EXCLUSIVE: There’s a boom in collectible sports trading cards – from the $4.6M paid for a Luka Doncic rookie card or the $5.2M for a 1952 Mickey Mantle card as well as a recent deal that valued card brand Topps at $1.3B.
This is the impetus for a new feature documentary that This Is What Love In Action Looks Like director Morgan Jon Fox is helming for non-fiction studio XTR.
Fox and XTR are producing The Hobby, which delves into the historic comeback of the trading card industry. The doc is a deep dive into the real-time trading card fever following longtime collectors and a new generation of buyers including high net worth investors, athletes and celebrities as the hobby goes nuclear.
The documentary follows longtime collectors and a new generation of buyers, including Josh Luber, the co-founder of StockX and Chief Vision Officer of Fanatics Trading Cards, which acquired Topps, Pokémon influencer and enthusiast, SuperDuperDani, Mike Gioseffi of the The Ringer’s Sports Cards Nonsense podcast and Gary “King Pokémon” Haase, who appeared on an episode of Pawn Stars with his Pokémon collection that is today worth more than $20M.
The film also offers an inside look at the auction houses, trading and investment platforms, grading companies, cards shops, and manufacturers that have stood the test of time or recently sprouted from the market boom.
Ted Speaker, who produced Lynn Shelton’s film film Sword of Trust and HBO doc Alabama Snake, produces with XTR’s Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob, Kathryn Everett and Abazar Khayami exec producing alongside Andy Hsieh.
It is the latest doc project for XTR, which is behind Apple’s Magic Johnson series and has six films at the virtual Sundance Film Festival including We Met In Virtual Reality and Natasha Lyonne and Maya Rudolph-exec produced Sirens.
“My love of collecting began as a kid buying packs from the local card shop with my father and grandfather in the 90s,” said Morgan Jon Fox. “Once I came back into collecting as an adult, I was amazed at how much the world of trading cards had changed, but that same rush of pure excitement and adrenaline when I walk into a card shop or a show never went away.”
“In today’s world where artwork is digitally minted and sold online for millions, it’s crazy to see an old-school hobby return with such force,” added Justin Lacob, Head of Development, XTR. “We are excited to share the behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest cultural phenomena over the last few years and all of the factors that played into this historical comeback.”