If you have been to a trading cards or collectables show recently you have likely noticed an increase in the number of non-sports offerings available for sale.  At a sports card show I attended last month, approximately 25% of the tables had Pokémon, Marvel or Star Wars trading cards.  While this is not an overwhelming percentage, it does indicate that there is some crossover of buyers in the sports and non-sports card markets.  This idea has caused me to consider which sports cards would be most appealing to a non-sports collector.  My feeling is that unique visual appeal would be an important, especially for individuals who prefer the vivid color schemes common in Pokémon cards and comic books.

One example where we are already seeing this is in Fleer Precious Metal Gems, which were originally released in the mid to late 1990s.  The NBA and Marvel versions of these cards command 100s of thousands of dollars in some cases.  While perceived rarity plays a factor in these values, Precious Metal Gems are beautiful cards, something which has made them one of the holy grails of modern memorabilia.  

Collectables commentators have already identified the potential for sports cards to serve as art pieces for display.  Whether you believe that or not, it is wise to be aware of inserts and their appeal to a buyer with a card’s aesthetics in mind.  Below are five of my favorite insert sets from the past thirty years.

Panini Kaboom

One of the most sought after inserts for ultra-modern collectors, Kabooms have been included in Panini basketball, football and soccer products since 2013.  These cards have the look of a comic book panel and are filled with shiny, colorful bursts.   Regarded throughout the hobby as an extraordinarily tough pull, the apparent scarcity of Kabooms is reflected in their cost.  The 2018 Kylian Mbappé pictured has a current eBay buy it now of $15,500 in PSA 10 and a 2013 LeBron James was valued at more than $100,000 in 2021.

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