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  • Sports cards are back.

  • People are buying and selling cards with

  • enthusiasm not seen since the heyday of

  • collecting in the 1980s.

  • I think what you're seeing right now across the

  • industry is one of the most healthy and vibrant

  • times that we've seen for our industry.

  • It's tough to pass on the money to be made Right

  • now. 20 20 has seen record breaking numbers for

  • cards sold at public auctions.

  • Over 10 have sold for five hundred thousand

  • dollars or more. We sold a mike trout card

  • limited to one the super factor for three point

  • nine million. These are the two most expensive

  • basketball cards in the world that have publicly

  • traded. The resurgence has been building over the

  • last several years, largely driven by those in

  • their 30s and older who collected as kids and are

  • now adults with income to spare.

  • We all had this crappy experience of the card

  • companies flooding the market and then our cards

  • being worthless. But you fast forward 30 years.

  • You kind of have a remembrance and nostalgia for

  • how fun that was. With the onset of the pandemic,

  • card collecting exploded and now Wall Street and

  • Silicon Valley are taking notice.

  • What we have never had in the business are wealth

  • managers, money managers, hedge fund guys,

  • alternative investment funds.

  • And so what we've been doing is just buying the

  • best of the best. We created a 20 million dollar

  • fund. Card Collecting is different from what it

  • was 40 years ago.

  • But the crash of the 90s is still haunting.

  • Card makers and collectors are determined to

  • avoid repeating their mistakes and cash in on

  • this popular alternative asset.

  • I think cards are definitely having a moment.

  • But if you take a long term view of this, the

  • cards are here to stay from a from as an asset

  • class.

  • If you were a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s,

  • more than likely you collected baseball cards and

  • your father told you they'll one day be worth a

  • lot of money. That's because your father saw his

  • card collection from when he was a kid become

  • valuable in the 1970s when a generation of boys

  • came of age and rediscovered their card

  • collections. For example, in the late 1960s, a

  • 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card, considered one of

  • the greatest vintage cards of all time, was worth

  • about a dollar. A decade later, it was worth

  • about a thousand dollars.

  • In 2006, a near perfect version of this card sold

  • for near two hundred eighty three thousand

  • dollars. And in twenty eighteen, a similar card

  • sold for just shy of two point nine million

  • dollars at auction.

  • A lot of people in my age in their mid 40s, you

  • know, we grew up in the 1980s and the baseball

  • card boom and going to going to shows.

  • So there are a lot of a lot of adults out there

  • now in my age range that grew up collecting

  • baseball cards and enjoying it and having fun

  • with it. It's difficult to put an exact value on

  • the card industry at its height.

  • But David Liner of the Topps Company says around

  • its peak in nineteen ninety one, sales were

  • between one and two billion dollars in a given

  • year. What's hard is if you look back at the late

  • 80s and the early 90s, it was really a boom about

  • baseball cards.

  • It was less so about the NBA, NFL and the NHL,

  • which today are much bigger properties.

  • And then the industry crashed all the cards niños

  • kids collected worthless.

  • That bubble is driven by oversupply.

  • Well, restricted supply initially.

  • And then it burst when the company said, you know

  • what, we're going to make two million of these

  • Ken Griffey rookie cards but tell people that it

  • was much fewer. Most of my friends were similar

  • ages in the 30s, 40s, like our collections are

  • frankly worthless from that period of time.

  • And that that's why is the card companies,.

  • About 20 years later, those same kids grew up and

  • began revisiting their old card hobby.

  • In nineteen ninety six, That's when the junk wax

  • era, the mass production era ended.

  • In nineteen ninety six was the first year where

  • they really started serializing our cards and you

  • started getting real scarcity.

  • The reason that's really important is that people

  • who grew up in nineteen ninety six, they were

  • about eight to 10 years old collecting now

  • they've reached disposable income.

  • Right. So all the cards that I wanted when I was

  • a kid that I couldn't afford, now that I'm

  • working and I have some disposable income, people

  • like me are like I want to go and finally buy

  • that. The industry had seen some major changes.

  • In the late 1990s, card grading became popular

  • for a fee. Companies like PSA, Beckett and SGC

  • rate cards on a scale of one to 10, taking into

  • account the quality and rarity of the card.

  • The higher the grade, the higher the value.

  • It's a commodity. People know the general rating

  • when the age is going to go for.

  • It allows a lot of people to buy and sell trading

  • cards sight unseen that change the industry more

  • than anything else. When I was a kid, rating

  • wasn't a thing like you'd walk into a card shop

  • or a card show and By raw cards, which just means

  • cards that were pulled out of a pack and they're

  • in some little spinny sleeve or whatever.

  • You know, I got cards graded in the late 90s when

  • I was a teenager, when these companies were just

  • getting going the concept of having a official

  • grade like its mentor or instrument or whatever,

  • and then it's authentic, I think is very

  • critical. The card makers went through

  • consolidation and sports leagues, signed

  • exclusive deals with one card company.

  • Today, Topps produces cards for Major League

  • Baseball. Panini has the rights to the NBA and

  • NFL and the NHL is signed with upper deck.

  • These brands further increased exclusivity by

  • offering limited edition cards better known as

  • hit cards. Finding a rare card that includes an

  • autograph or a piece of a player's jersey could

  • instantly be worth five or more figures.

  • All of the manufacturers, we are all well aware of

  • what happened in the eighties and nineties, and

  • not wanting to repeat those mistakes.

  • our licensors, Major League Baseball, the NFL,

  • NBA, they are all well aware.

  • Also, it's not over licensed for the most part.

  • We're able to manage within our lane of those

  • four licenses to ensure that we're creating great

  • products that will resonate for years to come.

  • In the early 2010s, Breaking started to gain a

  • following online.

  • It offsets risk when buying unopened cards and

  • has amassed a following on YouTube and Twitch.

  • That box sells five hundred dollars and you've got

  • ten packs in the box so people can buy slots in

  • that box. That said, everybody can buy a pack and

  • the person opens up. How could this package for

  • this person got Brian Podres, Michael S

  • Nationals', Kamron M Royals', Michael C res and

  • it's all done online.

  • It's all done up front in front of the camera.

  • And you don't know what you're going to get. You

  • know, you're going to get a pack in that box.

  • So somebody may get something worth twenty five

  • dollars. Somebody may literally get something

  • worth fifty thousand dollars.

  • Logo man patch auto one of one.

  • Look at that change.

  • Oh, dude, somebody has to get rich on the stream,

  • breaking to the trading card community is our

  • version of eSports, and it's great and everybody

  • knows everybody I know. After an injury landed

  • Rich Leighton at home for an extended period of

  • time, he rediscovered his card hobby and stumbled

  • upon breaking.

  • I haven't collected since I was a kid and cards

  • and changed a bit, I saw a relic of I got a relic

  • card with a piece of game used jersey inside of

  • it. I received an autographed card in the box and

  • I was blown away.

  • Those things did not exist in the mid to late 80s

  • when I was collecting when I was younger.

  • One thing led to another.

  • This took me onto YouTube.

  • I even came across a couple of people that called

  • themselves Breaker's and I saw their videos and I

  • thought to myself, Man, I feel like this is

  • something that I could do well.

  • Rich founded Leighton Sports Cards in 2012 and has

  • been breaking cards ever since.

  • The company has eleven full time employees,

  • boasts one of the top YouTube channels for

  • breaking with over thirty thousand subscribers

  • and nearly doubled their sales each year since

  • the start. The jump from twenty nineteen to

  • twenty twenty. This current year we're expecting

  • to double our sales again.

  • This year, We have not stopped demand for our

  • breaks and the demand for products and the demand

  • for just sports cards in general on all

  • markets and all facets of the industry as has

  • never been better, at least since since we

  • started in 2012.

  • It's never been better.

  • This past decade, people in the sports card world

  • noticed a significant increase in value and

  • demand. I noticed the industry really taking off

  • in twenty sixteen.

  • We really noticed a giant jump in doing the amount

  • of breaks and doing the amount of product really

  • in the beginning of twenty seventeen.

  • The trading card business has been growing

  • significantly the past five or six years.

  • What we've seen in the last six months during the

  • pandemic has been an acceleration of that growth.

  • People are stuck at home and looking for things to

  • do. So they're getting back into maybe hobbies or

  • interest of theirs and collections.

  • There's no sports on TV at the time and they're

  • not spending time or money on going out to dinner

  • or going on vacations at that time.

  • So it looks like more people are putting their

  • money into into collectibles and in their

  • hobbies. I mean, heading into before covid, if

  • you will, in January and February of this year,

  • we were hitting record numbers for our business

  • already. When covid started and people had to

  • stay home, we took off even more from there.

  • In a pandemic, you'd think that business would be

  • slow. And right now it's the best it's ever been.

  • Obviously, we would rather have a healthy

  • country, but you know we're here to take

  • advantage of it as much as we possibly can.

  • But overall, I would say the market, whether it's

  • a card and autograph game used jersey, bat things

  • have gone up a lot.

  • Then ESPN moved the release date of the hotly

  • anticipated Michael Jordan documentary series,

  • The Last Dance from June to April.

  • The Last Dance was a very well timed documentary

  • released when we were all starved for sports.

  • There was nothing, you know, 20 plus years

  • removed from Jordan's kind of his last three peat

  • in ninety seven, putting a lot of his highlights

  • out there and kind of reinvigorating the debate

  • to see the greatest of all time missing LeBron

  • James. But I think the last dance brought a lot

  • of nostalgia back and really showed a new

  • generation how significant Jordan was to to the

  • game of basketball. The last dance became the

  • highest rated documentary in ESPN history.

  • It brought back nostalgia.

  • It brought back memories of the greatness of

  • Michael Jordan and his cards and memorabilia

  • started going up.

  • And in our industry, it is definitely a case

  • where rising tides lifts all boats.

  • If a Michael Jordan rookie goes from forty

  • thousand one hundred thousand, then Charles

  • Barkley rookies are going to go up.

  • Kobe Bryant rookies are going to go up.

  • LeBron James rookies are going to go up, Steph

  • Curry rookies are going to go up and so on and so