Welcome to Sports Cards Insider for April 13th, 2022 – FREE Edition.
Each week we give you the scoop on undervalued, mispriced and hidden gems in Alternative Investing.
Table of Contents
Sports Cards in 2022
Firstly, as a reminder, here’s my view on sports cards sectors for 2022:
– All soccer, especially vintage
– Vintage basketball
– Vintage football
– Hockey, except for ultra blue-chip
– Modern basketball
Sports cards continue to trade within a narrow band on the fractional markets. No big movements up or down overall. Yes, that’s (deliberately) copy/pasted from last week.
But CardLadder’s high-end index dug deeper into the negative last week, which is a worrying sign.
More worrying is that the biggest declines are a pretty broad cross-section.
I’d need to summon our loyal legion of interns on this to get a true feel for it, but I did some back-of-napkin math to make sense of what’s going on below the surface.
Here I’ve noted the top 30 winners and top 30 losers in CardLadder’s high-end index:
A quick legend:
- Winners = of the 30 biggest winners, how many were in each category
- Losers = of the 30 biggest losers, how many were in each category
- +/- = winners minus losers…which category has the absolute best performance
- Ratio = winners divided by losers to account for any given category’s over- or under-representation
Again, this is a super small sample size – just the top and bottom 30 cards. AND I put stuff from the 80s and 90s into modern categories, which I don’t really love…but here are my takeaways:
- The only modern category doing well last month was baseball, probably because they decided to actually play baseball this year.
- Otherwise, it’s all vintage. Three of the top four are vintage, five of the seven with more winners than losers are vintage.
- Only hockey sneaks in with some modern representation – a Sidney Crosby rookie card if you’re scoring at home.
- Other than modern soccer, those results match pretty well with our 2022 thesis above. If you squint, you can explain away modern soccer’s two losers – they’re both Erling Haaland cards, and he’s been pretty poor (by his standards) this year.
- I’m still on team vintage, especially with non-baseball categories.
- And I still hate modern basketball and football.
- We need to create a new category for ultra-modern: anything later than maybe 2016 or so. I suspect ultra-modern would look ultra-terrible.
We’ll check back in on this soon, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Last Week in Sports Cards
Fractional secondary markets
Lewis Hamilton continues racing to ridiculous heights on Rally – up another 71.4%. Its market cap is now at $150k, which dragged the entire sports cards index up.
Goldin’s spring elite wrapped up last weekend, and there were several assets I was keeping an eye on. Let’s check-in:
- 2014 Prizm World Cup Gold Messi. I thought this one might break the record for a Messi card, and it sure did.
- The 2002 – 03 Ronaldo rookie didn’t fare as well. We were looking to confirm recent $250k and $320k sales, and he limped into $218k instead. Smashing a little kid’s phone probably didn’t help. He’s such an a-hole.
Yesterday.— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 10, 2022
Fan phones broken: 0
Tap in merchant (Ronaldo)
Fan phones broken: 1
Goat discussion over. pic.twitter.com/aBT7Gr4A5o
Assets dropping on marketplaces
Just three sports cards dropping this week on fractional marketplaces.
Another month, another Goldin Elite auction. Here’s what I’m watching this time:
- 2014 Prizm World Cup Gold Messi. I’ve got no idea where this is going to finish up, but it’s on pace to set the record for a Messi card (it’s already over $400k).
- Another soccer card – 2002 – 03 Ronaldo rookie. There were a couple of monster sales for this card in October 2021 for $250k and $320k, and there was some concern they were outliers after a downtrend.
- Finally, some good news from the 1986 Michael Jordan PSA 10 rookie card camp.
What about the Lewis Hamilton card I was watching? As a reminder from last week:
I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with F1 prices, and this could be a decent indicator. Both Goldin and Alt have a Lewis Hamilton PSA 10 2020 Topps Chrome Sapphire Aqua Refractor on offer this week, and the price to beat is around $20k. Hamilton’s cards have been all over the place in the last year, and a triple patch card on fractional platform Rally pumped 150% in initial trading.
They both smashed the price to beat, coming in at $29,400 and $29k, respectively. I honestly don’t know if an F1 bubble is about to pop or we’re still really early.
For now, Hamilton cards are *far* more expensive than Verstappen (Verstappen isn’t even in CardLadder yet), even though the latter is the reigning champion and gets a similar amount of search traffic.
Verstappen might be the value play here if he continues to develop and challenge Hamilton. What we’d be looking for is a Federer-Nadal or Ronaldo-Messi sort of rivalry. If that happens, you’d expect the Dutchman’s value to explode. If we instead get something like a Woods-Mickelson “rivalry,” Verstappen-holders may be in trouble.
Lastly, here’s some fun trivia for the F1 fans out there: Who used to be karting mates with Hamilton back in the day? Answers on a postcard please.
That’s all for this week. Make sure to check out our Discord, where issue previews and in-depth valuations get kicked around.
For more on investing in F1, check out Stefan’s recent Sunday edition