MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Target will no longer sell Pokémon and sports trading cards in its physical locations.
The change takes effect Friday following a parking lot brawl last week at a Target location in Wisconsin. The Minneapolis-based company says that the temporary suspension is out of an abundance of caution, as there have been fights over cards across the country.
Shoppers can still find trading cards at Target’s online store.
During the pandemic, baseball card collecting has become more popular than ever, with several stores running out of stock of cards.
“We’re seeing, like, a lot of fathers and sons come in, a lot of kids come in,” Peter Vazquez, a card shop owner, told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. “I’ve had moms actually come and buy cards for themselves.”
If you’re thinking of trading those cards in for big money, the FBI warns that fraud is also a factor when there’s an increase in demand.
Adam Thomas’ sports card store S&S Sports Cards in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been busier than ever, CBS Miami reports. “I’ve been in this, you know, industry over 30 years and had the store over 22 years, and I’ve never seen more kids come in the store than this year,” he said.
The shop was closed to the public for three months at the height of the pandemic, but it still managed to double its profits last year through online sales and customers stopping by once it reopened. “People had more time on their hands. People were wanting to relive stuff that made them feel good when they were a kid,” Thomas said.
Panini America is the world’s largest licensed sports and entertainment collectibles company. “The demand currently far outweighs supply,” said Panini CEO Mark Warsop. “If you haven’t collected trading cards in 20 years, come and take another look. You can buy trading cards with precious gems inside, trading cards made of precious metals.”
There is also an element of luck in finding out what’s inside a pack. These so-called “hits” are often streamed on social media, attracting younger collectors. Even a basic pack bought for a few dollars may contain a limited-stock card worth thousands, and the value only goes up from there.
In January, a Mickey Mantle baseball card sold for a record $5.2 million dollars.
The NFL and NBA that are fueling the growth in sports trading cards. A signed card of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes auctioned for $861,000 earlier this year. “Don’t treat everything as an investment or as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Collect what you like, whether that’s a player, or a team, or a type of card, and enjoy the hobby,” Thomas said.