Target is getting out of the trading card business—for now, at least.
The company says it has suspended in-store sales of baseball cards, Pokémon cards, football, basketball, Yu-Gi-Oh, and any other sort of collectible card you can name. The decision comes after a violent incident outside a Milwaukee-area store resulted in arrests.
Cards will still be sold on the company’s website. And they’re expected to eventually return to stores.
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target said in a statement to Fortune. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14. Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com.”
The pandemic has given a big boost to the trading card business. In March, a collector paid over $311,000 for a rare Pokémon card. And sports card fanatics recently paid $4.6 million for an autographed rookie card of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and $5.2 million for a 1952 Mickey Mantle card. The overall market for sports cards is now estimated to be roughly $5 billion.
Target had previously limited customers to just three sports cards items per visit. That, later, was reduced to just one item per person. Then, as demand continued to soar, the cards were put behind the customer service desk.
Part of the reason behind those limitations is avid collectors are buying up inventory in stores and reselling them online for several times the retail price. That has led to a huge upturn in the value of older cards as well.
That’s especially true of trading cards that focus on the other red-hot investment of the moment—cryptocurrency. A 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter Crypto card, one of the first trading cards to celebrate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, currently carries an asking price of $7,200 on eBay.
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