Modern Wax Fund
In February 2020, Attic Investments, in partnership with Blowout Cards, launched the $3.15M Modern Wax Fund, believed to be the first private equity fund in trading cards. This fund followed the structure of a Special Purpose Vehicle with the assets to be acquired already identified and under contract to be closed on by the Fund. The asset acquisition represented 9,202 of individual boxes/sets and was for just over $3M. The most recent quarterly valuation from June 30, 2021 put the value of the underlying assets at $11.67M or an increase of 288.3%. The June 30, 2021 quarter did represent the first negative quarter for the underlying fund assets at -7.6%. The fund will strategically liquidate the assets in years 4-7, with approximately 25% of the assets liquidated each of those years.
Supply and Demand
Supply and demand are amongst the most basic economic principles and it plays a major role in every collectible. In the world of trading cards there is one component that only has shrinking supply, unopened product. There will never be more unopened product (packs, boxes, cases) that contain a Lebron James RC than there are today. With 100% certainty it can be declared there was more unopened product containing Lebron James RC’s a year ago and there will be less of it a year from now.
The rookie card is usually the most valued and coveted card for a player. Rookies can be a risky proposition from an investment perspective, even the most promising players are a long way from establishing themselves as a worthy investment, and very few actually cross that bridge.
For some perspective, in the 2007 NBA draft, there were two promising players, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. It was an exciting time for basketball fans given the talent these two players had, they were ranked number one and two as high school players, and then each spent one year playing in college before entering the NBA draft. Ultimately Greg Oden was picked first by the Portland Trailblazers where he suffered injury after injury and unfortunately never came close to living up to his potential on the court. Today a Greg Oden 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor can be purchased for around $10. On the other hand, Kevin Durant has had an outstanding career earning an MVP award, two championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and when healthy is still putting up impressive numbers. Kevin Durant’s 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor card currently ranges from about $10k to over $50k depending on the grade. If you had to choose which player to invest in heading into the NBA draft there was no wrong answer. Almost 15 years later the answer is clear, but it is not a binary choice and a way to hedge the risk from individual players is to invest in the unopened product. The before-mentioned refractors for both Oden and Durant sold for about $25 at release while a hobby box was about $45. Today a hobby box of 2007 Topps Chrome Basketball goes for about $12k.
Unopened product price performance is not solely dependent on the rookie player class either. Superstar player’s non-rookie cards, especially parallel cards that are available in almost all modern product also helps with long term price appreciation. An unopened box of 2004 Topps Chrome Basketball goes for about $3,000 despite what from a hobby perspective an uneventful rookie class but contains some highly desired non-rookie cards for both Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. These boxes could be purchased for less than $60 at the time of release.
The Fund was created through a partnership with Attic Investments and Blowout Cards. Blowout is one of the largest online retailers of unopened products across most sports and manufacturers.
Attic Investments and Blowout formed a Management company to oversee the Fund. Just over $3M of Blowout’s existing inventory was identified and placed under contract with the purchase occurring at the time the Fund closed. Blowout maintained 50% ownership of the Fund.
The product in the fund ranged from 1986-2019 product and contains 9,202 boxes/sets and had the largest weighting to Basketball at roughly 45%, Baseball 32%, Football, 20% and the remainder in other sports or entertainment.
The Fund will hold the assets for the first three years and begin selling in year 4 with the intention to sell 25% of the holdings in years 4-7.
Modern Wax Fund Performance Compared to Traditional Investment Indices
Return from Feb 28th 2020 – Dec 31st 2022
Return in Quarter Ending Dec 31st 2022
Returns 2022 YTD
Current Decline from Peak*
Modern Wax Fund
* Fund peak 03/31/21. Equities 12/31/21.
The market for unopened trading cards has seen tremendous growth since the closing of the Fund on December 31, 2021. With a 196.3% return, the Modern Wax Fund is performing extremely well. Download the Valuation of Assets Report for more information.