FROM THE EDITOR
Last year was a milestone for collecting. As the pandemic roiled our lives, most observers were expecting economic turmoil across the board. That wasn’t the case. In fact, 2020 was a record-breaking year for fine art and vintage collectibles – a trend most likely driven by the growing popularity of investing in new and different asset classes and robust internet-based sales.
Nothing better illustrates this than the market for sport memorabilia, specifically modern sports cards (see “Beyond Baseball”). Last fall, Heritage’s sports collectibles auction surpassed $22 million in total sales, eclipsing the previous record for the largest sports auction in the history of the industry. “It’s not something I saw coming,” says Chris Ivy, director of Heritage Sports. “We, like many businesses, were tightening our belts preparing for a potential downturn, but the fact that we’ve seen so much interest and so many people jumping in the market has been a pleasant surprise.”
Driving the surge in modern-card values, Ivy explains, is a new breed of collector — wealthy hobbyists in their 40s and 50s who chase memorabilia for athletes they watched play – Michael Jordon, LeBron James, Wayne Gretzky. In addition to investment considerations, collectors say acquiring sports memorabilia, fine art and vintage collectibles is simply fun.
And it’s not just sports that recorded a strong year. Heritage Auctions in 2020 saw energetic activity in other categories – numismatics, fine art, jewelry, luxury accessories, timepieces, vintage comics, historical artifacts and rare books and manuscripts. Even vintage Pokémon trading cards saw record-breaking prices realized.
So rest assured, dear collectors. The hobby remains resilient. And with auction houses like Heritage working to make collecting easier, safer and faster, we can all rest easier as we enjoy our beloved treasures.
DROP ME A line at HectorC@HA.com to share your stories. I remain interested in your discoveries.
Hector Cantú, Editor & Publisher
This article appears in the Spring 2021 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine.