Why Now Is the Time to Invest in Sports Cards

Jeff Wilson


For some of us, it is hard to believe, but sports card investing is making a huge comeback. Here are 9 reasons the sports card investing buzz is here to stay this time.

In this article, you will learn why sports card investing is making a huge comeback and why now is the time to invest in sports cards. I will share with you 9 facts that you need to understand that I feel makes sports card investing one of the best investment ideas over the next few years.

By day I invest in tech companies and at night I invest in sports cards. Join me on my journey to profits from the hobby many of us grew up with.

My name is Jeff Wilson and I am an avid sports card and memorabilia collector and investor who is taking a data-driven look at how to invest successfully in sports cards. I hope this article will give you insights into why now is the time to invest in sports cards. 

So, I am an avid card collector. I was a huge card collector when I was a kid like many of us back in the late eighties. It peaked when I was in fifth grade when I would hop on my bike after school and ride down to the corner drug store and spend every dime that I had on new packs of cards.

My dream back then was to crack open a pack of Upper Deck and find a Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie from 89 Upper Deck. I never actually did find that card, but I was constantly on the hunt for it and had a lot of fun trying to find that card.

I got out of the hobby in the early nineties, probably like many of you did as well but got back into it recently. My son who is eight years old now started to gain an interest in sports cards and football cards in particular last year and in helping him buy some cards and open packs with him, it kind of rekindled some of those feelings that I had from my youth and got me excited about the hobby again.

But this time getting back into it and seeing all the new types of cards and learning about it, I started to look at the hobby from a little bit of a different lens. You know, I couldn’t help separate the hobby from my day job and my day job is that I find companies to buy and invest in. I run tech companies and I invest in companies. I have been a founder of nine different companies during my adult life.

Now I know a lot of people in the hobby, they’re in it for collecting. They’re in it for fun. I love that. I respect that and that side of it appeals to me tremendously as well. I’ve been a lifelong collector, but I also have the business and investment side of my background and I can’t help but look at the hobby right now and say there are tremendous investment opportunities for people who approach sports card collecting with a real data-driven mindset and look for those right opportunities to invest in particular players, particular cards, and then watch those cards appreciate over time and that’s what this article and my new vlog is going to focus on.

There’s a lot of great information in the hobby that focuses more on the collecting side. My vlog is going to focus more on the investment side and throughout this article and my videos which will be available here at Save Your Bucks. We’re going to use data to help show us what some of the better sports card investment opportunities today are.

I think coming back into the hobby has given me that perspective of seeing what is different today from how the hobby was when I was a kid. And some of the reasons why sports cards today are much better suited for investment than thirty years ago. If you went through the sports card bubble burst of the early nineties, or have heard about it, you are probably skeptical. I understand, so here are 9 ways the market has changed and why I have gotten back in the sports card investing mindset.

  • Card Manufacturers Are Creating Real Scarcity

First and foremost, the card manufacturers have gotten a lot savvier about how they manufacture and print products. You know, back in the late eighties and early nineties, the hobby was destroyed when card manufacturers went rampant with overprinting.

As the demand for baseball cards was increasing during that time, they were increasing supply because they saw it as an easy way to take advantage of demand, just print more and more cards.

But of course, what they were doing was as the supply got to this crazy level; the moment that demand started to fall off and there was tremendous oversupply in the market, all of the cards during that time stopped appreciating at the levels that had prior.

Even today, now, you know, we’re 30 years down the road from that period. Yet, a lot of the cards from that era are still worth very little because there were so many available. Many people who experience this think baseball card collecting died and is still dead. When they discover what I am sharing, just watch the baseball and sports card collecting explosions.

Without question,  sports card printing, and manufacturers have gotten savvier about this today. Thankfully they have introduced scarcity into their products. And this is one reason why investing in sports cards today is a much better bet than it was 30 years ago.

  • Serial Number Cards Are Now a Reality

You know, serial number cards are a great addition to the hobby. The fact that you can get a card of a particular player from a high-end set and have that card’s actual serial number was mind-blowing to me.

When you know that there are only a certain number of a particular sport card in the world it automatically builds scarcity.

When you think about sports cards investing in today’s market it makes sense.  Sports card investors know that if you look at the key card of a key player and you really focus on whatever that key rookie card is, and if you invest in those cards and those serial number cards, they’re always going to hold a degree of value to the collector.

So, the fact that they have those cards that are numbered, that our key cards provide scarcity and provide some long-term value for collectors, and that’s something that didn’t exist previously. In addition, we now have graded.

3. Baseball Card Grading Is Now Mainstream

Back in the early nineties when sports card collecting got hot, grading was not a thing. Grading is really important to the quality and the longevity of cards from an investment standpoint.

Recently in the hobby, there’s been a lot of pushback on the card grading companies because there are trimmed cards that have gotten graded high and the grading companies have made some mistakes and that’s certainly not great and needs to be corrected. But the very fact that grading exists to begin with is a massive step forward for the hobby from an investment standpoint.

If you’re going to be buying cards online, which is the way most cars are transacted these days through eBay or check out my cards or another website of that nature, being able to buy a card that has been graded and has been sealed, assures you that you’re buying a quality product versus only being able to buy ungraded cards and then you’re relying on the pictures to hopefully tell you how good or not good of a quality a card is.

So, grading cards level the playing field and ensure the degree of quality, which if you’re going to be investing significant money in sports cards, there’s a lot of importance to that to protect your investment.

4. Autographed Sports Cards

Also autographed cards, you know, autographed cards, were not a big thing back in the late eighties or early nineties, people would go get autographs themselves on cards, but ripping open a pack of cards and finding a bunch of autographs inside that didn’t happen.

Today, collectors demand autographs of the best carts. You know, if you’re going to get a rookie patch auto of a player, obviously it’s going to have an auto-on it. That’s part of the allure of that particular card. Well, the very nature of autograph cards introduces some scarcity into the card collecting world.

Popular players, particularly key players are only going to sign so many cards per year. They’re only going to autograph so many cards per year. They’re not going to give up that much time.

It’s an annoyance to them to sign all these autographs so they’re only going to do a limited number per year. As a sports card investor, you have some protection that an autograph card combined with serial numbered combined with graded is truly great.

5. Sports Cards Are a Liquid Investment

Another big step forward is the fact that when you have those cards, when you have those key assets, you can sell them. Now we’re living in a time when the sports card collecting market is a liquid market.

You can go on eBay, you can go on, Check Out My Cards and you can sell your cards, you can sell your collection and you can do it easily and you could do it quickly. That was not the case 30 years ago. We used to rely on the Beckett price guides to tell us what our cards were worth, but the truth of the matter was you were never going to get anyone to buy your cards, much less, pay you anything close to what the Beckett guide suggested that they were worth.

The Beckett guide was simply a tool to help level the playing field when you were trading your cards with your friends, not something that you could rely on as an indicator for what you could sell your cards for.

Today we have eBay and we have to Check Out My Cards. Not just eBay but also eBay’s sales history to give us a real indicator of what cards are selling for and the liquidity of the markets makes it attractive for an investor who wants to be able to easily buy and obtain high-quality cards.

Buy, hold, then after some time, sell those cards hopefully for a profit. I think sports card collecting is a superior version of fantasy football or daily fantasy sports. People all over the world have become addicted to fantasy football. It’s obviously been a huge popular growth area over the last 10 years. Daily fantasy sports more recently have added a bit of a gambling element to it, have made it more addicting by making it a shorter-term game and putting more money on the line.

I look at that trend and understand that it is fun, but it is not an investment. I love fantasy football and I love daily fantasy sports, but I really see card collecting as a superior version of these recent trends.

6. Sports Cards Will Attract and or Replace Fantasy Football Players

I understand that people are drawn to fantasy football because they can play general manager and they can set their own line-up and draft their team. We can do the same thing through card collecting.

You can pick the players who you think are going to appreciate the most, who are going to have the best seasons, who are going to have the best performance. And you can buy their cards.

People are also drawn to fantasy football because there is a competitive element and at the end of the season, hopefully, you’re winning some prize money. Well, it’s no different with card collecting, collect the cards of the players you think are going to perform well, watch them throughout the season.

If they do perform well, there’s a pretty strong chance that those cards are going to be worth more at the end of the year than they were at the beginning of the year.

Yet unlike fantasy football, sports card collecting is a scenario where you have a greater chance of winning and selling or a profit.

There’s more you can do, exponentially more you can do to draw value from your cards and truly have a winning year from a profit standpoint at the end of the year. So, I think as more people discover card collecting or in the case of many people rediscover card collecting, they’re going to realize how fun it is and the fact that they can get that fantasy football or sports gambling fix from card collecting.

Now you can invest in sports cards in a savvy investment-oriented way.

7. The Zion Effect is Real

Another big thing that’s coming up this fall is Zion Mania. Zion Williamson is going to change the landscape and impact the future of basketball card collecting. There is going to be so much hype around Zion and people are going to be so excited about buying boxes of basketball cards and ripping them open and trying to be the first people to find his rookie cards and his numbered cards and his parallels and all the rare variations sports card companies come up with

Zion is the most hyped new player coming into the NBA. I think in the history of the NBA. You could say LeBron was really hyped which he was, but that was before the age of social media. So now we’ve got a player who’s the highest-rated player coming out of college or high school since LeBron. And then you throw on the whole factor of social media. And the fact he did go to college for a year and was a big star at Duke and got a lot of national TV attention.

The sports card investing market is getting ready to get even hotter. We are setting ourselves up for a crazy basketball card market this fall and winter.

It’s going to be exciting and I think that by itself is going to push the whole industry forward. And aside from Zion, the NBA, in particular, is really interesting right now. This off-season has been incredible. You know we’ve had huge stars Kohai and KD and Anthony Davis changing teams, Anthony Davis going to a major market. We’ve got these guys now in LA and New York or New Jersey, we’ve got these guys in big areas and it’s been fascinating watching all of this play out. This big news has turned the NBA into a year-round sport and honestly, the NBA has gotten more hype than baseball has even though baseball has been entering and going through the all-star break at the time of the writing.

Most of the sport’s talk has been about NBA free agency and it shows the power of the NBA and that is going to translate to continued interest, continued growth of the sport and continued increase in basketball card prices. So that’s exciting as well.

8. Gamblers are Going to Find Sport Cards

You know, I mentioned sports betting earlier. Sports betting is sweeping the nation. New Jersey exceeded Las Vegas last month in the total amount of money bet and that is a sign of the changing times and something that will continue to happen as more and more states legalize sports betting and it spreads throughout the nation.

As people get into sports betting, they’re going to learn a very hard lesson and that is that it’s really hard to make money with sports betting. The sports betting market is very efficient. Point spreads are accurate, they’re very well set and the reason why they’re very well set is that the market is so efficient.

There’s so much money coming in on both sides of the game that the point spread becomes a very accurate indicator of where the game may end up. Whenever you have an efficient market, it’s difficult to make money and that’s why it’s challenging to be a professional sport better and to really make money on sports betting, So many sharp people fail to try to do it.

9. The Sports Card Market Place is Inefficient

Sports card investing, sports cards is a much less efficient marketplace. All you have to do is look on eBay and look for what a card will sell for today. And then what that same card might sell for tomorrow a different amount because the auction ended at a different time, not as many people were watching. Maybe the title of the card wasn’t put together as attractively on the eBay listing.

The market is not super-efficient right now. And for an investor who’s going to be savvy and is going to find ways to, make savvy investments in the market, that’s good news.

So, I think that the popularity of sports betting and people trying that out will end up benefiting sports cards because in many ways sports cards offer a lot of the same attributes but in a way that gives you a greater chance for profit. In general, there are a lot of collectors out there who like me and probably like you were, big collectors back in the late eighties or early nineties.

But unlike us, a lot of those collectors have not yet rediscovered the hobby. And I believe that when they do, they’re going to like what they see. You know, cards are better now. They are better produced, they’re fun to look at, they’re really impressive today compared to what they used to be.

Then you throw in the allure of the autographs and the serial numbered cards and the graded cards and you realize that the market is more liquid and this is something you can get into and make a profit with your sports card investing if that’s what your goal is.

I really think that you’re going to see a flood of people returning to sports card collecting and sports card investing in the next few years, it just makes too much sense.

That’s part of the reason why I think that right now is a really great time to be investing in sports cards because as more people come into the market, demand rises, and in any economy when demand rises, so do prices.

I think that’s what we’re going to see across the board for sports cards in the next few years. So, I’m excited to go on this journey. I decided to start my video series to share with you the investment decisions that I’m making. To share what I’m doing so that some of this information can be shared and to also to learn from you and to hear your feedback and to hear your thoughts and to learn from others who understand how the sports card investing market is evolving.

Hopefully along the way throughout my video series you can keep up with me here at Save Your Bucks. We’ll have some interesting guests who are doing their investments and have their own perspectives on what makes a sports card investing successfully for them. There are many popular entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk who are talking more and more about sports card investing.

I am excited about my new video series. Hopefully, it’s a very educational sports card investing video series. I very much appreciate that you have enough interest in sports card investing to read this entire article. I would ask that you please share this article with like-minded investors that you know.

Feel free to post your comments and insights on this page.

I love investing in basketball cards. In the video first video below this article, I will share with you what I think is the single best basketball card for you to be investing in at the time of this writing.

I’m going to show you the data as to why I think this card makes the most sense, from an investment standpoint right now. So, thank you for reading this article and please stay in the loop, this page will include new videos below as I release them.