The sports card market, and trading cards in general, have been on the up in recent years.
They’ve benefitted from a huge wave of refreshed hype in the last few years with high profile endorsements from the likes of Gary Vaynerchuck and Logan Paul.
For some, collecting cards is all about the nostalgia of a childhood hobby or a passion for their chosen sport or genre…
But for others, it’s about investing in cards and making a profit – buying cards and flipping them for more.
So, can you make money buying and selling sports cards?
The short answer is yes you can, but it’s important to be aware of a few things…
1. You Have To Educate Yourself First
Before buying any sports card that you plan to flip for a profit, you must know what you’re looking for.
I often see people online asking how to make money with sports knowledge. Well, sports card trading is a great way to do that. Knowing which player is having a great season or is about to be the next world star can be used to your advantage in terms of subsequent rising sports card values.
How well do you know the sport and the market? Get to know which players or cards are popular now, the players that are likely to grow in popularity, what they’re worth now and so on…
If you want to make money from sports cards, you’ll need to know the market.
Also, have you considered which strategy works best for you? You can either take a gamble on the rookie card who maybe has a bright future or invest in the icons of whatever sport you’re into.
Some people buy cards and hold short term for quick profit, and for some it’s a case of buying and holding as more of a long term investment.
Another tactic is to buy ‘raw’ cards that you recognise could grade highly, get them graded and sell for a profit. Collectors will pay a lot more for highly graded cards than they will for raw cards.
The key to this is to learn how to accurately estimate a card’s grade by just looking at it – in most cases, judging it’s grade from just images on eBay.
Do some research first and find the strategy that fits your risk tolerance or patience levels.
2. Pick The Right Cards - Not Every Card Will Rise In Value
It’s like anything else, sports card prices are based on whatever collectors are willing to pay…
An increase in demand will cause an increase in price, and the more rare and limited the supply, the more the price will increase.
So think about what cards will command a high demand amongst collectors.
Players like Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland are on track to be the next biggest soccer stars, taking over from Ronaldo and Messi – if the rest of their careers go as expected then their card values could skyrocket in the next 10 years.
Of course, there’s always a level of risk, a player is only one big injury away from a different future in the sport.
The point here is to use your knowledge of the sport to pick the cards likely to rise in value over time.
3. Don’t Panic When The Overall Sports Card Market Has The Occasional Pullback
You have to be prepared for a potential short term fall in card values but the right cards should rise steadily over a longer period of time.
I mentioned in the intro that the sports card market has had an unbelievable couple of years in terms of growth and I personally think it has plenty of room left to run.
I’ll stick with soccer cards as my example – the sport has been growing in popularity in the US in the last decade and that’s only going to accelerate when the Fifa World Cup comes to America in 2026… the hype around that tournament will likely bring a new wave of collectors to the scene.
But I want to make a cautionary note that any market will experience corrections and pullbacks every so often, and the supply and demand driven sports card market is not immune from that.
The huge growth of the collectible cards market in 2020 was partially driven by nationwide lockdowns and restrictions as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic – all of a sudden people had more time on their hands and card collecting got more attention.
Where Can You Sell Sports Cards?
There’s many different places to sell your sports cards.
Most people know of eBay these days, for me it’s the easiest way to auction sports cards and it’s what I mostly use.
The platform makes direct communication easy for any potential buyer and with plenty of buyer/seller protections as well as it’s pretty seamless process, it makes for a convenient and safe option to sell your cards.
For any more valuable, high-ticket sports cards, I’d recommend using a more specialized auction site, such as the well-known Goldin Auctions who specialize in auctioning sports memorabilia and collectibles.
How Can You Easily Track The Value Of Sports Cards?
I’d suggest keeping a record of your sports card investments. This can get tough to do as your collection grows.
In the past I’ve used a simple excel spreadsheet to track my portfolio of sports cards – I like to keep track of everything I own so I can easily see how much I purchased a card for and how much it’s worth now.
A spreadsheet can serve that purpose but, for me, it ended up becoming too manual and time-consuming.
I now use a platform called Market Movers which is a collection management tool with a huge pricing database and market intelligence. Although I have to pay a monthly fee for it, the time it saves me makes that totally worth it in my opinion.
The platform keeps updated prices and valuations of sports cards and makes it easy to see the latest value of your portfolio.
Another useful tip is to use the completed and sold items filter on eBay searches, it allows you to see what the last auction of a card finished at.
If you take the time to educate yourself, there’s money to be made flipping sports cards.
A I mentioned earlier, you have to find the strategy that works best for you – I personally buy to hold long term and look at icons and the emerging rookies as I believe they’ll be a steady rise over the next 5-10 years.