Sports Card Investing: eBay Flipping With Ryno
Most of you at RG know me as Ayo Ryno, the “Pillz” guy who used to spam the chat with “Pillz Pillz Pillz” back in the day. Most recently I’ve been branching out and investing in sports cards.
What got me started in the card market was the sad day when Kobe Bryant passed away. While at work, my co-worker and I were talking about his cards and noticed that Kobe’s Rookie Ex 2000 Credentials Card was going for a couple thousand dollars. It made me start to wonder if card investing could be profitable.
After that day I took a deep dive into the market, started listening to podcasts and doing research. At that time there were not many videos or podcasts about cards. It was mainly Cardboard Chronicles, House of Jordans and of course Gary V. I went on eBay and was looking at Kobe’s rookie cards and at that time his prices had already sky rocketed but I didn’t care. I wanted to buy those cards because they were the cards I had of him when I was younger before I lost the box that I stashed them in. So I dove in buying 10 Kobe Bryant rookie cards without looking at comps or anything. I had the mindset that I could flip them for double down the line and if not, I was more than happy to keep them. (Editor’s note: find current market value data on recent card sales by signing up for SportsCardInvestor.com’s Market Movers subscription. Use the promo code “ROTOGRINDERS” for 20% off your 1st payment on any subscription).
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My first sale happened quickly and was a Kobe Bryant 1996 Flair Showcase Row 1 Raw, which I bought for $56 and sold 2 weeks later for $153. That was the flip that got me hooked… all it took was one sale and boom! I’ve had an eBay business before, so I know how it is when you start fresh. It always takes some time to get going… usually 2-4 weeks of nothing and then once you get the ball rolling the sales will keep coming. So from there I started buying more Kobe, Trae, LeBron & Luka. At this time Luka was hurt, so I was picking up his rookies for cheap. I didn’t know much about Prizm or Optic yet, so I went with my eye appeal and my eyes flocked to the Select brand. I just personally liked the way that card looked, so I ended up buying a lot of Luka and Trae Select cards, especially the insert Select Sparks. Those were my favorite, as all the ones I was picking up had serial numbers. My thought process was to go ahead and invest in serial-numbered cards to protect myself from another Junk-Wax Era.
At the same time I was picking up Luka & Trae, I was also picking up Kevin Durant rookies as no one, and I mean no one, was talking about Durant. I was able to pick up a lot of 20 Kevin Durant Topps Rookies with the White Border for, get this, $120! I sold that one card alone last week for $77.
So, my current investing strategy is going after guys that aren’t being talked up, players I know have massive potential. When people are talking about buying a certain player, I do the opposite and sell that card. In other words, I zig when they zag. Four months into the market and I’ve made over 5 figures in sales just investing in proven players everyone else is ignoring.
Current players I’m investing in now (aside from the blue chips like LeBron Luka and KD) include Dwyane Wade. I know he’s retired, but he still has a couple things going for him. He’s producing a documentary about the “Redeem Team” and in the 2008 Olympics he was the leading scorer. This hobby is all about hype. Anything that hypes a player will make that player’s cards go up. In addition, Wade is a future HOF, so when he gets inducted his card prices will continue to go up.
Sticking with the class of ’03, and another member of the Redeem Team, I’m also investing in Carmelo Anthony, another future HOFer. And hey, there’s a chance he plays with Bron next year… far-fetched I know but if it does happen I’d rather get in early while his cards are still cheap. Ben Simmons is also a good buy for me at the moment, as no one is really talking about him.
The main prospect I’m aiming for and investing in is Michael Porter Jr. I’ve been buying up his cards for the past month for dirt cheap. Any PSA 10 rookie autos I can get for less than $60, count me in. I’m expecting him to be the starter in Denver, as I expect Denver to trade Paul Millsap during the offseason, and we’ve already seen what MPJ is capable of doing when he gets minutes. Notable other buys for me are Lonnie Walker IV and Dejounte Murray. One of them is going to emerge as the key man for the Spurs, as I expect the team to trade DeMar DeRozan during the offseason.
For football, I’m putting my money in Tom Brady, of course, but not his rookie cards as I missed the boat getting in on those cheap. I’m looking for his 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even 5th year cards. There are some PSA 9s and 10s out there for less than $40. If you see those, grab them. Those cards are an easy double or even more if you’re willing to hold.
Josh Allen is another great buy for me. Brady is out of the way in that division. The Bills can take control now, and with the addition of a star WR you can’t go wrong. Many don’t like to invest outside of quarterback, but I do. A couple guys I’m looking into are David Montgomery (yes David Montgomery). I still think he has potential and hey, his cards are cheap and could easily double. Another RB is Darrell Henderson. I know the Rams are gonna go with RBBC, but if Henderson shows up his cards can triple in price with how low they are right now.
Lastly, my selling strategy. I do look at comps, but I don’t list my cards based on comps. If you look at my eBay store (Freshfinds101) you’ll notice I’m usually 3-4x above comps. Yes, you may be saying I’m crazy, but hey it’s working. I do get a bunch of messages on eBay telling me “this card is not worth this much” and I always tell them I’m in no rush to sell any of my cards. Most cards I have are long-term holds and if they sell, they sell. And I’ve had plenty of cards sell for 8-10x the price I bought them for, so don’t be afraid to list them at the price you want instead of the market value.