Category: Kevin Burge

How I Built My Sports Card Business

The following post gives a first-hand account of how Kevin Burge was able to turn a childhood hobby into a thriving business and built a loyal community of customers along the way.

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My interest in sports cards and memorabilia started when I was just a young kid. Fast-forward to the present and I am an accomplished collector, trader, and businessperson in this field who’s been able to turn something I love into revenue.

So how did I make a flourishing career out of a fun pastime? And what does it take to make it in this industry? 

Here’s a look at my journey into the sports card business below.

Discovering Sports Cards

When I was just eight years old, I made my first foray into the wide world of sports cards and memorabilia. As a child growing up in Winston-Salem, Cooks Flea Market was a frequent destination, which was the most popular flea market in the area. It was there that I first started buying, collecting, and trading sports cards.  

I continued to do this for several years and eventually even set up my own stalls to sell trading cards. In this way, I got a head start learning about this business, and these experiences essentially laid the groundwork for my future career. 

My First Job in the Industry

Buying and selling sports trading cards at Cooks and other flea markets in Winston-Salem wasn’t my only occupation in the industry as a kid. When I was 10, I started doing some rather basic work at Field of Dreams in my hometown and put together boxes that held sports cards.

While the work wasn’t as exciting as buying, selling, and trading, every job in the sports cards industry had something to teach me. I was simply happy to be in the field as it were, doing anything related to my newfound passion. I continued with Field of Dreams, learning all I could glean about the business, in addition to working flea markets until I was 18 years old.

The National Sports Collectors Convention

When I was 18 years old, I was first introduced to the National Sports Collectors Convention. Every year this organization holds a card show and sports memorabilia exhibition in a different city somewhere in the United States. The first one I attended was in Anaheim, California, in 1999. I’ve attended every convention since then for the past 22 years.

At most of these conventions, I set up booths and engage in buying and selling sports cards with other attendees. It’s much like what I’ve been doing at flea markets since I was younger, but on a grander scale. I’ve made a lot of connections in the industry through these conventions and gained plenty of insights from others working in this space.

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Buying, Selling, and Trading

The many years I’ve spent buying, selling, and trading sports cards at conventions, flea markets, and other gatherings have given me the bulk of my knowledge about this vast industry. There’s truly no better way to understand the value of collector’s items like these and learn how to navigate the market than by getting direct experience setting up booths and trying to get the best possible deals for trading cards.

Thanks to the time spent engaged in these markets I now have an intimate understanding of how this industry works and an edge over less-experienced competition when it comes to business savvy and valuations. 

Sports Memorabilia

After becoming an aficionado in the sports card industry, I naturally decided to try my hand at dealing and collecting sports memorabilia, as the two pastimes have a natural link. However, I quickly found many aspects of the sports memorabilia world unsavory. Namely, there were a lot of problems with forgery and fraud that put a damper on my enthusiasm for entering this niche of collectibles. 

It didn’t take long to walk away from that and remain focused on sports cards, which are after all my true calling.

Consulting

When you’ve spent as many years in the business as I have, you become an expert at valuation, rarity, pricing, and other important aspects of the trade. So, naturally, others who are interested in investing in sports cards have come to me for advice from time to time. It’s always an honor to be able to share my knowledge and expertise with someone who’s still learning the business and help them make them some money in the process by encouraging smart purchases.  

What I’ve Learned from the Industry

My experiences buying and selling sports cards have taught me the many nuances of the trade, from how to spot a fake to knowing the best time to make a deal. As a bonafide expert in the industry, my skills and insider knowledge have been immensely helpful in keeping my company running through all the economic cycles of the last couple of decades. 

Conclusion

That’s how I went from a kid with a fun hobby to a successful proprietor of a sports card business. I’m extremely grateful for everything that I’ve learned from this industry and the experiences I’ve had along the way, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am eager to pass on my passion for this business to my two children who now travel with me to card events, as well as to anybody that has a similar zeal for collecting cards.

What do you love to do? I hope you can find a way to turn that pastime into a thriving enterprise as well!

Three Groundbreaking Sports Stars You Never Knew Were From North Carolina

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North Carolina is packed with sporting talent. There are so many world-renowned teams in the state that it’s hard to keep up with all the sporting news. However, alongside the excellent teams, some fantastic sports stars come from the state, too.

Whether you love the Carolina Panthers or prefer to watch NASCAR racing, there are athletes from across the state. Read on to find out about three sports stars you never knew were from North Carolina.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is arguably the most famous sports player to ever exist. Although he was born in Brooklyn, New York, his family moved to North Carolina in 1968 when Jordan was only five. He attended high school in the state and went on to study at the University of North Carolina. Kevin Burge believes that college basketball in the state is dedicated and competitive — something that helped Jordan significantly as he developed his skills.

Some of Jordan’s earliest major games were with the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team. He moved straight from the team to the Chicago Bulls, showing how impressive his skills already were. The basketball star even won the NCAA player of the year award during his second season, making the items he wore legendary. In May 2021, a jersey that he wore during his second season with the team sold for a whopping $1.38 million. 

Jordan has gone on to have a long and varied career. As well as being one of the best basketball players of all time, he has played minor league baseball and recently announced that he would be fielding a NASCAR team. He also starred in the classic movie Space Jam and launched successful clothing, including Nike Air Jordan sneakers. Jordan doesn’t currently live in the state, but North Carolina residents are still proud of the basketball star that they produced.

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Some North Carolina residents haven’t heard of golfer Estelle Lawson Page — but her impact touches the lives of many athletes. Page was born in 1907 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and lived in the state until she died in 1983. 

Page was a multi-talented athlete, playing tennis and basketball — unsurprising as her father, Bob Lawson, was the first athletic director of the University of North Carolina. However, she is most famous for her golfing prowess.

Throughout her career, Page won many of the most high-profile competitions in the country. Significant wins included seven North and South Women’s Amateurs and the US Amateur Championship in 1937. Page was also a founder of the North Carolina Women’s Golf Association and became its first president in 1950. These triumphs led to her inclusion in the first batch of sportspeople inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Although Page has not attained the same level of fame as stars like Jordan, her impact on women’s sport has been huge. In a period when being taken seriously as a female athlete was very difficult, she proved her talent time and time again.

Richard Petty

Fans of NASCAR will definitely know who racing superstar Richard Petty is. Nicknamed “The King,” Petty raced stock cars between 1958 and 1992. His experience and determination led him to receive a wide range of accolades. In addition to being the All-Time Wins leader in NASCAR Cup Series, he had the most all-time wins at Daytona Speedway and the most consecutive NASCAR Cup Series wins. It’s fair to say that Petty has earned his nickname.

North Carolina has a long tradition of NASCAR. The Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord draws fans from across the country, which means that Petty, who was born in Level Cross, was immersed in NASCAR from a young age. His father was also a NASCAR racer, so Petty had a chance to hone his skills from an early age by working as part of his pit crew.

Petty is highly respected in the NASCAR community. He was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, named one of NASCAR’s top 50 greatest drivers in 1998 and became the first Motorsports athlete to be awarded a Medal of Freedom in 1992. Although he is now 84 and no longer races, Petty remains highly involved in the sport through the Richard Petty Motorsports company.

North Carolina — Major Contributor to the World of Sports

North Carolina is filled with sporting talent. From pioneer Estelle Lawson Page to multi-talented Michael Jordan, it has no shortage of famous athletes. In fact, Kevin describes the rich sporting culture of North Carolina as one of the best things about the state. The deep-rooted tradition will likely continue to produce some of the world’s most respected competitors. 

Kevin Burge Looks Forward to a Promising Panthers Season

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As a proud fan of the Carolina Panthers, Kevin Burge could not be more excited about the upcoming Carolina Panthers season. A lot of the optimism for Kevin Burge stems from second-year head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule successfully turned both Temple and Baylor programs around during his tenure as a head coach. After a promising start to last season, Rhule showed glimpses of being able to translate that success to the pro level.

An offensive guru, Rhule will have a quarterback he wanted this season. Sam Darnold, formerly of the New York Jets, will get his chance to play with the best crop of skill position players he has ever been surrounded with. Burge thinks that Darnold’s struggles in New York were caused more by a porous offensive line than a lack of talent. Darnold has one of the strongest arms in the league and will be able to get the ball to some dynamic weapons.  Robby Anderson, DJ Moore and Christian McCaffery are all some of the most talented offensive weapons at their respective positions. If Darnold plays well, the Panthers could be in the mix for the NFC South crown come December.

The state of the division is in a slight transition. The perennial powerhouse Saints are now looking forward to life without Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. Entering camp, the Saints will have a quarterback competition and either choice should be a step back from Brees. The Falcons took an incredible tight end in the draft in Kyle Pitts, but signal caller Matt Ryan is yet another year older and towards the end of his career. The defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, show no true signs of slowing down. However, Tom Brady had to be human. One of these years his play should have to deteriorate. Kevin Burge is hopeful that the Bucs can suffer from a classic Super Bowl hangover – as unlikely as that may be!

Overall, the Panthers have the feel of a young team on the rise. This year will show whether or not Sam Darnold is the long-term answer at quarterback. If he isn’t, the team will be in a good position to acquire the quarterback of the future in next year’s draft. Kevin Burge hopes this isn’t the case as there’s nothing quite as electric as a Panthers playoff push come December. The squad will look to start the season on the right foot when they take on the New York Jets on Sunday September 12th in a revenge game for Darnold.