Todd Helton Discusses How Business is Booming for Baseball Cards

Todd Helton

May 7, 2021

Todd Helton Discusses How Business is Booming for Baseball Cards

Todd Helton & Colorado Rockies fans are used to seeing lots of home runs. The altitude at Coors Field has been responsible for all kinds of excitement over the years.

Now, it’s trading cards that are hitting it out of the park. Baseball cards have reached an all-time high in both popularity and value. Just like a Todd Helton walk-off in the ninth, crowds are going wild. Forced inside during the pandemic, collectors are equipped with disposable time and income like never before. This has fueled the industry’s rapid ascent, along with a desire for nostalgia. A return to a “simpler time” seems to be buried inside those Topps packs. Even old collectors who are now parents have flocked back into the market, wanting to share this passion with their children. But, trading cards are no longer child’s play. In fact, keeping up with this pastime is lot more expensive than it used to be. This one-time hobby has exploded into big business.

Nothing reflects this trend more than the vintage card market, which is seeing record sales. In January, a rare Mickey Mantle rookie card sold for a staggering $5.2 million. The 1952 Topps card received an elusive Mint 9 rating from PSA. This shattered the previous high sale, which was just set last August. This purchase included an autographed 2009 Mike Trout rookie card that went for a then-record $3.9 million. Even Rockies fans wanting to complete their collections may struggle. The 1993 Topps Bazooka Todd Helton rookie card, considered the gold standard amongst Mile High enthusiasts, has reached four figures online.

“Old cards are not the only ones benefiting,” Todd Helton explained. “New prints are facing the same frenzied investing.” The latest editions are always met with long lines and short supplies upon release. In the secondary market, new cards are instantly worth as much as 10 times the retail price. Unopened boxes are especially valuable. These offer the promise of packs containing a limited-edition card or perhaps even a future Hall of Famer. Speculators are pouring thousands into autographed cards featuring prospects who haven’t even played an inning of professional ball.

Despite seeing its highest returns in history, cardboard commodities are quickly becoming outdated. Card companies are looking to expand into the modern era. Producing its first set of cards in 1952, Topps and other industry leaders are now going all-in with NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are poised to be the next wave of collecting. Already available in other sports, Topps just launched official baseball NFTs in April.

“Baseball card collecting has reached full fever pitch, and it appears to just be rounding the bases,” Todd Helton said. “With prices so inflated across the board, long-time collectors are rummaging through attics and basements hoping to score their own hidden gems.”