“Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens,” is a quote attributed to legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. It’s a powerful statement that if applied to our sports card endeavors may give us an insight into what hobby wisdom says about certain topics.
The Path to Hobby Wisdom
Philosophers, theologians, and the like know that the way to wisdom is to listen. Some are moved by the study of human behavior, academia, or a higher power.
No matter the path the way to get there is the same – listening.
Unfortunately, what derails most of us from that path is pride. Not the pride where we are proud of our accomplishments but the pride that thinks we know more than others.
This is the worst type of pride as it shuts down listening, learning, and growing.
This type of pride will cause people to dispute, refuse, reject, neglect, and turn away from anything that does not align itself with their way of thinking.
This is a dangerous place to be!
This way of thinking is engrained in our psyche and overflows into our collecting endeavors.
However, those with hobby wisdom have years of collecting experience, they follow hobby trends and news, they are readers, writers, thinkers, and contemplators.
Ultimately they develop theories on best-collecting practices.
My Endorsement of Hobby Wisdom
I am a big advocate of adding to our collecting endeavors learning. Collecting without taking the time to learn makes us consumers only and this will lead to hobby fatigue and ultimately dissatisfaction with the hobby.
But when we add to our collecting an attitude of learning, well that creates a whole new dynamic to our hobby experience.
A primary way I like to learn is listening to those within the hobby with 30, 40, 50+ years of hobby collecting experience.
Hobby Statesmen like Dr. James Beckett, Rich Klein, or Jeremy Lee from Sports Card Live for example. Why wouldn’t we take advantage and listen to what these men have to say?
Their skill at identifying cards, the ups and downs of the hobby they’ve experienced, the collections they’ve assembled, and the hobby knowledge they share is priceless.
I do not miss an episode of Dr. James Beckett’s daily podcast, nor the Saturday night Sports Cards Live podcast on YouTube hosted by Jeremy.
Now typically JLee is the interviewer, but recently he was the interviewee on The Personal Finance Dad channel.
The hobby knowledge bombs he was dropping on that episode were jaw-dropping. There was so much meat and potatoes that it inspired me, with his permission, to write this article.
I will leave links to channels and videos in the “Links” section down below.
Moreover, I’d like to share with you some takeaways from that interview with Jeremy on The Personal Finance Dad channel.
What Hobby Wisdom Says About Opening Product
Don’t worry so much about finding products to open. If you are just looking for Ja’s and Zions I don’t feel sorry for you not finding products in retail outlets.
If you are in the hobby to buy cards on Monday to sell them on Friday that’s your prerogative but the hobby has so much more to offer you.
But if you are in the hobby for the love of the sport, to learn about the legends that paved the way for others, for example, Jackie Robinson well now this form of collecting documents history of society, artistic designs, printing technologies.
In other words, if you expand your interest you’ll find that there is so much cool stuff out there that hasn’t blown up in price yet.
Truth be told many experienced collectors, those with hobby wisdom, don’t buy the unopened modern products anymore.
Why? Because there is little to no value found in opening boxes or packs!
Jeremy states, “Every time I’ve left a hobby shop after purchasing a box or boxes I’ve left with this empty feeling in my stomach like I just wasted my money. I’ve had good hits but the good hits are far and few between.”
Wow! You’ve ever felt this way? I know I have. Spending a few hundred or even a thousand dollars on unopened products is risky.
There is a high probability that you pulling something of great value is very slim, it’s a roll of the dice.
You could pull some low to moderately valued cards but now you have to take the time to list them and sell them on eBay and time is money.
Instead, spend your money on something that you’ll know what you’re getting. For example, a 90s insert card of a GOAT!
What Hobby Wisdom Says About Flipping
Today, there is this consolidation strategy that flips its way towards more expensive cards. But hobby wisdom knows that there are some red flags that no one is really catching.
The flaw is it only really works in an upswing market. Many have joined the hobby in 2020 and quickly adopted this strategy and all they’ve ever known is this upswing market that’s been going on for the last 18 months.
However, a downswing market is inevitable, without a doubt we will see fluctuations in the market. Will they hang on during the downswing or let go and walk away? Time will tell.
You can buy ten cards at $100 each and flip them to $200 each in an upswing market and make great margins.
But in a downswing market those same 10 cards at $100 each, well now you can only get $75 each, that’s a big difference, isn’t it?
Flipping may be a good short-term strategy but it’s not a long-term winning strategy unless you’re okay selling or trading cards that are in the red for less cash or trade on a card that you really like.
How can we be so sure about that you ask? That’s a great question and I’m glad you asked it. Hobby wisdom is sure of it because they’ve lived it.
Hobby wisdom has been doing this long enough to know market trends. Nothing goes up forever.
A better long-term strategy is investing in key cards of Hall of Famers also known as the GOATS: Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, Mantle, Trout, Gretzky, Brady, etc.
These key cards have shown consistent long-term growth, if they do come down in value it’s only temporary and over the course of time appreciates in value.
Flipping is risky! Instead, how about saving your money until you have enough to purchase the card you want?
What Hobby Wisdom Says About Market Speculation
I’m going to give it to you straight then I’ll unpack it. Market speculation is a waste of time! To monitor the daily fluctuations of sports cards going up and down is pointless.
Who cares about looking at 1-2 days of market activity, even a week or two is not a true measurement.
At the very least look at 90 days and better yet the last 12-24 months. This is a better window of data analysis.
Those with hobby wisdom have been doing this long enough and have felt the sting of overpaying only to see the market quickly correct itself.
Those huge spikes are due to market manipulation, once these groups of “flipping/investors” quit buying the market isn’t going to crash it’s going to go back to normal.
The biggest mistake you can make is to overpay during one of these manipulated spikes due to the fear of missing out (FOMO).
I view market speculation as chasing the wind. Like trying to put air in a jar.
I don’t know about you but I’m grateful for seasoned veteran collectors who teach, I wish more of them would. The advice they give is priceless and worth listening to.
For more on this topic check out my article Being a Wise Collector.
Happy Collecting Collectors,
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.