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Sports Trading Card Business Surging During Pandemic

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Growing for the past few years, the sports trading card business has been especially surging during the pandemic as some collectors pick up a new hobby and others return to a childhood favorite.

Adam Thomas' sports card store in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been busier than ever.

"I've been in this, you know, industry over 30 years and had the store over 22 years, and I've never seen more kids come in the store than this year," he said.

S&S Sports Cards was closed to the public for three months at the height of the pandemic, but the store still managed to double its profits last year through online sales and customers stopping by once it reopened.

"People had more time on their hands. People were wanting to relive stuff that made them feel good when they were a kid," Thomas said.

Panini America is the world's largest licensed sports and entertainment collectibles company.

CEO Mark Warsop said, "The demand currently far outweighs supply." He adds, "If you haven't collected trading cards in 20 years, come and take another look. You can buy trading cards with precious gems inside, trading cards made of precious metals."

There is also an element of luck in finding out what's inside a pack. These so-called "pulls" are often streamed on social media, attracting younger collectors.  Even a basic pack bought for a few dollars may contain a limited-stock card worth thousands, and the value only goes up from there.

In January, a Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for a record $5.2 million dollars.

The NFL and NBA that are fueling the growth in sports trading cards. A signed card of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes auctioned for $861,000 last month.

"Don't treat everything as an investment or as a 'get rich quick' scheme. Collect what you like, whether that's a player, or a team, or a type of card, and enjoy the hobby," Thomas said.

And always remember the simple joy in the luck of the draw.


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