Brandscape

The Resurgence of Collectable Card and Sticker Collections: From Playground Pastime to Financial Investment

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Collectable cards and stickers have long held a special place in the hearts of both children and adults alike. From the humble beginnings of trading cards depicting baseball players in the late 19th century to the explosion of Pokémon cards in the 1990s, these small pieces of paper have transcended mere entertainment to become cultural phenomena. However, there has been a notable shift in perception regarding collectable cards and stickers in recent years. No longer just a pastime for children, they are increasingly viewed as a sound financial investment, offering the potential for impressive returns akin to a pension plan.

The appeal of collectable cards and stickers lies in their universality. Regardless of age, gender, or background, there is something inherently captivating about the thrill of opening a pack to discover what treasures lie within. This universality extends beyond mere enjoyment to encompass essential life skills. In the playground, trading cards teach children valuable lessons in negotiation, responsibility, sharing, and even crucial money management. These seemingly innocuous pieces of paper serve as a medium through which children learn vital social and financial skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

However, the allure of collectable cards and stickers goes beyond their educational value. There has been a noticeable trend towards viewing them as viable financial assets in recent years. While some may scoff at the idea of investing in what are essentially pieces of cardboard, the reality is that the market for collectable cards and stickers has exploded in recent years, with prices skyrocketing to dizzying heights.

One need only look at the example of the Honus Wagner T206 baseball card to understand the potential financial rewards of investing in collectable cards. Produced by the American Tobacco Company in 1909, the Honus Wagner card is one of the most coveted items in the world of sports memorabilia. With only around 50 to 200 copies believed to exist, the card is scarce, driving its value to astronomical levels. In 2016, a near-mint condition Honus Wagner card sold for a staggering $3.12 million, making it one of the most expensive trading cards ever sold.

While the Honus Wagner card may be an extreme example, it is a testament to the financial potential of collectable cards and stickers. In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in vintage cards from the 1980s and 1990s, with prices for iconic cards from this era reaching unprecedented levels. Cards depicting legendary athletes such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Ken Griffey Jr. regularly command prices in the thousands of dollars, with pristine examples fetching even higher sums.

However, vintage cards are not the only collectable card games experiencing a surge in popularity. Modern collectable card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon have also seen a resurgence in recent years, with prices for rare and sought-after cards reaching dizzying heights. In 2019, a rare Pokémon card featuring Pikachu illustrator Atsuko Nishida‘s signature sold for a record-breaking $195,000 auction, highlighting these modern classics’ enduring appeal.

So, what is driving this newfound interest in collectable cards and stickers as investments? Part of it can be attributed to the rise of online marketplaces and auction sites, making it easier for collectors to buy, sell, and trade cards worldwide. Additionally, the growing popularity of card grading services has provided collectors with a way to assess the condition and authenticity of their cards, further driving up prices for high-quality specimens.

However, the most significant factor driving the surge in collectable card prices is the growing mainstream acceptance of collecting as a legitimate hobby and investment strategy. With traditional investments such as stocks and real estate becoming increasingly volatile, many investors are turning to alternative assets such as collectables to diversify their portfolios and hedge against inflation.

One of Wow Me Design‘s latest projects for Topps, The Collectables Company, is the Chrome Liverpool FC 23/24 set. A dynamic set full of excitement that engages and enthrals the collector, the set boasts a 100-card Base Set, divided equally between two show-stopping premium base designs. The collection features the biggest stars from the women’s and men’s first teams, with the top future rookies featured within the Bowman sub-set. Autograph cards contain the genuine signatures of current squad members and Liverpool legends. The ultra-rare Captivating cards provide the thrill of the hunt. The overall uniqueness in design was achieved using exceptional materials and print finishes on limited print runs. It will be the must-have set for fans and collectors alike.

In conclusion, collectable cards and stickers are no longer just a playground pastime; they are fast becoming a legitimate investment opportunity offering the potential for impressive financial returns. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or looking to diversify your investment portfolio, there has never been a better time to dip your toes into the world of collectable cards and stickers. Who knows? You might unearth the next Honus Wagner hiding in your attic.

Wow Me Design is the Cheltenham-based brand development agency creating brands people want. We would love you to get in touch at hello@wowmedesign.com

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