How a 16-year-old made millions collecting and reselling trading cards

  • Andrew Park is a 16-year-old from California who’s remodeled his passion of trading-card reselling into a profitable facet enterprise.
  • His newest sale — a basketball trading card of Giannis Antetokounmpo he bought for $40,000 three years in the past — resulted in a record-breaking $1.81 million.
  • He shared with Business Insider his journey to the highest, in addition to his key methods for making a living reselling trading cards.
  • Park’s curiosity in Pokémon cards as a preteen grew to become a catalyst for his card trading. After segueing into his favourite sports activities, he mentioned he now spends “at least a couple of hours a day” shopping for and researching cards.
  • He’s discovered probably the most success by way of leveraging his on-line community on Instagram and from conventions, shopping for throughout off seasons, and often making dangerous investments.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Andrew Park, who simply turned 16 years previous, purchased a basketball trading card of Giannis Antetokounmpo for $40,000 in July 2017. He then offered it in September for $1.81 million, the very best quantity that a basketball card has ever offered for.

This wasn’t the teenager’s first success within the enterprise: The veteran card reseller has been making severe coin from his card collections since he was 11 years previous, and he had beforehand raked in additional than $1 million from his passion turned enterprise earlier than his newest sale made historical past.

Hotel room opening up cards during convention week

Park in his resort room opening up cards throughout conference week.

David Park

In December, Park offered a Luka Doncic basketball card for $350,000 that he’d bought about six months earlier for $75,000, netting a achieve of $275,000 on a single card.

“In less than a year, Luka had leapt into superstardom by averaging nearly 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists per game,” Park instructed Business Insider. “Very few players in NBA history have been able to accomplish that stat line, and Luka was only in his second year in the NBA.”

Between 2016 and 2018, Park purchased 4 Mike Trout baseball cards and offered them for a complete of $415,000 — and a internet achieve of over $330,000. One of the cards, a Trout Red Refractor card that he purchased for about $50,000, he then offered a little over a 12 months later for $200,000.

“That same card I sold in June 2017 recently auctioned off for a little over $900,000,” he mentioned.

Park mentioned card reselling as a passion and enterprise has grown tremendously previously few years, which has helped to gas increased income. 

“In the ’80s and early ’90s, the so-called junk-wax-era cards were massively overproduced and thus now hold little to no value,” he mentioned. “Print runs are now extremely limited. Therefore collectors are practically fighting to buy and collect the best prospects.”

He added that there have been many new consumers with deeper pockets in contrast with when he first began reselling cards. 

“In 2015, it was unheard of to see a card sell for seven figures unless it was a vintage card, such as a Mickey Mantle or Honus Wagner,” he mentioned. “However, in the past few months, at least four modern-day cards have sold for over a million dollars, with many more cards selling close to a million.”

Park shared with Business Insider how he obtained into card reselling and his secrets and techniques to success.

From Pokémon to sports activities cards

Park, who attends highschool in California and is in 10th grade, began card collecting after growing an curiosity in Pokémon trading cards when he was a preteen.

“I would play with the Pokémon cards with friends at school,” he mentioned. “Over time, I became less interested in playing games with the cards and more interested in collecting them.”

Though he mentioned his engagement was “still somewhat casual,” Park started monitoring public sale costs on eBay, often shopping for and promoting Pokémon cards and build up a assortment of rarities. The excessive level of this era, Park mentioned, was promoting his “Pikachu Illustrator” card for $60,000 in 2015 after he’d bought it a 12 months prior for about $18,000. 

“I realized then that buying and selling trading cards could become a potential business,” Park mentioned.

Park walking the halls at the convention

Park strolling the halls on the conference.

David Park

After the sale, Park mentioned he used his income to slowly segue into investing in cards of gamers from his favourite sport: baseball. He started by shopping for some cards of his favourite gamers, together with Trout and Clayton Kershaw. Eventually, he expanded his efforts to incorporate cards from different sports activities, similar to basketball and soccer.

Hours of analysis and networking inform Park’s picks

While a certain quantity of the enterprise is out of a vendor’s management, Park mentioned his success in reselling his cards has not come about by probability. The younger entrepreneur mentioned he spent “at least a couple of hours a day” reselling and researching trading cards. 

“I read forums and search eBay for any great deals,” Park mentioned. “I also have to follow sports news to read about any upcoming players or major injuries.”

In addition to staying present on the business, Park devotes loads of time to networking, he mentioned.

“I believe that networking is one of the most important skills in order to resell trading cards,” he mentioned. 

Park makes use of his Instagram web page — @cards_inc, which has over three,000 followers — to work together with different collectors. He additionally not too long ago made a web site, AP Sports Collectible, the place he advertises his assortment and posts quick blogs about his passion. 

Besides assembly kindred spirits from these on-line venues, he typically will get enterprise leads.

“On my Instagram page, I have built a solid following where people will reach out to inquire about a card I’ve posted or to ask if I have a certain card or know someone with a certain card,” Park mentioned.

Another method Park stays within the loop and makes contacts is by attending the National Sports Collectors Convention, which was canceled this 12 months due to COVID-19, to satisfy individuals from all around the world. 

andrew Park

Park on the National Sports Collectors Convention.

David Park

“I have made contacts in China, South Korea, and throughout the United States just by walking around the convention and sharing news and cards,” Park mentioned. “I might hear that someone is looking for a Mike Trout card that I know one of my contacts has. I would be the middleman between both parties to help the transaction.” 

Park additionally participates on the Blowout Cards Forum, which many hardcore collectors are a a part of.

“On this forum I am able to buy, sell, trade, and discuss the hobby with other avid collectors,” Park mentioned.

While his analysis and networking actions drive his outcomes, Park mentioned a sure factor of the enterprise comes all the way down to good timing. His choice to put money into and buy Antetokounmpo cards got here after the participant’s first All-Star season, when many have been uncertain if he was going to have a repeat efficiency the next season.

“I have been fortunate to invest in the ‘right’ players,” he mentioned. “I invested in Mike Trout baseball cards early in 2016, and in the last four years have sold most of my cards for an overall net profit of around a million.”

And this does not embody the $1,770,000 revenue that he simply made from his latest Antetokounmpo card sale, boosting his complete internet revenue from card gross sales to just about $2.eight million.

Reinvesting within the enterprise and taking dangers

The savvy dealer has reinvested his income in shopping for extra cards which have gone up — and in some instances tripled — in worth. He mentioned that purchasing through the off seasons has been a key technique behind his success. 

“For example, the baseball season usually ends around October, after which the attention shifts to football and basketball,” Park mentioned. “Therefore, fewer people are looking to buy baseball cards. I use this as an opportunity to buy them for lower prices. In the spring, baseball receives more attention, since baseball will be starting up again soon, which allows me to sell the cards I had purchased during the winter or hold on to the cards until the season starts to see how these baseball players perform.”


Park’s card assortment.

David Park

Park additionally mentioned he believed that purchasing cards strategically requires a steadiness between protected and dangerous investments. 

“It is important to always buy some proven players, such as Mike Trout and LeBron James,” he mentioned. “Even though such players come at a higher cost, if they do not perform well, their cards will maintain their value due to their previous years of solid production.”

On the opposite hand, Park acknowledged that occasional risk-taking has paid off for him. 

“Sometimes after a player has a bad season, it is a good time to buy that specific player because they might bounce back and have a great year,” he mentioned. “Investing in not-well-known players can be risky, but the potential to make a lot is really high because the cost to buy in is low.”

There’s additionally merely the love of the sport that varieties a framework for his methods. While collecting sports activities cards morphed from a passion into a enterprise alternative for Park, he nonetheless retains the enjoyment and ardour that drew him to the exercise within the first place.

“It still feels like a hobby in a lot of ways,” Park mentioned. “I really enjoy the time I spend talking with other collectors and trading/buying new cards.”

Reflecting on his largest sale

Park obtained the top-selling Antetokounmpo card in 2017 on the National Sports Collectors Convention
in Chicago. 

First yellow circle is Giannis card recently sold at the auction.  The Mike trout card circled was once owned by Andrew.  The person Andrew sold it to sold it for significantly more

Park’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Trout cards at an public sale.

David Park

“The card is a one of one, and it is Giannis’ best card ever produced,” Park mentioned. “It features a ‘logoman’ patch and is from the highest-end basketball product (National Treasures) that Panini (the card manufacturer) produces.” 

While Park added that he was particularly on the lookout for cards of Antetokounmpo, he mentioned he did not anticipate to have the chance to buy his greatest card. 

“After I bought the card, I heard that the dealer who sold it to me had offered it to other collectors at a lower value,” Park mentioned. “Nevertheless, I was not upset because I believed in the future value of Giannis. I knew that even if I overpaid at the time, it would not matter in the future because I believed Giannis would continue to improve, which would cause his card values to increase.”

Deciding to promote the one-of-one card was a very robust choice for Park. He considered retaining it longer, however since he already has a giant Giannis assortment, he figured if the cardboard he offered on the public sale continued to extend in worth, all his different Giannis cards will go up as nicely.

It was a sensible gamble.

Interview and photo op with ESPN Darren Rovell

Park’s interview with the sports-business journalist Darren Rovell.

David Park

“Back in 2017, I bought the card for around $40,000, and just a few weeks ago, I found out that this card could potentially go for over a million,” Park mentioned. “I believe that Giannis will continue to improve, but at the same time it is hard to turn down such a large profit. As proven as Giannis already is, there is always the risk that he gets injured and is not the same player he once was.”

He added that individuals initially thought he was “a bit crazy.”

“Honestly, I had a feeling about Giannis,” Park mentioned. “And I am so grateful I trusted my instincts … I believe in what I do, and I know that I have a sixth sense for this, yet didn’t think I’d get that much.”

While his $1.81 million card sale turned heads, Park mentioned it was extra widespread for him to maneuver cards that fall into the $1,000 to $10,000 vary, and even decrease values.

“It’s much easier to sell sub-$1,000 cards,” he mentioned.

Park mentioned he deliberate to make use of among the cash from the sale of this uncommon card to reinvest again into the sports activities market, leveraging the identical prime three methods he shared above: shopping for through the off seasons, balancing dangerous investments with protected ones, and often investing in lesser-known gamers.

“I recently purchased a Jasson Dominguez baseball card with the profits from the Giannis sale for around $62,000,” Park mentioned. “He’s a 17-year-old baseball player with a lot of potential. He has been compared to some of the greatest baseball players ever, such as Mike Trout, Mickey Mantle, and Bo Jackson.”

While Park acknowledged that taking a gamble on Dominguez this early within the participant’s profession was a huge danger, he mentioned he believed that if Dominguez stayed heading in the right direction, his card may simply promote for near $200,000, if no more, in two to a few years.

“Sitting on the money will not give me the opportunity to make more money,” Park mentioned.

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