A Message to All SPORTS CARD COLLECTORS and INVESTORS
May 06, 20216 min read
Well 2020 and 2021 have been absolutely epic for the sports card industry. I don't need to tell you that. Record-setting sales. Cards increasing 10x and 20x in a calendar year. Lots of people doing very well for themselves. They're making money. They're adding new cars into their collection. The hobby is on the up and up. I want it to stay positive and healthy for everyone, and today there's just one message I want to get across to all the sports card investors and collectors out there. Especially new ones coming into the hobby, and hoping you can avoid this. That is, “keeping up with the joneses”. There are people out there selling 10k, 100k, even over a $1 million cards on a regular basis, and it's hard not to get this feeling of “I can do that, I should be doing that.” Yes, you can do that. You can get to one of those levels. Maybe not a million card level, but 1k, 5k, and 10k cards for sure, but there is a process you need to follow in order to get to that level. These people that are selling these cards in most cases have been selling cards for decades. They have the experience, the connections, and the financial resources to make these types of sales. That didn't happen overnight for them. They had to follow a process of selling a $100 cards then $1,000 cards, and then 5k and 10k, all the way up to the level that they are at now. They just didn't jump automatically into selling high-end cards.
I know when I see this I think I've got to get in to these cards right away, or I'm going to miss out. I've got to start picking up more expensive cards like these guys if I want to be able to compete and make all the big bucks and get this card in my collection before I miss out on it, and unfortunately for most of us it just doesn't happen that quickly. Most of us are normal people with everyday jobs and families where a $1,000 is a big deal. Yes, you're gonna miss out on some of these cards due to the market moving so fast and this is definitely 100% true. You're gonna miss out on cards, just accept it. I would rather have you miss out on a card just because you can't, at that particular time, financially afford it, then make the mistake of buying something you couldn't afford at that particular moment. I.e. putting it on a credit card.
I've talked about this on this on my show many times, but no way in hell are we going into debt to buy little pictures of men on cardboard. As my boy Patrick Ryan talks about, I've had him on this show before. No way in heck that we are doing okay, and we are definitely not putting them ahead of our family and financial responsibilities. If you're like me, you want to do something great for the future of your family and you think sports cards are one of those ways to do it, and they are. But, we have to have the means in order to be able to do it, and this goes back to the process that I was talking about. We've got to first sell our 100 card in most cases before we can sell our 200 card. Also, keep in mind your situation may be completely different than these guys that are selling these big time cards. Many young people are coming into the hobby that don't necessarily have the families or the financial responsibilities, and oftentimes maybe they still live at home so their expenses are very low. That person's ability to buy cards might be completely different than someone like me who's got a wife and two kids, a house, and other financial responsibilities. I have to always put those first before I buy any card for a collection. It's hard to justify a 5k or a 10k card when you've got two young kids college to fund or a deck to fix. I don't know about you, but if you ever tried fixing a deck, it is super expensive. Like $10,000. Way more expensive and way more money than you ever want to spend on a deck. Maybe you've got a house to pay down. How about a family vacation you haven't taken in years. I know a lot of you are in the same boat.
The main point I want to get across with this video is whatever your situation is, come up with a process and a financial budget that works for you and your family. Not for Mr. Jones down the street or Mr. Jones on Instagram. Be proud of that budget, even if it's only a $100, $500, whatever you and your family come up with. Live by that budget, and do your best to make that budget work for your card investments or your collection. Worst thing we can do is buy something that we can't currently afford just because we want to keep up with that guy on YouTube or keep up with that guy on Instagram. I don't know about you, but I get anxiety when I stop following a process that works.
I'll give you a few quick examples. About eight years ago I did an autograph signing with Thomas Robinson of the Kansas Jayhawks. If you remember who he was, but he was an all-American there and then he got drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the first round. At that particular time I hadn't been doing many autograph signings in the Kansas City area. I had seen all these local dealers kind of basically taking everything and doing all the signings with all the guys around here, and I wanted to prove to them that I could go ahead and do these signings, That I could handle them. That I could be a guy to play with, be a player in this industry in the Kansas City area, and so I did the signing with Thomas Robinson, and at that particular time I didn't have a huge customer database. I had to buy 400 autographs to do this signing with him, and I was thinking, “hey the guy's going gonna be a first round or it was a first round pick, and this is definitely gonna be playing out here because this guy's gonna be a good player in the league.” Well get this. I only pre-sold one autograph. So that means I had 399 left to sell, and this was a guy who ended up being traded a couple different times and is no longer in the league.
So obviously it didn't work out. Why didn't it work out? Well, obviously you can say “hey matt you should have picked a better player to do an autograph signing with.” True, but it didn't work out because I didn't follow the process that I had set up and what had been making me successful up until that point. I wanted to do something different not because of something that I believed in, but something I wanted to prove to someone else. That was my big mistake.
Another example I want to give you is I was watching a YouTube video of a guy who was in the card breaking business. Card breaking is basically opening a box of cards. You break it up and people buy spots based on the teams that they want, and his best customer of his had his cards shipping to his house and whatnot, and then he switched it to his office. The reason being, is he didn't want his wife to know that he was breaking again. He didn't want his wife to see his cards because he wasn't supposed to be buying them, and that's what we are trying to avoid. I mean, imagine how crappy that guy must have felt knowing that he was lying to his family about buying cards. That's the lowest of the lowest. That's what we are trying to avoid in this hobby.
So please, have fun in the hobby. I want this to be something that everyone will enjoy for years to come, but the hobby has to be healthy. We have to have people buying items within their means, which matches their current situation. At the end of the day you never actually own these cards. You're just borrowing them for a time period. Eventually you will sell them to someone else or you will die and someone else will take ownership of your cards, but when you put your family and your financial resources first, and say you go on that family vacation you never went on, you get to create memories that no one else can ever take from you. You own those memories. Also, be damn proud of that budget that you're following. I know it's real easy to get caught up and you want to expand that budget. You want to start buying these big time cards, and deep down you know you can't afford them. Take a big deep breath, follow the process, and trust your budget. Be comfortable buying what you can afford and be proud of that. It's not going to be forever that you're going to be spending $100 a month on cards or $500. Eventually you can get to that level, but follow a process that's comfortable for you and your family. Do the best you can with it. Grow your collection. Make solid investments and you will have a great time in this hobby.
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