For those of us who have been in the sports cards industry whether full time or as a passionate hobbyist will likely find this series too basic; it is meant to be that way. Due to the meteoric rise in the popularity of sports cards and the increased exposure of this hobby to the general public, I get asked at least once a week about the value or method to sell one’s sports cards and sports memorabilia collection. Typically the collection consists of sports cards as well as other sports memorabilia items (clothes, magazines, toys, figures, autographed items, etc).
You can jump to any section of this guide. I will add updates as I progress in selling the collection.
- Part 1: Introduction to how to make money off your sports cards collection and an actual sports card collection unboxing
- Part 2: How to inventory your sports card collection and identify where to sell your sports cards
- Part 3: How to evaluate and appraise your sports cards collection
- Part 4: Continually updated progress on making money from selling one’s sports cards collection
Introduction: Thinking Through An Idea and Taking Action
Recently one of the personal finance OG’s, J. Money, reached out to me about a real life case study of combining the sports cards hobby and side hustling to make extra income. Exactly what my site is about! The idea was to use J. Money’s childhood sports memorabilia collection as a real life side hustling case study. I said yes before I even replied to the email.
The Agreement and Unspoken Trust
Without hesitation, J. Money offered to send his collection to me with nothing but pure trust in this collaboration. We had never met online let alone connected in any forum, but here we were….two strangers taking action on an idea that will involve several hundred dollars. For that I am grateful.
Couple days later after agreeing on this colab, J. Money sent a 30lb box full of his childhood sports collection.
As someone who has been in this sports cards hobby for decades, J. Money’s collection is about what I expected…but with a twist. His collection consisted of various memorabilia including magazines, DVD, collectible cups, common cards from the junk wax era (see sports cards glossary) in a binder, and some cards placed in toploaders or screw down cases. The twist here is that J. Money collected Michael Jordan so many of his items were centered around the basketball GOAT. Some sports cards exceptions were found in the card collection of other hall of famers as one would expect when typically collecting in the 80’s and 90’s.
Sports Cards and Memorabilia Collection Unboxing
In this first picture of Michael Jordan collectibles, there is a DVD set, 3 collectible cups, couple books, and an unopened Wheaties box. Not surprising that the Wheaties box was never opened because c’mon who actually prefers to eat Wheaties.
In these next three pictures, there are magazines all featuring Michael Jordan. Note that there are a couple hobby significant magazines most notably Beckett Magazine #1 (1st picture bottom left). For those unfamiliar with Beckett, this publication continues to be the most popular within the sports cards industry. Many have tried to compete as you will notice in this Michael Jordan magazine collection, but most ultimately fail. Now whether Beckett’s actual price guide is reliable or not is ultimately up to you as the collector, dealer, buyer. I think Beckett magazine has its place in the hobby, but Beckett just like eBay is not to be used as a single source of truth for card pricing and values.
The next several pictures are the meat of the collection…sports cards. Why is it the “meat”? Because sports cards are the most liquid and most valuable (yes, even the junk wax era cards) of the typical sports memorabilia collection. The binder below is nothing but Jordans.
In this next batch of cards is a combination of some much-better-than-common Jordans as well as an interesting mix of junk wax era and vintage cards. I am sure all of the more seasoned sports card collectors has noticed the more valuable cards.
In the next section, I will go through how to inventory and appraise a sports memorabilia and sports cards collection.