Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2022 Issue

First Million Dollar Soccer Card Has Been Sold


The first million dollar soccer card (RallyRd Photo).

We keep waiting for the bubble in sports card collecting to burst, but not yet. The dizzying rise in prices has been fueled by speculative investors and the recent appearance of fractional sale owners. This time the record was for a soccer card, the first such card to reach the million dollar mark. It is already a third of the way to its next million.


Soccer is the most popular team sport in most of the world, but not in the United States. That is where sports cards have long been popular collectors items, the result being that soccer cards have trailed baseball, basketball, football, and hockey cards. With this recent sale of a Pele rookie card for $1.33 million, soccer now joins the exclusive club of million dollar cards. However, it still is well short of the others. The current records for other cards (as of this writing, it could change tomorrow) are for baseball, Honus Wagner - $6.6 million, for basketball, Lebron James - $5.2 million, for football, Patrick Mahomes - $4.3 million, and hockey, Wayne Gretzky - $3.75 million.


Pele is over 80 years old now and hasn't played professionally for the good part of half a century, but he is still the most famous soccer player ever. Less than a year ago, another Pele card held the record price at $372,000. Then, in June, 2021, a Topps “Superfractor” card for Erling Haaland, not a household name outside of soccer circles, sold for $432,000 at Goldin Auctions. Superfractors are special, one-of-a-kind cards designed to extract a lot of money from collectors. That held up until November when a similar Pele card sold privately for $900,000. Like the new record setter, it was a Swiss Alifabolaget 1958 Pele rookie card graded at PSA 9.0. There are only six such highly graded cards known and none graded higher.


This particular card has its own history of rapidly escalating prices. It was sold at a Goldin auction in late 2020 for $288,000. It then appeared on the fractional sale site RallyRd, offered for a total price of $315,000. Each share sold for $10, which some quick math reveals there were 31,500 shares created. A year later it sold for $1,330,000. I don't know whether cards will continue to be great investments or fractional shares will continue to sell, but these investors made out like a bandit. They more than quadrupled their money in a year. This won't always happen, but you are free to roll the dice on such investments if you dare. Those who collect works on paper will be pleased to know RallyRd now has fractional shares available for a George Washington letter ($20 per share for a total of $150,000), a copy of Macworld #1 signed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak ($11.25 per share for $225,000), and a first edition of Moby Dick ($7 per share for $70,000).


The way these fractional shares work is that RallyRd sells them like a stock IPO (initial public offering). After 90 days, you can buy and sell them from others like you can stock. However, ultimately, when there are potentially 31,500 owners, no one gets to keep it. It remains locked up somewhere. In order for the value to be realized, it must eventually be sold to an individual collector. How do you do that? You take a vote. When someone wants to buy it, and they make an offer through RallyRd, the shareholders vote. If a majority agrees to sell it for the offered price, each shareholder gets his share of the purchase price.


The shareholders were offered $800,000 for their $315,000 card last fall. Not bad, but they said no. More recently, an offer came in for $1,100,000, which led to a bidding war. When the final offer of $1,330,000 came in, they voted yes, but just barely. It carried with only 51% of the vote. The result was a little over $42 for each share they bought for $10 a year ago. Who knew it was so easy to make money?


This can't go on forever, and you don't want to be the last one who buys in just before the market falls. Until then, people will continue to buy, looking for the easy money. Some will win; some will lose. It has always been thus.

Posted On: 2022-03-01 12:00
User Name: heas8994

who cares?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Birds.- Gould (John). <i>The Birds of Great Britain,</i> 5 vol., first edition, [1862-]1873. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Canadiana.- Cockburn (Maj. Gen. James Pattison, 1779-1847), After. [Six Landscape of Quebec City and Six Views of Niagara Falls], 2 suites in 1 vol., comprising 12 aquatints, 1833. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> number 218 of 150 copies on verge d'arches, Paris, Shakespeare & Company, 1922. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first paperback edition, signed by the author, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Du Maurier (Daphne). <i>Rebecca,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to her governess, 1938. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Magna Carta.- An exact copy of King John's Great Charter of 1215, transcribed from the fire damaged but legible manuscript in the Cottonian Library, British Library, J. Pine, 1733. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Woolf (Virginia). <i>Mrs Dalloway,</i> first edition, Hogarth Press, 1925. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Tudor exiles opposed to the Marian regime.- Mary I (Queen of England) Letter signed "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, signed at head, titled at head "By the King and Quene", 1556. £8,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> America.- Newfoundland.- Whitbourne (Sir Richard). <i>A discourse and discouery of Nevv-found-land…,</i> second edition, By Felix Kingston, 1622. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>El Ingenioso Hidalgo Do Quixote de la Mancha,</i> 4 vol., Madrid, Por Don Joaquin Ibarra, 1780. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Stubbs (George). <i>The Anatomy of the Horse,</i> first edition, first issue, Printed by J. Purser, for the Author, 1766. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cardiology.- Lower (Richard). <i>Tractatus de Corde item De Motu & Colore Sanguinus et Chyli in cum Transitu,</i> first edition, 1669. £5,000 to £7,000.
  • <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>Initial A on vellum, Cologne around 1300. Est: €25,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Androuet du Cerceau, <i> Bastiments de France,</i> 1607. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>L. de Austria, <i>Compilatio de astrorum scientia,</i> 1489. Est: €9,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>B. Besler, <i>Hortus Eystettensis,</i> around 1750. Est: €50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br><i>PAN,</i> 1895-1900. Est: €15,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Colonna, <i>Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,</i> 1545. Est: €40,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>F. Schiller, <i>Die Räuber,</i> 1781. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>J. Albers, <i>Formulation : Articulation,</i> 1972. Est: €18,000
    <center><b>Ketterer Rare Books<br>Auction on May 30</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>G. B. Ramusio, <i>Delle navigationi e viaggi,</i> 1556-1613. Est: €14,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>M. Wied Neuwied, <i>Reise in das Innere Nord-America,</i> 1839-41. Est: €12,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Paolozzi, <i>Bunk,</i> 1972. Est: €25,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions