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

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Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> CASAS (BARTOLOMÉ DE LAS). <i>La Découverte des Indes occidentales par les Espagnols,</i> Paris, 1697. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> GARCILASO DE LA VEGA. <i>Primera parte de los commentarios reales, que tratan del orígen de los Yncas…,</i> Lisbonne, 1609 [1608 au colophon]. €8,000 to €10,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> GARCILASO DE LA VEGA. <i>Histoire des Yncas rois du Pérou. On a joint à cette édition l'Histoire de la conquête de la Floride,</i> Amsterdam, 1737. €800 to €1,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> LAET (JOHANNES DE). <i>L'Histoire du nouveau monde, ou description des Indes occidentales,</i> Leyde, 1640. €8,000 to €10,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> LAFITAU (JOSEPH-FRANÇOIS). <i>Mœurs des sauvages amériquains, comparées aux mœurs des premiers temps,</i> Paris, 1724. €1,200 to €1,500.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> ORRIO (FRANCISCO XAVIER ALEXO DE). <i>Solución del gran problema acerca de la población de las Americas,</i> Mexico, 1763. €1,500 to €2,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> [ROCHEFORT (CHARLES DE)]. <i>Histoire naturelle et morale des Îles Antilles de l'Amérique,</i> Amsterdam, 1716. €800 to €1,000.
    <b>ALDE, Apr. 18:</b> TURGOT (ANNE-ROBERT-JACQUES). <i>Mémoire sur les colonies américaines, sur leurs relations politiques avec leurs métropoles…,</i> Paris, 1791. €1,000 to €1,200.
  • <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>April 5<br>Printed Books, Maps, Atlases & Caricatures</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Speed (John). <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine...</i> bound with <i>The Prospect of the most Famous parts of the World,</i> Thomas Bassett & Richard Chiswell, 1676. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> China. De Jode (Cornelis), <i>China Regnum,</i> Antwerp [1593]. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> World. Hondius (Henricus), <i>Nova totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula.</i> Auct: Henr. Hondio. Amsterdam, circa 1630. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>April 5<br>Printed Books, Maps, Atlases & Caricatures</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> World. Blaeu (Willem Janszoon), <i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i> auct: Guilelmo Blaeuw, Amsterdam [1635 - 58]. £5,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Acosta (Emanuel). <i>Rerum a Societate Iesu in Oriente gestarum ad annum usque à Deipara Virgine…,</i> 1st edition, Dillingen: Sebald Mayer, 1571. £3,000 to £5,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Ruggieri (Francesco). <i>Scelta di Architetture Antiche e Moderne della Citta di Firenze…,</i> 4 volumes bound in two, Florence, Appresso l'Editore, 1755. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>April 5<br>Printed Books, Maps, Atlases & Caricatures</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Parry (William). <i>Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West Passage,</i> 6 vols in 5, 1st editions, 1821-27. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Hunter (John). <i>A Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gun-Shot Wounds,</i> 1st edition, 1794. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Furber (Robert). <i>The Flower-Garden Display'd, in above Four Hundred Curious Representations of the most Beautiful Flowers…,</i> 1st quarto edition, London, 1732. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <center><b>Dominic Winter Auctioneers<br>April 5<br>Printed Books, Maps, Atlases & Caricatures</b>
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Friedman (Milton). <i>A Theory of the Consumption Function,</i> 1st edition, 1957. £500 to £800.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Clarkson (Thomas). <i>The history of the ... abolition of the African slave-trade,</i> 2 vols., 1808. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Dominic Winter, Apr. 5:</b> Civil War Pamphlets. A sammelband of 19 pamphlets relating to events of the English Civil War, 1640-1661. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <b><center>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript African Americana:<br>March 30, 2023</b>
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Victor H. Green, <i>The Negro Motorist Green Book,</i> New York, 1949. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Papers of pianist-composer Lawrence Brown relating to Paul Robeson & more, various places, 1925-54. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Freedom Summer archive of civil rights activist Karen Haberman Trusty, Atlanta & elsewhere, 1963-64. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> New York, 1933. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann March 30:</b> Archive of letters from the sculptor Richmond Barthé to a close Jamaican friend, various places, 1966-85. $25,000 to $35,000.

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