Trading cards have long been a hot commodity, and recently, this collectors’ pastime has made headlines. As of May 14, Target stores have (albeit temporarily), discontinued the sale of all trading cards in stores across the nation. Why? After an unfortunate instance of attempted robbery in a Target parking lot, the nationwide retailer shut down sales of trading cards. A spokesperson for the company stated, "the safety of our guests and our team is our top priority," and the company is opting to shut down card sales “out of an abundance of caution." So what does this mean for the popularity of trading cards? And what is creating such demand for these cards?
The Popularity of Trading Cards
Since their inception, trading cards have captured the nation and the world with ever-rising popularity. While the Target move may be shocking to some, collectors understand the true value of cards, and the ravenous appetite some collectors have. While the assault incident is inexcusable, it shines light on a fact about the pastime of collecting: Trading cards are more valuable than ever. In fact, certain classic cards have a valuation of millions of dollars. Find yourself with the right card, preserved perfectly over time, and you’ve got a true gem. So what makes a card the right card? And why are buyers scooping up cards by the box right now?
To understand why buyers are scooping up cards as soon as they hit shelves, it’s best to take a look at some of the most expensive cards on the market. Let’s take a look at the most valuable card on the market: A 1952 Mickey Mantle Card from Topps which previously sold for 5.2 million dollars. This card is in mint condition, it features a baseball icon, and it is believed to be the only such card in this condition. It’s a classic.
But what about more modern cards? Next on the list is a signed 2018-19 Panini National Treasures Logoman card of Luka Doncic, which recently sold for 4 million dollars. Compared to the Mickey Mantle card, we’re talking about a different sport. A different era. And a rookie. The value of this card comes from its rarity (it’s the only one of its kind), its signature, and of course, the fact that Doncic continues to perform as a superstar NBA player.
So, there are a few factors that can create great value in a card: rarity, a signature, rookie cards, classic cards, and above all, cards featuring the best players of the game. When you have a card that ticks most of those marks, you have a card that is in high demand. And when that card is extremely rare, or one of a kind, it becomes priceless. That’s why demand and card prices are only on the rise.
On Buying and Selling Cards Today
The aforementioned multi-million dollar cards prove the value of collecting, especially when buyers can pick up a sleeve of cards for a couple dollars. Collectors are looking to get lucky finding a rookie card that can turn into a massive value. And that’s why collectors have flocked to stores like Target to sweep up cases of cards as soon as they hit the shelves. It’s a low-cost investment that could result in a huge payoff, especially with a bit of luck and patience. As demand stays high, prices for prestigious cards only rise, and collectors will continue to look for gold. Card trading has long been the wild west of collecting, and that tradition doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.