally be much, much more expensive.

(Local stores empty of most if not all product, both taken by me)

Nobody quite knows what caused this market boom, but it is most likely a combination of a few things. First, and the least likely reason, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to look back through their old collections and regain interest. The rise of new collectors is noticeable, but it most likely isn’t the cause of sky-high prices. However, it could be contributing to the empty shelves, but those are most likely caused by another group of people. The flippers. Flipping is nothing new, people buy things at cheap prices and sell them for more. It’s been a thing in the video game community or sneaker community for a while. Recently, however, especially in the basketball card market, the flippers are buying everything they can at retail price and turning around on eBay and selling it for double, triple, and sometimes four or five times the price. And people will pay it. Flippers have made it nearly impossible to walk into a Walmart and purchase a box of basketball cards. Even going to card shops, the product will naturally be much, much more expensive.

(All 3 of these boxes cost 20$ each, taken from eBay sold listings)
(Digital mockup of the Zion logoman, Beckett)

For a sports card to be valuable, the player on it must be a good player. In basketball, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are the two biggest rookies to look out for. There is currently a bounty for the Zion Williamson RPA (rookie patch autograph) logoman from Panini National Treasures. Blowout Cards has the bounty for the card at $500,000. So the choice is yours, two nice houses or a basketball card.

(Mike Trout superfractor that sold for $3.9 million)

In baseball, the rookie superstar Luis Robert has prices at insane highs. Every time Topps releases a new set of cards, Luis Roberts’ prices seem to always go for absurd amounts, even though he is only slashing .232/.299/.459 and is holding a .757 OPS (as of 9/21/20). There seem to be much better rookies that are going for lower prices in baseball right now, such as Kyle Lewis or Bo Bichette. In terms of baseball prospects, Jasson Dominguez for the Yankees appears to be a powerhouse in the making with his prices peaking multiple thousands of dollars even though he has not played a single MiLB game. The cause of the high prices is most likely not because of collectors, rather investors. People like Vegas Dave, who just sold a 2009 Bowman Draft Mike Trout superfractor autograph for $3.9 million, Gary Vaynerchuk, Garyvee for short, and the thousands of other people that are attempting to invest. Investors bring value to the cards, but when there are thousands and thousands of people trying to make money off the same player, it tends to lead to a pricing bottleneck. 


(Featured Image from Beckett)

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