Trading in Sweatpants: How Sports Cards Turned Quarantine into Cash

Sports Card Investing During Quarantine

As the world came to a screeching halt due to the global pandemic, people found themselves with a lot of time on their hands. With no live sports to watch, sports enthusiasts began turning to other avenues to get their fix and that’s where sports card investing began to quickly gain popularity.

As with any other investment, the idea is to make a profit but, in this case, investors purchased sports cards rather than stocks and bonds. It’s easy to see how the nostalgic connection to childhood collections, the void left by the pausing of live sports, and the opportunity to earn some cash resulted in a sports card boom. Combined with the opportunity to utilize online platforms to buy and sell, we saw a massive surge in activity. With social media groups forming where enthusiasts could discuss their latest buys and trades, The Hobby became a way for people to connect with others who shared their passion without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.

Success Stories

During the quarantine, we saw quite a few success stories of sports card investors turning their hobby into a lucrative venture. One die-hard basketball fan decided to invest in rookie cards of up-and-coming players, purchased a Zion Williamson rookie card for $200 during the quarantine, and sold it a few months later for a $2,000. Another long-time collector decided to part ways with her prized Michael Jordan rookie card after holding onto it for decades…and sold it for $50,000 at auction.

Image courtesy of GoGTS.net

Success Tips & How to Start

So, you’d like to dive into the world of sports card investing, huh? Here are some tips on how you can get started while avoiding the most common mistakes rookie card investors make.


  • Research, research, research: Before making any investments, it’s essential to educate yourself about the market. Familiarize yourself with different sports card brands, player rankings, and trends. Continuously educate yourself about the sports card market and keep up with the latest trends and news. This will help you make informed decisions and stay ahead of the game.
  • Set a budget: Like any investment, it’s crucial to set a budget for your sports card purchases. Decide how much you’re willing to spend and stick to it. This will prevent you from overspending and getting into financial trouble.
  • Keep track of market trends: Stay updated with the latest news and trends in the sports card market. Follow reputable sources and pay attention to player performances, trades, and other factors that may influence card values. One of my favorite ways to do this is by listening to podcasts from around The Hobby!


  • Start small: As a beginner, it’s wise to start with lower-priced cards before diving into high-end purchases. This will allow you to gain experience and learn the ropes without risking a significant amount of money.
  • Be patient: Sportscard investing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time and patience to see significant returns on your investments. Don’t be tempted to sell too soon or make impulsive purchases based on hype.
  • Network with other collectors: Join online forums or social media groups dedicated to sports card investing. Engage with fellow collectors, ask questions, and learn from their experiences. Networking can also help you find potential buyers or sellers for your cards.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell: While the focus is often on buying cards, knowing when to sell is just as important. If a card has reached its peak value or no longer aligns with your collection goals, don’t hesitate to sell it and reinvest the funds into other cards.
  • Have fun: Remember that sports card investing is ultimately a hobby. Enjoy the process, appreciate the cards you own, and share your enthusiasm with others. The financial gains can be a bonus, but the joy of collecting and being part of a community is what truly makes it worthwhile.


What makes a card valuable?

Understanding the basics is great, but how do you know which cards are valuable? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating the potential value of a card:

  • Rarity: The rarity of a sports card plays a significant role in determining its value. Limited edition cards, autographed cards, and cards from specific sets or years are often more valuable.
  • Player significance: Cards of iconic players or rising stars tend to be more valuable. Consider the player’s career achievements, popularity, and potential for future success when assessing the value of a card.
  • Condition: The condition of a card greatly affects its value. Cards in mint or near-mint condition are highly sought after by collectors and can command a higher price.
  • Demand: The demand for a particular card can fluctuate over time. Keep an eye on market trends and player performances to gauge the demand for specific cards.
  • Authenticity: In the world of sports card investing, authenticity is crucial. Ensure that the cards you purchase are certified by reputable grading companies to guarantee their authenticity.


By considering these factors, you’ll be better equipped to identify valuable sports cards and make smart investment decisions. The more you engage with The Hobby, the more you will begin to understand the market and its trends.


Buying & Selling

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics and discussed what makes a card valuable, it’s time to start building your collection! There are countless places to buy cards ranging from your local Target or Walmart to the massive card shows with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Where you go will absolutely impact the types of cards you get and your ability to be successful. For the sake of time and simplicity, however, let’s cover a few of the more popular and accessible.

  • Online marketplaces: Websites like eBay, COMC (Check Out My Cards), and StockX offer a wide range of sports cards for sale via auctions, breaks, and buy-it-now style options. These platforms allow you to browse through listings, compare prices, and make purchases from the comfort of your own home.
  • Card shows and conventions: Attending card shows and conventions is a great way to connect with other collectors and find unique cards. These events often feature vendors selling a variety of sports cards, giving you the opportunity to browse in person and negotiate prices.
  • Social media groups: Joining Facebook groups or following Instagram accounts dedicated to sports card trading can be a fruitful way to find buyers or sellers. These groups often have active communities where members can buy, sell, and trade cards directly with one another.
  • Local card shops: Check if there are any local card shops in your area. These shops often have a selection of sports cards available for purchase, and they may also offer buyback programs where you can sell your cards.


Remember to do your due diligence when buying from individuals or online platforms. Verify the authenticity of the cards and read reviews or feedback from other buyers before making a purchase.

Do YOU have a future in sports card investing?

Welp, that’s about it! Pretty simple, right? Haha!

One thing is certain, it’s clear that sports card investing is here to stay. The quarantine period may have served as a catalyst, but the passion for sports and the thrill of collecting will endure. We’re seeing more and more evolution within the sports card market, with new players making their mark and iconic cards reaching astronomical values, and there’s no end to the excitement on the horizon.

If you’re considering venturing into sports card investing, now is an incredible time to get started. With the right knowledge, patience, and a bit of luck, you could turn your hobby into cash money!

For more from around The Hobby, be sure to browse through trending news, the top podcasts, and more!

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