Photos: eBay, Goldin
This article was featured in our newsletter, Alts & Ends. Click here to subscribe for free and receive the best collectible market insights straight to your inbox on a weekly basis!
No collectible flip in history compares to what Dave Portnoy achieved last week when he bought back Barstool Sports for $1 after it was previously sold to Penn Entertainment for $551 million. Talk about selling high and buying low.
But Barstool Sports is not a collectible, so how does this story qualify for Alts & Ends?
As it turns out, Portnoy himself has become a collectable personality. Artifacts of corporate executives becoming coveted is nothing new, but more typically, it's those leaders of mega-corporations that command top dollar - the Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerbergs, and Elon Musks of the world. Of course, Portnoy doesn't conform neatly to the exec category.
Whatever your opinion is of him, he built his internet water cooler empire via his own highly opinionated (and now highly influential) persona. In this era of the internet influencer, personalities like those command followings, many of them passionate and loyal. As a result, the money being spent on Portnoy collectibles is formidable.
Just this weekend, Portnoy himself sold a "Davey Day Trader" action figure for $30,100 after 134 bids were logged on eBay. The figure, signed by Portnoy, is just 1 of 8 ever made and derives clear inspiration from Kenner-era Han Solo figures. Now, let's assume the winning bid does indeed get paid for....$30,100 is a massive sum for an action figure. Consider this: LCG Auctions, which sells a wide variety of toys and action figures in its events, has only sold seven toys more expensive than "Davey Day Trader".
Or take Hake's, which is a bit longer tenured. Hake's has only sold 32 Star Wars figures more expensive than this weekend's sale. Maybe that seems like a lot, but those figures have been around since the late '70s, and they're the foundational cornerstone of the collectible toy market. It would be like saying Goldin has only sold 32 sports cards more expensive than Dave Portnoy's rookie auto.
Actually....on that note....
You're not seriously going to tell me Goldin has only sold 32 sports cards more expensive than Dave Portnoy's, are you?!
No, we're not. Phew. The market has been irrational, but not that irrational.
All the way back in 2014, though, Portnoy was featured in Topps Allen & Ginter, with a full host of auto and relic parallels. In fact, at the peak of irrationality in April of 2021, Goldin sold a PSA 10 Portnoy Framed Auto from that set for $14,400.
Fear not, that isn't the norm for his cards, and even that rare parallel hovers on the edge of four-figure territory now. High graded base cards sell routinely for well under $100, while autos are in the low hundreds. Still, it's rare for any non-athlete's cards to be popular, much less an internet personality. Today, with Portnoy back at the helm of Barstool, two things are clear: we'll be hearing from him for a long time to come, and - like it or not - it's only the beginning for internet personality and influencer collectibles. Autograph seekers would be wise to request a "One bite, everybody knows the rules" inscription.
Enjoyed this article? Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive more like it in your inbox weekly!
Disclaimer: You understand that by reading Altan Insights, you are not receiving financial advice. No content published here constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You further understand that the author(s) are not advising you personally concerning the nature, potential, value or suitability of any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy. You alone are solely responsible for determining whether an investment, security or strategy, or any other product or service, is appropriate or suitable for you based on your investment objectives and personal financial situation. Please speak with a financial advisor to understand if the risks inherent in trading are appropriate for you. Trade at your own risk.