Cleat Geeks

The Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode Two

In our inaugural article here at The Collector’s Clubhouse we talked about the joys of sports collecting. How sports collecting enhances the experience of following your favorite teams and players as well as reminding you of the “good ole days” when you were just a kid in love with sports. That’s all well and good but the truth is sports collecting can be a pretty expensive hobby. If nostalgia is all you’re getting out of it chances are you’re not going to be getting a good return on your investment.

The good news, however, is that sports collectibles are not a sunk cost by any means. What do I mean by sunk cost? Well, if you purchase a Blu-ray for $29.99 chances are if you try to resell, your return would only be $4-$5. So for all intents and purposes that Blu-ray is a sunk cost. I’m not saying that the purchase of a Blu-ray is a bad one, there is much intrinsic value that it provides. However, a Blu-ray collection is going to almost always end up failing to return value.

Sports collections (here we are focused mainly on cards but include autographs and game used memorabilia) are a completely different situation than the Blu-ray collection we just took a look at. The reality is that these collections can not only return value (aka you can sell them for what you paid for them) but in some instances can be sold for much more than the purchase price. Let’s look at a somewhat extreme example that illustrates this point.

In 2011 Topps released its annual Update series which features traded players in their new team’s uniform and rookie cards of young players not included in the original set. This set is a very basic set with retail (products available at retail stores like Target or Walmart) boxes selling for $19.99 and hobby (products available at hobby stores like your local trading cards shop) boxes selling for  $39.99. The 2011 set however has exploded, with hobby boxes now selling on eBay for 10 times the original sale price. Rookie cards of Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt (two of the biggest young stars in the game today) has driven those prices. If you had bought boxes four years ago (and had the discipline to not open the packs) you would be able to sell at this point for a large profit. Or, if you had purchase a box and ended up pulling a Trout or Goldschmidt you would also be able to sell that card for a big profit.

Boxes like this one now sell for up to 10 times their MSRP

Boxes like this one now sell for up to 10 times their MSRP            

Keep in mind if you are starting to get the urge to head down to you closest Target and buy up their entire inventory of trading cards that not all products are created equal when it comes to profitability. There are many products with which your chances of ending up profitable are very slim (I plan on diving into this concept in our next article). So what you buy is very important. However, the point I want to make clear is that collecting is something that you can invest in without the heartburn of feeling like you are setting your money on fire. Will you be able to retire off it? Maybe, but I’m not going to make any promises.


2011 Topps Update Mike Trout RC

Like I said, I want to really delve into the specifics of the concept of collecting and profit in the next article. So stay tuned for that because you won’t want to miss it. I’m going to give a sneak peek right now, because the NFL season is here and it gives us a unique opportunity. Here’s your sneak peek into next week’s article. Sports collecting is a lot like the stock market. Buying sports collectibles is a lot like buy stocks. Sometimes their values go up and sometimes they go down. Think about it like your fantasy football team. Next week we will get into that in depth.

I plan on having a new article out every Thursday in lead up to that week’s Thursday Night Football broadcast. Each week, I will highlight a player from each team to keep an eye on them from a collecting standpoint and tell you whether I think you should buy or sell. Tonight we have the Washington Redskins vs. The New York Football Giants. Not a ton of young talent on the field for either of these two teams. You know about RGIII (looks like he’s officially busted as an NFL quarterback) and Odell Beckham Jr. (prices are sky high for his items) but unless you’ve been paying close attention to the Redskins (I’m sure most of you haven’t) you may not be aware of what’s starting to transpire in their backfield. Rookie Matt Jones outcarried Alfred Morris 19 to 18 a week after being on the field for only 62% of Washington’s offensive snaps in Week 1. While it is early there are indicators that say this is a trend not an anomaly (Jones was drafted by the current coaching staff, Morris by the previous). I recommend selling any collecting shares of Alfred Morris you have before his lead back days are officially over.
On the other side of the ball the New York Giants have an interesting young RB in Andre Williams. Williams’ physical profile coming out of college (read: combine numbers) compare favorably with Adrian Peterson, Latavius Murray, and the aforementioned Alfred Morris. He is still relatively unknown as he played at Boston College and is behind Rashard Jennings on the Giants depth chart. He may not be for much longer as Jennings has a history of being injury prone and if given the job Williams may not give it back. The knock on Williams is he is a “plodder”, a term also used to describe Le’Veon Bell before his breakout last season. I’m not saying Williams the next Bell or Pederson but with his autographed cards currently selling on eBay for less than $10 there’s a lot of upside without a whole lot of downside at that price. For that reason, I’m calling him a buy.

That’s all for now! Tune in next time as we continue to expand on the ins and outs of the sports collecting marketplace. Before I’m done I want to tell you about a very special promo. As you know (or maybe you don’t) I have a startup box/case breaking business called Majestic Card Breaks. Our goal is to give collectors a chance to partner with other collectors from across the country and break some of the top products being released today across all sports. Everyone gets a piece of the pie without having to drop enormous amounts of cash. It’s a win/win for everyone. Now that we have partnered with Cleat Geeks we want to give readers an exclusive chance to break with us and also get some cool bonus items courtesy of Cleat Geeks. So we’ve pulled a box of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft out of our store and are offering spots to Cleat Geeks readers only. That’s 5 cards, all autographed, one card per slot. AND each slot will get a bonus grab bag courtesy of Cleat Geeks. We will continue to do these kinds of special Cleat Geeks reader only opportunities as a thank you for being a part of the Cleat Geeks readership. Stay tuned as we have some fun stuff planned to commemorate the start of the MLB playoffs and the upcoming NHL season. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break you must email us at and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks. Happy Collecting!

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  1. Pingback: The Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 3 – Cleat Geeks

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