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The Rise of Sports trading cards

Drafts and lotteries are not just for fans to see who the next stars on their favorite team are; it's also for collectors to see what the next big card to collect is.
Posted: 12:46 PM, May 02, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-02 13:46:42-04

WACO, Texas — Who knew simple sports cards could become such a dominating market?

Waco has it's own sports trading card place and of them is Bankston's, a local comic book and card store that has seen the growth of these collectibles. It really started to take flight during the pandemic.

"A lot of things were taken away—our freedoms, our opportunities to shop, do whatever we want to do, and it kind of... kind of resonated with all of us," owner Brent Bankston said.

"It's like, what is nostalgic, what makes me happy? What are the things that I wanna go to? For a lot of people, it was baseball cards, and comics, and toys, and these things that we do."

Brent has been the owner of Bankston's since its opening 39 years ago. Along the way, he has seen cards of all shapes and sizes and also different prices—including a Mickey Mantle card that is worth $50,000, and a Michael Jordan rookie card for $12,000.

The trading card game has also seen expansion through NIL and because college athletes can now sell their image and likeness, local athletes' cards are already on the market.

"People come in from different places to just find these Baylor players. It's amazing to have Baylor locally. I've been a fan of Baylor since birth," Bankston's employee Christian Garcia said.

While sports trading cards are booming for profits, at the end of the day, it's all about fans wanting to collect their favorite players.

"That's what drives this hobby because everybody gets a choice to do it the way they wanna do it. There's no right or wrong way to collect. You have your story, he has his story, we all have a story that we want to be invested in," Bankston said.

"I think it's the look and the player and just that inner child in you—and I got my favorite player, I got an autograph from my favorite player, I got a patch of my favorite player," Garcia said.

If you have old sports cards, you might want to brush them off, because you never know what could be in your pull.