Sports card industry is booming during pandemic

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The pandemic caused an unfortunate downturn in a number of different industries. One of the exceptions is the business of sports cards.

Chris Magstadt, the owner of The Sports Cave in Bismarck, has been in the business for nearly 30 years.

“We are in the middle of a boom right now, a huge boom,” said Magstadt.

He says when sports fans were missing sports, they turned to cards.

“When COVID started back in February when all of this hit there was no sports so we were starving for sports as a society and we gravitated towards cards,” Magstadt said.

Prices of sealed packs and boxes are also at an all-time high and every purchase is a risk.

“What I challenge most with right now is trying to keep kids involved in the collecting part of it. It has gotten so expensive that that is my challenge every day. When you are opening boxes it is more of a gamble, you know, because you don’t know what you are going to get. You might spend a couple $100 on a box and you’ll only get $20 or $30 in return. You can spend a couple hundred on a box and get 10k in return,” said Magstadt.

Collectors are maximizing a cards value by getting them graded. It’s a 1-to-10 scale and the closer you get to ten, the more the card is worth but the wait time during the pandemic is now close to a year.

“The turnaround times for grading companies are astronomical. We’ve never seen these before, but everybody is at home sending in cards, so they are just bombarded right now. I know PSA over the last few months have hired about 22 people and we are still at about a nine month turnaround. Think back to February January you were at about a two month turnaround,” said Magstadt.

A rare Mint Mike Trout signed rookie card recently sold for more than $3.9 million, setting a new record for a single card but Magstadt says it’s rare to have a mint card in your collection.

“I say less than two percent of cards are actually gradable for modern cards and I think I am a little high at two percent; it may even be less than one percent because the cards change hands so many times they are just not mint to find that gem mint that’s why they sell the way they do,” Magstadt explained.

Here’s an example of how expensive the hobby can be, you can pre-order a box of 2020 Panini Prizm for over $1,000.

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