‘Right now it’s the hottest market in the world’: Trading cards take off during pandemic

National

(KXMA) — Since March of 2020 people have tried to find new hobbies or resurrect old ones.

Many rediscovered the old trading cards they collected as a kid as they went through shoeboxes in closets.

“It’s crazy. Right now it’s the hottest market in the world. They’re looking for everything that they can of sports and collectibility,” said Chris Magstadt, owner of The Sports Cave card shop.

And it isn’t just sports cards flying off the shelves. Pokemon cards have once again exploded in popularity, leading to a run on the cards.

“Selling went up about 1,000%. I would field about 25 to 30 phone calls a week,” said Magstadt.

But then a huge problem arose: Pricing a card can depend on the grade it receives from a professional grading company, companies such as Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) or Beckett grading Services.

They look for things such as the condition of the cards, bent corners, frayed edges or any type of damage to the card.

Getting a 10 on a card goes a long way for value, especially if it’s from PSA.

“A PSA 9 versus a BGS 9 of a key card sells for about 30 to 35 percent more than its Beckett counterpart,” said Magstadt.

During the pandemic, PSA took on a few million more submissions than they normally see, causing a massive backlog for grading. Starting in April, PSA stopped accepting any new card entries looking to be graded.

A Lebron James rookie card and a Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card each sold for $1.8 million at auctions last year. In October, a PSA 10 graded 1st edition Charizard pokemon card sold for over $220,000

“The disadvantage of seeing the prices go up so fast on these cards is it knocks the kids out of the collecting world because they just can’t afford it. Mom and dad will give them a $10, $20 bill but we have more packs that are $100 plus just for a pack of cards anymore,” said Magstadt.

Kids like Charlie Anderson, a card collector of about four years now.

“The best part about collecting cards is seeing what you’re going to pull in each pack and just collecting them either from card shows that you can go to or from your friends,” said Anderson.

Anderson used to buy cards fairly often at retailers such as Walmart and Target, but because of the card craze, a lot of those retailers are limiting or just not carrying cards anymore.

“Yeah, they’re really expensive and basically can’t find them even if they’re the cheapest product that they have,” Anderson said.

A man in Wisconsin even pulled a gun on someone in a Target parking lot because they had bought the last of some cards.

“That’s the future of this industry. If we stop selling to kids at this point then we’re not going to have a future 10, 20 years down the road. Because we, back in our teens, were collecting cards, and that’s what we went through during this pandemic, and now they’re passing it on to their kids. But now with the prices going up, are those kids going to pass it down to their kids,” said Magstadt.

But the future of trading cards is looking up. So if you have cards lying around at home, take a look. And PSA is hoping to start accepting admissions again in July.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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