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The world of card collecting and trading really blows my mind

DragoonKain

Neighbours from Hell
Nov 13, 2013
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Other than when I was a kid and casually collected sports cards, the whole card collecting world has never been a community I've ever wanted to dabble in. Just requires too much time and you have to pick your interests, there's just far too many things out there.

The other day I started looking into Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon cards just out of chance, and while I knew there were hardcore fanatics out there, I never knew the prices some of these cards sell for. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single card on ebay and such.

First of all... who the fuck is buying these cards for like $500k? It's gotta be kids of athletes or celebrities right or CEOs corporate higher ups or hardcore collectors with bank rolls who buy this shit. Your average hardcore 38 year old collector can't afford those prices.

But at its core, isn't card collecting really just paying untold amounts of money and untold amounts of time to scratch an OCD itch? I guess you can say that about all collecting, but I think with video games and movies it's a little different because the interactivity with those mediums is greater than cards used in a card game, and I'm sure most of those collectors don't even use those cards anyway. They pay their $500k, receive it, and stick it in a drawer or a safe.

Has anyone here been in these hardcore card collecting communities. I'm an outsider, but it seems like this are among the extremes of the extremes when it comes to collecting. Just total obsession.
 
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Rival

Member
Dec 20, 2013
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I was able to order a series x from target the other day for in store pickup. When I got there there were about 20 guys aged probably 25-40 there waiting near the pickup spot. I assumed they were there for an Xbox or ps5 like me. Nope. All of them were there to buy baseball cards. I had no idea.
 

Amory

Member
Jul 10, 2008
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I think there's been a recent pandemic resurgence at least for sports cards, maybe MTG and Pokemon have always been popular, idk.

Ill be honest I think it sucks. It's like nothing's for kids anymore now that creepy manchildren with salaries are buying up all the hobby products to either resell on eBay, open on their youtube channel, or hoard as "investments".
 

Alex Anderson

Member
Jun 6, 2004
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I was able to order a series x from target the other day for in store pickup. When I got there there were about 20 guys aged probably 25-40 there waiting near the pickup spot. I assumed they were there for an Xbox or ps5 like me. Nope. All of them were there to buy baseball cards. I had no idea.

I collect baseball cards. It's gotten really annoying since the pandemic. Before I could go in and get whatever I wanted for like a month or two after release. Now $1500 worth of inventory is gone the same day even for items that have very little resale value.
 
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Aesius

Member
May 19, 2009
7,395
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I think there's been a recent pandemic resurgence at least for sports cards, maybe MTG and Pokemon have always been popular, idk.

Ill be honest I think it sucks. It's like nothing's for kids anymore now that creepy manchildren with salaries are buying up all the hobby products to either resell on eBay, open on their youtube channel, or hoard as "investments".
It really seems like dudes born between 1975-1990 or so have unhealthy obsessions with their childhoods. I get extremely nostalgic over mine as well, and it honestly was a magical time to be a kid during the 80s and 90s. But the refusal to let go of the past and desire to "recapture" it via their adult money is definitely weird. Especially with so many millennials not having kids of their own.
 

JSoup

Banned
Jun 20, 2013
4,326
2,449
870
California
Trading cards are an easy way to make money quickly, if you know where to sell and who to sell to.
I was a vender in the California convention circuit for a few years, the business at any given convention that made the best money were always the ones specializing in cards.
 

Amory

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Jul 10, 2008
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It really seems like dudes born between 1975-1990 or so have unhealthy obsessions with their childhoods. I get extremely nostalgic over mine as well, and it honestly was a magical time to be a kid during the 80s and 90s. But the refusal to let go of the past and desire to "recapture" it via their adult money is definitely weird. Especially with so many millennials not having kids of their own.
If people want to casually collect cards or figurines or whatever else as an adult, have at it. I have my collections too and I'm not trying to judge people's interests or what they do with their free time

The problem is when people masquerade their 2nd job as a scalper as a 'hobby'. The assholes doing hours of research finding out when things get re-stocked and showing up weekly to buy every single item off the shelf. It's sketchy and gross behavior. This has always happened to some extent but with the internet being what it is today, it's way worse than it was when I was growing up. And the old ass buyers have gotten way more numerous, which has increased the profit potential, which has increased the old ass buyers, and so on and so forth.

Pokemon cards are more for 30 and 40 year olds than they are for children nowadays. When I asked my dad to bring me to the store to buy some MTG packs back in the late 90s or early 00s, he judged the shit out of me and I was like, 13? The thought of Dad-aged people waiting in line for a store to open, and then swiping up all the collectibles so they can turn around and sell them to other Dad-aged people on the internet is real bizarre and fucked up to me.
 
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Aesius

Member
May 19, 2009
7,395
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If people want to casually collect cards or figurines or whatever else as an adult, have at it. I have my collections too and I'm not trying to judge people's interests or what they do with their free time

The problem is when people masquerade their 2nd job as a scalper as a 'hobby'. The assholes doing hours of research finding out when things get re-stocked and showing up weekly to buy every single item off the shelf. It's sketchy and gross behavior. This has always happened to some extent but with the internet being what it is today, it's way worse than it was when I was growing up. And the old ass buyers have gotten way more numerous, which has increased the profit potential, which has increased the old ass buyers, and so on and so forth.

Pokemon cards are more for 30 and 40 year olds than they are for children nowadays. When I asked my dad to bring me to the store to buy some MTG packs back in the late 90s or early 00s, he judged the shit out of me and I was like, 13? The thought of Dad-aged people waiting in line for a store to open, and then swiping up all the collectibles so they can turn around and sell them to other Dad-aged people on the internet is real bizarre and fucked up to me.
The market for this stuff is still due to the childhood nostalgia. That's a huge selling point. They are getting to wheel and deal in this stuff the way they saw adults do back when they were kids and were in awe of it.

I remember thinking some fat bald dude who was probably a miserable SOB was the coolest guy on the planet because he worked at a baseball card store when I was a kid. He could open brand new shrink-wrapped boxes and just flick through the cards like they were nothing and then case the most expensive ones and put them in the glass counter for sale. I couldn't believe it. I think a lot of these manchildren latched onto experiences like that and still get "high" on the experience of living out their childhood dreams, and they've created this marketplace for it where only they can participate.
 

nush

Gold Member
Oct 16, 2017
12,578
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A long haul flight from wherever you are.
Trading cards are an everyman's way of collecting and buying art.
I have an extensive collection of Chinese tart cards, I'm in on the ground level. Invest now!

 

Rival

Member
Dec 20, 2013
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I collect baseball cards. It's gotten really annoying since the pandemic. Before I could go in and get whatever I wanted for like a month or two after release. Now $1500 worth of inventory is gone the same day even for items that have very little resale value.
It’s weird to me how so many guys my age (40) are into collecting cards these day when the thousands of cards most of us had as kids ended up being worth little to nothing. I never collected to try to make money. I collected because I loved baseball and knew all the players. It’s unfortunate that kids today are being denied the chance to collect because of adults only trying to make a buck. There’s a really good documentary on Netflix called Jack of all trades I think about baseball card collecting.
 

Mista K

Member
Oct 5, 2010
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I used to collect yugioh and eventually fell out of it. A lot of my cards were worth good money before common prints and "updated" texts came out. Ah well. I have no one to play with now, but I don't think I can ever get rid of them
 
May 11, 2011
6,406
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Australia
I collected basketball cards when I was a teenager in the 90's.
I sold a Penny Hardaway 1994 Upper Deck All Star Die Cut for $200 AUD and put the money towards a PS1. I think that card peaked at $225 US... and then Penny had a serious injury :(
I spent maybe a few thousand on bball cards, but I also had a lot of fun collecting and talking about player values etc with friends, so it was worth it.
 

Cyberpunkd

Member
Dec 16, 2020
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I think pandemic made a lot of people have sizeable additional income - no eating out, no outings, no gym. So people will spend the extra money on something they enjoy, in this case collecting cards.
 
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mcz117chief

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Sep 29, 2013
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They pay their $500k, receive it, and stick it in a drawer or a safe.
Well, that is just art. Same with paintings, statues, whatever. People don't take their Dalí and put it above their fireplace. It is mostly an investment though, you buy it and then sell it in a few years for a few % more.
 

Aesius

Member
May 19, 2009
7,395
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I collected basketball cards when I was a teenager in the 90's.
I sold a Penny Hardaway 1994 Upper Deck All Star Die Cut for $200 AUD and put the money towards a PS1. I think that card peaked at $225 US... and then Penny had a serious injury :(
I spent maybe a few thousand on bball cards, but I also had a lot of fun collecting and talking about player values etc with friends, so it was worth it.
Same. Really fond memories of sitting around on my back porch in the summer with my brother and some neighborhood kids with our valuable cards laid out on the table, flipping through price guides, and trying to wheel and deal trades for cards we wanted.
 
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VGEsoterica

Member
Oct 5, 2019
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the prices lately for Magic and Pokemon are insane. I mean NEWSPAPERS are writing stories about them
 

DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
Staff Member
Dec 5, 2017
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Yes adults now want to relive their childhood. Something about the crushing reality of today's world.
 

Ballthyrm

Member
Jun 21, 2013
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Other than when I was a kid and casually collected sports cards, the whole card collecting world has never been a community I've ever wanted to dabble in. Just requires too much time and you have to pick your interests, there's just far too many things out there.

The other day I started looking into Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon Ferraris and Porsche cards just out of chance, and while I knew there were hardcore fanatics out there, I never knew the prices some of these cards sell for. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single card on ebay and such.

First of all... who the fuck is buying these cards for like $500k? It's gotta be kids of athletes or celebrities right or CEOs corporate higher ups or hardcore collectors with bank rolls who buy this shit. Your average hardcore 38 year old collector can't afford those prices.

But at its core, isn't card collecting really just paying untold amounts of money and untold amounts of time to scratch an OCD itch? I guess you can say that about all collecting, but I think with video games and movies it's a little different because the interactivity with those mediums is greater than cards used in a card game, and I'm sure most of those collectors don't even use those cards anyway. They pay their $500k, receive it, and stick it in a drawer or a safe. garage

Has anyone here been in these hardcore card collecting communities. I'm an outsider, but it seems like this are among the extremes of the extremes when it comes to collecting. Just total obsession.

FTFY
 
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SlimySnake

Member
Feb 5, 2013
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I was able to order a series x from target the other day for in store pickup. When I got there there were about 20 guys aged probably 25-40 there waiting near the pickup spot. I assumed they were there for an Xbox or ps5 like me. Nope. All of them were there to buy baseball cards. I had no idea.
same thing happened to me when i went to pick up super mario 3d worlds for my son. a bunch of grown ass adults standing in a line, i was like thank god no one will judge me for picking up mario. But then they just kept going up to the cashier and giving him their phone numbers... i was like omg its the rtx 3080 waiting list!! I too went up to the cashier and asked if i could put my name down for an rtx card and he laughed and said its for trading cards.

I always thought i was a nerd but watching 40-50 year old men sit around buying pokemon cards has helped me regain my self respect.
 
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Amory

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Jul 10, 2008
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The other thing to consider is, the rich (and I'm not even talking about the mega rich here. your average run of the mill athlete, or hedge fund manager for example) nowadays has so much money that they literally don't know what to do with all of it. So they buy rare items for thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the past these items were like, paintings or cars or artifacts, but now those things are worth tens of millions. So the lesser money trickles down to things like card collecting.

When you're making in a year more than a normal person's entire family lineage will earn in their collective lifetimes, and your passive income increases every day, why not buy a Black Lotus? The money is chump change and hey, now you have a Black Lotus to throw on your ever growing pile
 
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Porcile

Member
Oct 23, 2012
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Crypto, stocks, trading cards, gacha games, straight up gambling. Pick your poison. Personally, I dabble in Pokemon cards because I'm interested in the art, and the artists behind the cards in the same way I'm interested in games and movies. The bonus with cards is that unlike most things you spend your money on they retain most of their monetary value and can even increase in value if you hold your cards for years, or go down the grading route. Even if they don't then who cares, I will still enjoy them for what they are and what originally made me interested in them. The current scalper boom is driven a lot by the pandemic and will eventually die down when scalping becomes more work than it's worth, but like before the pandemic, the serious collectors will still be there.

Enjoy your hobbies.