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Are you a collector or are you an investor?

This specific article is an engagement article, and I am engaging the community and initiating a thought process by asking a question that has not been asked. 

I am personally a sports card investor.  I take sports card investing very seriously and have made a lot of money over the last ten years.  I have seen a significant upswing in both purchase prices and final sale prices over the previous five years.  As an investor, I use all the tools afforded to me to make the best decision, whether that be to buy or to sell a particular card from a certain brand at a specific time.

I initiated the thought process by posing a question.  Are you a collector, or are you in an investor? The reason why I posed that particular question is because I often hear individuals speak about sports cards as a hobby.  I do not look at this as a hobby.  Although I have no problem with those who do, I do not simply because I am trying to make as much money from sports card buying, selling, and trading as possible. I am very active in the market place (stock market), and I do not look at that as a hobby, so why would I ever look at this as a hobby, if I am truly an investor.  

Now that the question is posed and hopefully you are thinking about what you are in this game, let us talk about how we, as investors, go about our daily habits to make the most return on our investments.  How diversified is your portfolio?  When is the last time you have checked any statistics regarding the cards in your portfolio, and are you missing key opportunities to sell?  If you are missing key opportunities to sell, then we can assume you are missing key opportunities to buy.  If you are not actively following your portfolio, are you a collector?  I have been following Geoff and the team at Sports Card Investor since the inception, recently Geoff has been providing the community with information regarding individual cards.  The cards mentioned have provided me with moonshot returns, all well over 10X my initial investment.  I again am active in this particular market and have found great sources for accurate information; this website is one of them, as well as Instagram and some good Facebook groups.  

We spoke about your portfolio, specifically if your portfolio is diversified.  Although it is not my place to tell anyone anything, I am just going to touch on this subject a little.  If you had bought a 1986 Michael Jordan RC graded at PSA 9 three years ago, it would have cost you approximately $3000-$3500 depending on where you purchased that card.  That card has recently sold for $6000-$6500.  In three years, you could have turned an extreme profit and, more importantly, had a blue-chip in your portfolio.  I think we can all agree, that particular card will continue to move up in price.  It will continue to move simply because Jordan and the Jordan brand will always be relevant.  It is my opinion that all portfolios need to have at least one blue-chip “Disney” type stock.  That blue-chip stock always ensures the investor with a piece that can be liquidated quickly.   I believe that with that key piece, you can then begin diversifying with minor pieces, and move through each sport. I have five blue-chips, one from each major sport and soccer. I recently added a soccer piece due to an article from this site.  

I then start to add minor pieces through all the sports. My portfolio consists of 250 cards.  That is a number I am comfortable managing at this time.  You may be comfortable managing more, but you may need to reduce your “collection” so you can always be aware of possible profits and possible sell points and or hold points.  

We have spoken about a portfolio, diversifying your portfolio and portfolio management.  Lastly, for this article, let’s talk about information and deciphering that information.  I believe a major problem is time management and looking at this market as a hobby.  You have to have a system to receive information regarding those cards you are managing, the place you gather that information is up to you, but I have three sources.  It would be best if you were consuming that information daily; that way, you never miss anything in the market place. Sports card investing is similar to the market in that every day, something occurs that could inflate a price or have diminished a price. You must be aware of recent events that could affect your portfolio. 

In this article, we only spoke about one particular card and only used that card as an example.  This article intends to generate a response from the community on the subject of collecting versus investing.  

Lastly, I do believe there are ways to have fun in sports card investing, like case breaks and buying personal boxes, but ultimately I am doing it to turn a profit.  I believe that if managed correctly, there is a possibility for significant returns on your initial investments. 

In my next article, we will touch on short terms versus long terms, annual reports, and moving averages. 

This question is easy, are you a collector or an investor, and can you be both?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and join our Discord Chat and Facebook Group to talk with other sports card investors!

View Comments (7)
  • Really good article. Great points and references regarding portfolio holdings and diversification. The collector side of me collects a certain player, however the investor side of me buys a particular player when there is an opportunity that I see might turn a 3x profit or more within 3 months, that’s just my timeline. So I am both, and it’s a lot of fun. Often times, my profits from certain lots of cards end up paying for the cards I buy for my personal collection. It is hard to keep both separate, but this could be done with accurate record keeping and setting up the right spreadsheets in excel. Thanks for the article, great read!

  • Good article. Clearly my focus is sports card investing, but I strongly believe someone can be both a collector and investor if they choose. There are certain cards I’ll buy just because I like the player or card (as a collector), whereas most cards I’ll buy because I like the upside potential of where I think the card’s prices will go. I think if you are buying cards, it’s important you have a clear reason why – for enjoyment (collecting) or for profit (investing). Both are great, just be clear on what you are going for.

  • great article. I definitely need to increase my portfolio. ondo have a 1993 Sp derek jeter 8.5 and and mike trout donruss elite aspirations graded 9, these onconsider my blue chip cards.

  • I agree with Geoff. I’m active on both sides. I know what I like to collect, and those cards are cemented in my collection. But I also look for opportunities to buy cards for investment purposes only, to flip sooner, or later. Now, if you’re an investor, the goal is to make money at the bottom-line. In my case, I make money but put it back into my collection, as my ultimate goal is to have a premier sports card collection. So when you consider this, I am absolutely a COLLECTOR and NOT an investor. But I do flip cards. And why not? I’m attuned to the market, so why not play it when/where possible, and there are loads of possibility for flip right now in this sports card market.

  • Hi Geoff…. Ive been trying to get in contact with you. I had a question on grading. Not sure if this is possible. But if so, you think I could give you a call?

  • I’m both however every card I buy is from a. Investor standpoint
    I don’t let the collector I’m me interfere with the business aspect . I’ve done remarkable well not only on singles but unopened product as well.

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