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Community, Cards & Commerce: Why I’m Jumping (back) into the Hobby

I rediscovered my love for sports cards late last year. For me it didn’t actually start with the “I’m stuck-at-home bored syndrome, so may as well pull out the old cards and see what you got.” It started with my 14-year old asking to start collecting football and basketball cards. He’s crazy about fantasy sports and all the stats, and he wanted to collect as another way to engage with the players and teams he loves. If we were smart, he added, we could even make some money at the same time – “Better returns over the last 10 years than the S&P 500,” he told me. Maybe most importantly, he also thought that cards were just “so cool!” A true collector.

At that point I of course went and dug out the old boxes of cards to show off his old man’s collection that hasn’t seen daylight since the 80s. Spoiler alert: the average PSA grade may as well have been negative and nothing was worth more than a $1 (I played a lot of kock downs!). So we opted to venture to the local Hobby shop where we got properly introduced to modern cards. Hello Panini Immaculate. 🙌 I know I bought a super premium product, and I wouldn’t say the cards we pulled paid for the box, but man it was fun to pull such beautiful cards like defensive great Gary Paton and Lebron the GOA

With over 100 years of history, collecting trading cards is one of the oldest active hobbies in the world. No surprise it has earned the name “The Hobby.” It represents community at its finest, and with sports at its center what I love the most is how collectors know how to cheer one another on and celebrate like none other. Just watch people opening cards together and you’ll know exactly what I mean. From little kids like The Card Boyz (so awesome!), to not so little kids like Gary Vee, to dads with their kids like Ken and Paul Goldin, this is the type of community I want to be part of.

For the past 20 years, I’ve been lucky to help some of the world’s biggest brands deliver unforgettable experiences. From Four Seasons to Uber, I have been so inspired by brands that absolutely delight their customers at every interaction, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to help deliver these experiences. The community I saw around the Hobby inspired me to do something more than delight customers though. I want to take my passion for winning customer experiences and use it to help build community.

As the world experienced prolonged separation and isolation for the past 12 months, it was incredible to see our resilience and ability to stay connected, even when apart. How did we do this? Of course technology, but more important is what that technology was connecting us to: community! Our fellowship with others kept us personally and emotionally connected. Shared experiences. Shared interests. I have a gym community I work out with over Zoom three days a week. I rediscovered my MBA community with a sometimes insightful, more often just lol funny, 180 person WhatsApp group. My kids have sing-songs with their summer camp, my wife plays Majong online several times a week, and the list goes on.

This is why I want to build Cards & Treasure. Together with my co-founder Jeremy, our goal is not just to support and contribute to the Hobby’s incredible community, we want to help grow it. From guys like me that collected as kids, to sneakerheads like Josh Luber who have also re-discovered the card market, to the new generation of collectors like young Paul Goldin and The Card Boyz, there is so much room to grow this incredible community.

Today we invite you to come #BreakIntoHobby with us. We are launching Cards & Treasure with a focus on the collecting of raw cards from sealed packs and boxes. We appreciate the buying, selling and trading of individual cards, but for us there is nothing that beats the thrill of opening a pack and seeing what you got! So we are kicking things off as live box breakers. Come buy your cards from us and we’ll open them live on Instagram, YouTube or Twitch, where the community can watch and cheer on your big pulls!

From pulling the card of your dreams, to the joy of reliving your favorite player’s moment or team’s victory, to simply relishing the beautiful art that is a modern day card, Cards & Treasure is all about bringing collectors together around these shared experiences, and helping fans better connect with the sports, games, and pop culture that they love (we’ll be starting with sports cards, but expect to expand into all card types as we grow). We are here to bring community together, to entertain, make you laugh, and ultimately help you experience the joy that is the Hobby. We’ll talk sports, we’ll talk cards and collectibles, and a whole bunch of other stuff that is happening around us. We’ll bring you great special guests, and also hope to bring you, our community, into our live conversations.

Is the foundation of the Hobby at risk?

Before closing this out I want to share one concern I have about the modern day Hobby. Unfortunately, the rapid rise in card prices risks pitting investors against collectors. It’s amazing that a vintage Mickey Mantle card can sell for $5.2m, and that a 3-year old Luka Doncic 1/1 card can sell for $4.6m. This is great for the Hobby on the one hand, as it’s amazing for collectors to see great returns on their spending, which attracts more people to the Hobby, but there is nothing to celebrate if parents can’t buy their kids retail packs at Walmart. There is nothing to celebrate when boxes of cards with a $100 SRP are selling for $600, or when the $400 SRP box is selling for $2,000 or more.

At Cards & Treasure we plan to do everything we can to help solve the problem of ever increasing sealed wax prices. Rising card prices should be a great thing for the Hobby, but not when they distort the price of sealed wax like we see today. This is bad for collectors. And anything bad for collectors is bad for the Hobby.

We can’t wait to help you chase the big hits, and celebrate with you when you get them. It’s a huge part of the fun of collecting, but it’s only really fun when everyone can participate. We hope to see you in our live streams!

Let’s get ripping!

Warren, Co-Founder & CEO