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Is now the time to buy or sell?

sjm76

Member
Feb 27, 2020
193
24
I know that in general, it depends on the player when deciding whether to buy or sell cards but overall, do people here think that the hobby is on a downturn/crash or do you think sales will rebound to similar to what they were at the peak of the covid pandemic? Personally, I think that now is a good time to buy select cards but I have noticed that sales with the exception of the big stars in all of the major sports are down across the board. Thoughts?
 

mrmopar

Member
Jan 19, 2010
4,496
824
My personal perspective is narrow, so it really may only apply to certain things. To me, it seems most things I buy increased in cost during the pandemic. Things like vintage singles, certified autographs, vintage TTM/IP autos especially. Thankfully, where I did not see a noticeable spike was in a lot of the real oddball items. This really seems like people who were previously not collecting, joining into the mix and overpaying...fighting not only long time hobby buyers but each other. That is the only reasonable explanation I can give for the recent and so far sustained interest in Steve Garvey autographs. Nothing changed with him (HOF, Death, scandal, etc), so why are people all of the sudden outbidding die hard Garvey collectors and driving prices into 2005 ranges? I honestly have no other possible reason to give.

Now seems like a pretty good time to sell if your end game is to get out. Quality stuff will go up from here, but I think a lot of what has spiked recently has only a downward to go. Another thread talked about true junk wax (90 Score, 92 Donruss) rising in price and I just can't see that holding. I could be wrong though...unopened has become a major aspect of the hobby in recent years, more than I ever remember it being. If enough people want those 92 Donruss boxes for unopened or Elite hunting, then maybe they do increase too...

Thankfully, I only care about rising prices as something that blocks me from adding stuff. A few years down the road, maybe I am jumping for joy that everything did shoot up though, as I look to sell out.
 

sjm76

Member
Feb 27, 2020
193
24
My personal perspective is narrow, so it really may only apply to certain things. To me, it seems most things I buy increased in cost during the pandemic. Things like vintage singles, certified autographs, vintage TTM/IP autos especially. Thankfully, where I did not see a noticeable spike was in a lot of the real oddball items. This really seems like people who were previously not collecting, joining into the mix and overpaying...fighting not only long time hobby buyers but each other. That is the only reasonable explanation I can give for the recent and so far sustained interest in Steve Garvey autographs. Nothing changed with him (HOF, Death, scandal, etc), so why are people all of the sudden outbidding die hard Garvey collectors and driving prices into 2005 ranges? I honestly have no other possible reason to give.

Now seems like a pretty good time to sell if your end game is to get out. Quality stuff will go up from here, but I think a lot of what has spiked recently has only a downward to go. Another thread talked about true junk wax (90 Score, 92 Donruss) rising in price and I just can't see that holding. I could be wrong though...unopened has become a major aspect of the hobby in recent years, more than I ever remember it being. If enough people want those 92 Donruss boxes for unopened or Elite hunting, then maybe they do increase too...

Thankfully, I only care about rising prices as something that blocks me from adding stuff. A few years down the road, maybe I am jumping for joy that everything did shoot up though, as I look to sell out.
That's a good, thorough response. I still kick myself for not picking up more highly graded vintage cards before the pandemic hit and the prices spiked. I was able to pick up some but I passed on a lot more, some that increased tenfold in some cases. I've noticed that the prices of retail unopened blaster and mega boxes have come down to earth for the most part after selling for ridiculous amounts for awhile. Really though, it's hard to tell what will happen in the coming months. Like other sellers, I've been burned before by selling too early but I've also sold at the perfect time in other cases.
 

WCTYSON

Well-known member
Nov 3, 2014
7,362
168
Tough question to answer for somebody else because it varies depending on past purchasing habits. Personally, I slowed my purchases a lot because of high prices. I did not break any wax in 2020-2021, save for a little retail at the beginning of 2020. I viewed that time as a great period to thin out my collection and focus on underappreciated non-graded singles.

I'm currently not selling much or buying much, I'm mainly holding. I think the off season will provide some buying opportunities but I'm not really looking for much. One thing I certainly will not be doing is selling. I do not plan to sell much else until next spring when the anticipation of the new season historically drives up prices.

The main dilemma I am having at the moment is when next spring rolls around and I'm looking to sell, what is the market's expectation for graded cards? Currently if you are selling mid - high end cards, buyers are looking to purchase highly graded only and they are willing to pay premiums to do so but that leads to not much movement for raw cards or lower end cards.

So I guess to answer your question OP, hold unless you see a good buying opportunity that the market is overlooking but do not sell until next spring. That is my opinion.
 

swish54_99

Well-known member
Dec 12, 2012
1,063
113
I don't see how prices could spike back to peak covid prices. You literally had millions and millions of people sitting at home all at the same time with nothing to do but make babies and buy stuff online. Now companies/people are figuring out how to co-survive with covid, slowing the down extra time at home.

I did get really lucky on a couple pc purchases that I made in early Feb '20. One was for a 1976 Topps Nolan Ryan PSA 7 for $13, it's now a $50-$60 card. The other that comes to mind is a 1978 Topps Andre Dawson rookie cup PSA 9 for $40. It's now a $150+ card. The Dawson might be the best impulse buy I've ever had!
 

Dilferules

Well-known member
Aug 10, 2012
1,386
693
Auburn, WA
Yeah if anybody who isn't a bozo trying to hype up the market for their own purposes has any reason at all they think the market as a whole is going to go back up, I'd like to hear it. Certainly specific cards/sets and really good stuff could and will go up, but that's also the same kind of stuff that hasn't decreased in the first place.
 

Topnotchsy

Featured Contributor, The best players in history?
Aug 7, 2008
9,396
44
I've with the consensus here. The COVID market drew tons of money into the hobby as people weren't spending it on other things. From what I understand a number of funds have also focused on sports collectibles including cards. And for a while there was irrational exuberance about the hobby which drove prices up.

It is hard to say whether factors such as institutional investors means that there was a fundamental shift in the market. I guess it is possible. But 98% of the time that people talk about a fundamental shift, it is simply a detail in the bull and bear cycle of the markets.

My general feeling is that the elite of the elite will remain very strong. Defining the elite of the elite is tricky. I don't expect items from people like Ruth, Gehrig and Robinson to go down. In some cases those items saw enormous gains in the last couple of years. I'm much more skeptical about the new shiny 'elite' items across all of the majors sports. I also wonder about the PSA boom. For some reason (not clear to me) PSA has moved far ahead of BGS and SGC in the grading world. The sheer quantity of cards that are being submitted (even at much higher prices for grading) have blown my mind. The number of people Facebook who are submitting hundreds of cards (some of which seem like super long bets, others which are going for tons of money) is hard to imagine. And the population reports and prices seem to point to an unsustainable bubble. I hope this is not the case, but I think for some players and sets, there has already been a huge decline in prices. And I don't expect many of those to revert to where they were.

For my personal collecting interests: lineup cards, Integration related-items, WWII baseball items, and Negro League related items the movement has definitely been less aggressive overall. Lineup cards are still (thankfully) fairly niche. The ones on MLB.com often sell extremely well but the secondary market is not really there. I feel like it's because of how difficult it is to find a lineup card from a particular game (once it has sold from MLB) and also because people are not willing to do the work and research.

Some WWII-baseball items have sold well over the last year, but just as many are going for very cheap. Negro League items are incredibly difficult to find (anything of real significance) and I think that market has gotten a bump. Integration outside of Jackie Robinson hasn't changed much, but the market for Jackie items has definitely jumped. Moreso cards than other collectibles, but across the board. This wasn't a surprise since some of those items were (in my opinion) incredibly undervalued. A couple of years ago you could get a junior college yearbook signed by Jackie Robinson when he was in Junior College (in the 1930's) for under $2000. To me that was hard to understand given that a basic autograph from after his playing days was $1000+. To me that felt more like a correction for arguably the most significant player in baseball history's autograph.

Across the board it feels like many of the new people in the market are focused on the shiniest, most easily accessible items. This has meant the items that are appreciated by more experienced fans got less attention.
 

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