Trading Cards

Why investors spend millions of dollars on a single sports card? Sports card collecting is having a moment not seen since the 1970s and 1980s. This year saw sales of sports cards at public auction reach all-time highs. Over ten cards sold for $500,000 or more. Two basketball cards sold for $1.8 million each, a Lebron James rookie card and a Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card. 2020 also saw a 2009 Mike Trout baseball card sell at auction for a record-breaking $3.84 million.

With sports cards growing in value, many collectors are amassing collections of high value as part of a diversified investment portfolio. What separates this era from the previous is the recognition that these cards are a legitimate alternative asset. Collectors and investors see a bright future for sports cards. Card companies are well aware of their past mistakes and collectors have more information than ever before.

The big picture: The trading card market has vastly outperformed the stock market over the past 12 years. By the numbers: Between January 2008 and December 2020, the PWCC 500 Index, which is basically the S&P 500 for trading cards, was up 270% compared to 160% for the S&P.

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