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Booming trading-card resale market shows the value of nostalgia

Pokémon cards
Booming trading-card resale market shows the value of nostalgia

The Future. Fueled by an increase in savings and boredom during the pandemic, trading cards — baseball, Pokémon, Magic the Gathering — have kicked off an investment gold rush. Mixing money-making with nostalgia is a winning formula… and it may be fueled by the same ideals that turned GameStop into retail traders’ catnip.

Hologram hit
We hope you still have your Pokémon or baseball cards lying around somewhere.

eBay saw a 142% surge in sales for sports, non-sport trading cards, and collectible card games in 2020.

Sales were up 4,000% on StockX, even though that site is mostly dedicated to streetwear and sneakers.

Mercari saw a 405% increase in 2020.

Pokémon has struggled to print enough cards to keep up with demand. StockX co-founder Josh Luber compared these collectible cards to rare Picassos… maybe not in terms of quality, but definitely in terms of supply-and-demand scarcity.

Baby steps
Trading cards have garnered a reputation for both their nostalgia and also their financial value.

eBay's General Manager of Collectibles and Trading Cards Nicole Colombo said that they are “a perfect mesh of something that makes you feel good, but it could also help you make a lot of money.``

Mercari CEO John Lagerling said trading cards are sort of like ``old school Bitcoin(s)`` because they are a “volatile and valuable investment.” But cards also bring joy because they are “a tactile asset that can be enjoyed by their owners before being sold.”

For many, trading cards are an easy first step into an investment because collecting them doesn’t require the same technical know-how of traditional stock trading or hyper-technical crypto, which is why platforms such as Rally are quickly growing in popularity.