Some may collect shoes, coins or even sea shells, but for some members of the high school the big money is in sports memorabilia. Trading and collecting valuable sports memorabilia is a fad that reached Bexley this past spring.
Sophomore Max Almasanu said that he began trading and collecting sports cards as a way to make some extra cash. His interest in sports cards began at a young age, but only last year did he become involved with them again, he explained. Almasanu said that he trades the cards in person with his friends, in addition to buying and selling them online.
Almasanu said he sells a majority of his cards on eBay, but he explained that there are other online opportunities to buy and sell cards like “Whatnot.” Whatnot is an online marketplace where people collect and sell sports cards, toys, comics, action figures and trading card games.
There is a competitive nature to trading cards, Almasanu said.
“When trading at a card shop, you have to learn how to properly bargain for the value of your card. You have to know what each card is worth so you don’t get scammed,” he said.
Almasanu said that he continues to trade because he believes that selling cards is a great way to have fun with friends while also making money. Almasanu said that he has sold cards that are worth almost 200 dollars.
Almasanu said that trades alongside Bexley tennis coach Jake Selker. Selker explained that he became involved in card trading as a child and that he and a friend were large fans of the hit Manga TV series “Yu-Gi-Oh!”
“We watched it growing up on TV, and we also watched “Pokémon.” Those were the two big ones that had trading cards growing up,” Selker said. “We would watch the TV show, and then we would play the trading card game.”
Selker explained that he continued this passion with his best friend as they grew up. He explained that he became more involved with trading and collecting during COVID-19.
“COVID-19 hit, and trading cards exploded,” he explained. “It was a way for people to be closer to their sports while there were no sports.”
Selker said that attended The 42nd National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City this past summer. People set up tables and booths, and those who attend the convention can browse and buy cards, jerseys and other sports memorabilia, he said. Selker explained that the cards at the convention can be very expensive.
“There’s one dollar cards, and I’ve seen million dollar plus cards on a person’s table,” he said.
There is a rigorous system to determine the worth of the cards and oftentimes there are lawsuits surrounding the grading system, Selker said. There are companies that evaluate the condition of cards on a ten point scale, he explained.
“Once you get your card graded, if it’s a nine, it can become one and a half to two times your value; if it’s a 10, you can five, 10, or 20 times your value,” Selker explained.
Selker said that he trades and sells in order to buy cards and collectables that he wants. Rare cards are the ultimate goal, he explained.
“I want a Christano Ronaldo or David Beckham one of one card. Or like a really, really rare Lebron card. I want all of my collection to just be one card,” he said.
In addition to sports cards, Selker said that he collects jerseys from the Columbus Crew. He explained that he is working on acquiring one home and away jersey from each year since the team was created.
“I sell to make money to buy the things I want jersey-wise. I would sell an away team jersey and try to find a Columbus Crew jersey from a certain year,” Selker explained.