Nat Turner Talks Trout, GOAT
Thursday at 11 AM EST, Collectable is set to IPO a '1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie Card (PSA 10)'. The financials:
> Market Cap: $100,000
> Price per share: $10.00
> Total Shares: 10,000
Friday at 12 PM EST, Rally is set to IPO a '2009 Bowman Mike Trout Orange Refractor Rookie Card (BGS 9.5, Auto 10)', numbered to 25. The financials:
> Market Cap: $225,000
> Price per Share: $20.00
> Total Shares: 11,250
We caught up with entrepreneur, investor, and passionate card collector Nat Turner to discuss his impressive collection, buy low opportunities, and of course, get his take on the cards set to IPO this week.
1. You have an incredible card collection. Tell us about your passion for sports card collecting as well as when and how you got started.
I originally started collecting cards when I was quite young, probably when I was 5 or 6 years old. I started out with baseball, as that was my dad’s favorite sport. My dad gave me a 1975 Topps Hank Aaron card, which to me was amazing as Hank Aaron held the record for most home runs at the time, plus I was a big Braves fan. Then in the mid-90s, we moved to Houston and I started rooting for the Rockets and following basketball pretty heavily. I began collecting basketball cards during the 1994-95 season. This time period represented the golden era of modern cards, with the advent of pack-inserted cards with jerseys, autographs, serial numbers, refractors, etc. Fast forward to today, I collect much of the same stuff (such as the 1975 Topps baseball set, in PSA 10) and have expanded to include football, unopened packs and boxes, and Michael Jordan and LeBron James (both of whom I have quite large collections of).
2. What are you trying to accomplish with your card collection (invest in individual players, build complete sets, etc)?
I think most collectors will understand my answer, which is that it changes all the time. At one point, it may be a certain set. For a while, it was just Michael Jordan. During another time I was trying to complete most 50’s and 60’s baseball Topps sets. Recently, I have been completing certain 90’s basketball rare sets (such as Precious Metal Gems from the Fleer Skybox Metal sets). It really depends on when you ask me, and I’m sure it will always be something.
3. We see you open a lot of boxes, which is generally very hit or miss from an investment perspective. Does this ever factor into your decision to open a box, or does the thrill of the upside outweigh the risk potential for you? Do you own wax that you’re holding out on opening?
I have so many unopened boxes, packs, cases etc that opening a box every now and then doesn’t make much of a dent in my collection. I do it purely because it’s fun. The thrill of opening even a single pack is what this hobby is all about: it’s the mystery of what you might get. I really enjoy opening packs or boxes from years when I was collecting as a kid, as the same cards I wanted back then are the ones I want now (such as Jordan rare insert cards). I definitely lose money on average for what the boxes are now worth, but every now and then I pull something awesome that makes up for the box along with a few others I opened and got skunked on. I’ve never really tried to calculate if I am over or under overall, but the delta is the price I’m paying for the entertainment value of opening the product.
4. Which players currently represent best opportunities to buy low before they breakout (any sport is fair game)?
I still think LeBron James is undervalued, believe it or not. I also really like Luka, Ja Morant, and a few others rookies that I’ll keep to myself :).
5. Let’s talk about the 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan PSA 10 graded card market. According to its PSA population report, 315 Gem Mint PSA 10’s exist. Back on May 8, Rally offered shares of a PSA 10 for $40K (it was already selling in the $80K range at the time and they sold it 18 days later for $80K gross). More recently, PSA 10’s sold on Heritage Auctions for $111K on 8/30 and on eBay for $122K on 9/4. An SGC 10 broke records at Heritage on 8/30 selling for $420K. The card has been on fire. Talk to us about the market for this card. What’s your investment outlook for it?
It’s the mainstream rookie card in PSA 10 of arguably the best basketball player ever, so I would say it’s a good investment in general if you have a long enough time horizon. That’s of course if you put aside the 1984-85 Star card of MJ, which most hardcore collectors would say is his true rookie card. However since it’s not a mainstream set like Fleer or Topps, it doesn’t get the same love.
6. What’s your favorite MJ card in your personal collection and why?
It would be the 1997-98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Green /10. It’s a parallel of the base card, and there were only 10 of them produced (numbered 1-10). There’s a red version as well, with 90 copies (numbered 11-100). I think it was the most unique set when it came out, and the green and red versions (meant to mimic emeralds and rubies in color) are awesome to look at. I can only imagine pulling one of those out of a pack back in the day!
7. We can’t talk about breaking card market records without talking about Mike Trout. Trout’s 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor (BGS 9, Auto 10, a 1/1) just dethroned Honus Wagner’s T206 card ($3.12MM in 2016) as the most valuable card in the world, selling for a record-setting $3.93MM at auction on 8/22. You have an impressive collection of 2009 Bowman Chrome Trout rookie cards. What’s your favorite Trout card? What’s in your collection and why do you love these cards?
My favorite Trout card that I own is the 2009 Bowman Chrome Autograph Orange Refractor, numbered to 25, and mine is a PSA 10. The true most valuable baseball card is likely not the Trout 1/1 Superfractor, but probably a Honus card, or perhaps a PSA 10 Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps rookie card. Trout is our generation’s Mantle from a statistics and individual player perspective. The big knock of course is that the Angels haven’t been competitive as a team and he therefore hasn’t won a World Series. I think for him to really be cemented in lore, he’ll need to break through there. So there’s some risk (and also upside, if he pulls that out) built into investing in Mike Trout cards. Or, he could be traded to the Yankees :).
There you have it. Thank you, Nat!
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