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SlabStox Card Market Report: 2022 Year-In-Review

mobile slabstox trading card report
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Welcome to the SlabStox Card Market Report 2022 Year-In-Review!

2022: The most interesting year in sports cards yet? While 2020 and 2021 were filled with incredible price rises like never seen before, last year was a true test of what and who will be in the card market for the long haul. Many cards decreased in value, flipping cards within one week went extinct and patience again had to be exercised. Even with all of that being true, the sports card hobby is still thriving. 

We started the SlabStox Monthly Market Report last June in hopes to provide you with the most important market trends, biggest news and deep analysis about sports cards. If you have been reading since the start, THANK YOU! If this is your first report, you’ve come to the right place to learn and better understand what is happening in the overall sports card market. 

In this year-end report, we break down the biggest hits, misses, releases and sales of 2022. Here’s to an amazing 2023!

  • Take 1: Sports Card Industry—Fanatics makes its mark
  • Take 2: Football—QB frenzy
  • Take 3: Basketball—Competition to be the best
  • Take 4: Soccer—World Cup has its say
  • Take 5: Baseball—Bombs away
  • Take 6: Other Notable Card Sales ’22
  • Looking ahead to 2023

Join the ONE37pm CardTalk/SlabStox Pod as Card Talk’s @LouGeneux and @SlabStoxAaron debate and dissect the year-end Card Market Report. Stay tuned to social media for updates. 

If you want to receive this SlabStox Card Market Report every month to your inbox, subscribe to SlabStox’s FREE Daily Slab newsletter.

DISCLOSURES: 

  1. All market data in this report is from Card Ladder. Card Ladder is an independent, third-party partner of SlabStox, providing card collectors and investors insights to make informed, data-driven decisions. Every investment and trading move involves risk. Do your research before making any decision. 
  2. Cards owned by SlabStox of players in this report: Aaron Rodgers, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, Erling Haaland, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Year-End Takes from the 2022 Sports Card Market

1. SPORTS CARD INDUSTRY

INDUSTRY HITS: Fanatics Steps Into the Sports Card Arena

One of the biggest industry announcements in 2022 happened just days into the year. Fanatics acquired the biggest name in trading cards—Topps. Immediately, the card market was buzzing with “what ifs,” as many were trying to predict exactly when Fanatics would attempt to throw down the gauntlet and scoop up Panini to have a complete chokehold on the future card market.

What we do know is that Fanatics has taken a slow, more thoughtful approach to their Topps acquisition, finding ways to position the industry for the long-term, bring card collectors into local card shops and plan product releases for the collector first. 

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Some Fanatics innovations we’ve seen in 2022:

  • Building connections with collectors and local card shops (LCS): Fanatics did something the card industry hasn’t seen for years—they thought outside the box. The MVP Buyback Program drove card collectors back into shops to claim store credit for trading in Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt 2022 Topps Chrome Baseball cards. It was an instant hit with card shops and collectors. Check out the November Card Market Report for the reaction. 
  • Direct selling to consumers: Another new and innovative idea was direct sales to consumers through the zerocool product line. Fanatics conducted a series of Dutch auctions for zerocool products, with distribution going directly to the highest bidders. Most notable in this new way of selling was transparency. The distribution numbers were publicly disclosed before release, giving buyers advance information about the number of boxes created and rarity within each set. 

Other notable Industry HITS of the year:

  • The National Sports Collectors Convention returned for a second straight year. Atlantic City, NJ drew huge crowds.
  • International fever for the simple love of Panini World Cup soccer stickers.
  • Collectors coming together and sharing positive content even with singles dropping in value.

INDUSTRY MISSES: Supply Chain and Quality Issues

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It’s been well documented in social media, but here are just a few card market misses in 2022 as it staggered out of the pandemic:

  • Quality Control: Wrong autographs, damaged cards and missing cards all added up to sloppy products and a bad look for sports card collectibles. Most notable were the Randy Arozarena/Austin Meadows autograph debacle, Christmas sweater relics making it into 2021 National Treasures Basketball, a Contenders Optic box with no pack in it, terrible damage out of the pack on 2021 Prizm Football cards and missing Julio Rodriguez/Bobby Witt Jr 2022 Topps Chrome cards.
  • Supply-chain delays: Even to this day, 2021 sports card products are releasing. Most recent was the release of 2021/22 Contenders Optic Basketball featuring “rookie cards” of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green.
  • Junk Slab Era: With grading companies working through the enormous backlogs, an abundance of cards submitted in 2020 and 2021 were dumped on various marketplaces and filled card show cases. You can now buy a Bo Bichette 2020 Topps Base RC PSA 10 (POP 13,530) for $15. At the end of 2021 when it was a POP 9,000, that card sold for $35. 

Other notable MISSES: 

  • Card show prices stuck in 2021: Some dealers setting up tables at card shows are going to have to come to terms with most cards’ values being much lower than they were in 2021. Collectors are still lining up at shows and are willing to spend money, but current comps will drive deals. Not outdated pricing from more than a year ago. Don’t get us wrong. You can still find deals at card shows. A viable route is buying cards raw and grading them, as most grading companies have reduced pricing and made grading more accessible in 2022.

2. FOOTBALL

FOOTBALL HITS: Quarterback Standouts Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy

Just months before the season kicked off, the chase for young QBs was getting out of control—Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and others were selling at top dollar on pure speculation that this was their year. By the second half of the season, a number of those quarterbacks and others were relegated into three buckets: 

  • Not as impressive as expected (Herbert, Jones)
  • On the season-ending injury list (Lance) 
  • Or on the bench (Zach Wilson)

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As we head into the playoffs, two QBs have the card market buzzing—Hurts and Purdy.

Here’s how their markets unfolded:

  • Hurts began camp under a cloud of questions. Would he really be the franchise quarterback the Eagles were banking on when they drafted him in the second round in 2020? All questions were answered when Hurts led the Eagles to a 8-0 start, and he has his team heading into the playoffs with a 13-3 record. His 2020 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 sold for $493 (7/31/22) and by Week 3, that card rose to a season high of $1,100. From 1/1/22-12/31/22, this card increased 106%.
  • “Mr. Relevant” emerges Week 13.  As the last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft Purdy appeared to be doomed to be known as “Mr. Irrelevant.” That all changed when he found himself a default starter on a hot San Francisco team after both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered season ending ankle injuries. Purdy’s market went from zero to hero in just two weeks, but that’s to no surprise after beating Tom Brady 35-7 in his first ever start. Before Week 13, there were only two cards of Purdy to ever sell for more than $500. After Week 13, there have been over 350 different cards to sell for $500.

FOOTBALL MISSES: 2021 Draft Class Fallout

For football card buyers that scooped up the class of 2021, let’s just say it hasn’t gone too well unless you exclusively bought Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields (who hasn’t been great at times). This class, once mistakenly compared to the 1983 draft class of John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino as the “best ever,” was monumentally over-hyped. Here’s a quick rundown of their 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 trends since the start of September.

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  • Trevor Lawrence: His bandwagon was “Zionesque.” Lawrence was the first overall pick in the ’21 NFL Draft. Truthfully, he is a winner in the card market. But one quarterback alone can’t prop up the entire QB Class of ‘21. Lawrence is coming off a strong season that has the Jaguars in the playoff hunt (8-8), with 24 TD to 8 INT. His 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 sold for $1,025 (9/3/22), but it recently sold for nearly an all-time high of $2,475 (12/26/22), a 141% increase in that time.
  • Justin Fields: A bright spot from this draft class. Fields had some memorable performances this year, including a record setting 174 rushing yards Week 9 against the Dolphins. His 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 dropped 25% which is not too shabby compared to the others, however, since the card hit a low of $240 on 10/15/22, it increased 103% to $486.
  • Trey Lance: His market has bottomed out for another reason—injury. He was named starter in San Francisco this season and by Week 3 was done after an ankle injury. While his overall market has cratered since the summer, his 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 stayed flat from the start of September until now, but that is due to the first sale in September being on 9/22/22 (after the injury). Since August, this card has decreased 70%.
  • Mac Jones: Disappointment? Definitely. He ranks 25th in passer rating (85.8) out of 32 qualified QBs. In Bill Belichick’s 23rd season with the team, the Patriots are on the bubble of making the playoffs this season, and it all comes down to the last game. Jones’ 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 dropped 68% since the start of September.
  • Zach Wilson: Even though he was the second pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, Wilson proved to be the guy to write off from this draft class. He was benched Week 9 after not taking responsibility for a loss to the Patriots in which the team had just 103 total yards. When given a shot at redemption in Week 16 (replacing injured back-up turned starter Mike White), Wilson was abysmal and showered with boos from the Jets faithful after scoring 3 points again, but this time at home on a Thursday night. Wilson’s 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 decerased 65%, with a final sale of $122.50 (12/28/22).

Note: Trevor Lawrence’s 2021 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 is an extreme outlier for PSA 10 POP (35) compared to Wilson (111), Lawrence (112), Jones (352) and Fields (167).

Other Notable Misses: 

  • Veteran QBs. Gone are the days of relying on the GOAT and other Super Bowl winning quarterbacks to continue their steady gains. While the market hasn’t been stable in 2022, each of these QBs have struggled at different times this season.

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RELEASE OF THE YEAR: 2021 Immaculate Football. Why? Because it actually released during the 2021/22 NFL season (1/28/21), unlike Prizm, Optic, Select, National Treasures, Flawless and more that released well into the summer.

BIG SALE ’22: 2000 Tom Brady Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket Auto /100 BGS 9/10

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It was Brady fever early in 2022, as the most expensive football card ever sold was this Tom Brady that went for $3.8 (2/17/22) in a private sale. Another copy of that same card/grade sold at auction for $3.1M on 6/4/22. Since then, this same card dropped substantially. It last sold for $2.4M on 10/20/22, a 36% decrease this year.

3. Basketball

BASKETBALL HITS: Heavy Competition for the BEST in the Association

The NBA is LOADED with talent right now. There are currently 18 players averaging over 25 points per game, with five averaging more than 30. The sport may be entering a golden era where there is a host of players that can contend for an MVP any given season. Over the last decade, it was always LeBron or who else? Now, there isn’t any one or two players that are head and shoulders above the rest like there were for the past few decades (Jordan/Olajuwon; Kobe/Shaq; LeBron/Curry). Here is the current KIA MVP Ladder (as of 1/1/22) and their Card Ladder Player Index trends (since the start of October).

Jokic (1, -16%), Tatum (2, -7%) early front runners. While Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo are scorching hot in the boxscore, Nikola Jokic and Jayson Tatum are not only putting up crazy stats, but they currently have their teams at the top of their respective conferences.

Luka (3, -17%), KD (4, -21%) & Giannis (5, -28%) in the hunt. Luka’s on a run like none other right now (46 PPG in his last 5 games), and it’s had a direct effect on his team as they won each of those games. There’s been so much attention on the first three that KD is quietly flying under the radar. The Nets are on a 12-game win streak, completely turning their season around since the firing of Steve Nash.

Embiid (6, -2%) and Zion (7, -30%) making some noise. This points to how stiff the competition is right now. Embiid is having a career year so far, averaging 33.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.6 APG and is adding 3 stocks (steals + blocks) per game. Those numbers are ludicrous, but he finds himself not even in the top five right now. Zion’s coming back from a year off of basketball, but it looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. The Pelicans are third in the West, and Zion is doing a bit of everything to put them in that position. His energy on the court is unmatched as he’s made waves with his game ending dunks against the Suns and Timberwolves.

Here’s a few cards trending in the right direction—the top three MVP favorites:

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Other notable hits: Young guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyrese Haliburton have teams in rebuild mode on the fast track. 

  • Shai, the centerpiece of the Thunder’s extreme overhaul, is one of the five players averaging over 30 PPG. His market exploded in a short period of time, and he’s kept his performance up to warrant the excitement. 
  • Haliburton is leading the entire NBA in APG (10.1), but he’s also scoring 21 PPG while shooting 41% from 3 (on 7.5 attempts/game). Incredibile numbers. 

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BASKETBALL MISSES: Overvalued Cards Exposed

While there’s excitement in the top talent of the game this season that is helping drive the market in a 3-month window, 2022 as a whole was a difficult year for the basketball card market. Many, many cards were highly valued with seemingly everyone wanting in on the action. With collectors becoming more educated, having less money to spend and also discovering other card categories, the basketball market took the biggest hit out of the three major American sports in 2022 (CL Basketball Index: -37%)

LeBron James, Luka Doncic and even the GOAT Michael Jordan have suffered substantial blows. Here’s a card of each player:

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It wasn’t just these three cards on a slide. Here are their Card Ladder Player Index changes in 2022.

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There’s no arguing these three players are among the most recognizable basketball players in the world. But when something is overvalued, it’s overvalued and the market goes down. Combine that with less money in the market, it was bound to happen sooner than later.

RELEASE OF THE YEAR: 2020-21 Flawless Basketball

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Can you think of a chase for a sports card bigger than the LeBron James Flawless Triple Logoman 1/1? We sure can’t. Tons of big spenders came out to try to uncover the multi-million dollar card, with even Drake taking his gambling tendencies to the sports card market. Whatnot even placed a bounty on the card—a Lamborghini if a breaker unearthed the card on their live-ecommerce platform. The card was pulled on Whatnot and it sold for $2,400,000 via Goldin Auctions on 6/25/22.

BIG SALE ’22: At one point what was the highest selling basketball card of all-time re-emerged for sale, and it fetched $3,120,000 via public auction on the November PWCC Premier Auction. This card famously sold for $4,600,000 via a private deal involving @Shyne150, and once it popped up for auction, many collectors speculated this card would sell for far under $3M due to the recent market environment. It did sell for over $3M, and to start the new year, @Shyne150 announced he re-purchased the card. If you haven’t guessed yet, the card we’re talking about is the Luka Doncic 2018 National Treasures Logoman RPA 1/1 BGS 9.

4. Soccer

SOCCER HITS: World Cup Exploded Messi & Mbappé Soccer Card Markets

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was the first played since the soccer card market boomed in 2019. For many collectors, buyers, sellers and investors, the World Cup brought extremely high expectations built on hype. Many in it for profit were left in disappointment—not every player’s market grew exponentially. In fact, most soccer cards were down in the months leading up to the World Cup and after it. However, if you were in the soccer card market for the collecting and excitement around the World Cup, you were in for a treat.

The two best players in the world—Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe—went into this tournament as such, and they came out of it with bigger legacies thanks to what some are calling the BEST World Cup Final match ever played. 

If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, it’s worth your time to watch this FOX Mini-Movie on the Argentina/France match. It was the culmination of an amazing tournament by each player. Here are their tournament stats:

Lionel Messi: 7 goals, 3 assists, Golden Ball Winner (best player of the tournament), World Cup Winner

Kylian Mbappé: 8 goals, 2 assists, Golden Boot Winner (most goals in the tournament), World Cup Semi-Finalist

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While both of these players were undoubtedly hits in 2022, it’s all time relative. Their 2-month market trends look awesome, but if you zoom out to the entirety of 2022, their CL Player Indexes tell a different story. Messi? -52% (128 card sample). Mbappé? -39% (90 card sample). 

Other notable hits: While Erling Haaland didn’t get to play in the World Cup, he‘s made it clear he is the best goal scorer in the world right now. He has 21 goals in the Premier League this season, becoming the quickest to reach 20 in Premier League history. Rarely does he produce goals on his own like Messi or Mbappé, but he finds the back of the net more often than not no matter what team he plays on. The loaded Manchester City squad is now next level with the likes of Kevin De Bruye and Riyad Mahrez joined by Haaland. Haaland’s on pace to shatter the current 38-match EPL record (32), and even break the previous records that were set in a 42-match season (38). Since the start of July, his 2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire RC PSA 10 increased 28%, but across 2022, it decreased 60%.

Cody Gakpo was notable for more reasons than one. At 22-years-old, he led the Eredivisie (Dutch league) with 21 goal contributions in 14 matches before the World Cup break, scored in three World Cup matches for the Netherlands and was one of the biggest winter transfers, moving from PSV Eindhoven to Premier League giant Liverpool for a $45M transfer fee. After the big move, his 2022 Prizm Gold Breakaway RC Auto /10 sold for $1,500 (12/28/22), $275 MORE than his 2022 Prizm Gold Hobby RC Auto /10 sold for just six days prior (Hobby Gold is much better than Breakaway Gold). Big transfers move soccer card markets, much like when an NBA superstar lands on a big market team.

SOCCER MISSES: The World Cup Soccer Card Bounce

While the biggest hit of the year is the World Cup, one can easily argue that it was also the biggest miss for multiple reasons:

  • Due to Qatar’s intensely hot summers, the World Cup schedule was moved to the winter for the first time in history, in the middle of club soccer play. That led to a number of problems:
    • Countless club soccer injuries occurred just weeks before the World Cup
    • For the first time, the tournament was played in November/December competing for attention with other top-market sports in America. 
    • With Qatar hosting, match times were between 5am and 2pm ET in the US. Most people were in school or at work. 
    • And, cultural/human rights issues created some uproar—from FIFA banning rainbow warm-ups and captains' bands to beer sales being banned despite Budwiser being a major sponsor.

While that all led to less attention, it certainly was not the biggest detriment to the soccer card market in 2022. The suffering global economy hurt any growth in the soccer card market leading up to the World Cup. One can only imagine if the World Cup were scheduled for the summer of 2021 instead (impossible with it occuring every four years)—there’s a chance the soccer card market trend would be far crazier than what played out.

While some players had brutal World Cup performances (looking at you, Belgium), it’d be hard to find someone that had a more difficult end of the year than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo not only was benched at the World Cup due to performance and rumored attitude issues, but Manchester United terminated his agreement right after the World Cup ended. No top-flight club wanted to sign him, so he signed a mega deal to go to Al-Nassar, a Saudi Arabian club. Many people have said this is a legacy hurter for Ronaldo, as he is now going to be playing outside of the usual football spotlight while gathering a rumored ~$200M per year to play until June 2025. Here’s how his market has drastically changed this year.

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RELEASE OF THE YEAR: 2022 Prizm World Cup

There were some great Topps products released this year (like fan favorite Merlin Chrome), but when it comes to the release of the year, how can it be anything other than Prizm World Cup? For the first time since the card market boom (and soccer market expansion), a Prizm World Cup set was released. When newer soccer card collectors were getting into the sport, 2014 and 2018 Prizm World Cup box prices were reaching unattainable prices ($2,000+ per box). It made it impossible for people to actually interact with the product outside of buying singles of their favorite players. Even finding breaks to join were few and far between. 

Because of this, a once-every-four-year release like this was sure to get produced in big quantities. While that does make it more difficult to pull the big hits, it allows more collectors to interact with it. Boxes of 2022 Prizm World Cup Hobby released at $425 on Panini’s website, reached $500 on the secondary market, and now they’ve settled in at $425 after the World Cup. While not cheap by any means, it’s more accessible than a $3,000 box of 2018 Prizm World Cup. Other factors:

  1. More options for collectors. The 2022 Prizm WC set, Panini released way more product configurations than 2018. Hobby, retail blaster, Breakaway and Choice were the four different formats (compared to the two options in 2018). Even more significant is the parallel expansion, many “exclusives” to the certain configurations (like Blue Wave /199 in blasters and Zebra in Choice).
  2. Better definition. Panini did not use the RC logo on 2014/2018 Prizm WC, but they weren’t going to miss that chance with 2022. We got the first major cards of star rookies like Cody Gakpo and Julian Alvarez. 
  3. Huge pulls: Multiple monster cards from the 2022 Prizm WC set sparked social media engagement like we haven’t quite seen for soccer cards before. Mbappé Gold Power 1/1 pulled by @gemnantz. Messi Black 1/1 pulled by @carters_cards. Mbappé Black 1/1 pulled by @ratedrips.

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BIG SALE ’22: Pelé 1958 Alifabolaget Rookie PSA 9

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It’s only fitting that this Pelé card sold for the most ever of any soccer card for $1.33 million (2/12/22). It was a living tribute to the true GOAT of the World Cup pitch. Pelé, 82, passed away on 12/29/22 after battling cancer. He brought Brazil their first World Cup trophy in 1958 at age 17, and went back-to-back winning in 1962. He won his record third World Cup title in 1970. Regardless of if you follow soccer or not, everyone knows the name "Pelé." He truly put Brazil on the map. See for yourself, watch this video of Pelé pulling off some of the most incredible soccer moves far before the legends that followed did.

5. BASEBALL

BASEBALL HITS: Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols reign supreme

The biggest hits of the 2022 MLB season and the biggest hits of the baseball card market were the exact same: Albert Pujols and Aaron Judge. Coincidence? Not at all. And that’s what makes the card market great. Market movement tied to big performance. In a summer filled with subpar offensive performances from many players and teams, the thrill of watching history being chased in real-time kept people glued to their TVs. 

Of course, it didn’t start out that way:

  • Pujols needed 21 home runs entering the season to hit 700 for his career and had just signed a one-year deal to play part time for the Cardinals. A 21+ home run season out of a 42-year-old bench bat seemed improbable.
  • Judge entered the season making a risky and huge bet on himself. He turned down a $213M contract extension with the Yankees knowing he could test the free agent market after the season. Frankly, nobody predicted he would break Roger Maris’ 61-year-old Yankee and AL home run record, and the bet paid off. 

As the summer dragged on, these records started to go from unlikely outcomes to attainable milestones. The card market reacted:

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  • Judge’s 2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto BGS 9.5 started at $925 (3/27/22). It crept up into the high $1,000s to low $2,000s as the calendar hit June and July. By the start of September, he was only 10 home runs away from tying the record—this card EXPLODED. It went from $3,550 on 9/1/22 to an all-time high of $6,799 in just three weeks (9/24/22).The card last sold in 2022 for $2,750 (12/10/22).
  • Pujols' path to 700 was a little less clear. As the calendar turned from July to August, he hit only seven home runs on the season and needed to average seven a month for the last two months to get to 700. To highlight how unlikely this was, the last time Pujols hit more than seven home runs in a month was June of 2015 when he was 35. With Pujols only 14 home runs away from history and only having two months left of his career, something unexplainable happened. He morphed into vintage Albert Pujols. Over the last two months, he played in 51 games—the most games he played in a two-month stretch since April/May of 2018. During that stretch he produced a 1.000+ OPS in that time span with 17 home runs. That caused his stagnant market to explode. Pujols’ 2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto /500 BGS 9.5 first sold after the start of Spring Training for $44,000 (5/21/22). The next sold for $50,000 (9/22/22) when he was in the midst of his chase. The highest sale of this card/grade in 2022 was an all-time high for any BGS 9.5 at $78,000 (10/20/22) after he became just the 4th member of the 700 home run club. The card last sold in 2022 for $48,000 on 10/28/22.

Two amazing and unexpected home run records fell this season, in what was the third worst league-wide offensive performance of the last 30 years, and the card market didn’t miss its chance to pounce.

BASEBALL MISSES: 2022 Topps Chrome Hobby Boxes

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The biggest miss of the MLB season wasn’t any one player. It was a missing chunk of players—specifically missing non-auto SP Topps Chrome rookies from Topps Chrome hobby boxes. The list of missing names is as follows: Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr, Hunter Greene, CJ Abrams and Spencer Torkelson. This was one of the biggest mistakes for a product release we’ve seen, considering two of the three biggest chase names of the product were missing. Topps made right by its consumers two times over. 

  • They offered Silver Packs that could contain Julio, Witt, Abrams, Greene and Torkelson SPs among other cool cards (we saw Harper, Judge and Luis Robert RC autos come out of silver packs), to anyone that bought Hobby and Jumbo Hobby boxes. 
  • The second way they made up for it was the MVP Buyback program which gave customers who ripped Topps Chrome a way to make back even more money off the product by trading in their Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt Topps Chrome cards for credit towards more products. 

What ended up as a major snafu ended with a couple of brilliant card market campaigns from Topps.

RELEASE OF THE YEAR: 2022 Bowman Baseball 

There were MLB releases with big names like Wander Franco, Oneil Cruz and the above mentioned Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt Jr., but from a pure upside standpoint and future projection standpoint, it’s hard to choose any other release than 2022 Bowman Baseball. Not only did 2022 Bowman baseball have Wander and Cruz RCs, they also had 87 Bowman 1st prospect cards (Bowman 1st = a player’s first card), and only six of them were pitchers. That gives this product immense upside as position players sell significantly better than pitchers.  This set obviously has quantity, but it also has quality. Of the 81 position players, there are seven top 100 prospects, plus multiple former 1st round picks and players who could make top 100 lists in the coming year. This list of top prospects is highlighted by Jackson Chourio and Elly De La Cruz. The immense amount of position player talent in this set makes it the top baseball release of 2022 and depending on how the players pan out, possibly one of the best ever.

BIG SALE ’22: Mickey Mantle 1952 Topps SGC 9.5

This card sold for $12,600,000 via Heritage Auctions, which isn’t just the most expensive baseball card sale in 2022, but it’s the most expensive sports card sale… EVER (all categories).

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The Mantle SGC 9.5 is: 

  • $5M more than the next highest sports card sale of all-time 
  • $7M more than the next highest selling Mantle card. 

6. OTHER NOTABLE CARD HIGHLIGHTS 2022

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  • Hockey: 1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky RC PSA 10,  $1,200,000 (8/27/22)
  • Formula 1: 2020 Topps Chrome Lewis Hamilton Superfractor 1/1 PSA 7, $900,000 (4/30/22)
  • Tennis: 2003 Serena Williams Netpro Elite Glossy Tennis Rookie /100 PSA 10, $96,000 (1/23/22). Rapidly dropped to $58,100 by April.
  • Golf:  2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods Gold Rookie Auto  /100 PSA 10, $240,000 (3/19/22)
  • UFC: 2014 Topps UFC Khabib Nurmagomedov Auto Rookie Card 1/1 PSA NM 7, $79,200 (5/1/22) 
  • Wrestling: 1982 Wrestling All Stars Series A Hulk Hogan Rookie BGS 9.5, $52,840 (9/10/22)
  • Pokemon: 1998 Pokemon Japanese CoroCoro Rare Holofoil Illustrator Pikachu – The Swirllustrator Pedigree CGC 9.5, $672,000 (10/30/22)
  • Non-Sport: 2013 Fleer Retro Spider-Man Green PMG /10 BGS 9, $168,000 (5/21/22)

30,000 Foot View of the ’22 Card Market

Here’s the big-picture look back at the card market for both December and 2022, comparing the CL50 card market index (provided by Card Ladder) to other market indexes:

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What does this mean? It’s not easy being green. For 2022, all market indexes in this report were in the red.

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What does this mean for card categories? If you’re buying on the dip, you have lots of choices. For the year, Hockey was the only card category standout, eh!

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What does this mean? Long live Honus Wagner.

Looking Ahead

2023, here we come. We’ve all lived through the drops of 2022, but with those drops present opportunities to add cards to your collection you couldn’t in 2021. In the upcoming January SlabStox Market Report, we’ll be revealing our first prototype of the SlabStox 100 Index (SX 100). We are creating this index to be more representative of the general card collecting and investing market and to further the discussion of card market movement. This index will be used to gauge the health of the market in these monthly card market reports. We hope you have a great and safe 2023!

Sports Card Shows Worth Checking Out

Jan. 6-8 

  • (Jan. 7) Magnolia Sports Card Show, Tupelo, Mississippi

Jan. 13-15

  • (Jan. 14) Colts Neck Coin & Card Expo, Colts Neck, NJ

Jan. 27-29

  • (Jan. 28) Magnolia Sports Card Show: Brandon Public Library, Brandon, MS
  • (Jan. 28) Sebastian Sports Card Show, Sebastian, FL
  • (Jan. 28) Central Jersey Cards & Collectibles Show, Edison, NJ

January: Important Product Releases

The release dates below are subject to change by the manufacturer. Dates provided by Cardboard Connection.

Jan 4: 2022 Topps Chrome F1

Jan 5: 2022 Skybox Metal Universe Hockey

Jan 11: 2022 Panini National Treasures Baseball

2022-23 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

Jan 13: 2022 Panini Spectra Football

Jan 18: 2022 Panini Immaculate Collection Basketball

2022 Panini Impeccable Football

2022 Topps Finest Baseball

2022 Topps Dynasty F1

Jan 25: 2022-23 Panini Donruss Soccer

2021-22 Panini Mosaic Basketball 

2023 Topps Sterling Baseball

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