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The Current State of the Hobby

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

There are many people leaving the hobby. There are many people panic selling, trying to find a way out of the hobby. Cards since COVID-19 are down drastically. Base rookie PSA 10s just don’t sell the way they used to. These are all facts. Then again, this is only looking at the hobby in a state of “the glass is half empty.” The hobby is being surrounded by pessimistic views and voices, but there are always plenty of positives to focus on!


Card Shows

The card show scene seems to be in a healthy place. Attendance is still great and buzz around the biggest shows, still draws excitement. A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the CSA Chantilly card show. Talking to many dealers, it was a solid show overall. The comment I heard that peaked my interest was, “People are buying, selling, and trading.”

This comment displays more than meets the eye. Collectors/Investors/Flippers are all still investing their time into this hobby and continuing a money flow. The buying aspect allows dealers to create streams of income that they are putting back into cards, which also helps the selling aspect from show-goers. Attendees of the show, when selling cards, typically intend to put the money they make back into cards on the show floor. These actions create a healthy flow of the hobby life cycle.

The card show scene still continues to be a great place to transact and connect with others in the hobby. Though the biggest card show The National is only once a year, there are still many collectors flocking to support other shows. The Dallas Card Show continues to have collectors coming from all over the country, and the same goes for the Chantilly Card Show, the Burbank Card Show, and Culture Collision, etc. The “card show 2.0” is here, and they generate a safe and fun time for anyone in attendance.


The Kinds of People in the Hobby

Over the past year, I have seen exponentially more females and kids in the hobby, than in my previous nine years experiencing the hobby. Bringing more people into the hobby creates nothing but good things for all involved. Females feeling safe and connected in sports cards, is ultimately creating a safer atmosphere for all. Having everyone feel welcomed, and not have the essence of a “boys club”, is super important for future growth.

Having more kids participating in the hobby, speaks for itself. They are the future of this hobby! They are the next generation of collectors/investors/flippers, content creators, card shop owners, etc. Even if the young collector doesn’t pursue a future in the hobby, it teaches such valuable lessons. How to invest money. How to negotiate. How to communicate with people of all age groups, gender, and backgrounds.


Smarter Money and True Collectors

A phrase I’ve heard floating around the sports card community is, “people are being smarter with their money.” Some view this as a bad thing and something that harms their business, while others view this as a positive thing allowing for people to get cards they truly see value in. My perspective; I agree with the positive outlook. I think those that see “harm” in collectors spending smarter money, have to adapt to the current market. Maybe sell cards they bought at peak, and buy cards of players that are currently demanded in the current hobby. True collectors now have opportunities to buy great additions to their collections at a fraction of the price they previously were two years ago. Collection “grails” are becoming more attainable.


Conclusion

While there are many negative places to fix your focus on in the hobby, there are equally just as many positives to focus on. If your feed is filled with people talking down, maybe unfollow and find individuals that share your same excitement. There are plenty of collectors and content creators that share great stories, collections, and cards that can light up a day and bring back the “glass half full” mentality.


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