exclusive: There’s a boom in collectible sports trading cards — from the $4.6 million paid for a starter Luka Doncic card or $5.2 million for a 1952 Mickey Mantle card plus a recent deal valuing the Topps card brand at $1.3 billion.
This is the motivation for a feature-length documentary This is what love looks like at work Director Morgan John Fox is the non-fiction studio director of XTR.
Fox and XTR are producing Hobby, which delves into the historical return of the trading card industry. The document is a deep dive into the real-time card fever after old card collectors and a new generation of buyers including high net worth investors, athletes and celebrities as the hobby turns nuclear.
The documentary follows longtime collectors and a new generation of buyers, including Josh Lauber, co-founder of StockX and chief visionary at Fanatics Trading Cards, which acquired Topps, Pokémon influencer and enthusiast, SuperDuperDani, Mike Gioseffi of The Ringer’s Sports Cards Podcast Nonsense and Gary “King Pokémon” Haase who appeared on an episode of star pawn His collection of Pokémon is worth more than $20 million today.
The film also offers an inside look at the auction houses, trading and investment platforms, rating companies, card shops, and manufacturers that have stood the test of time or recently emerged from the market boom.
Ted Spiker, who produced the film Lynne Shelton sword of trust and HBO doc Alabama snake, produced with Brian Moser, Justin Lacob, Katherine Everett and Abazar Khayami exec of XTR along with Andy Hsieh.
It’s the latest documentary project for XTR, which is behind Apple’s Magic Johnson series and has six films at the Sundance Virtual Film Festival including We met in virtual reality Natasha Lyonna and Maya Rudolph Exec Sirens.
“My love for collectibles started as a kid buying packets at the local card store with my parents and grandparents in the ’90s,” Morgan John Fox said. “Once I returned to collecting cards as an adult, I was amazed at how much the world of trading cards had changed, but the same rush of pure excitement and adrenaline when I walked into a card shop or a show never went away.”
“In today’s world where artwork is digitally minted and sold online to millions, it’s crazy that the old-school hobby is coming back so strong,” added Justin Lacob, Head of Development, XTR. “We are excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest cultural phenomena over the past few years and all the factors that played into this historic comeback.”