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Fractional Sports Card Investing: A Collector’s Guide

fractional card investing

I’ve always viewed sports cards as an alternative asset. Vintage sports cards are equivalents to your other stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

Some view baseball cards as pieces of cardboard. But once you dig into the supply/demand dynamics, it is clear why sports cards should be considered investments

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been in this first as a collector. I agree that the popularity of breakers and flippers gives rise to a bubble-like, greed-infested hobby

But I also think it’s fine to be both a collector (in it for the love of the hobby) and an investor at the same time.

Yet, with many vintage sports cards out of budget for most collectors, a new stock market-like dynamic has evolved.

Fractional sports card ownership allows a collector to buy a small piece of a high-priced card at whatever amount they desire.

In this piece, we will dive into the details of this burgeoning new market. 

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PSA Drops Standard Grading Price To $100, Is It Worth The Premium?

psa-logoPSA recently announced that its Standard grading service would reopen to collectors, at a new price point of $100 per card.

Recall that PSA shut down everything aside from its premium grading services in early 2021. They have not been able to keep up with the steep increase in grading demand.

The latest changes come amidst many changes at PSA.

Starting with the acquisition of its parent Collectors Universe, followed by the departure of CEO Joe Orlando and replacement by Nat Turner.

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Fanatics Pull Off The Unthinkable, Acquiring Topps

topps-logoI’ve had a few weeks to digest the acquisition of Topps by Fanatics and wanted to provide a few comments. 

First, let’s just say that the deal comes as absolutely no surprise. 

I wrote about the possibility back when Fanatics had acquired the MLB licensing rights.

Fanatics pulled the rug right from under Topps and stole the one thing that keeps the heartbeat alive for the company – it’s licenses. 

So, I would imagine, that Fanatics could pick up Topps for pennies on the dollar, and get access to all its brands, designs and trademarks. Plus, Fanatics needs that MLB license that Topps holds through the end of 2025 in order to make cards with team names and logos from 2023 to 2025. 

Thus, yes, a Fanatics takeover of Topps would make a lot of sense. 

However, I also noted that pride might keep Topps from selling out to Fanatics, and it seemed as if Fanatics might want to blaze their own branding trail.

Yet, the deal, honestly just made way too much sense for Fanatics.

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The Best Card Grading Companies: A Collector’s Survey

best-grading-companiesWe’ve written extensively about sports card grading and many of the controversies that have surrounded the space.

With the explosion in demand for card grading, collectors have faced long wait times and higher prices.

I felt like it was a good time to get a pulse of the collector community to get opinions on the best grading companies.

Let’s face it, a lot has changed, and new competitors have come into the market.

In what follows, I provide the results of our 2021 Sports Grading Collectors survey while also providing some of my experiences with the different grading companies. 

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Topps Dynasty Is Over: Does Fanatics Stand A Chance?

In what came as a shock to many, MLB and the MLBPA (MLB Players Association) signed a new exclusive deal with sports memorabilia company Fanatics, effectively ending the near 70-year dynasty for Topps.

The immediate reaction from collectors?

Surprise, confusion, and outrage.

Keith Olbermann, not afraid to speak his mind, said the deal orchestrated by the ‘Butcher Of Baseball’ (aka Rob Manfred, head of MLBPA) will lead to ‘ Shit Propagandist Cards’ due to  MLB’s involvement as an equity partner in the deal.

While Topps won’t win any awards for the junk-era designs and overproduction during the ’80s, the brand represents a certain nostalgia for many in the hobby that crosses generations.

And the fear is that Fanatics will flip the industry upside down, leaving the hobby in a state of disarray.

I’ve had a few days to digest this and had a lot of questions from collectors. Here’s a summary of my thoughts and answers to some of the biggest uncertainties regarding the deal.

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BREAKING NEWS: PWCC Accused Of Shill Bidding By eBay

ebay-most-watched-cardseBay today announced that it would be restricting PWCC from selling on its marketplace due to allegations of ‘shill bidding’.  

For those not familiar with the term, shill bidding occurs when fake buyers submit bids on items in order to intentionally drive increased activity to a listing.  

The full statement from eBay:

As one of the world’s largest marketplaces, eBay has policies in place to protect our buyers and sellers. eBay was founded on trust, and we work every day to ensure a fair and positive experience for the entire eBay community.

Recently, it was determined that individuals associated with a trading card seller, PWCC, have engaged in “shill bidding,” which is prohibited on eBay. As a result, eBay has restricted PWCC’s selling privileges and listings, effective today. eBay’s policies and standards were designed to ensure a trusted marketplace where our community can transact with confidence. If we determine that a buyer or seller is not acting in good faith, eBay takes this seriously and takes action. Our customer service team will work directly with anyone who has a question about a recent PWCC transaction.
eBay is the destination for buying and selling trading cards – built over 25 years with our passionate community of collectors and sellers, as partners, on that journey. Trust is the cornerstone of eBay, which is why we felt it was important to share this information with our community. We assure you that eBay will continue to take actions to deliver on our commitment.
 

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Can I Still Buy Sports Cards At Target or Walmart?

walmart-targetWhile the bulk of my card collecting and writing on All Vintage Cards is focused on older cards, I admittedly have had the urge to buy some modern cards while shopping at Target or Walmart in the past.

However, when I went to Target recently to pick up some household items, I was disappointed to find the shelves that used to hold sports cards galore completely barren.  So I set out to find the truth.  

Can you still buy sports cards at Walmart or Target?

Unfortunately, it’s much harder today to find sports cards at Walmart or Target, as they both have suspended the selling of many sports and trading cards. They still sell some sports cards in-store and online, however, there is a huge variation in availability based on your specific location. 

The surge in modern card pricing and the resultant ‘rise of the flippers’ has led to some not so pretty situations in these stores.  And while there are rare cases where you might find some cards, the odds are quite slim.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for the supply disruptions and if you still might be able to score a find at your local Walmart or Target. 

Do you know of a location that is still selling cards?  Drop a note in the comments below to let us know!

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Ken Goldin (of Goldin Auctions) On The State Of The Hobby 2021

goldin-auctionsI noticed this video from Ken Goldin on Instagram and figured it was worthy of a discussion here on the blog.  

For those not familiar, Ken Goldin is the founder of Goldin Auctions, one of the hobby’s biggest and well-known auction houses.  

Goldin is one of the hobby’s OG’s, getting his start in the hobby with his father back in 1978 at the age of 20.  He founded Goldin Auctions back in 2012, and just this year received a whopping $40 million investment from The Chernin Group

Goldin is still involved with Goldin Auctions, but with the latest investment, Goldin moved from CEO to the chairman of the board at Goldin Auctions.  He is quite active on Instagram and is not shy to provide a sneak peek at some of their prized items coming up for auction. 

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