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While the value of modern sports cards are down dramatically in the last several months, two recent reports show that vintage cards are still holding strong.

According to PWCC Marketplace’s PWCC 500 Index, which tracks the vintage card market, vintage trading cards have grown in value by 9.6 percent from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31.

According to PWCC, vintage trading cards are performing well as a tangible asset while the stock market and other equities continue to tumble.

Vintage baseball cards at The National.

Vintage baseball cards at The National.

Also See: Aaron Judge record home run balls could fetch big dollars 

The PWCC 500 Index is up 434.3 percent since the start of 2020.

“The PWCC 500 Index has continued to perform well during a period of turbulent market conditions,” said Jesse Craig, director of business development at PWCC. “Trading cards continue to show themselves to be an uncorrelated asset. Dating back to 2008, when PWCC began tracking the market, the trajectory of PWCC’s indices highlights why trading cards have become increasingly attractive for those seeking alternative investments.”

Sports Collectors Daily also recently reported that vintage cards are holding strong value, while modern cards are on the decline.

According to the Sports Collectors Daily report, Card Ladder, which tracks sales across different sports and eras, shows that modern cards (1984-2008) are down 20.8 percent compared to the same time last year, with ultra-modern cards (2008 and later) down 4.37 percent.

Vintage cards (1946-1983), meanwhile, are up 13.64 percent, while pre-War vintage (1945 and earlier) are up 14.65 percent.

The biggest vintage sellers? According to Card Ladder, Mickey Mantle cards are up 21.5 percent from September 2021, while Nolan Ryan cards are up 51.46 percent. Mantle cards are up, in large part, due to the record $12.6 million sale of a 1952 Topps Mantle in late August.

The Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle card that sold for $12.6 million to set a sports card and sports memorabilia record.

The Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle card that sold for $12.6 million to set a sports card and sports memorabilia record.

Also See: Another ‘52 Mantle to test market at Heritage 

The biggest fallers among modern cards are: Mike Trout (down 40.87 percent); Kobe Bryant (down 36.26); and Tom Brady (down 22.2). Trout cards have declined since setting the sports card record at $3.9 million in late 2020.

A 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Mike Trout Blue Refractor.

A 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Mike Trout Blue Refractor.

The biggest risers among modern and ultra-modern cards are: Aaron Judge (up 110 percent, and climbing); Josh Allen (up 142 percent); and Shohei Ohtani (up 38.37).

The decline in modern cards and the rise in vintage is not a surprise to industry experts.

“Vintage cards we are seeing hold steady, if not continuing to get really strong numbers,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage Auctions. “I think the vintage market has more collectors that love their stuff and are not interested [in selling]. … They weren’t buying it as a straight investment to begin with. It may be an investment for them, but they are not speculating.

“The modern card market, you could be buying Trout or Ohtani and guys who are still playing and that’s a lot more speculative market. If that market starts dropping and people are just speculating and participating as kind of an investment, more people will put their stuff on the market when it starts going down and that just perpetuates the fall of the correction of that market. I don’t think you see that as much on the vintage side, because people that are getting their hands on this stuff, they are putting it away, they are enjoying it, so if the market fluctuates a bit, they are not immediately putting it back out on the market because they enjoy it in their personal collections. I think that’s what we’re seeing. The vintage market is still chugging along where it was and the modern is a little bit more volatile and the memorabilia is still climbing.” 

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