LUBBOCK, Texas — It’s the biggest boom in sports cards in almost 30 years, and there wasn’t even a game for months.
While some have spent the dog days of the pandemic watching movies or learning to cook, sports fans with nothing to cheer on have turned to buying and selling baseball and even basketball cards, sending the business to a record level of sales.
Employees at Lubbock’s Lone Star Sports Collectibles said their sales have “exploded” with a 200 to 300 percent increase since the shutdown — their best business since the 1990s.
“It’s been a crazy climb in prices,” said Justin Cheek, manager of Lone Star Sports Collectibles.
He said he expected sales to plummet when games were canceled, but he was shocked when sales instead skyrocketed. April was the store’s best month of the year so far, and it was only open online.
Cheek suspects the reason behind the boom could be as simple as people trapped at home with nothing to do but clean out the attic.
“I think what happened is a lot of people got bored sitting at home. They got into their closets, started pulling out their old baseball cards, old basketball cards, stuff like that when they were kiddos. It really piqued their interest again,” Cheek said.
Robert Samaniego is a regular customer of the store and another long-time card collector. He said that he couldn’t believe how fast things were flying from shelves and the store’s website the last few months.
“People were just going online, buying it, and it would be sold out in minutes,” Samaniego said.
But for him, the hobby isn’t just an investment. It’s a way to connect with a community of fellow sports fans turned friends.
“I’ve met so many people, and I’ve been introduced to so many people I never thought I’d meet before,” Samaniego said.
Cheek added that the trend, which he’s seen fathers who grew up collecting pass on to their kids, also banks on people’s nostalgia. Until their favorite players can head back to the diamond or the court, fans can take a piece of their team’s home with them.
“We didn’t have sports to fall on, and I think we realized that as a society, sports really take our minds off things,” Cheek said.