Basketball card Interview

Basketball Card Collector Interview with Elite Collections

Each new interview brings new insights and new perspectives. I recently had the awesome opportunity to connect with an individual new to the hobby, and learned that a random Southern Oregon garage sale (and an unbelievable card pickup) was what got him hooked.

And as the name suggests, he does have some elite cards in his personal collection. So without further ado, lets get to the interview and responses from new to the hobby collector Elite Collections.

1. What inspired you to launch Elite Collections back in July 2020?

I launched Elite Collections on Twitter not only as a way to join the hobby community, but also to build up a customer base. The Elite Collections name came from two places. I had a previous coworker and friend who started a company called Great Collections and I got the word “Elite” from AEW: All Elite Wrestling. I liked both names and it sounded good together.

2. How would you describe the sports card scene in Southern Oregon?

The sports card scene in Southern Oregon is very hot! Where I’m at in Southern Oregon is still a small community, so finding retail is very difficult. In my county there were a few card shops but now there is only one left. I feel like the area is thirsty for a local store to supply the demand.

3. Are you new to collecting or have you been collecting for a while, and was there a particular card or set that got you into collecting?

I am fairly new to collecting. I would say I officially got started in August of 2020. I was trying to be a picker at yard and estate sales to resell on eBay. Elite Collections was originally for antiques and not cards. But one yard sale changed all of that.

A small card collection was in a bin with a sign that said “make an offer”. I offered $5 and they accepted my offer. Once I arrived home with the newly acquired basketball cards I started researching their values.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the bin contained a 17-piece Kobe Bryant rookie card collection, including the iconic 1996 Topps rookie card (#138). I was able to resell the Kobe collection for over $1,000. I saw value in the market and that’s how I got started.

1996-97 Topps Kobe Bryant Rookie (#138)

4. How do you typically go about purchasing basketball cards (packs at target, online box/case breaks, individual cards, etc.)?

Most of the basketball cards I’ve acquired were from large collections I purchased in bulk. I have found some good vintage cards and recently bought and sold a Giannis Antetokounmpo Prizm rookie (#290).

Ungraded 2013-14 Panini Prizm Giannis  Antetokounmpo Rookie #290
2013-14 Panini Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo Rookie (#290)

5. With a name like Elite Collections I assume you have some good stuff. So what would you say is the most valuable basketball card you have in your personal collection, and what is your favorite card in your collection?

I would say the most valuable card in my PC is the 1980-81 Topps Scoring Leader card featuring Larry Bird’s rookie, Julius Erving, and Erving Magic Johnson’s rookie card. It was part of a collection I purchased. So far, that is my favorite card and I can’t imagine ever selling it.

1980-81 Topps Scoring Leader: Larry Bird Rookie, Julius Erving, and Erving Magic Johnson Rookie Card
1980-81 Topps Scoring Leader: Larry Bird Rookie, Julius Erving, and Erving Magic Johnson Rookie Card

6. What is the best basketball card (or card in general) you ever pulled from a pack and what was that experience like?

Unfortunately I haven’t pulled too many great basketball cards. But my best pull would be a Justin Herbert Silver Optic Rookie card (#153). That feeling when you pull a card that’s worth hundreds of dollars after you only spent $20 for a box is amazing and it gave me goosebumps. Its hard to top that feeling of adding a great card to your PC.

7. If Kazaam Shaq appeared and said he would grant you a single wish to add any basketball card to your collection but with the condition that you could never sell it, what card would you wish for?

That would be an awesome experience since I love Shaq and PC his cards. I may have several hundreds of his cards in my PC. The card I would wish for, and no offense to Shaq, would be a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie (#57) in a perfect 10 slab. That would be my new holy grail card.

PSA 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card (#57)
PSA 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie Card (#57)

8. Where do you see the basketball card market five years from now?

I anticipate that the basketball card market will be very strong in 5 years. Maybe stronger than today. Especially for vintage, I see a lot of potential in value increases for Hall of Famers and key rookie card players.

9. Do you see basketball cards and basketball related NFTs (like NBA Top Shot) coexisting, or do you think cardboard or NFTs will ultimately win out?

That’s an interesting question. I think we are still in the experimental stage for NFTs. I personally have not dabbled with NFTs and have stuck with cardboard. But usually from my experience people will always go back to the original format of trading cardboard to collect and/or buy and sell. Grading is also a big factor to determine value and different grades cater to different budgets.

10. And finally, my last question for you is what advice or tips would you give someone new to basketball card collecting, or card collecting in general?

I would tell a new collector to just enjoy it and let it be fun for you. This hobby isn’t here to create headaches or incite arguments with other collectors about what’s right or wrong.

Collect what you like at try to find the best quality you can afford. Quality will ultimately determine the value of your collection. It’s your collection not anyone else’s. Just do you! Have fun and enjoy!

Well said Elite Collections! If you love reading up on collector interviews, please check out my interview with fellow blogger Hoops Hobby as well as my interview the two guys that launched the very cool sports card research tool SportsCardPro.

And if you are new to colleting like Elite Collections and want to get up to speed quickly with card protection and storage best practices, check out The Ultimate Guide to Protecting and Storing your (Basketball) cards.

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