How I Lost Money on Baseball Cards

We often see people in the hobby flaunt their big wins. Profiting hundreds of dollars on the flip of a Topps online exclusive, clearing retail shelves, or buying low on Luka Doncic and Patrick Mahomes only to flip for a big win.

But where is all the transparency? We can learn more from our mistakes than from our victories in many cases. I’m just as guilty with articles on how to MAKE MONEY on baseball cards, or how much I made on this Craigslist collection (and still see sales almost daily from this collection), or taking advantage of discount sealed wax during Blowout’s Black Friday sales.


There are losses, too. Would you believe a hobby case of 2017 Bowman was less than $800 at presale? AND….I LOST money on my case! I also lost money buying a hobby case of 2015 Bowman Draft for just $500. Had I set those two cases aside a couple years I could have made big money, but I didn’t.

This article is about how I lost (well, I’m going to lose) money on a case of 2020 Allen & Ginter which was released last week. Full disclosure: I bought my case at retail price for $1,535 and knew I was going to lose money. Why? If you want to rip and flip cases you need to get near wholesale pricing. Find someone with connections and you can make it happen. In fact, had I waited about 12 hours I could have bought a case for $1,300.

When I was ripping and flipping cases back in 2016 and 2017 I was getting near wholesale prices from a breaker who lived near me. Hobby prices were also much different three years ago, and I was also moving base commons and insert cards on Sportlots. In fact, I was able to make about 30% back on my case by simply selling commons and inserts the week of release.

Why did I buy a case of Allen & Ginter fully knowing I was going to lose money? One word: entertainment. Allen & Ginter is tied to many memories and it’s always been a fun rip for me. So, even though I will likely lose a little the entertainment value will make it worthwhile.


Before I ever bought a case of baseball cards my line of thinking was they would be loaded with hits, and you can never lose money. I learned that is false fairly quickly. Allen & Ginter has been very good to me in terms of hits. Unfortunately, the 2020 purchase was about the worst.

Every case of Allen & Ginter I have purchased in the past has had a “case hit” and I’ve been able to sell a card for $300 to $500. Not so this time. My biggest hits were the two guaranteed RIP cards and they were the regular size cards numbered /99 of Clayton Kershaw and Pete Alonso. The Kershaw sold for $100 almost immediately, and the Alonso sold for $118.

The next highest priced sale? Would you believe it was a regular relic card of a reality star named Johnny Bananas. It sold for $50 within about two hours of listing.

I pulled a pair of 1/1 printing plates that sold for $25 (Trevor Hoffman) and $20 (Tommy LaStella).

A Fernando Tatis Jr. mini framed relic sold for $20, and a Keston Hiura mini framed autograph went for $30.

The rest is a bunch of low dollar sales, and as of this writing my gross sales total $724.12 on 91 transactions. After fees and shipping that net margin is a loss of nearly $1,000 and most of the higher value hits have already been sold. Ouch.


One of the reasons I wanted to share how I lost money on my hobby case of 2020 Allen & Ginter was because of a sales listing on the Blowout Forums. It was loaded with hits like a Jose Canseco mini framed auto numbered /25, five EXT minis, three A&G back no numbered cards, a stack of autographs, relics, and even a Nick Senzel N43 autographed box topper /15. Plus, the seller was throwing in a complete base set all for $300. It was 1/5 the cost of my case and it was loaded with far greater hits. I’ve been debating with myself on whether or not to purchase the lot in an attempt to make a dent in my Ginter losses this year.

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