When many businesses struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of trading cards saw a resurgence.

“It just kind of brought people together,” said Stephanie Pettit with 306 Sports Cards in Saskatoon.

“When we couldn’t watch sports, we could still cheer for our teams and collect our players.”

Pettit co-owns the store with her husband Paul Houk. They say they were fortunate enough to be part of an industry that’s grown in the last six months, with collectors and distributors capitalizing on physical distancing by moving their product online.

Box and case breaking is what creates much of the excitement online, where groups of people purchase their share of a box or case of cards, and then watch together as it’s opened.

“We open the cards live on Facebook, there’s a livestream so you can see that the case is sealed, you can see all of the cards that are being pulled,” said Pettit.

“After that we sort the cards and we ship them, and we’re actually shipping all around the world.”

As the popularity of trading cards as surged, so has their value.

“A fellow came in here the other day, he had a whole lot of golf cards and he just wanted to get rid of them, they were in his garage forever and he was moving, he didn’t have space for them anymore,” said Houk, holding a Tiger Woods autographed card. “We were going through them and we found this hidden gem worth $22,000.”

According to Houk, you can spend anywhere from $20 to $150 dollars, and if you’re lucky, you leave with something much more valuable.

A particular autographed card of Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar, of which only 25 were printed, is worth $300-$400.

“We have a lot of people that just watch us break cards, and actually might not ever get in,” said Pettit.

“But then they’ll contact that person and be like, ‘Hey, I collect them and I’m interested in purchasing that from you.”