It’s the life of a nomad.
Josh Roth is the portrait of the character in card collecting known as a Flipper.
He spent part of his week in the familiar surroundings of a card show, making deals. This time, it was the biggest stage of all: the National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, IL.
“One-hundred percent a flipper,” he says before adding, “A collector. I’m whatever I am at the moment. Some moments I’m all those things. Sometimes, I’m an investor.”
He says the flipper is like a day trader.
It’s simply buying low, selling high and doing it as quickly as you can. He says it’s rare if he holds a card more than a month or so.
“This is my full-time job. What a way to go. It doesn’t matter what you do. Whether it’s sports cards or a hobby to a full hustle. If you are willing to hustle, willing to grind, and wake up early, you can do it. It can change your life if you are willing to do the work.”
He’s having fun, he’s making bank and he’s traveling the country. His protective card case could be littered with stickers from all the big shows. He’s always ready to make a deal.
“I’m on a world tour,” the 25-year-old from Tampa, Florida quips. “Just kidding. I’ve been hitting shows every week for the last two months. Denver, Philly, Dallas, Miami.”
He’s been pedaling high dollar basketball and football cards since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s when he pivoted from sneakers and jumped into online sales through eBay and Facebook. He says they are undervalued and somewhat under the radar compared to baseball.
“I had to learn a lot. It was a lot of late nights and early mornings,” Roth recalls.
He says he looks for high potential and low risk. However, high risk balances out if there’s a high ceiling on a card’s value.
Just before the NSCC opened Wednesday, he collected $6,500 via PayPal on a deal. He said he paid $3,000 for it not that long ago. It certainly wasn’t the biggest transaction of the show, but certainly, enough to cover travel costs.
He admits, it’s not out of the question to go with his heart over a price guide. “Until I get a good offer and I sell it.”
As a rule that’s only a few weeks, generally no more than a month.
Wednesday he was stopped at a dealer. As soon as he snapped open his foam-lined box, a small crowd drew near. He knew it was the right place to stop.
“I saw the cards (on display) in their case. They are high end cards. When they are selling high end cards, they are probably buying, too.”
He’s cautious on talking numbers and the size of his deals.
“With what I’m making, I won’t have to work for anyone else again.” Quickly adding, “I’m looking to buy my parents a house in the islands.”
How’d he get this big this quick? He humbly says it’s all about timing.
‘I’m always at the right place at the right time, because God is good. I’m always praying that He puts me in the right spot.”
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