Here is a discussion between my friend Alvenh Channe and some facebook friends about the value of sports trading cards that we collected in the 80’s and 90’s.
Just curious, did any of you ever collect baseball/hockey/football/basketball cards back in the 80’s-90’s? Also, has anyone ever bought Magic The Gathering cards (a.k.a. “Magic Cards”) or World of Warcraft cards in the recent past?
I’m just going through a collection of cards that has not seen the light of day in almost 20 years. My collection spans from 1949 to 1991 and mostly worthless now. And my Michael Jordan and Pavel Bure cards, once worth $30-$50 each in its heyday are now worth about 50 cents each. 🙁
Interesting – I never collected them, I have a few that I got from friends including a basketball card in a plastic hard case! I don’t know where they are – I haven’t seen them for like 15 years.
If they were 90’s gems, chance are, they’re worth very little today.
so the price eventually goes down?
Ben, it all depends on supply and demand. In the early days of modern card collecting (1946 to 1970’s) kids collected cards for the challenge of trying to complete a set; they were not collecting for the money and cards were often stored in shoe boxes or taped to bedroom walls. The kids grew up, went to college or university, and mothers across the USA and Canada threw out their kid’s card collections in the process of cleaning out their rooms. As a result, older cards became scarce and those in mint condition were extremely rare.
Card collecting made a comeback in the mid 80’s but this time, they were collected as an investment. From about 1985 to the major league baseball players’ strike in the mid 1990’s, kid all over North America were buying all kinds of sport cards, keeping them in mint condition. And to keep up with the demand, card companies like Upper Deck kept printing them to the point of overproduction.
This second generation of collectors have grown up and many now have kids of their own. Being raised in the internet age, hardly any kids of today have interest in sport cards, thus no longer any demand. Also, as a result of video games, game cards – such as Magic The Gathering, World of Warcraft, Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, and others – currently dominate the market of collectible cards. Even so, the sport card classics will continue to hold its value for many years to come long after the game cards cool off.
So yes, the price of most cards from the 80’s/90’s (the junk era) have went down but there are exceptions as a few have unexpectedly went up in value. One example is a McDonald’s Upper Hockey set from 1991 (which I still have) in which its cards, almost worthless originally, are now valued at $2.50 each, according to the Beckett guide (Beckett’s prices are considered standard and official). Also, as thousands of junk era cards across the USA are being thrown-out every day, our collections may become valuable again in 20 years as they become rarer, especially if there is a resurgence in card collecting. So Ben and Nathaniel, do me a favor and throw out your 80’s/90’s sport trading cards. They are, after all taking up valuable space, aren’t they? 🙂
Hey this is really interesting Alvenh… can I publish this thread on my web site? I will give you guys credit of course and link to your sites. Let me know!
Sure but i’m no expert though.