Baseball cards are having a renaissance. With people stuck at home, old collections and interests are resurfacing. A perfect example: Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie card doubled in value since March and is selling for approximately $1,400 now.
The surge is likely due to a nostalgia-driven demand to fetch cards that were tough to get during adolescence 30 years ago. The 1980s and 90s were considered by many the hey-day of trading cards, but largely resulted in an overabundance of “rare” cards.
Sports cards were heating up before the pandemic hit the afterburners. “Unboxing” videos have exploded with social media, while companies like Topps, Upper Deck and Panini have pivoted to focus on virtual developments and building in scarcity in new cards. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk predicted the sports card value explosion last year while getting ahead with his own line of cards.
While there’s certainly a renewed focus on baseball cards, experts fear there could be a crash if demand falls. The trend is nostalgia-driven, and the number of Griffey rookie cards available continues to increase as more are found, unlike the fixed market for Mickey Mantle rookie cards.