2021 has been a roller coaster year for sports cards across the board, with different categories finding peaks and valleys at varying moments during the year. Broadly, cards have risen from their early summer trough, and while the late spring peaks may still be in the distance, they’re not as distant as they were.
This weekend’s PWCC Premier Auction brought mixed results, though we’re in a moment where one might not expect clear signs of a large move in either direction. At a category level, basketball continues to rebound and march higher - or at the very least stabilize - after a tumultuous summer. Vintage baseball, which bounced feverishly off the bottom earliest, saw somewhat tepid demand in this particular auction, with a handful of key card results coming in below their most recent sales. Football, where Patrick Mahomes accounts for 13 of the 38 lots, is a mixed bag, while Tom Brady cards hold serve and Justin Herbert’s presence on the scene grows.
This auction's applications to fractional are more often discouraging than they are encouraging. The appetite among fractional investors has been exceedingly bullish in the card space in recent months, sending many cards well above their comparable sales. That doesn’t mean that these values are “wrong”, but fractional demand can run so hot for certain assets that it may soften the outlook for further upside.
That said, there was also a lot of validation in this auction, and when current levels are validated, investors can turn their attention to the long-term thesis for an asset. The market’s relative youth can mean inefficiency, and that inefficiency means that there’s short-term opportunity. To date, that inefficiency has created an outsized short-term focus, but in the future, the gaps in value highlighted in these reports may narrow.
On to the results!
1954 Topps Hank Aaron
PWCC (PSA 9): $504,000
Collectable (PSA 8.5): $168,000
Rally (PSA 8.5): $240,000
Back in May, a 9 sold with Goldin for $420,000. A month earlier, an 8.5 sold for $206,400. Things were moving quickly in the spring, with the sharp upward trajectory still intact from April to May, so it’s probably not fair to say that the 2x ratio there is indicative. A favorable result for Collectable’s card, and likely to a lesser degree, for Rally’s as well, though we’ve seen ratios as high as 2.5 - 3x for the half point for cards of this era in the past.
2003 Exquisite Collection Michael Jordan Patch Autograph
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $180,000
Rally (BGS 9.5): $65,000
Goldin sold #029/100 back in September for $161k. Rally’s card hasn’t traded since July, when it was up 58.5% to reach a valuation that is still well below recent sales, as several clustered around $150k in the summer months. Notably, the patch on the card sold at PWCC featured three colors, while Rally’s features only Red. The composition of a patch is critical. One should never examine and compare sale data points alone without studying the visual appeal of a card; this applies to all cards but is especially true of patches. Another three color patch, though less attractive, in a BGS 9.5 sold at Goldin this weekend for $113,160, well below the PWCC sale but still a strong outcome.
2018 Panini Prizm Luka Doncic Blue Refractor
PWCC (PSA 10): $78,000
Collectable (PSA 10): $59,375
The Luka card on Collectable is down 5% from its IPO value of $62,500 back in March, which was a bit north of the June peak for this card around $56k. The result here is a strong one that underscores recent recovery in basketball.
2003 Topps Chrome Refractor LeBron James
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $40,800
Rally (BGS 10): $101,250
Otis (PSA 10): $76,366.50
PWCC sold a BGS 10 a month ago for $150,000, a figure which was encouraging for both the Rally and Otis cards and also an improvement on a $144,000 July sale. A BGS 10 at Goldin came up short of those marks this weekend at $125,460. BGS 9.5s have spent most of the year in the $45-55k range, putting this result a cut below, and PSA 10s have typically been ~2.5x that level when selling at a similar time or in the same auction. Recent results should bode well for both fractional assets.
2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Tom Brady
PWCC (BGS 8.5, Auto 10): $1,440,000
Collectable (BGS 8.5 ,Auto 10): $2,150,000
An 8.5 last brought in $1,590,000 at PWCC back in September. That card had a lower corners grade but higher edges and surface. Over at Goldin, an example without a 10 subgrade, which this PWCC example had for Centering, sold for $1,537,500. This weekend’s results are in line with recent comps and continue to sit well below Collectable’s offering value with trading set to begin in a few weeks. Still, you could see this card being one where fractional demand outweighs comparable sales.
2009 National Treasures Stephen Curry RPA
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $360,000
Collectable (BGS 9.5): $472,150
Rally (BGS 9.5): $525,000
PWCC last sold an example of this card in May for $432k,which was down from a late January Goldin sale for $451k. The card on Rally has been funded but is yet to trade. The card on Collectable launched back in April at a $497k cap and is down 10% since. Of course, this result continues a descending trend and bodes well for neither fractional asset.
1952 Topps Mickey Mantle
PWCC (PSA 7): $288,000
Rally (SGC 7): $340,000
PWCC sold an SGC 7 last month for $336k, which only narrowly trailed their July sale of a PSA 7 for $350k. While this weaker result may come as a bit of a surprise, the SGC 7 sold last month had vastly superior centering. The Rally card, with centering that falls somewhere between the two, last traded in August, gaining 49% to reach its current valuation, but this outcome may raise eyebrows and questions, or it will be ignored altogether with the $2mm PSA 8 sale this weekend.
1955 Topps Roberto Clemente
PWCC (SGC 8.5): $90,000
Rally (SGC 8): $77,000
A PSA 8 sold with PWCC in late August for $90,000. The market has broadly ascended since then, but still, the result here does not bode particularly favorably for Rally’s lower-graded card, which more than doubled in its last trading window a month back.
2017 Panini Flawless Patrick Mahomes RPA
PWCC (PSA 9): $60,000
Collectable (BGS 9): $73,538
Collectable previously had a BGS 9.5 copy of this card, which was bought out for $182,500 after just one month in late 2020. This card, just one of the five produced, was offered in December for $79,500, sitting a bit off that level now. While one might expect a PSA 9 to capture a premium ,the debate rages over just how much grading disparities should matter for a card with a print run of just five. In any case, not an encouraging result.
1952 Topps Willie Mays
PWCC (PSA 8): $192,000
Collectable (PSA 8): $478,000
Two sales for a PSA 8 clustered around $234k in late June and early July. Since the card launched on Collectable in early June for $239k, it’s up – somewhat improbably – 100%. This result may send it in the other direction.
2003 Topps Chrome LeBron James Black Refractor
PWCC (PSA 9): $66,000
Rally (PSA 9): $85,000
Collectable (BGS 9.5): $149,500
A PSA 9 sold at Goldin in August for $43k, so this result demonstrates strength. The card on Rally fully funded at $85,000, a level more commensurate with May sales. A few weeks after that Goldin PSA 9 sale, PWC sold a BGS 9.5for $96k – a little more than double the PSA 9 result. The Collectable card is up 19% from its $130k December IPO value, though recent performance has been muted.
2014 Bowman Chrome Mookie Betts Purple Refractor
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $24,000
Collectable (BGS 9.5): $83,500
The Collectable card has yet to fully fund, sitting at 72.6% invested at the time of writing. This result, a little more than quarter the offering value, is unlikely to expedite that process.
2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady
PWCC (BGS 10): $31,200
Collectable (BGS 10): $48,000
A BGS 10 last sold with Goldin in May for $34k. A few months later, in July, the Collectable card was IPO’d for $30,000. The card recently began trading, and is up 56% since, outpacing results as strong demand for Brady on fractional platforms persists.
1980 Topps Basketball Magic Johnson Larry Bird
PWCC (PSA 9): $27,600
Rally (PSA 9): $43,250
This card has had as dizzying a ride as any – reaching levels near $70k in early 2021 before slumping below $20k in the middle of summer. In September though, PWCC sold a PSA 9 that they ranked in the top 15% on eye appeal for $31,200, continuing an ongoing recovery. Fractional investors have been undeterred by the card’s volatility, driving the price 44% higher to $43,250 in the first trading trading window just a few weeks back. This result, essentially in line with recent levels, may give shareholders second thoughts at the next window, though opportunities to play Magic and Bird fractionally are somewhat limited.
1951 Bowman Willie Mays
PWCC (PSA 6.5): $30,000
Collectable (PSA 7): $96,030
Collectable’s card is down 8% from its $99k April IPO value, hanging in surprisingly well given recent comps have more typically clustered in the $50k range. PSA 7s have previously traded at approximately 2x a 6.5 in this card.
2003 Topps Chrome Sealed Box
Over the summer, prices for this box were fairly consistently in the mid $20,000s, where this one ended up. The Collectable box is up 40% since its July IPO for $22,750, though there were strong results for sealed wax elsewhere this weekend.
1985 Nike Promo Michael Jordan
PWCC (PSA 10): $19,200
Rally (PSA 10): $28,000
A card that soared as high as $54k in February, the Nike Promo Jordan card is another that experienced a steady decline into summer. Summer trading was a bit choppier, as some sales broke below $20k, and others particularly PWCC’s July sale for $26k, showed signs of recovery. This one, however, is more the former than the latter. Rally card launched in March of2021 for its current value of $28,000, having remained flat in its early July trading window.
2003 Exquisite Collection Patches Kobe Bryant
PWCC (PSA 9): $40,800
Rally (BGS 9): $71,875
Rally’s card dropped back in October of 2020 for $23k, right before the surge of interest in the card space really accelerated. There haven’t been any sales recorded in a BGS 9 since early May for $29k. A PSA 9 sold a few weeks later for $36k at PWCC. Of course, many cards fell off a cliff after May. The dearth of sales didn’t stop fractional investors from sending the card 213% higher in the late September trading window. The next window may not be as kind.
2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods
PWCC (PSA 10): $52,800
Rally (BGS 9.5): $27,750
Collectable (BGS 9.5): $26,100
Otis (BGS 9.5): $29,160
The result for a PSA 10 here remains well off of six figure spring 2021 highs, but is a step off of lows nonetheless. BGS 9.5s have begun to rebound off lows recently as well and typically trade for roughly half of PSA 10s, and as a result, there’s little impetus for large moves on the fractional cards from this result.
2012 National Treasures Kawhi Leonard RPA
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $20,400
Otis (BGS 9.5): $21,200
This sale is a bit weaker than a Goldin sale back in early August for $24k, which was a little more than half of the June going rate for this card. The Otis card dropped in March of this year for $21,200, where it sits today, having somewhat bizarrely peaked at $38k in mid-August.
1968 Topps Nolan Ryan
PWCC (SGC 9.5): $52,800
Rally (PSA 9): $65,000
The card on Rally was launched back in March for $70,000. It traded off 7% in its first window back in mid July. Since then, a PSA 9 sold for $126k in early October, which provides a better read through than the result here.
2005 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Michael Jordan LeBron James
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $52,800
Collectable (BGS 10): $120,450
Collectable’s card, which is the only BGS 10 in the population, is down 27% from its April $165k IPO value and sits at about 2.25x this result, which would typically be on the strong side and has this one flirting with Warning Sign designation.
1953 Topps Mickey Mantle
PWCC (PSA 7.5): $38,400
Collectable (PSA 8): $105,850
PSA 7.5s have a population of only seven, so sales of this card haven’t been particularly frequent. An 8 last sold in early October with Memory Lane for $89k. The Collectable card, which launched in early August and only recently began trading, is up 9%, racing ahead of that recent comp. The half point has typically meant a difference of 2.5-3x in either direction for cards of this era.
1969 Topps Lew Alcindor
PWCC (PSA 8): $45,600
Rally (PSA 8): $50,375
PSA 8s had recently descended into the low $30,000s, though the September PWCC sale for $33.4k was a step upwards. The Rally card was up 83% in its last session in late August, and until this result from PWCC, that move looked somewhat overzealous. Instead, the shareholders receive some validation for the strong fractional demand.
2007 Topps Chrome Refractor Kevin Durant
PWCC (PSA 10): $26,400
Collectable (PSA 10): $25,000
Otis (PSA 10): $22,390.50
This card has begun to reverse a sharp descent which took it from over $50,000 in the spring down to the mid teens over the summer. Goldin sold a PSA 10 in early October for $26,400, and this result is right on par. The Collectable card is up 155% since its December IPO for $12,500, while the Otis card is down 12% from its February launch for $25,300.
2009 Exquisite Collection Stephen Curry RPA
PWCC (PSA 10): $48,000
Rally (BGS 9.5): $25,000
PWCC last sold a PSA 10 at the end of May for $43k, so this result represents an improvement of more than 10%. A BGS 9.5 last sold at Goldin in April for approximately $22k. The Rally card was launched at $25k in January and has remained at that level since, last trading in early September.
1972 Topps Julius Erving
PWCC (PSA 9): $28,800
Otis (PSA 9): $26,860
From levels closer to $60k back in the spring, the Topps Julius Erving rookie fell below $20k over the summer, before rebounding back towards $30k in August. The card on Otis dropped in February for $15,800 and is up 70% since. It currently sits a little less than halfway between its IPO price and its peak value.
1997 Skybox Jambalaya Kobe Bryant
PWCC (BGS 9): $24,000
Rally (PSA 10): $65,000
Goldin sold a BGS 9 in early October for $16,800, well off levels near $30k in March and also down from an $18k August sale, so this outcome is a positive sign. Back in the spring, BGS 9s were selling for approximately a third of PSA 10s. PSA 10s neared $70k before dropping back below $60k in May.
2003 SP Authentic Signatures LeBron James
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $24,000
Otis (BGS 10): $55,626
A BGS 10 has not sold recently, though a BGS 9.5 last sold in late September for nearly $21k, not terribly far off the $29k level commanded by a PSA 10 back in May. Yet another positive step forward here. BGS 10s are quite low pop in this card, but the multiple may be a touch on the strong side here, nearly placing it in Warning Sign territory. This card launched on Otis in April of this year at $63,200 and is down 12% since.
1999 Pokemon Blastoise Shadowless 1st Edition
PWCC (BGS 9.5): $15,000
Otis (PSA 10): $44,412.50
A PSA 10 of this card last sold in late August for $95k. The card on Otis has been fairly range bound for the last six months, though it has trended lower over time before recently rebounding to now sit down 6.5%% from its March IPO value of $47,500.
2003 Exquisite Collection Patches LeBron James
PWCC (BGS 9): $180,000
Rally (BGS 8): $46,000
This card IPO’d a few months earlier than the Kobe card from the same set, launched for $34k in August of 2020. It’s up 35% since. Interestingly, this card has remained fairly stable while others plummeted – BGS 8.5s have been sold most frequently, and sales in March, June, and August were all in the mid $90,000s. Also interesting: a BGS 8 sold for $73,653 at PWCC on May 21st, just a day before a PSA 10 would sell for $96,000 at Goldin – a fairly tight multiple for those two grades.
2003 Ultimate Collection Dwyane Wade Auto
PWCC (BGS 10): $20,400
Collectable (BGS 10 Black Label): $38,100
Collectable’s card, just one of three in the population of 255 to receive the BGS 10 Black Label, launched in March at $41,500 and is down8% since. BGS 10s carry a population of 25, and this sale carries a 1.7x premium to the sale of a PSA 10 at Goldin in August. While BGS Black Label multiples can sometimes carry multiples even higher, we’ve more commonly seen basketball cards from this era garner in the range of 1.5-2x a BGS 10.
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