Card Spotlight #3: Joe Sakic – Topps 1989 #113 (PSA 9)

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Card: Joe Sakic Topps 1989 #113 (PSA 9 Graded)

Key Corners:

  • Demand: Canadian all-time great in the 1990s/2000s
  • Supply: ~120 Topps cards graded PSA 9+ (<10% of OPC)
  • Comps: Joe Sakic 1989 OPC/Steve Yzerman 1984 Topps

Demand:

Joe Sakic was an iconic captain and offensive threat in the NHL and on the international stage in the 1990s and 2000s. He finished his career in the top 10 for total points, leading the Avalanche to two Stanley Cups and  becoming a member of the Triple Gold Club.

Supply:

The varying quality of 1980s O-Pee-Chee (OPC) hockey cards has led to a higher demand (and higher prices) for the fewer high quality OPC cards compared to Topps (higher quality).

In 1989, there was a flip in rarity between the OPC and Topps brands. This change is seen in large difference in supply of Joe Sakic’s PSA 9+ cards between the two brands (OPC – 2,000 cards, Topps – 150 cards).

I have focused on the rarer of the two brands and selected the Topps PSA 9 grade (~110 cards).

Relative Valuation:

I’ve decided to compare Joe Sakic’s PSA 9 Topps card against his own OPC PSA 10 card and the Steve Yzerman’s OPC 1984 PSA 9 card.

While the Joe Sakic’s PSA 10 grade is gem mint, the Topps card has 1/10 of the population of the OPC across the 9 & 10 gradings demonstrating extreme relative rarity. Further, in direct comparison the OPC PSA 10 had 50% more supply than the Topps PSA 9.

The debate between Yzerman vs. Sakic as players continues to go back and forth. As mentioned in earlier posts, I am not debate which player is better but to find players in the same tier. While the Yzerman PSA 10 sells for $2,000+, the PSA 9 sells for $150. Again, looking at the population report the card has +500 graded copies.

Given the limited supply of the Sakic Topps PSA 9 and guide review of the two card comparisons, I believe there is potential for the Sakic Topps PSA 9 to appreciate over time.

Player Brand Grade Supply Price*
Joe Sakic Topps 10 ~10 $800
Joe Sakic OPC 10 ~170 $150
Steve Yzerman OPC 9 ~510 $150
Joe Sakic Topps 9 ~110 $30


Value Portfolio:
Yes, valued at $30 USD*

*Source: PSA

 

Card Spotlight #2: Jaromir Jagr – Score Traded/Rookie 1990 #70T (PSA 10)

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Card: Jaromir Jagr Score Rookie/Traded 70T (PSA 10 Graded)

Key Corners:

  • Demand: 2nd all-time point scorer and 3rd all-time goal scorer
  • Supply: Rarer print with ~250 PSA graded at 10
  • Comps: Joe Sakic 1989 Topps/OPC, Steve Yzerman 1984 Topps

Demand:

Jaromir Jagr is one of the modern greats in the NHL. Over a long, decorated career he has ascended to the top of the all-time points and goals making him a highly desirable modern-era player to collect and follow for card collectors across generations.

Supply:

Similar to Martin Brodeur, Jagr entered the league at a time when multiple card producers started producing  high quality cards. As a result, Jagr has 5+ rookie cards and many of his cards can be bought near mint for $5 ungraded.

To counter the high supply of Jagr rookie cards, I have selected a high quality (PSA 10), low supply card – Jagr’s Score Rookie/Traded card (70T). Jagr’s most expensive rookie card (OPC Premier) currently lists for $150+ but has ~2,100 cards that are grade PSA 10. The Score Rookie/Traded has ~250, making it quite selective.

Relative Valuation:

Jagr’s career stats put him in the same tier as Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman.

Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman have two rookie cards- OPC and Topps. The rarer of the two cards for both players is currently valued at $1,000+. Their more common rookie cards have a price of ~$200.

As Jagr’s OPC Premier card has tested the secondary card range of Sakic/Yzerman ($150+), I believe the Score Rookie/Traded, which is rarer, could hit this range.

Value Portfolio: Yes, valued at $30 USD* 

*Source: Not listed on PSA, viewing past eBay transaction history

Card Spotlight #1: Martin Brodeur – Score Canadian 1990 #439 (PSA 10)

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Note: I’m looking to finally get on track with this blog and start a (hopefully) regular section called “Card Spotlight”. The goal of this segment is to highlight cards that I believe ‘trade’ at a discount based on demand/supply. I’ll explain my methodology in a future posting. Here goes!

Card: Martin Brodeur Score Canadian #439 (PSA 10 Graded)

Key Corners:

  • Demand: Rookie of key Millennial goalie with Hall of Fame stats
  • Supply: Rarer ‘Canadian’ version  at a PSA 10 limits supply < 400 cards globally
  • Comps: Patrick Roy OPC 1986 Rookie @ PSA 9 sells at $400

Demand:

Martin Brodeur is a key future HoF goalie of the 1990/2000s era. My goal isn’t to turn this into a debate of where he ranks with modern greats, such as Roy and Hasek, but I think it is safe to say he is a highly decorated goalie with a fan base among  25-50 yrs old, North American hockey fans.

Supply:

The tricky part of recommending a early 1990s card is that this is the period when the card industry went into a ‘crash’ as the market was flooded with the mass production of perfectly manufactured cards (an issue with pre-1990 cards). The goal in this era is to find special run, high grade cards to negate the high volume of cards produce. I’ve decided to focus on three key characteristics for a Brodeur card: Score (only official rookie card produced for Brodeur), Canadian (4,100 grade vs. 11,800 normal run*), PSA 10 (~25% of graded*). The result is a card population of 380 compared to 10,000+ that were produced in 1990.

Relative Valuation:

As I started off, I think a potential comparison is Roy’s 1986 OPC card. I am not here to rank Roy vs. Brodeur. I think it can be agreed they are both high caliber goalies. While the 1986 card is older and OPC is valued at a premium compared to its Topps counterpart, I think the PSA 9 population (~440 cards) makes  this card a fair comparable. The OPC 1986 Roy Rookie is valued at $350. While, the Roy card has characteristics that will always make it trade at premium, I believe with time and Brodeur’s induction in the HoF, we should see Brodeur’s Canadian PSA 10 close the gap.

Value Portfolio: Yes, valued at $85 USD* 

*Source: PSA

Can value investing principles apply to Card Collecting?

The short answer in my opinion – no.

During my undergrad I took a class in value investing. Based on the seminal teachings of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, I learnt fundamental value principles for investing in equities. The main goal was to invest in equities with defensible and sustainable earnings power at a discount to their intrinsic value. In order to value intrinsic value, one focused on cash flow generation and assumed a no growth scenario – a perpetuity with no benefit for perceived growth.

Now this model could hypothetically be applied to other assets such as condo, where net cash flows were calculated with the assumption that rental income had no growth. If the condo was trading at an attractive free cash flow yield, an individual could purchase the condo at a ‘discount’.

Can we apply this model to Card Collecting? My view is no. Warren Buffet, an active proponent against investing in gold, once stated that gold has no ‘intrinsic value’ as it does not generate any cashflows. I think the same can be said about card collecting. In reality, you end up with 5 cents of cardboard,  a 50 cent plastic cover and no value generation.

So why would I invest in Card Collecting? The reason cards accrue value over time is their emotional value to the investor and their rarity. The rarity aspect draws parallels to Net Asset valuation techniques for equities, where one looks to put a price on the replacement value of an asset- how much would a competitor have to invest to develop an identical asset portfolio. In the Card Collecting business this would equate to acquiring the card or set in question. Now this is quite subjective, but you could quantify the replacement value by gauging recent acquisition prices across auction platforms – which is what I hope to do. You would then look to acquire cards at the lower end attempting to lock in a margin of safety.

In summary, Card collecting does not exhibit fundamental value investing principles as cards inherently do not provide sustainable and defensible earnings power. Instead I will focus on undervalued assets (margin of safety) based on replacement cost.

Welcome

Hi! Welcome to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to document my exploration into Card (sports) Collecting.

At an early age, sports was a key part of my life. I grew up playing soccer, track and cricket and avidly followed a number of professional sports teams in key North American sports leagues: NFL (Buffalo Bills), NBA (Chicago Bulls), NHL (Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes), MLB (Toronto Blue Jays). However, as I moved into university and started my professional career, my interest in sports decreased.

Recently, I have rediscovered Sports Card Collecting.  I find the practice to bring back feelings of nostalgia (collecting cards of my youth sports idols) and from an investing perspective provide me with another avenue to apply ‘value investing’ principles.

Thru this blog, I hope to develop my collecting strategy and discuss key learnings from my experience. Thanks for reading!