Recently, Fernando Tatis Jr was suspended by Major League Baseball for 80 games due to steroids. To the average fan, this is a huge loss for baseball. However, to collectors, this might be the single most extreme event in the modern era. Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions, came out publicly and stated that this suspension could cost collectors more than $100 million. The price of a bowman chrome Tatis bowman chrome auto graded a BGS 9.5 consistently sold for over $2,500 before this suspension. Since then, numerous copies have sold for under $1,000. To me, this suspension is definitely a cautionary tale when deciding to purchase a Tatis card. Tatis has clearly shown immaturity issues as he broke his contract he signed with the Padres by riding a motorcycle. Not only did he ride a motorcycle, but he also broke his wrist and never reported it to the team until a month before the season. Pairing this with his suspension, it definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth for fans and collectors. A lot of collecting these young players is for them to not only win an MVP and make the All Star Game, but also to make the Hall of Fame. David Ortiz is one notable name that made it into the Hall of Fame despite being suspended for steroids. However, he is only one. Many other players that are considerably better such as Barry Bonds are not in the Hall of Fame and will likely never make it due to steroid allegations. With all this, it seems likely that Tatis won’t be getting into the Hall of Fame. While Tatis has been an exciting player, I question not only his durability but also his future production. Should he continue to put up great numbers, haters and fans will always have doubts. As a prospector, I tend to value hitting the most. Tatis has never really shown to be a great hitter in my opinion. His batting average in the minor leagues .280, which is not a great considering prospects that aren’t as highly touted hit better. In the majors, Tatis average has slumped quite a bit since his rookie season, and coming off wrist and shoulder surgery, I question his ability to hit in the upcoming seasons despite his young age. For now, I think buying Tatis cards now at his prices isn’t a bad move however. The card market is very susceptible to changes. Since many collectors have a lot invested in Tatis, the perception of him in the collector’s eyes may go back up. If that never happens, Tatis is a big enough name where his cards should always sell quite frequently. Only time will tell what the future holds for Tatis and his sports cards.
Six years after my first National card convention, I returned back to Atlantic City. It was interesting to see the numerous changes since I first went to Atlantic City in 2016. Obviously the card hobby has grown significantly, so there were numerous people walking around the show. It was practically a maze trying to navigate through everyone. Compared to Chicago last year, I felt like more people actually came to Atlantic city, which was surprising since everyone seems to rave about the Chicago location the best. More than ever, I noticed numerous collectors documenting their experience at the show with camera crews following them around everywhere. I think it was great to see all this as it exposes the hobby even more to new people.
My goal at the show this year was to stay away from opening boxes. It has become a yearly tradition to open cases in the hotel room at night with my friends. However, with cases at an all time high, it just was not worth spending five figures and having a slim chance of making your money back.
The hottest player at the show for baseball definitely was Julio Rodriguez. I had been lucky to invest in Rodriguez early on about 2.5 years ago. I was able to sell one of his cards that I had purchased for $4,000 for over $200,000. Many people speak about how the card hobby is falling off, but I think sales like this show how the high end market is still strong. If you have rare cards that are in demand, there has been no fall off in price. Rather, it’s more of the cards that are not from desirable products that seem to be falling off the most.
I felt like coming into the show the baseball prospect market was down. However, I was wrong. While sitting at my friends’ booth displaying some of my prospects, I actually garnered significant interest, especially when I was not expecting it.
I will be posting a podcast in the upcoming week furthering my experience and interactions with other collectors at the show!
Buying and selling sports cards has been keeping the hobby alive ever since the beginning. Before the creation of popular websites such as eBay, the only way to sell sports cards used to be at card shows, friends, or mutual friends. However, there seems to be a surplus of new sites where collectors are buying sports cards that leads to the question of how much is too much? Just a few years ago, eBay, Facebook groups, and couple forums seemed to be the only places that collectors would seek out when looking to purchase cards. However, there are numerous more websites where collectors can list and buy cards. With so many new marketplaces, it leads to more difficulty searching for cards because one site may have a card listed that another website does not have. Since many of these platforms are new, collectors may be unaware and end up missing out on a card that they have been looking for. Furthermore, new platforms confuse collectors as it also becomes difficult to decide which marketplace is the best platform to sell on. On a positive note, the creation of new selling platforms speaks to how much the sports collecting hobby has grown. If anyone said that a website besides eBay would grow to become a popular website to sell cards on, most collectors would have dismissed that idea. In addition, these new websites offer greater incentives for people looking to sell cards such as having lower seller fees so that collectors are able to not only get better deals when buying, but sellers also receive more after fees. With the large growing interest in the Metaverse, it would be interesting to see if companies or collectors begin developing spaces in that platform to sell cards. Since people can interact with each other in the Metaverse, it can also lead to virtual card shows. The future of the hobby looks bright with all the attention, and with new technology, it opens the pathway to new ways to sell cards that can grow interest in the hobby even more.
Recently for my school newspaper I published an article talking about my school's vaccination mandate and how athletes felt about it. This has been a very controversial topics even in professional sports as many athletes wish to not get vaccinated due to possible side effects that could prevent them from playing.
After a one year hiatus of the National Sports Collectors Convention (NSCC) due to the pandemic, the National Card convention opened up with a bang this summer in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to attend three days of the show. I have gone every year since 2016, and it was such a shock to see how far the hobby has come since then. Before, it was mainly men that would show up to the shows, but this year, I noticed younger children as well as families showing up to attend the convention. I believe this to be partially due to the increasing popularity of sports cards. Most recently, a Patrick Mahomes football card sold for $4.3 million, a record high for any football card. This card was on display at the convention, and people were lining up to get a glance. Although there was not an exact head count, it was reported that over 100,000 tickets to attend the convention were sold. Normally only around 50,000-60,000 people attend the show on average. This is a huge increase, and it definitely was noticeable while walking around from each table. Walking around the show, I could feel the energy from everybody as people bargained for deals or worked out trades on the side. Words can't really explain how hectic the show was. I had a great time talking with old card friends and helping out PC Sportscards at their booth. To reinforce how healthy the hobby is, after the show closed, in the small lobby at the Loews hotel, easily a thousand people would go and set up their cards for sale. It practically became a smaller card convention outside the national card convention. As a seller of one of the highest priced cards recently, it was interesting as some dealers would ask me why I even bothered to show up. They assumed that because I sold a card for nearly two million dollars that I am too high end for the show, but for me, I enjoy talking to new collectors and conversing with card buddies that I have known ever since I started to delve deep into cards. Overall, to say I was amazed by the convention would be an understatement, and I hope to see just as many people if not more next year at the convention in Atlantic City.
Recently, the NCAA is finally allowing college athletes to collect money off their name and likeness. This is one of the most significant rule changes since the beginning of the NCAA 115 years ago. Although the ruling has just been passed, this change has been in the talks for many years. Prior to the ruling, athletes have been banned from being paid to promote goods, and doing so would result in a termination of their scholarship and them getting banned from ever playing collegiate level sports. Although the NCAA had indicated that they had no intention of changing the ruling to allow athletes to get paid, pressure from powerful states such as California in 2019 changed the NCAA’s plans. Compared to making nothing before, some college superstars could be making millions now overnight. In my opinion, I think this is great that the NCAA is finally changing their rules as it brings in more exciting players into college sports. Recently, due to the inability to make money in college, many popular basketball stars such as Lamelo Ball opted to play overseas rather than attend college. Additionally, the NBA sought an opportunity to bring more popularity to their development league and offered promising high school players to join their league rather than go to college which proved to be enticing enough to make many top recruits accept the NBA’s offer. Most recently, with Bryce Young receiving endorsement offers of seven figures, it will be interesting to see how these young athletes are able to progress with all the newly added distractions that endorsements and money can bring. Recently, we have seen more and more athletes beginning to buy their own sports cards. It will be interesting to see if college players decide to join this trend due to the inflow of money that they used to never be able to receive before.