For sports card collectors, it can be healthy to look back from time to time, and the start of a new year is a perfect opportunity do this. In my next two articles, I will be using my eBay purchase history to assess my sports card acquisitions over the last six months. My goals are to give readers insights into my personal buying patterns and to determine if there is anything I would do differently if I were making these purchases today.
If you have been reading my articles over the past two years, you know that I am high on Juan Soto. Although there is no sure bet in sports cards, I believe that he is the safest option among the group of young baseball stars that includes Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronaldo Acuna Jr. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Shohei Ohtani.
While I still am comfortable with Soto as a long-term hold, there are three things that concern me about the short-term value of his rookie cards. First, the PSA population reports for each one of these cards continues to increase by the day. None of them are rare. Second, there has been absolutely no movement toward a labor agreement between Major League Baseball’s players and owners. If the 2022 season is delayed, there will likely be a drop in baseball card values. Third, Soto is a notoriously slow starter. Even if the season starts on time, the cards I purchased will probably take a hit if Soto has a down first-half of the year. Overall though, I am glad I picked up these cards and will likely hold them for the next five to ten years.
In addition to Juan Soto, another purchase focus of mine in the last six months has been soccer cards. My feeling is that soccer cards are undervalued and will see an increase in demand through the buildup to the World Cup later this year. In particular, I am a fan of the Topps UEFA Champions League Living Set. These cards have limited print runs and can be purchased directly from Topps on their website. The card from the list above that I am most excited about acquiring is the Kylian Mbappé. Graded versions of this card do not come up for sale often, and I had been watching for it for about 16 months. I am extremely happy that I was able to purchase a PSA 9 copy. In addition to the Mbappé, the other players I have purchased are young stars with the potential, or veterans with an established track record of quality play.
After leading the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals and signing a contract extension, Trae Young appeared to be a solid buy going into this season. Things have not turned out as expected. So far in 2021-22, the Hawks have a record of 18-25, are currently outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and news reports have surfaced indicating ownership is pushing for the team to be torn down and rebuilt. For his part, Young leads the league in points scored, and his field goal and 3-point shooting percentages are higher than a year ago. My concern is that for the next few seasons, Young will score a bunch of points for some lousy Hawks teams. As we all know, these are circumstances that typically do not enhance a player’s desirability with card collectors. While I still think that Young will be a perennial All-Star throughout his NBA career, I wish that I had waited to buy this card.
With a work stoppage looming and values declining, this offseason may be a good baseball card buying opportunity. One of the players I am watching is Carlos Correa. While he has had injury issues throughout his 7-year professional career, Correa was healthy in 2021, playing in 148 games. During the 2021 campaign, he made the All-Star team, amassed a wins above replacement total of 7.2, and demonstrated his ability to be one of the best all-around players in the Major Leagues. This set Correa up to be one of the most desired free agents of the offseason, and it will be fascinating to see where he lands when teams can start negotiating with players. Most of Correa’s rookie cards are relative bargains. My favorite is his 2013 Bowman Chrome. I will be looking to load up on these over the next couple of months if I have the opportunity.
How about you? What purchases have you made over the last six months. Do you periodically assess items you have bought in the past? I would love to hear from you! Please leave your comments in the section below.
Dan is married, has a daughter and son, and spends most of his days engaged in financial compliance activities for an insurance company. He has been known to overuse caffeine and has been collecting and trading sports memorabilia since 1985.