What once was considered a childhood hobby has becoming a way to earn extra income as an adult.
The business of trading, buying and selling sports cards is booming.
“Cards that used to be worth $10 to $20 are now selling well upwards of $100,” said Mike Fruitman, owner of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards in Aurora, Colorado.
He says sports cards are more popular than ever and compares buying the card of an athlete to buying stock in a company.
“We had a card that got pulled last night, it featured autographs from R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson and we anticipate it’s going to be a $2,000 card,” Fruitman said.
While many businesses are suffering during the pandemic, Fruitman says this industry is seeing some of its biggest sales since the pandemic began, especially once they moved online.
“We had a lot of people who were bored who were looking for entertainment,” he said. “We were going online every day during COVID and our viewership was impressive. We were getting views that we never seen before.”
Though buying sports cards in person is still profitable, Fruitman says fewer cards are becoming available.
“The amount of people who are opening up card stores or becoming breakers, it’s all just taffy,” he said. “And that taffy is just getting slowly apart. Everybody getting less and less it seems.”
Card collectors believe the future of this industry depends on part of the popularity.
“Right now, you’ve got videos of Mark Wahlberg opening up boxes with his kids,” Fruitman said. “Steve Aoki is a very large, popular DJ, has opened up his own sports card trading store in L.A.”
For now, sports cards are combining entertainment and economics with no signs of slowing down.
“It depends on how much you can invest,” one collector said. “But yeah, there’s plenty of money to be made.”