Making Money Off Copa America Cards

The 47th Copa America is being held in Brazil right now, showcasing the best talent Latin America has to offer. This competition may attract fewer high-profile sponsors than UEFA’s Euro competition. However, that is no reflection on the quality of football. Most importantly for Cardlines readers, we will show you how collectors are making money off Copa America cards.

When Sports Illustrated put together its list of the greatest soccer players of all time, the top 3 were all South American. Out of the 21 World Cups, nine have been won by South American teams. The continent is arguably the epicenter of soccer talent production.

So if you are getting into soccer cards, and you really should, South American cards deserve an essential spot on your radar.

The Copa America releases are mostly stickers released for the South American market (picture taken from Amazon).

What Is The Copa America?

The Copa America is the main tournament run by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). It pits all of the nations of South America against each other. The winner gets to call themselves the champions of South America.

It is a very open and intense competition between teams that know each other intimately and have developed fierce rivalries over the years. Out of the ten members of CONMEBOL, only two have never won this hard-fought competition: Ecuador and Venezuela.

The tournament is generally held every four years, but it has never followed a very orderly schedule. Indeed, the last one was held in 2019, and the plan has now changed. The next tournament is scheduled for 2024.

The Copa is known for being more, not to be too stereotypical here, passionate than the Euros. The games are more aggressive and hard-fought, and the fans more likely to get into fights.

Copa America rookie stickers can be worth a bit, if the player is a global star (picture taken from eBay).

Copa America Card Releases

As you may expect, Panini is aggressively dominant in South America. They have been released in all the major South American countries. Therefore, some of the best rookies are stickers from the local leagues.

They also have releases for each Copa America tournament. However, keep in mind that these are typically stickers rather than cards. You can get a complete sticker set and the album for $150 on eBay.

The unopened boxes do not hold value. You can get a 2011 complete set for $95.99. Lower than a new one. So you can safely wait until the tournament is behind you and buy the product at a lower price.

Copa America Rookie Stickers

Although the unopened products are not particularly expensive, some stickers can hold value. In particular, this will surprise no one, is when it is the first appearance of a big star.

Here is a list of the most valuable raw stickers we could find:

Ronaldinho – 2001 $250
Ronaldo – 2001 $60
Lionel Messi – 2007 $50
Neymar – 2011 $32

You may be thinking; there is no way people are making money off Copa America cards. But you would be wrong. The graded versions of these stickers are selling for a good chunk of change as long as they are of globally known players.

Here are some examples:

Sticker Price Sold Date Population
Ronaldinho 2001 -PSA 9 $1,000 June 25, 2021 1 (no 10s)
Ronaldo 1995 – PSA 4 $966 May 26, 2021 7 (the highest grade is an 8)
Messi 2016 – PSA 10 $251 June 3, 2021 3
Neymar 2011 – BGS 10 $502 June 14, 2021 1
Messi 2016 – PSA 10 $251 June 3, 2021 3

As I am sure you have realized, there is a strong play here to make some money. You can get unopened packs of 2001 Copa America stickers for 3$. Just saying.

These items have extremely low pops (picture taken from eBay).

Making Money Off Copa America Cards: Which Players Are The Best Investments?

Big tournaments like the Copa America always present an opportunity for players to further their reputation. Unfortunately, this year’s tournament is somewhat overshadowed by the Euro 2020 tournament, occurring concurrently.  But the entire continent and many football fanatics and scouts around the world are watching.

Here are some players worthy of investment.

Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)

There is a feeling that Brazil has gotten its mojo back, and a lot of it is due to the maturation of a new generation of stars. At the head of that group is Jesus, key in Manchester City’s Premier League title and helped the Sky Blues to the UEFA Champions League Final.

Keep in mind that Gabriel had done this before and helped Brazil win the 2019 Copa America by scoring in the final. However, he was sent off in that game and will hope to show that he has matured somewhat. So, with a buy-in that is quite reasonable for someone of his abilities, the Manchester City forward is a no-brainer investment.

Lautaro Martinez (Argentina)

Lautaro was one of the hottest teenage prospects in South America and encouraged a bidding war between Real Madrid and other top clubs. Instead, he signed for Inter Milan in 2018 for a fee of over 26 million dollars. After helping Inter Milan win the Italian title this year, the forward has the potential to make a splash in the Copa America and next year’s World Cup. He will need to develop a better understanding with star Lionel Messi and keep veteran Sergio Agüero out of the starting lineup.

The best Lautaro Martinez rookie is this Argentinean sticker (picture taken from eBay).

Federico Valverde (Uruguay)

Perhaps because Federico is Uruguayan, he has not impacted the hobby as some of the other prospects his age. However, that is a good thing. His buy-in is relatively modest, but his chances of breaking into the consciousness of global soccer fans is considerable.

Valverde has already broken into the Real Madrid first team at 22. While Uruguay has struggled so far in the competition, Federico is a solid investment for the future.

The Biggest Names

Some of the biggest and most established stars are playing in the 2021 Copa America. Though the tournament is unlikely to alter their card value significantly, they are always a worthy investment. Though still playing, they are already immortals of the game.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

In terms of value for a club, Messi’s consistency in Barcelona probably renders him the best league player of all time. He won the Ballon d’Or (the global soccer MVP equivalent) six times and scored over 750 goals.

However, his detractors never tire of mentioning that he has never won a major international competition with Argentina. Now aged 34, the current Copa America and next year’s World Cup may well present his last chance to remedy that and cement his place as the greatest player of all time. The Argentineans had started the tournament well, and it is well worth keeping an eye on their progress.

Messi cards are always worth getting, although the buy-in can be extremely high (picture taken from eBay).

Neymar (Brazil)

Neymar is one of the best players in the world, but he has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. He is always dismissed as the distant third of his generation behind Ronaldo and Messi. To make matters worse, the star was out injured when Brazil won the last Copa America. Therefore, Neymar has a serious hunger want to win the Copa America and World Cup. He also needs to pick up at least one Ballon d’Or to prove he is top of the line.

And boy does his hunger show. Neymar has so far been arguably the best player in the tournament. Scoring two goals and generating two assists. The smart money is on Neymar, adding significantly to his legacy before retirement.

Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Suarez has scored over 500 goals in his career. In just about any other generation, it would make him the most productive striker in the world.

Aside from being one of the most lethal goal scorers out there, Luis is also a very (how should I put it) colorful character. In the 2014 World Cup, he bit the shoulder of an Italian defender, leading to a 4-month suspension from soccer. Suarez has also freely admitted to illegal diving (pretending to get hit to get a penalty) and was banned for making racist comments towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. So you can probably count on Luis to remain in the headlines after he retires. However, if you think the controversy is bad, remember it did not harm Maradona’s card value.

Who Didn’t Make the Squad?

One big star was not selected and is running out of chances to impress. Therefore, he should not figure in plans for making money off Copa America cards.

James Rodriguez may be running out of chances to become a superstar (picture taken from eBay).

James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Rodriguez is 29, so he is no prospect. However, he has had quite a career, scoring almost 100 goals so far; despite being more of a playmaker than a striker.

But things are not looking great for the player. His injury problems have kept Rodriguez from fulfilling his potential so far. He was left out of the Colombian squad due to injury problems and reported tensions with national coach Reinaldo Rueda and some of his teammates. In addition, Rodriguez is currently on the outs with the middling English side Everton. Therefore, the winger will try to join one of the European giants like AC Milan or Atletico Madrid to jumpstart his career.

The Bottom Line On Making Money Off Copa America Cards

The soccer card market is exploding, and everyone knows that. However, collectors have not caught up to all of the different markets and opportunities this global sport provides.

Copa America stickers are a great example of a market that European and American collectors have not tapped. Therefore, South American suppliers are still selling them cheaply. Take advantage of this before investors catch up.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is a former history and political science professor at UCLA. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary. Shai also worked as a diplomat and journalist on three continents.