While the coronavirus pandemic has kept most of us at home, one pastime has found renewed interest: card collecting. For some hobbyists like Logic, the preferred category is games and anime. But for other collectors, they usually veer towards sports. And as
Last year, when Forbes Magazine asked Jared Bleznick, co-founder of Blez Sports Cards, which athletes’ cards he thought were most valuable, he named “[MLB center fielder Mike] Trout, Mahomes, and LeBron [James]. Those are the biggest guys in each sport that are playing today. [Michael] Jordan is still the biggest, but you also see guys like Luka Doncic climbing.” And this past weekend, his statement proved true when two 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie were sold by Goldin Auctions for an astounding $738,000 each.
That its condition is PSA GEM MT 10 (the highest grading, given only to truly flawless cards) contributed to the price. Nevertheless, it still wasn’t the highest winning card of the auction – that honor went to a 2017 Panini National Treasures #161 Patrick Mahomes Signed Patch Rookie Card. At a price of $861,000, it became the most expensive football card ever sold. And with only five such cards ever created, its rarity is sure to drive up its worth as time goes on and Mahomes’ legacy grows.
Part of the boom can be attributed to the fact that a younger generation is now grown up and can afford to indulge in nostalgic memorabilia, but this kind of valuation is also elevating card collecting to the status of high art. And like high art, the hobby is becoming a veritable component of portfolio management and wealth.
“I deal with hedge fund managers, venture capitalists,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, in an earlier ESPN article. “If someone comes to me with $5 million asking for $5 million [worth of cards] in a week, it’s not an issue. I’ve had people with a liquid net worth of $500 million to multibillions tell me this is not a short-term thing: Sports cards are part of their asset allocation from now on.”