Move Over, Honus: A New Era of Million-Dollar Cards Is Here
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Move Over, Honus: A New Era of Million-Dollar Cards Is Here

“Maybe I should have kept that one,” Trout joked to reporters a few days later.

The trout card was sold in August, soon thereafter the market for modern cards became huge. In September, two months after the James Roki card sold for $ 1,845,000, the Panini-produced Giannis Antetokonampo Roki Card received $ 1.9 million. Antetokounmpo is 26, with barely eight seasons in the NBA and a full career ahead of him.

Chris Ivy, director of sports at the Heritage Auction, said, “Modern cards are taking the market by storm. “The vintage market is very strong, but modern cards have joined it as well.”

Seven of the top 10 prices paid for sports cards at public auctions were Modern Stars cards as recently as 1999, and five out of 10 cards have players who are still active. However, the list is ever changing. A rising star card in the collectable world is an immaculate so-called Zion Williamson and Ja Morant’s logo man card (Top two picks from the 2019 NBA Draft). It can be on eBay for a cool half million dollars – just click “Add to Cart”.

“The industry is at the hottest point in my 40-year history,” Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin said in an email. “It is almost impossible to keep buyers’ demand in mind.”

Ivy said that with the coronovirus epidemic closing many businesses, the sports collection industry was also expecting a tough time. But the opposite happened.

“It’s not something I saw coming,” he said. “We, like many businesses, were tightening our belts preparing for a possible recession, but the fact that we have shown great interest and so many people jumping into the market is a little surprising.”

Credit …Fred R. Conrad / The New York Times

And the market continues to boil. Earlier this month, a 1997 Michael Jordan card auction received $ 1.4 million. Rising prices have created such a frenzy that investment groups are being formed to buy cards, making it difficult for individual collectors to compete – even exceptionally wealthy ones.



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