Introduction to Sports Card Investing

February 20, 2022 3 min read


Introduction to Sports Card Investing

Trading cards, especially sports trading cards, can be a tool used by investors to help them achieve greater asset diversification. The asset class is high risk but can offer above-average returns relative to typical equities markets.

Why Sports Cards?

This market has witnessed strong growth brought on by technological advancements, the popularity of grading services, and the parallels between fantasy sports, sports betting, and trading cards. Although the trading card market is traditionally associated with sports, non-sports trading cards such as Pokemon cards have also grown in value. Nevertheless, they are still eclipsed by traditional sports cards from baseball, basketball, and football. 

Autographed sports cards have the largest market share followed by traditional image cards. The popularity of sports within the United States remains remarkably strong, and is ingrained in our culture. This connection provides for an asset class that stands to see continued popularity and interest in the coming decades.

The Returns

The PWCC 500 index, which tracks the 500 trading cards with the highest average market value based on auction sales, has reported a return on investment of 834% since January of 2008. That’s an annualized return of 64.15% through December of 2021. When you narrow the field to the PWCC 100, which tracks the top 100 trading cards, those returns increase to a whopping 1,276%

According to Verified Market Research, the global sports card trading market was estimated at $13.83 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $98.75 billion by 2027. This would represent a compounded annual growth rate of 23.01% from 2020 to 2027. 

Based on the market forecasts set out above, we expect the trading card market to grow and present unique opportunities moving forward for investors looking for an uncorrelated alternative asset class.

How StartEngine Makes It Easier

Investing in top tier sports cards carries some significant barriers to entry. For starters, it takes professionals who truly know the market to generate investment returns. These cards can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. This makes it difficult for the typical retail investor to get involved. Then once you have the card, an investor has to worry about proper storage, insurance, etc. 

Through StartEngine Collectibles, we aim to mitigate these barriers. Our collections are securitized and investors can buy shares in sports cards, rather than purchasing the entire asset. Simply put, you can own a percentage of a Jackie Robinson rookie card valued at $530K and gain access to the potential returns of said asset, for as little as $500. We source and manage the assets on your behalf, analyze the market, and make prudent decisions when it comes to selling. 

Many of our assets also end up on StartEngine Secondary, our trading platform where investors have the possibility of selling their shares themselves, prior to us making a liquidation.

Sources for research:

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