Sorry to get all “Tale of Two Cities” on you there but it seems like a lifetime ago that the NBA announced that Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19 and some NBA games would have to be cancelled. Then in an instant, the entire NBA was gone. And then the NHL. And there goes NASCAR, and the PGA, and the Kentucky Derby. Suddenly, the DraftKings app was only good for wagering on Russian table tennis in the Moscow Ligo Pro, with fistfights breaking out between fans of Alexandr Serebrennikov and Dmitry Petrochenko. OK, that last part might not be accurate, but yeah, 2020 was a different kind of year. In retrospect though, it wasn’t all bad. No seriously, it wasn’t.
Lockdown, Market Up!
On March 25th, MHCC President and CEO Brian Drent called the staff into the office and informed us that a stay at home order was going into effect and that we’d be working remotely until further notice. We were joining the legions of working refugees stuck at home, trying to figure out how to schedule a Zoom meeting. We discussed our immediate futures and wondered what was to become of our industry. With economic uncertainty on the horizon, we figured that the demand for pricey sports cards would take a back seat to more immediate needs, like paper towels and toilet paper. At least, that’s what we thought. It’s what everyone thought. Trying to be optimistic, we decided, “Hey, maybe collectors will get bored sitting at home without sporting events and spark a greater demand for sports cards.” Yeah, we didn’t believe it either, but lo and behold, it wasn’t long before price records were dropping faster than disposal facemasks. The Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” hit the airwaves, and for many people, it was a quick fix for fans suffering sports withdrawal. MJ rookie cards went through the roof, with his 1986 Fleer rookie card graded PSA 9 jumping from $7,800 in February to $18,000 in November, and PSA 10 GEM MINT examples reaching $125,000, a 400% increase from the start of the year. And it wasn’t just Jordan cards, as Lew Alcindor’s 1969 Topps RC, for example, went from $6,500 in PSA 8 in January to over $35,000 in August. Almost 4 MILLION dollars for a Mike Trout rookie card? Across the board; from vintage to modern and covering all sports, card prices were tripling, quadrupling, and more. It even brought out the big guns of the hobby…
Need a T206 Honus Wagner? Take Your Pick!
The creation of sports cards started some 150 years ago and no matter what you collect, the fact is that the T206 Honus Wagner card will stand as the pinnacle of the hobby. It’s not the rarest card, it’s not the most attractive card, and as recent events have shown, it’s not even the most expensive card. But it is the king, and until this year, you rarely saw one up for sale. The collecting frenzy of 2020 brought some of those big boys out from storage and Mile High Card Company was at the forefront. It actually started last October with a PSA 2 selling for $1.326M, almost doubling the current record price. But MHCC sold two more of the prized pasteboards in 2020, a PSA 1 that fetched a world-record price of $1.146M, which has since been topped with a November sale of $1.392M, and a PSA 3 that was sold privately for $3.25M, the highest price ever paid for a T206 Wagner.
There’s no telling what the future holds for the hobby, but what was appearing to be the demise of the industry has instead become the greatest bull market ever. If you’re a buyer, there’s never been more opportunity, and if you’re a seller, there’s never been better prices. Like all goods things, it will eventually come to an end. So let me end this with the same choice words that have never rang more true than they do right now: if you desire the maximum possible return for your prized sports cards and/or memorabilia, please call our office at (303) 840-2784 to speak with one of MHCC’s team of experts or visit www.milehighcardco.com and consign to the Spring 2021 auction.