Trading-Card Mania Inspires New Reality-TV Show From Maker of ‘Pawn Stars’

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The market for trading cards and other sports memorabilia, which boomed during the pandemic, is now getting the reality-TV treatment.

Brent Montgomery, the producer behind “Pawn Stars,” and Connor Schell, formerly of ESPN, are teaming up to make a show about trading-card impresario Ken Goldin and his company, Goldin Auctions. They’ve met with several streaming services and TV networks about the project, according to people familiar with the situation.

Interest in trading cards has skyrocketed over the past couple of years, fueled by younger people with spare cash treating cards like stocks or bonds. They buy cards of younger players they like, in the hopes that the value will increase as that athlete excels. Goldin’s company has emerged as the leading auction house in the industry. It has already sold more than $150 million worth of merchandise this year, and is in the early stages of a new auction that Goldin believes will generate an additional $50 million or more.

Trading-Card Mania Inspires New Reality-TV Show From Maker of ‘Pawn Stars’

Goldin is the kind of outsized personality designed for reality TV. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and memorabilia, and already goes live on Instagram several days a week to open new packs of cards. The proposed reality-TV show has become the subject of a bidding war, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Montgomery made a fortune with “Pawn Stars,” which chronicled a quirky family-run pawn shop a couple of miles off the Las Vegas Strip. The success of that show enabled him to sell a majority stake in his company, Leftfield Pictures, to British broadcaster ITV Plc for $360 million.

Montgomery now runs a company called Wheelhouse, which produces shows and invests in media and commerce companies. For help with trading cards, he turned to Schell, who worked on the “30 for 30” documentary series at Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN. Schell left ESPN last year to start his own production company with financing from the Chernin Group.

The Chernin Group has its own connection to Goldin. It agreed to acquire a controlling stake in the auction house earlier this year.

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