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The European Trading Card Market: Parallels to North America?

June 6, 2022, 1:38 PM ET [6 Comments]
Shawn Gates
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For as much as the memorabilia game has undergone some significant shifts over time, many of the roots of the trade remain constant. Here in North America, a mainstay of the industry is the trading card which, despite its evolution over the course of decades, has remained a cornerstone product in the industry. Not so clear for me, however, is the European market. I don’t live there for one, so lack a finger on the pulse, and admittedly consume a predominantly western perspective of the hobby in the written and electronic media I dive into. Call me Europus Ignoramous.

In as much as this is the case, I love stumbling across little pieces of research such as the one I’m about to share. While by no means a large scale study, a UK sports equipment business (One Buy Treadmills) came to some cool little findings upon becoming interested in determining the most valuable sports memorabilia in their neck of the woods. The plan? Take a list of 50 top athletes and track down the top 20 memorabilia sales for each from a European online marketplace. In doing so they found their “Top 10” selling athletes by average sale price, while also indicating the proportion of the sales by type of item sold. Some interesting stuff here!

Notable that across sports, be it basketball (four), baseball (three) or football/soccer (three), trading cards were the driving force in the amount of memorabilia being sold. In eight of the 10 cases, they comprised of 87% to 100% of the top 20 sales. The remaining two athletes, Babe Ruth at 63% and Pele at 51%, still saw cards representing over half of the sales, reinforcing that even in cases where merchandise was more varied, it was not at the expense of our little cardboard friend. Head on over here for a more detailed break down of the numbers should you so desire!

While far from definitive, this small glimpse into the overseas marketplace certainly suggests that, at minimal, the trading card holds a strong presence in the aftermarket with respect to sales. With a bump up in the market for football/soccer and F1 cards in North America, it will be interesting how these trends translate over time in the primary and secondary sales markets.


Positive vibes and love to you and yours my friends. Let’s all take care of each other, ok?

If you or someone you know is in crisis and suicidal, please reach out! You are not alone, people care, and people want to help! You are loved and worth the time! Go here to Wikipedia for a list of international suicide crisis hotlines and reach out to the appropriate one.


Do you have a piece of treasured memorabilia that has a great story behind it? Let me know and you can be featured in an article. Doesn't matter how big or small the piece is, how valuable it may be, or whether it's a common item or more oddball. If you think it has a story, contact me via the information below and we'll chat. In the meantime, check out some previous "Display Case" articles via the links below to see what others have submitted in the past...

Shawn Gates

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