Todd Crosner co-owns a wholesale card shop, Global Sales, and a retail card shop, Santa Monica’s Sports Cards & Collectibles, selling a variety of sports cards, including baseball, golf, football, hockey and basketball cards. They also sell non-sports cards, such as Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Spider-Man and Magic the Gathering. However, Crosner’s main hobby isn’t collecting cards it’s backgammon.
“(Card collecting) started out as a hobby growing up. Then, around 1987 my wife and I decided to start a company. We only sold a little bit at first, but by 1989 we had $1 million in sales from wholesale and mail orders.
“When I first got into the business I only wanted to do wholesale. (But) in 1988, ’89 when we rented an office there was this guy who kept coming around wanting me to buy his store. Finally one day I decided to go look. I couldn’t believe the business this guy was doing. I thought if we had the right inventory, we could probably do double what he was doing. Within a year we expanded into the store next door and then we probably tripled what he was doing.
“In 1999 we merged with my partner’s company, Santa Monica’s Sports Cards and Collectibles, which is where we are now. Business is pretty solid. We have one retail store and one wholesale store, 10 employees and make about $12 million in sales. The most expensive thing that we have would be a 1956 Topps baseball set, which would go for $5,000. The average pack of cards sells for about $2.
“Lots of kids come in for gaming cards. Right now non-sport cards are more collectible than sports cards, like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and Duel Masters. I don’t know if these cards will be as valuable in 20 years as sports cards but they could be. People who bought Magic the Gathering boxes 10 to 15 years ago can sell them today for $2,000 to $10,000.
“I really like the 1972 baseball cards and older vintage cards in general. (But) I probably only keep a few things personally. It’s hard to collect and be a dealer you’d end up keeping most of your inventory.
“Very expensive cards are not really that important (to have in stock). It’s more important to have packets of cards. People want to pay a few dollars and open something that might give them a valuable card.
“There’s a lot of times when it’s a very fun business and a lot of times when it’s kind of tiring. Prices change quite often and we’re dealing with many, many thousands of cards.
“I also play backgammon. I go to competitions. I’m probably in the top 200 players in the world. That’s my main hobby.”