The sports card market is booming, with more ways to participate than ever before

The sports card market is booming, and a new class of entrepreneurs are finding new ways to get involved.

NFTs aren’t the only collectible market that’s on fire right now. One class of physical assets has been thriving since early 2020: sports cards.

The recent boom is often credited to the early days of the pandemic and 3 key factors:

  • No sports to watch
  • Extra cash from government stimulus checks
  • Low interest rates, limiting the appeal of other investments

23 of the 24 biggest transactions in sports card history…

happened after February 2020, per Vox. Here are some examples:

  • August 2020: Mike Trout draft prospect card sold for $3.9m
  • April 2021: Tom Brady rookie card sold for $2.3m
  • April 2021: LeBron James rookie card sold for $5.2m

Part of the reason is systematic — in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the market cratered when card printers like Topps and Upper Deck flooded supply. Most cards printed between 1986 and 1992 are generally considered worthless.

Entrepreneurs are finding a variety of ways to play the market

Innovative businesses in the space include:

  1. Box-breaking: Vortex Sportcards purchases sealed-off boxes of cards, then charges customers to reserve a pack inside the box for a flat fee.
  2. Asset management: Josh Luber, co-founder of StockX, recently founded Six Forks Kids Club, an alternative asset management company focused on cards.
  3. Fractional trading: Collectable buys cards and converts them into tradable assets, allowing users to purchase shares of cards.
  4. Authentication & grading: Collectors Universe, acquired in December 2020 for $700m, is a 3rd-party collectible authentication and grading service.

If these strategies seem excessive, there’s always the old-fashioned way to capitalize in the sports card market: selling cards for more than you bought them for.

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