Card Investing

Is Michael Jordan’s Rookie Card Still A Good Investment?

Sometimes hype and excitement gets in the way of reality.  And in the case of Michael Jordan's 1986 Fleer rookie card, I'm worried that this might be the case.

Never have I seen a 30+ year old card garner so much attention--and fueled by what?  A documentary?  Are people so stir crazy that they somehow forgot that Michael Jordan was one of the best to ever play the game?

I bring all of this up due to the fact that Jordan's rookie card has begun to reach levels of hysteria that normally crop up in the way of a new rookie phenom.  But here we are talking about the 50-something year old Michael Jordan.

As a case in point, I put together a spreadsheet back in April of 2019, tracking the prices of Jordan's rookie (see below).  In a little more than a year, Jordan's rookie card has increased across the board by the tune of nearly 200% in most grades.  

Will The Coronavirus Lead To A Freefall in Vintage Card Prices?

coronavirusIt has been an ugly few months. A pandemic is sweeping our nation. The S&P 500 Index has plummeted by 40%. Every so often we get a black swan that catches everyone by surprise.

This surprise is invisible and unstoppable – a powerful and contagious virus called the coronavirus or COVID-19. We weren’t prepared for it despite warnings.

As I’m writing this, the United States is still in the early innings of what will likely be a devastating and heartbreaking outcome for our country. And while the number of deaths are still fairly small in quantity, the economic impact is already being felt far and wide.

Airlines are shut down, restaurants are closed, hotels and casinos are closed up. Employees are getting laid off in the hopes they can quickly collect unemployment. Schools are closed and people are forced to work from home.

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Introducing The All Vintage Cards “Value” Portfolio

value-portfolio

As you might have picked up in past posts, I like to find value when looking for new cards to buy.  

I have an investment background so this is only natural for me–my whole life is involved with finding the best funds or stocks for a portfolio.   Of course, part of that equation revolves around finding good value.

There are definitely some similarities in picking a stock versus picking a card to buy!

As I always say, card prices are a determination of demand versus supply.  For stocks, it’s a similar story.

And if there’s excess supply (think 1988 Topps) with minimal demand, the cards are pretty much worthless.

But if there’s excess demand versus supply (think Tesla in the stock market or the Green Portrait Cobb) the price rockets higher. 

With cards, we determine a card’s scarcity and attempt to evaluate the future demand based on a myriad of factors – player popularity, the card set popularity, etc.

This is NEVER a perfect science and not all collectors think this way, but it’s a good habit to get into if you are making some serious investments in baseball cards.

There are some givens for me.   Names like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner will never see a drop in future demand.

But depending on the card set we are considering, there could be more variability in demand over time.

Sure, there’s no certainty in any of this, but it’s the way I think about collecting. 

I know common T206 cards might see an increase in line with inflation over time, but there’s no reason to think they should increase significantly in value.  

I mean how much future demand should we expect for Buck Congalton’s T206 over time?

congalton-t206

So, with that said, I am assembling what I call the All Vintage Cards ‘Value’ Portfolio

In the stock market, funds labeled as “value” tend to have valuation characteristics below that of the market.  Due to this value discrepancy, investors look for these lower valued stocks in hopes there is some reversion to the mean with valuation.  

For example, today Ford (ticker F) would be considered a ‘value’ play, as it trades at a very low multiple versus its earnings (or P/E ratio).  Whereas a company such as Tesla (TSLA) is very optimistically valued and trades at a significant premium to its expected future earnings.

Hence, I’m attempting to put a portfolio together of cards that I think offer good relative value and have opportunity for future appreciation.

Before getting started, I will reiterate this IS NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE.  While I think cards are a good portfolio diversifier, please do your own homework.  Don’t assume that I will be right about any of this!  

Thus, without further adieu, here are the components of the All Vintage Cards ‘Value’ Portfolio.

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T206 Ty Cobb Green Portrait: Is It Worth The Premium?

green-cobbIf you’ve spent any time in the tobacco groups on Facebook, you’re well aware of the popularity and the mystique of the T206 Ty Cobb Green Portrait Card.

If you’re new to the ‘Monster’ you might not realize that Cobb has four cards in the set.  A green and a red portrait card along with a ‘Bat off Shoulder’  and a ‘Bat on Shoulder’ card.

The portrait cards have consistently over time been the most valuable of the four, with the green portrait card the rarest and most valuable.

In this piece we take a closer look at the values and the scarcity of the Cobb cards and attempt to determine the future values.  Our main goal of this piece is to determine whether the Green portrait Cobb is worthy of the premium it holds over the other Cobb cards in the set and other Cobb cards in different sets.

From a popularity standpoint, Cobb’s cards remain in high demand, with his four T206 cards remaining among the most highly sought after in the hobby.  In fact, using the tools at All Vintage Search we can see that the Cobb cards in the white borders set are among the top ranked for ‘watchers’ at eBay.

Follow along as we examine the population reports and historical values.  Have a question on a T206 Cobb?  Feel free to get in touch with me at chris@allvintagecards.com

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Are We In A Vintage Card Bubble?

baseball-bubbleFor any stock investors that were active traders during the late 1990’s the mention of the word ‘bubble’ brings back some rather unpleasant memories.

A more recent ‘bubble’ that younger collectors would be more familiar with involves the recent hysteria surrounding Bitcoin and other associated cryptocurrencies. Cards even experienced their own bubble during the early 90’s.

While I’ve advocated that vintage cards can be viewed as a good long term investment for collectors, there are some warning signs that we should all be aware of.  

I want to review some of my concerns and alert collector’s to some of my research on the topic.  

Note this isn’t meant as a piece to scare collectors into selling their entire collections but something that I think at least warrants a discussion.

I hope you will provide some commentary as to your thoughts on the subject. 

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How To Buy Vintage Cards At A Discount

48-ruthLet’s face it, none of us want to pay full retail price when buying vintage cards. Sometimes we don’t have a choice if we’re targeting some of the most in demand and valuable cards in the hobby.

But there are a few ways to save a few bucks, whether it’s utilizing various eBay discounts or cash back deals.  

In this guide, we take a closer look at some of the easiest ways you can use to try and amass a killer vintage baseball card collection at a discount.

First, we’ll walk through a few methods of saving via online purchases and then we’ll examine some other ideas for striking a good deal.  Enjoy!

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Five Rare Ted Williams Cards That Look Undervalued

goudey-premiums-williamsTed Williams (aka ‘The Splendid Splinter’) was one of baseball’s all-time greats and one of the purest left-handed hitters to play the game.

Even with his career interrupted for three full seasons during World War II and later in his career for duty in the Korean War, Williams amassed 521 home runs with a staggering .344 batting average.  If he hadn’t served in the military, it’s hard to say what Williams might have been capable of.  

Today, demand for Williams’ cards is still quite strong among vintage collectors, with his early Bowman and Play Ball rookie cards the most highly desired.

In this piece, I take a look at some of Ted Williams’ rarer and more obscure cards, while examining the population relative to some of his more widely produced cards during the early 1950’s. 

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T206 Hall of Famers – A More Attainable Goal for Collectors

t206-cobb-on-batThe T206 ‘White Borders’ set is most indeed a ‘Monster’.  The set features 524 cards, which for most collectors is a rather expensive and time consuming adventure.

A lot of vintage collectors I know forgo the actual Monster and head right to building out the T206 Hall of Fame subset.

While it’s still a pricey proposition, it’s a lot easier to hunt down 74 different cards (or 76 including Plank and Wagner) as opposed to the 524 that make up the entire set.

In this piece we examine the nuances of building a Hall of Famers only T206 set while also speaking to someone that’s one card away from completing the challenge.

Hopefully this piece provides the motivation to some of you on the fence!

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Are Baseball Cards A Good Long Term Investment?

Some cringe at the thought of baseball cards as an ‘investment’, but it’s hard to deny the appreciation in the most cherished vintage baseball cards.

The rise in value of old sports cards has led to a new line of thinking about how collectors should think about cards as a long term investment. 

Based on work from PWCC, a basket of some of the most expensive and popular cards has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 200% since 2008.  

baseball cards investment

Most collectors don’t entertain the ‘investment’ part of card collecting, but focus on building a collection that suits their interest, regardless of the value. 

Still, I think collectors and non-collectors alike should consider vintage baseball cards as an overall part of their entire investment portfolio. 

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Five Rare Mickey Mantle Cards That Sell For $1000 or Less

mickey-mantle-exhibit-cardThere aren’t many baseball players that had the same sort of impact on the game as the legendary Mickey Mantle.

Mantle carried the torch from the legends before him – Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – while putting together one of the all time great careers in baseball history.

Although injuries got the better of him towards the end of his career, Mantle is considered one of the best ever to play the game of baseball.

It’s no surprise that Mantle’s cards to this day are still some of the most highly sought after.  His 1952 Topps card continues to break records, while his other early Topps and Bowman cards continue to be some of the most sought after in the hobby.

But since most of us don’t have the funds to access some of Mantle’s high grade six figure cards, I wanted to provide a list of five Mickey Mantle cards that can be purchased for $1000 or less.

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