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​What Has Caused Vintage Sports Cards to Explode in Value?

Posted by Vinnie Rullo on

Vintage sports cards are continually increasing in value daily in all types of condition. In my opinion, this is due to a number a factors. The first being that the sports card market is continually becoming higher each day. Many sports cards dealers, buyers or collectors would agree that right now the market is one of the highest it has ever been. Secondly, many new buyers or collectors are starting to gain an awareness about these great vintage cards. This new awareness is being caused from recent sales of vintage sports cards gaining exposure from social media, the ability to be able to win a classic vintage card from participating in a card break and lastly vintage sports cards have a great nostalgic factor, and people want to invest into a part of history.

The vintage sports card market started to explode in value during the Spring of 2016, people had not seen prices sell that high on certain vintage cards in years. One buyer was even able to flip a PSA 9 1963 Topps Pete Rose rookie within a three-month span. The Rose card graded a PSA 9 was bought just three months prior to the sudden vintage explosion and would sell for nearly 5 times the amount a couple of months later. The Rose sale been noted as one of the quickest increases in value that took place in vintage sports card hobby history.

Social media has played a huge role on the impact of vintage sports card continually increasing in value within the last couple of years. Many social media outlets like Facebook Sports Card Groups, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube have spread awareness about a number of vintage sports cards selling for record prices. One other key factor that played a huge role in vintage sports cards exploding in value was the “Ty Cobb Lucky 7 Find". A family in the spring of 2016 found seven rare vintage Ty Cobb tobacco cards in a paper bag while they were looking through an old relative’s home. The cards were of special importance because they boasted the ultra-rare Ty Cobb back as opposed to the more common Piedmont or Sweet Caporal back. All seven cards were eventually authenticated by PSA and sold for over a million dollars. This type of story created a huge buzz for the entire sports card market to only continually go up and has not stopped since. New collectors or buyers could easily find out more about the value of vintage sports cards about a recent sale through a certain social media exposure. Vintage cards began to explode in value that same year, a lot of this business relates to a domino effect. An example would be when something sells for a lot of money in relation to sports cards it causes a lot of attention and then collectors or buyers want to find the next closest thing that compares in value and then begin investing in something similar.

The immediacy of sports cards of being able to be bought on a number of outlets has also played a huge factor. A lot of new collectors or buyers are beginning to get involved in the hobby. One way that is drawing a lot of people to vintage sports cards is buy being able invest in cards through a vintage break. Breaks are done on multiple platforms including websites, through social media, live at cards shows, etc. How it works is you basically buy into the break with a certain amount of money and compete against other competitors who are also buying in. Sometimes it’s based on per pack basis, like a certain pack goes to a particular person in the break, team basis which is you will receive every card pulled from the box or pack that is opened based on what team you got. The point is when someone pulls a great vintage card from a break it is often well publicized through social media and eventually more new people just want to get involved because others see a great historic vintage card being pulled. I think a lot of new collectors or buyers like the gambling or thrill aspect when it relates to breaks or even investing. In 2018, at the National Convention, a 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle was pulled directly out of a cello pack from Vintage Breaks. The card was in near perfect condition; it was won for $500 a spot and eventually graded at the National. The card received a PSA 9 and has been valued at $50,000!

Can vintage sports cards continually maintain this pace and continue to go up? In my opinion, it easily can because more and more new buyers and collectors are beginning to learn and invest in sports cards. People enjoy the nostalgic value and owning something that is related to them or being able to own a piece of sports history. However, on the flip side there is still an uncertainty if this historic pace can maintain. There is no secondary market to determine the actual of value of sports cards nowadays other than recent eBay completed items, which sellers are taking advantage of too often. The problem with that is we have no way of knowing if something was actually paid for or not or what was a real sale and what wasn’t. There is a lot of collectors or buyers trying to manipulate the market or better known as drive up certain card prices. The grading card scandals that took place during the summer of 2019 caused some concern in the sports card hobby but has not stopped people totally from wanting to invest. I think ultimately people will have to gain more of a self-awareness and take a more cautious approach based what has taken place in the past. Vintage sports cards in all grades or condition are still selling for record amounts even after all of these allegations took place and I solely believe it’s because the general sports card market is arguably the highest it has ever been and there is no signs of it slowing down any time soon.

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