Just because a card is hot doesn’t mean it is time to sell

The other day I was at one of the local card shops and they happened to still have two 2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome blasters for sale. I’m still working on the set and had been eyeing the overpriced retail boxes for a year. But on this day I decided the blasters were coming home with me partly because the secondary market for these blasters has gotten worse in recent weeks as folks chase the Juan Soto “shuffle” card.

I mean, who can blame them. It’s a cool ass card showing Soto mid shuffle during a World Series game. The base card has been popular among collectors for more than a year, but over the last few weeks demand for the card has intensified. Sales prices for base cards have doubled and parallels of the card have been much much more.

I asked the employee to grab the blasters for me, and in the exchange he quipped: “Chasing the Soto, eh?

I told him that I already had one in my set, and then told him that my son actually had found an XFractor version of the Soto in a box of cheap singles (3 for $5 specifically) at a card show this summer. The employee was taken aback; his eyes lit up. He inquired what they’d been going for, and when I told him there had been sales recently between $300 and $500, he replied “I’d move that as soon as possible.”

The employee was not wrong per se. The market has seemingly peaked and is currently falling back to a more stabile place. However, my decades of hobby experience have left me in a place where I’m realizing something that others had learned long ago: If a card is in high demand and you’ve got a chance to make some money or turn that card into something else you like then you do what makes sense for you. But if the card makes you stop what you’re doing and enjoy it for more than just the dollar signs attached to it, then maybe it’s something that was meant to stay with you, regardless of how much interest has increased.

In the case of this Soto XFractor that sits in my son’s collection, I remember the exact spot we were standing when he located it, turned to me and said “Oooh!” His reaction wasn’t because it was worth a lot, it was because the card is super cool and is from a product that we often discuss. In other words, he bought it because he enjoyed it, not because it was a means to an end.

This brief interaction with the store employee sat with me for several hours because it made me think about how many cards we as hobbyists have sold because the market was hot, only to later regret for one reason or another. I’ve actually got another related post coming sometime in the next week or two on this very topic, which I think you may also enjoy.

One Response to “Just because a card is hot doesn’t mean it is time to sell”

  1. “I’d move that as soon as possible.” strongly indicates how few collectors come through the card shop now. Kind of a sad state of affairs that the default assumption is that everyone is looking to flip for profit. In a different world the salesman would’ve asked if you needed a one-touch to keep it safer than a binder page.

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