Why Sports Cards Are No Longer Considered Kids Stuff

Posted by Derick Archer on November 2nd, 2017

When you think of sports cards, images of kids opening packs, stuffing cards in shoeboxes, and chewing on bubble gum might pop into your head. While sports cards certainly have been a major part of many childhoods, they aren’t just for kids anymore. In fact, the cardswere not exclusively kids stuff for a long time.

In the late 1980s, sports cards started becoming much more mainstream as people began putting a higher value on older cards from prior decades. Sports trading card price guides became a popular way to keep track of values and organize collections. People began treating sports cards as valuable assets and investments. Sports card hobby shops, large regional shows and conventions also helped grow the popularity with adults.

New trading card companies, products and innovations exploded in the early and mid-1990s. Bubble gum quickly disappeared from the packs. This wide range of choices appealed to a much wider range of age groups. While sports card production numbers were at an all-time high, so was the demand. Sports cards became big business with battles over licensing rights to product official cards of pro players in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL. Innovations such as autographed cards and cards featuring pieces of game-worn memorabilia took the industry to a new level. These “chase cards” created a frenzy. Card companies continued to try to increase innovation, which also raised prices.

In the late 1990s, the Internet created a new and uncharted frontier that brought about online auctions and the ability to buy from and sell to other collectors across the country. Online auctions created bidding wars, but also allowed collectors to snatch up some great deals. Bidding for sports cards online further attracted adults. Price guides for sports cards were also taken online, creating more up-to-date values and the ability to quickly search for and sort specific cards with unique attributes.

Soon, higher-end packs and boxes began retailing for several hundred dollars. Prices of packs reached 0 or more for five to seven cards in some cases. Lower-priced card products are still available and easily attainable for kids, including sticker sets and other interactive cards. However, the majority of the sports card hobby is specialized, featuring intricate designs, high-quality card stock, valuable autographs and multiple pieces of memorabilia. These include rare signatures of legendary players. Some cards of star players who are in high demand can command several hundred dollars in the secondary market.

While the kids are still an important part of the hobby, sports cards certainly aren’t just kids stuff anymore. Innovations continue to take the industry to new levels, serving both kids and adults alike.


Derick Archer

About the Author

Derick Archer
Joined: November 2nd, 2017
Articles Posted: 1

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