Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Login
Don't have an account?
Signup
Error Message

News & Trends

Institutional-grade, comprehensive research and engaging content to bolster your alternative investment thesis.
News & Trends
Search icon
Auction Action: SCP Auctions February Finest
February 2, 2023

Auction Action: SCP Auctions February Finest

By 
Bradley Calleja
Altan Insights previews the February Finest Auction hosted by SCP Auctions
Read More...
Categories
Trades and Trends: January 27th, 2023
Market Commentary

Trades and Trends: January 27th, 2023

By 
Keenan Flack

Join Altan Insights as we highlight trading activity across the various alternative marketplaces with a combination of charts and penned analysis to help investors track trends and price movements that impact their portfolio.

Rally

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 99

Assets that stayed the same: 200

Assets that traded negatively: 106

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 117

Assets that stayed the same: 184

Assets that traded negatively: 101

Collectable

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 42

Assets that stayed the same: 115

Assets that traded negatively: 47

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 68

Assets that stayed the same: 114

Assets that traded negatively: 26

Public

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 7

Assets that stayed the same: 7

Assets that traded negatively: 14

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively:16

Assets that stayed the same: 4

Assets that traded negatively: 8

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

Trades and Trends: February 4th, 2023
Market Commentary

Trades and Trends: February 4th, 2023

By 
Keenan Flack

Join Altan Insights as we highlight trading activity across the various alternative marketplaces with a combination of charts and penned analysis to help investors track trends and price movements that impact their portfolio.

Rally

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 118

Assets that stayed the same: 168

Assets that traded negatively: 119

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 99

Assets that stayed the same: 200

Assets that traded negatively: 106

Collectable

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 27

Assets that stayed the same: 142

Assets that traded negatively: 35

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 42

Assets that stayed the same: 115

Assets that traded negatively: 47

Public

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 19

Assets that stayed the same: 6

Assets that traded negatively: 4

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 7

Assets that stayed the same: 7

Assets that traded negatively: 14

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

Golden Age Modern Collector Auction Preview
Auctions

Golden Age Modern Collector Auction Preview

By 
Bradley Calleja

After a record-breaking 2022, Golden Age returns with a first-of-its-kind auction that features more than 300 lots of modern golf collectibles.  In 2022, Golden Age established a new all-time high for any golf memorabilia sold at auction with a $5.2 million sale for the 'Tiger Slam' irons and total sales increased by more than 170% year-over-year. In their first auction of the new year, Golden Age is showcasing an array of PSA-graded golf cards, tickets, and badges among hundreds of other pieces of influential memorabilia.

Lots to Watch

Lot #2: 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic Tiger Woods PSA 10 Auto 10 /900

One of the first golf cards to reach six-figures at auction, Upper Deck's SP Authentic has long been considered the premier piece of Tiger Woods cardboard. In 2021, prices peaked above $100,000 and while valuations have since dropped, this gem mint example has already attracted 41 bids and sits at $36,498 heading into the final days of the auction. At its current price, this PSA 10 would be the second highest sale for a like-graded example over the last four months. In December, one auction house sold a gem mint Tiger card for $25,800, which represented the lowest sale price of 2022. The market could be signaling a recovery though as this particular signed rookie is nearing $40,000 and a different PSA 10 realized $50,400 earlier this month.

Lots #18: 1934 PSA Type 1 Photo of Bobby Jones Congratulating Horton Smith

Fresh off establishing a new record for any golf photo, Golden Age is scheduled to sell another Type 1 specimen that captures an incredible moment in the game's storied history. The image, which has been authenticated and encapsulated by PSA, comes from the inaugural Masters Tournament in 1934 and features legends Bobby Jones and Horton Smith as the subjects. In the photograph, Bobby Jones, who helped design the Augusta National Golf Club and co-founded the Masters Tournament, is seen congratulating Smith for winning the first-ever title for the now famed tourney. The image is inscribed with the names of the golf pros and also includes the date - 3/25/34 - which was the final round of the Tournament. Through 25 bids the price for this Type 1 photo has reached $10,215 and could be headed higher after a flurry of activity occurred in the first 48-hours of the auction opening.

Lot #8: Tiger Woods Signed 2001 Upper Deck Rookie Card

The total population of PSA-graded 2001 Upper Deck #1 Tiger Woods rookie cards is 34,480.

The total population for a signed PSA-graded 2001 Upper Deck #1 Tiger Woods rookie card is 3.

While there are limited-edition examples of Tiger rookies (see the /900 previously mentioned above), the unforced rarity of this card puts it in rare air as arguably the most unique and sought-after Tiger on the market today. The card itself has always been considered a gem, with a hyper-focused Tiger donning his iconic Nike red polo with a throng of spectators and media blurred in the background. As any followers of golf cards knows, unlike other sports collectible legends like Mickey Mantle, Tiger Woods simply does not sign cards that were not meant to be signed. The buyer pool has taken notice to the importance of this signed example as the current bid of $9,847 is poised to set a record for the Upper Deck #1.

Lot #13: Tiger Woods 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach Official Scoresheet

One could argue that no tournament showcased the greatness of Tiger Woods, or any golfer in history, more than the 2000 US Open.

On the trying and tested links of Pebble Beach, Tiger delivered a masterful performance that was so dominant, it's impossible to find a comparable within the game of golf. Instead, you could maybe draw similarities to Secretariat's 31-length victory at the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Even then, the famed racehorse only beat 4 other competitors, not 155 like Tiger was tasked with.

It's not that other golfers haven't won tournaments by wide margins, but more so how far Tiger separated himself from a field loaded with talent. This offering highlights that historic performance and carries Tiger's penmanship as an added bonus. The signed score sheet captures a moment in golf history that has never been replicated at a similar stage since. By the time the last putt had been sunk, Tiger was 12 under par and 15 strokes ahead of the field, closing out a dominating performance that helped cement his legacy at the top of the modern game.

Lot #5: 1961 Masters Badge PSA 10

1961 Masters Badge, population: 1.

From the first run of Masters badges ever produced, this golf collectible grails is the only one that has earned a gem mint designation from PSA. The badge, number 9721, displays the iconic and recognizable logo of the Masters against a pearly white background. Somehow, for a badge that was meant to be worn around the hollowed grounds of Augusta National, this particular example looks untouched, with zero discoloration or damage. The quality is reflected in the PSA 10 graded and also in the bidder activity heading into the weekend. As of publication, this 62-year-old golf collectible has attracted 22 bids and is nearing $10,000.

Lot #10: Historic Collection of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Victory Tickets

In sports cards, set collecting has become an art within the industry as dedicated hobbyists work to secure complete editions of iconic productions like the 1986 Fleer or 1952 Topps. In an age where tickets have solidified as a new category of collectible, it was only a matter of time before well-organized sets started to appear at auction. This lot features the most impressive collection of golf tickets we have seen to date and includes the entry passes to 80 of Tiger Woods' 82 total PGA Tour victories. The only two tickets missing are from less desirable tournaments - the 2000 Mercedes Championship and the 205 Ford Doral. That means every early career Tiger victory ticket is included and the passes/badges to all 15 of Tiger's Majors. Each of the tickets have been encapsulated by PSA and provide a unique way for a collector to display the career, impact, and legacy of the most dominant golfer in modern history.

All Images via Golden Age

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

2023's Big Ticket Sports Memorabilia Sales Look to Follow Strong 2022
Asset Class Insights

2023's Big Ticket Sports Memorabilia Sales Look to Follow Strong 2022

By 
Dylan Dittrich

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!

2022 was a year of record sports memorabilia sales that placed those top relics in the realm of fine art prices.

$10 million Jordan jersey. $9 million Maradona jersey. $6 million Ali belt. $5 million Tiger irons.

Those are hard acts to follow. Undoubtedly though, their astronomical prices will draw some top tier supply out of the woodwork and to the auction block. In fact, it already has. Over the next few weeks, 2023 will look to build its case as a sequel that's more Godfather: Part II and less Godfather: Part III.

The follow-up campaign begins at Sotheby's on Friday. The auction house, which played host to both the Jordan and Maradona jersey sales, will sell the jersey worn by LeBron James in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, a clincher for the Heat. Many will remember 2013 for the Bosh-assisted Ray Allen shot in Game 6, as early Heat fan departures desperately sought re-entry to the arena. Game 7, then, was perhaps the Gold Medal Game to the 1982 Miracle on Ice semi-final: crucially important to solidify the legacy, but not as memorable as the game before. Still, it saw a LeBron James at the peak of his powers tally 37 points and 12 boards in victory.

The jersey was worn only in the first half of that game. It carries an estimate of $3,000,000 - $5,000,000, and the lot has also received an irrevocable bid. For those unfamiliar, that means a bid has been placed that ensures the lot will sell. For effectively de-risking the auction, that bidder typically receives a fixed fee whether they're ultimately the winner or not. Long story short: we're very likely to have not only a towering LeBron James jersey record, but also our first multi-million dollar sports memorabilia sale of 2023.

But the fun doesn't stop there.

In early February, Sotheby's will bring another important basketball jersey to the block. This time, it's a key Kobe Bryant piece. From his 2007-08 MVP campaign, the only season in which Bryant won an MVP, the signed jersey has been photomatched to 25 games, as well as his MVP award picture and an iconic photo often seen in murals. The heavy wear and the dominant period are the hallmarks here.

With an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000, the jersey would easily become the most expensive Bryant jersey ever sold. The current record stands at $3,600,000, achieved at Goldin in May of 2021 by a rookie jersey matched to 7 games and a pre-season photo shoot, making it one of the earliest known Bryant-worn Lakers jerseys.

It's worth noting for perspective: should the Kobe jersey at Sotheby's reach the higher end of its range, it would be more expensive than any game-worn item sold pre-2022.

In that regard, it would serve as a confirmation sale of sorts, signaling that the game-worn market has reset at a higher level. The term "confirmation sale" is borrowed from the art market. When an artist's price record is broken, market observers look not so much to when the record will next be broken, but rather, to see if sales begin to fill in above the prior record and below the new record. This provides evidence - confirmation - that the artist's market has taken to new heights. If the Kobe jersey doesn't cross $6 million, that doesn't mean the market has failed to retrench higher, but there will be an expectation that something should test and surpass those levels in 2023.

Finally, at a more "modest" price point, Goldin is set to auction the ball from the 1986 World Cup Quarterfinal between Argentina and England. That ball is the one that struck Diego Maradona's hand for the "Hand of God" goal. Of course, the $9.3 million jersey sale from that game raises the profile of the ball, which comes from the match referee. The ball was actually up for auction at Graham Budd Auctions in the UK in November, and bidding surpassed £2 million but failed to meet the reserve. Surpassing those prices in February will be a tall order, but doing so would be evidence of momentum in sports memorabilia that's not waning at the high end. The sequel begins Friday. It sure would be fun to see a blockbuster.

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

What Role Can Artificial Intelligence Play in Collectible Markets?
Market Commentary

What Role Can Artificial Intelligence Play in Collectible Markets?

By 
Dylan Dittrich

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!

We'll tell you straight up: we're not sure we like the cut of ChatGPT's jib. And Dall-E? Not for me.

Like anything else, they're "just tools," you say? No no no my friend, a screwdriver is a tool. A paintbrush is a tool. These are something different altogether.

Have you seen Terminator? Or 2? Or 3? Or 4?

Can't blame anybody for feeling anxious about what the future holds for these AI-powered phenomena and the implications for...well...humanity.

When it comes to collectibles, though, AI could actually be a source of reduced anxiety.

Collectible markets are persistently ravaged by counterfeiting, fraud, and forgery; authenticity remains a severe issue, and monetary destruction follows in its wake. Every time a hole is plugged, halting the seepage of inauthentic product to market and dollars to waste, a new one seems to open. AI though, used as a tool, offers new ways to plug holes with greater efficiency and accuracy.  

Take machine vision software company Alitheon for example. Alitheon's FeaturePrint is an Optical AI technology that digitizes a physical item's "fingerprint," using a camera to algorithmically identify and codify the item's unique attributes. Emphasis on unique. The "FeaturePrint" can then be used by consumers to authenticate the item later, in the wild, simply using cell phone cameras.  

Using that type of technology, sports card manufacturers could create a card's fingerprint during the manufacturing process, enabling consumers to irrefutably identify a product as authentic later on in the secondary market. The same applies for sneaker manufacturers. Nike has a massive counterfeiting problem on its hands, and for that matter, so do consumers and resale marketplaces.

Or think about grading companies themselves. With the ability to fingerprint specific cards, cards that fraudulently find their way into slabs or find themselves under new, higher-graded labels could instantly be identified as phony. As it turns out, graders are already all over it. PSA acquired Genamint in April of 2021 to work on just these types of matters.  

The friction around AI-generated art is clear from our earlier discussion, but there are also strides being made in AI-based art authentication (not without consternation from the authenticating establishment). Swiss-based company Art Recognition trains an algorithm on hundreds of images of works from an artist's oeuvre. The algorithm is then used to identify specific characteristics and visual compositional elements (i.e. brushstrokes) in an analyzed work.  The system is said to have an 85% accuracy rate in verifying authorship; it's ultimately only as good as the collection of images used, which come from museum collections and catalogues raisonnés.

Going a step further, researchers at Case Western Reserve University are using 3D imaging to detect forgeries with accuracy of up to 96%. Their optical analysis attempts to understand and identify the ways in which the artist's brain patterns and nervous system movements are applied onto a canvas. That type of analysis would potentially allow observers to understand where artist's assistants - or forgers - contributed to a work.

Even the people behind these technologies agree, though, that they're just one tool among many that can be used by human authentication experts to make a determination with a greater degree of objectivity.

AI's infringement on human functions is a slippery and steep slope that will only sew further discomfort in years ahead, but over the shorter-term, it's hard not to be optimistic about the relationship between AI and collectible markets....

...until the AI starts collecting us. Get your tin foil hats on people!

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

Heritage Auctions 2023 Winter Sports Card Auction Preview
Auctions

Heritage Auctions 2023 Winter Sports Card Auction Preview

By 
Bradley Calleja

In 2022, Heritage Auctions realized $12.3 million at their Winter Sports Auction as they sold 14 different items for more than $100,000 and moved two vintage baseball cards for at least $500,000. One year later, the auction house is looking to build upon a record-filled year with a strong sale to kick-off 2023.

This edition of the winter sports sale features more than 1,880 lots with baseball representing 56% of all sports. Another dominating theme in this event is the presence of sealed wax and boxes. Last year, 10.9% of all lots in the winter sports auction were boxes and cases of cards. This year, that total is up above 12.3% and more than a dozen boxes could sell for at least $50,000.

Lots to Watch

Lot #50379: 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle #311 (1985 Rosen Find) SGC NM-MT 8

The auction house that sold a $12.6 million 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle returns with another high-grade Mantle once owned by Alan “Mr.Mint” Rosen. This SGC 8 is one of just four of comparable grade with only nine examples across SGC and PSA's pop reports that are graded higher. Similar to the SGC 9.5 that sold for a record-breaking price in August, this SGC 8 is recently graded and showcases perfect coloration and crisp corners. It's been nearly seven years since the last recorded sale for a like-graded example, which occurred at Heritage and closed for $274,850. Heading into the final 48-hours of the auction, the Mantle has reached $504,000 and could become the first seven-figure Mantle sold in 2023.

Lot #51688: 1959 Topps Football (First Series) Vending Box

Heritage is the current record-holder for football boxes after selling sealed wax from the 1956 Topps edition for $186,000 in the first quarter of 2022. This beat-up but historic box of 1959 Topps Football cards has already reached six-figures and could be poised to challenge to record with two days remaining in the event. The lineup of players featured in the '59 set includes Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Frank Gifford, Bart Starr, and Bobby Lane among other post-war NFL legends. While the second series produced by Topps has made frequent appearances at auction over the last few years, this first series set is incredibly rare and bidders have taken notice. At the time of publication, the first series vending set has reached $117,000 and is positioned to become the first six-figure football box to sell in the new year.

Lot #58368: 1987 Fleer Basketball Case with 12 Wax Boxes

At its peak, PSA 10 copies of Michael Jordan's second-year Fleer card reached above $50,000 at auction. In recent months, gem mint copies have since receded below $20,000 and the valuations for sealed boxes have also fallen more than 50% from previous highs. One contributing factor to the drop in prices, beyond the overall downturn in the card market, was a surge in auction volume across 2021-22. With volume for individual cards and boxes reaching a fever pitch, cases have maintained more stable pricing, likely due to their rarity compared to solo offerings. For those reader who are new entrants to the hobby, these unopened cases once transacted on sites like eBay for less than $50,000 less than three years ago. Today, the case at Heritage has already priced above $70,000 and is expected to push above $100,000 before the auction closes.

Lot #50727: 1956 Topps Baseball PSA-Graded Complete Set

It's a set that will impress any vintage card collector or general card collector for that matter. Each of the 340 cards included in the set are graded PSA 8 and features baseball icons like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente. To date, the most expensive 1956 set ever sold by Heritage was for $108,000 in August. That set carried a PSA rating of 8.07 and also included the two checklists featured in the Topps production. This latest set on Heritage currently sits at $99,000 heading into the final hours of the auction.

All Images via Heritage Auctions

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

Trades and Trends: January 21st, 2023
Market Commentary

Trades and Trends: January 21st, 2023

By 
Keenan Flack

Join Altan Insights as we highlight trading activity across the various alternative marketplaces with a combination of charts and penned analysis to help investors track trends and price movements that impact their portfolio.

Rally

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 117

Assets that stayed the same: 184

Assets that traded negatively: 101

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 111

Assets that stayed the same: 187

Assets that traded negatively: 101

Collectable

This Week:

Assets that traded positively: 68

Assets that stayed the same: 114

Assets that traded negatively: 26

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 37

Assets that stayed the same: 115

Assets that traded negatively: 57

Public

This Week:

Assets that traded positively:16

Assets that stayed the same: 4

Assets that traded negatively: 8

Last Week:

Assets that traded positively: 5

Assets that stayed the same: 2

Assets that traded negatively: 21

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

Borrowing Against Collectibles and NFTs is on the Rise
Market Commentary

Borrowing Against Collectibles and NFTs is on the Rise

By 
Dylan Dittrich

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!

Leverage is an extremely powerful tool, the dangers of which have been demonstrated time and time again, particularly since the turn of the millennium.  

Heck, for a recent example, we only need to go back a few months to FTX's undoing at the hands of leverage - with an added ingredient of apparent, massive fraud - and the crypto dominoes that fell (and continue to fall) in the aftermath.

How do you think NFT collectors reacted to the leverage-stricken carnage that plagued the crypto space?

"Hold my ape." Literally.

Recent weeks have seen the number of collateralized NFTs on NFT lending platforms like BendDAO and NFTFi consistently grow, coinciding with rising floor prices for many popular projects. In mid-November, there were about 268 Bored Apes collateralized on BendDAO. Today, that figure is closer to 356, up 33% after peaking at 396 last week. The current collateral represents over $42 million in value. That's just one platform and just one project; many other "blue-chip" projects can be used and are used as collateral for borrowing.

That's not to pick on NFTs (though the fact collateralized NFTs effectively skyrocketed in the immediate aftermath of FTX and associated rubble is confounding), as lending and borrowing activities are hardly isolated to the space. In fact, there are entire departments of the world's largest banks dedicated entirely to lending against clients' fine art collections.

There are of course a few key differences. The art loan sizes are often eight or nine-figures to clients with significant balance sheets, and the collateral generally consists of institutionally-regarded collections with long track records of marketability. Moreover, because of those factors, the borrowing cost is more easily-hurdled than the APYs seen in the NFT space, which bottom out in the low double digits and commonly cross 20%.

When lending and borrowing can be done, enterprising parties will almost always pursue it. Card and comic book auction players and marketplaces are growing ever more active in the exploration of liquidity solutions, ranging from cash advances to outright lending. Recall PWCC established a $175 million credit facility in 2022 to support its lending businesses. It seems likely that leverage, whether there or elsewhere, has played some role in many of the massive failed flips we've seen in recent months.

Unlocking liquidity from valuable assets can absolutely be a useful tool. But when those valuable assets can become 50% less valuable in months or even weeks, the danger is real and the negative impact can be severe and widespread. If that lesson can't be learned even in the immediate aftermath of FTX, well, then we guess it probably never will be.

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.

More Money Means More Litigation in the Sports Collectibles World

More Money Means More Litigation in the Sports Collectibles World

By 
Dylan Dittrich

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!

Say one more mean thing about my sports card, and I'll sue!

It sounds silly, but now that sports cards can regularly fetch seven-figure sums, litigation is an increasingly prevalent course of action for those who feel they've been unjustly wronged.

Two collectors added their names to the list of the wronged recently, filing suit against the Instagram account "Card Porn," alleging that it made false, libelous, and defamatory claims about their 2003 Exquisite Collection LeBron James Rookie Patch Auto card. The card was set to sell at Goldin in June of 2021 when the Card Porn account suggested the original patch in the card had been replaced by a more aesthetically pleasing example, citing an alleged photo of the card with the original patch and noting that all other features of the card appeared to be the same.  Given the account's 100k following, this type of negative attention can quickly snowball.

The card was apparently accompanied by a letter from Upper Deck, which notes the original card was sent back due to damage, at which point it was destroyed and replaced. Of course, if photographic evidence does verifiably confirm the card remains exactly the same aside from the patch swap, then the Upper Deck letter would be contradicted. Card Porn alleges the letter was later voided by the author, and ultimately, Goldin withdrew the card from the June sale.

Without authenticity concerns, that card was assuredly a seven-figure card at the time, perhaps even approaching $2 million. With those concerns though, the card is effectively a large sunk cost to the owners.

The suit seeks damages of $6 million. One problem: serving Card Porn is proving to be quite the challenge, because....well, people don't know who exactly Card Porn is. Will these legal issues unmask the Instagram vigilante? It's kind of like Batman, but less badass, and with a name that just wouldn't grace the front of comic books with quite the same panache.

He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A cardboard Dark Knight.....or according to the plaintiffs, the account is a defamer.

The stakes in the sports collectibles world have risen, and those heightened stakes almost always raise the prospect of legal action. In fact, this is far from the only story of card world litigation in recent months.

Trading card marketplace Alt is suing Beckett over a 2009 Topps Chrome Stephen Curry Gold Refractor. The card was graded BGS 9.5 when Alt purchased it for $168,000 in October of 2022. Alt then removed the card from its Beckett slab to submit to PSA in hopes of unlocking further value from the grading crossover. PSA, however, found the card to be trimmed, and upon another evaluation, Beckett also concluded that it was short top-to-bottom. Alt is alleging that their financial losses - which they measure at $350,000 - are the "result of BGS' negligence" and its previous "misrepresentation of [the card] as being unaltered."

Other ongoing matters include a legal battle between retired soccer star Ronaldinho and card manufacturer Leaf over contractual & licensing issues and action involving card manufacturer Panini's business practices relating to card "redemptions."

Many collectible markets are plagued by issues around authentication, sales practices, market manipulation, and fraud; given the rising stakes, the courts will become a more frequently-used tool for achieving rectification. Over the years, the art world has played host to countless high-profile legal disputes, which unfold with nearly as much regularity as the auction calendar itself. Now that some sports collectibles are trading at fine art prices, law firms have found a new source of business.

Another certainty of growing dollar figures in a market? An effort to produce engaging content around it. While we're certainly looking forward to The Goldin Touch, we can think of few pieces of sports card content with more potential than a Judge Judy-style cardboard court show.

Want to get more great insights and access to powerful tools to help guide your investment strategy? Signup for Altan Insights now.

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.