As a Hobbyist and Investor of sports card for decades I have seen trends come and go. Ranging from boring old sports cards, to “Linsantiy”, to “ Ben Simmons Prizm”, explosion of Giannis, Mahomes, and the Covid takeoff. I am a collector at heart; however I am not beyond cashing in on these anomalies. Cards which I’ve held onto for years, are suddenly worth more than a monthly mortgage payment. I have changed strategies over the years, from just collecting, to grading, to only buying Slabs. There is no right or wrong method to this madness, and I feel a blend of each is what makes you successful in the hobby.
- I believe collecting is a critical piece of this hobby that many newcomers and even veterans have gotten away from. We all want to buy something and watch it grow, this simply cannot be the case for everything. It seems that investors only target a few key liquid brands. Prizm, Optic, and Select are the three that come to mind. Prices of those sets have become wildly expensive, whether this is a good thing or bad thing we will discuss later.
As a collector its nice to see people enter the sports card market, but it’s driving up prices across the board. There are many offerings out there for us “collectors” and we need to stick to our roots. Not everything I buy with the mindset of “I need to make money”. Granted, it’s nice but it’s not that important to me sometimes. I buy several Personal Collection (PC) cards every week. Most are under $50 a card but they bring meaning to me. I enjoyed watching Nick Collision and Paul Pierce play basketball in College, Priest Holmes dominate the NFL gridiron, and Vladimir Guerrero hitting baseballs out of the park all over the strike zone. This brought joy to me as a kid. We need this in the hobby and you should find something that brings sentimental value and joy to your life as well.
Let’s talk about strategies. Listed below are FIVE strategies that I currently implement to some degree, each have their advantages and disadvantages. I will not go into great detail, as I want to make you aware of ways to invest in Sports Cards and the options available besides just buying and holding.
· Grading Cards yourself – Higher Return on Investments, longer holding times, limited supply of quality cards, risk of poor grade
· Slabbed cards only – PSA SGC BGS, standard level of expectations, greater bankroll
· Buying during the offseason – The idea behind this is “out of sight, out of mind”, requires higher bankroll and longer holding times.
· StarStock and COMC flipping – Liquid and easy way to flip. There is no need to ship cards, no returns and sales are instantaneous, capitalize on game to game volatility. Limited to the cards on the marketplace and withdrawing funds can be challenging with higher fees.
· Momentum trading – following the herd mentality, lesser gains, and short term. Risks include shipping delays and sell offs. This is mostly centered on game to game volatility or YouTube Influencer Buy Recommendations.
As you can tell, there are plenty of ways to make money in the hobby to grow your collection. A healthy blend of each is recommended; it takes time to get cards back from grading, so while you’re pending their return from PSA, you’ll want another way to buy/sell in the meantime. Always have something working for you. This is where flipping on COMC or StarStock come into play. Buying raw cards for grading and slabs during the offseason is an easy way to make money as well. Prices tend to be lower giving you an opportunity to buy cheaply, ultimately selling preseason or during.
There is a great debate between Investors and Collectors. Investors are pricing out collectors on some cards, but Investors are allowing long time collectors the ability to realize gains they only imagined. I am not here to bash Investors as there is a place for them in the hobby, no different as we need collectors just as much. Few people fail to realize the importance of both and why the hobbies growth is endless. There will be continued growth followed by downside, it’s inevitable and healthy.
Justin – Co-founder, Sell The Peak
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