The front of Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles, which is located at Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles is located at 1987 North Carson Street #65.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
Sports trading cards have turned into a hobby unlike anytime in its past.Since the beginning of the pandemic, the value of trading cards has skyrocketed and changed the collecting process.With the rise in product values, Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles in Carson City has seen the influx of business first hand.
“It’s probably doubled, maybe more than that,” said Don Johnson, the shop’s owner. “With people staying home and everyone going through their old collections. It’s probably been two-thirds new collectors, one-third old-school guys.”
Johnson has been in the collecting game since the late 1960’s, long before the hobby saw its recent expansive growth.
With the popularity increase in the product, prices have followed suit.
Johnson still offers plenty of lower-end packs, but when in search of ‘big hits’ customers may be inclined to spend a little more money.
Boxes can run as high as $1,600 for high-end product, if not more, but Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles also offers plenty of single cards for sale, too.
With costs increasing on an exponential level, the hobby has started to price out the younger generation.
Last Thursday, Johnson hosted the second trade night at his shop in an effort to help grow the hobby for interested collectors of all ages.
“I liked it better when more kids were in the hobby. Now the prices are so high, … these prices are pretty expensive. For me, I do like the autograph cards you get out of there and the game-used relics,” Johnson said.
Elder collectors Thursday night even put together a box of cards for the one youth collector in attendance.
Johnson hopes to continue hosting a trade night once a month.
Johnson moved out to Northern Nevada about 20 years ago, coming from the Baltimore, Maryland area.
He opened up Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles about five years ago after having sports collectible stores in both Reno and back east.
“If you’re a kid and you like a certain team, maybe focus on that team. Collect what your pocket book will allow you to collect. This stuff will always be out there,” said Johnson.
He still collectors any Baltimore cards he can find, whether that’s historic cards or new rookies.
(Interested collectors stand around the front desk of Sierra Nevada
Sports Collectibles Thursday evening during trade night.)Potential investments
With the price boom, new collectors have turned to sports cards as an investment strategy.
Buying into a promising rookie could lead to a profit margin, should that rookie continue to prove his worth in whichever professional league they play in.
“They want all the new shiny stuff,” laughed Johnson. “Lawrence, Burrow, Tua, Herbert.”
Johnson has a whole host of collectors that came through his store on trade night, including 29-year-old Raymond Mansi, who first started collecting in his youth.
“It doesn’t matter if you have dollar cards or $1,000 cards, you can chit-chat with people,” said Mansi. “Just meeting people has been the best part, and of course getting some new cards.”
Mansi and Tony Woo are both retracing their steps back into the hobby from when they were younger.
The pandemic both altered their collecting practices as well.
“The market prices are just crazy,” said Woo. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s starting to dip a little bit. I hope it comes back down, but I don’t think it will.”
Woo said one of his favorite ways of getting into the more expensive boxes is doing group breaks, where the cost of the box is split amongst a few interested collectors.
(Tony Woo goes through a box of DonRuss Clearly Optic as part of a
group break during trade night last Thursday at Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles.)
Thursday night at the trade show, Woo ran through a group break with several collectors looking for new rookie football cards to add to their stacks.
“You can get the team you want, … Know what you want and how much you want to spend. Have a budget because you could easily spend thousands of dollars without even knowing it,” said Woo.
Older collectors like Frank Reynolds, who has spent 65 years in the hobby, just enjoy seeing the interaction with younger hobby seekers.
“The excitement of the kids when they get a deal,” said Reynolds. “Beckett is our stock market, as well as Ebay.”
For those interested in retracing their steps into collecting, Sierra Nevada Sports Collectibles is located at 1987 North Carson Street #65.