STARTING a hobby can be very expensive, yes, but a favorable amount of diskarte (and luck) can help you spend less and gain more.
As sports cards have found their way back as both a legit hobby and a serious investment, both old hobbyists and new quarantine collectors lock horns to score great deals.
Justin Valencia, a newcomer to the sports card world, begun collecting and investing just last month.
In a span of four weeks, he's already gathered more than 400+ cards, composed of the NBA Hoops rookie cards, and a couple of unique finds like the Kobe SLAM Holo card that he got for only P770 in a Facebook group.
"Nag-umpisa ako last April 2021 lang, nagstart muna ako sa mga repacks from online shops like Shopee, 'yung 10 pieces per pack, tapos 100+ lang. Nagjoin ako sa mga box break groups sa FB, 'yung kukuha ng slot for either team random or specific team, tsambahan lang din talaga," he told SPIN Life.
The small-time box breaks groups usually sold slots for their live bunutan for P500 to P700.
In one group that he joined, a slot was P770, and he bought two, picking the two numbers for a random roulette.
Luck was on his side. He received Los Angeles Lakers and Minnestoa Timberwolves. And just on the 10th pick, he acquired a sought-after SLAM Holo Card of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
"Pagkabunot, SLAM for the Lakers, I was hoping for Kobe talaga. Then, biglang Kobe nga tapos later pa napansin na Holographic, napa-search ako bigla how much ang value. Sa eBay, sold for $100 to $150, pero nung tumingin ako sa local groups, may nakabenta ng almost P9,000, so I sold mine for P8,000," he said.
From P770, Valencia got an almost 1,000% markup for his lucky card.
While he sold cards for additional income over the pandemic, he also keeps a collection for himself.
Valencia is a Boston Celtics fan and has been gathering the cards of guard Romeo Langford and forward Jayson Tatum.
While his personal stockpile is still modest, he takes the pleasure of owning cardboard as a sports fan who religiously watches the games, and follows every move of his team.
"Iba 'yung satisfaction na makita mo 'yung card. Siguro almost every day, I spend a few minutes just looking at my collection, nakakatuwa lang, lalo ngayong pandemic na wala masyadong avenues for enjoyment," he said. "Masaya siyang hobby, magastos pero pwede ka ding kumita."
Valencia also has advice for starters who want to jump on the trend.
"Magandang magsimula sa mga di masyadong kilalang players. It can be a good investment, especially sa rookie cards kasi ang dami pang pwedeng mangyari sa career nila in the future," he added.