Sports card collecting remains timeless tradition with big boost in industry

Few sounds resonate with kids more than opening a fresh pack of baseball, football or basketball cards.

"It's our pastime. Everyone loves to open packs," said Jason Weintraub, the owner of The Baseball Card Clubhouse in Tampa.

Nearly 40 years ago, Weintraub’s father, Skip, started the business and passed it down to his son before passing away in 2022. Now, the son is carrying on the legacy of the father by carrying on that timeless tradition of collecting sports cards.  

"It was always a passion that he enjoyed," said Weintraub. "For me, as a kid, it was always cool hanging out at the store and growing up around sports cards."

If you thought collecting cards was just for kids, however, you’d be wrong. The industry is, in fact, thriving more than ever thanks to a big boost from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"People were home," said Weintraub. "They started going through their closets bringing back memories. And I think it created a spark and another boom."

That boom also means big business. 

"Prices have doubled to open a box of cards," said Weintraub. "So if a box was $200 it's now $400. If a box was $800 it's now $1600."

These days, a card’s value is determined by its rarity or perceived rarity. 

"Every day I probably get five people a day that were handed down cards or picked them up at yard sales and I have to give them the bad news," he says. 

Collectors pour through boxes worth hundreds of dollars each looking for autographed rookie cards, numbered cards, and cards containing pieces of game-worn uniforms. That means, all cards are not created equal. 

"This is like a lottery ticket," said Weintraub, describing a box of unopened baseball cards. 

Weintraub believes, even in an online world, the tradition of collecting cards will never go away. 

"It is history. One hundred percent," said Weintraub.