Winter Olympics arrival means it’s time to watch Topps cards heat up

Imagine a world where New York Yankees star Aaron Judge had just a single product where you could find his one Rookie Card and one rookie autograph — okay, okay, throw in some parallels of them and maybe a variation or two to make it a more realistic scenario.

What might those sell for? How tough would that wax become over time? It’s something to ponder.

That hypothetical is much, much closer to reality for Olympic athletes and the heavy focus on the few cards they do have gets amplified a million times over during the Olympic Games, no matter whether they are of the summer or winter variety. While we’re still on the cusp of this year’s Winter Olympics, some of the notable first-time autographs already are selling very well — but there’s clearly room for more as they become true household names. One of those likely names belongs to 17-year-old snowboarder Chloe Kim, who’ll appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s Olympics Issue dropping on Friday when the Winter Games open in South Korea.

The Kim 2018 Topps U.S. Winter Olympic Team & Hopefuls Gold autograph (/25) you see here already sold for $199, which seems low compared to the hype that already comes before she takes to the halfpipe and her dominating success in the Winter X Games. It’s also impressive considering it comes from a box guaranteeing ink that’s presently less than $75.

But it’s not alone.

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Maybe you have the Honus Wagner of Nintendo games sitting at home …

espn-stadium-events

A little-known Nintendo game then is a well-known Nintendo game now — at least to serious collectors who are known to fork over plenty of cash for it.

It’s Stadium Events, and it’s a game that’s so serious for collectors that in its original packaging it evokes comparisons to someone you might know if you’re into baseball cards.

“I never had a Honus Wagner,” said Tod Curtis, a Bedford, Ind.-based orthodontist, who seriously collects NES games and was interviewed as part of an ESPN The Magazine story on this game and its legacy. “That’s what this game is to this hobby. I don’t know how many Honus Wagner cards are out there compared to how many Stadium Events there are. If the game is really that rare, you can see in 20 years it coming up at Christie’s, where people are going to pay $900,000.”

The story is a fascinating one with plenty of parallels to the card-collecting world, and, not surprisingly, the tale has prompted the attempted sale of a high-grade copy of the game.

You probably won’t believe the asking price right now on eBay. 

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