Welcome to Sports Cards Insider for January 18th, 2022 – FREE version.
Each week we give you the scoop on undervalued, mispriced and hidden gems in Alternative Investing.
Last week, Horacio sat down with Ryan Stuczynski, founder of Gemrate, the site dedicated to grading trends and analytics. Gemrate gives sports card investors an edge because they’re the first to know about upcoming trends in the grading market. Worth a listen.
And I’m trying out something new this week based on feedback from our Discord fam (thank you). I’ll highlight which card sectors I’m most bullish on; check in regularly if you’d like. I’ll note when something changes.
This week looks like this:
- All soccer especially vintage
- Vintage basketball
- Vintage football
- Hockey except for ultra blue chip
- Modern basketball
Sports Cards in 2022
Sports cards seem to have found a bottom on fractional markets, but we won’t know for sure for a couple of weeks.
We highlighted the golf index in last week’s issue suspecting it might be breaking out a bit. It’s, predictably, slightly down seven days on.
Last Week in Sports Cards
Fractional secondary markets
Finally some leadership from the tier one sports – football, baseball, and basketball – with all three positive week over week. Overall pretty quiet the last few days.
All six asset classes were up for the week for the third time in a row at Alt.
More positive results from CardLadder as long as you’re sticking with high-end cards and avoiding wrestling.
There were a few items of note at last week’s liquid auction at OnlyAlt:There are a couple of days left in the January OnlyAlt Liquid Auction. They’re slowly climbing up the value chain to offer some lower-blue-chip cards, which is a point in the right direction. Nice to see some (lower-graded) vintage stuff there — a 1951 Bowman Willie Mays and 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky feature alongside a 1979 Panini Diego Maradona and 1958 Topps Jim Brown. Keep an eye on the Maradona and Brown and snatch them up anywhere below $3,500 or so.
The Maradona card finished at $3,651 while Jimmy Brown ended at $3,050. I hope one of you picked it up.
It’s worth noting that OnlyAlt are stocking their auctions themselves via eBay purchases. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it’s also possible they’re making up the demand side of the marketplace as well, snapping up cards that are set to hammer for too low a price. Will be interesting to see how many, if any, of these cards show up on eBay.
This 2009 Topps Chrome Curry sold in Alt’s liquid auction for $44.9K last night. They purchased it off of ebay for $51.2K on December 5th.— M&T Trading (@MTTrading2) January 14, 2022
Many cards sold for less, some sold for more than they paid.
Also included is investopedias definition of customer acquisition cost. pic.twitter.com/70yVxmMoXI
Assets dropping on marketplaces
Three IPOs this week – one from Rally and two from Collectable.
Naomi Osaka 2018 SI for Kids PSA 9
- Market Cap: $13,000
- Inferred Value: $11,500
- Date: 1/18/22 on Rally
- Our View: [INSIDERS ONLY]
Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps PSA 7
- Market Cap: $299k
- Inferred Value: $315k
- Date: 1/18/22 on Collectable
- Our View: [INSIDERS ONLY]
Jordan | Kobe | LeBron | Magic 2007 Upper Deck Black Quad Auto /10 BGS 7
- Market Cap: $121,500
- Inferred Value: $60,000
- Date: 1/19/22 on Collectable
- Our View: [INSIDERS ONLY]
Three massive auctions right now at Heritage (ends in nine days), Goldin (ends in 18 days), and PWCC (ends in four days).
Let’s check in on Heritage’s Winter Sports Card Auction. Here’s what we highlighted last week and continue to keep an eye on:
- 1961 – 62 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain PSA 9. Look for anything above $300k to support a bull market in vintage basketball. Update: Currently $336k
- 1969 Topps Wilt Chamberlain PSA 9. Another Wilt card, this one from his move to the Lakers. The last sale was around $42k in March 2021. Update: Currently $72k
- 1986-87 Fleer Basketball Wax Box. A good barometer for the hobby. Anything near $300k is a good sign. Update: $174k
- 1985 O-Pee-Chee Mario Lemieux PSA 10. One of the premier semi-vintage hockey cards around, this has been in a slide lately. Look at $60k to halt the skid. Update: $41k
- 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson PSA 8. This card has been in great form lately up 56% over the last six months. Anything over $50,400 sets an all-time high (ATH). Update: $36k
- 1958 Topps Jimmy Brown PSA 8. We mentioned the PSA 5 version of this card above at OnlyAlt. Here’s a chance to get your hands on the same card three grades higher. $40k would support a bull market in vintage football. Update: $25k.
Nine days to go…
Moving on to Goldin’s Winter Elite auction, it’s dominated at the top end by LeBron James, who has 136 total items in the auction and whose cards currently make up six of the top 11 top lots (by highest bid).
Modern basketball overall makes up nearly half the auction with 681 total lots. Top athletes after LeBron include Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady.
There’s not a lot I’ll be watching with this auction, but here are a couple of notable items:
- 1937 Ogden’s Limited Jesse Owens. Goldin sold an identical copy for $32k just a couple of weeks ago, another for $13k in May 2021, and another in March 2021 for $39,600. That’s fully half the eight PSA 9s in circulation sold via one auction house in the last ten months.
- The hobby’s highest-graded set of 1980-81 Topps basketball cards (Bird, Johnson rookie) is available for the first time in forever. It comes with loads of add-ons including an uncut sheet of cards, team pin-ups, and an unopened wax pack. Someone is unloading a lifetime’s passion project. This should go for well over $1m.
- All I could find out (after an embarrassing amount of time spent researching it, and it was in the lot listing anyway) about the 1957 Balas Futebol Pele is that it’s very rare. There’s one copy with SGC and one other with PSA and that’s it. Similar-ish cards have gone for around $200k, but this one is already at $234k.
Onto the PWCC Premier auction before I run out of steam.
- PWCC and Goldin have nearly identical 2000 Playoff Contenders Tom Brady BGS 8 cards on offer. PWCC’s copy, which ends sooner, is up to $650k while Goldin’s trails slightly at $540k. There’s a BGS 8.5 graded copy at Collectable with a market cap of $1.8m, down from an IPO of over $2.1m.
- Keep an eye on the 2009 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry refractor. Curry cards are up 40% over the last couple of months. CardLadder values it at $156k, and it’s already up to $180k at auction.
- There’s a slightly faded 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 7 that’s currently set at $180k. Collectable is IPO’ing a nicer PSA 7 this week for $299k.
- One more Pele then no more. Keep an eye on this 1958 Alifabolaget SGC 7.5 Pele rookie. This exact card sold for $145k at Goldin in April 2021. It’s up to $140k now. It will probably go for somewhere between $150k and $250k; where exactly it ends up could tell us a lot about both the market for Pele and the relative value of SGC to PSA for vintage soccer.