By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
For more than 30 years, Brandon Steiner has been in the collectible business and he understands how timing and fate can be everything.
When the COVID pandemic hit in mid-March and started to quickly extend its deadly tentacles into the world of business, Steiner’s budding collectibleXchange.com, launched in December, began to feel the squeeze.
“We were starting to get some business and then it hit.” stated Steiner, whose former company Steiner Sports transformed the sports memorabilia landscape and dominated the industry for over 30 years. “Like any other business, it hit us. I had to furlough some people.”
That was then, and this is now.
Over the past two-plus months, Steiner’s business took an abrupt U-turn and it is in full gear. His website, which creates a community of buyers and sellers and allow them to set their own prices on unique memorabilia, has topped the 60,000 mark and continues to soar. Steiner and his team of experts will verify and/or authenticate as well as determine the value of your collectibles.
His business seized the moment.
“It started at the end of April, and it has been a complete 360,” boomed Steiner. “It’s been crazy and our office has been packed. The increased activity has been holiday-like! People are calling and posting daily as they clean out their closets, garages and basements.
“There has been a huge uptick in the buying and selling of collectibles and many of the memorabilia has been vintage. By the end of August, we could have over 200,00 items.”
Aside from the usual deluge of baseball and football items, Steiner noticed a surge in Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls-related items after ESPN’s “The Last Dance” series that depicted their era. Due to the pandemic, the series garnered higher ratings than anticipated.
“During and after the series, we saw a rise in Michael Jordan items,” said Steiner. “We also saw a big jump in Dennis Rodman merchandise as well as Charles Barkley. Rodman and Scott Pippen have been a hit from one great team. We can thank ESPN for that.”
Steiner also cited a hiked interest among teenagers for vintage memorabilia from the 1960s and 70s, as well as a spike in baseball cards. Along with buying and selling, his business also has been drawing interest in appraising.
“Older people may forget what they have, and they have found things while leaning and clearing things,” he said. “We are getting inquiries about what some thing is worth.”
His site has the uniqueness of involving the collegiate and professional athlete.
“CollectibleXchange is creating a platform for the players where they will be making most of the money,” said Steiner. “Former and current players, as well as the future pros now playing in college can come to us and we will guide them.
“CollectibleXchange will be the safe place to go to sell and buy collectibles. Athletes will also be able to sell directly to the collector at a price they determine without a huge mark-up.”
Steiner is exploring the possibilities of delving into the UFC, WWE, and even into the overseas markets of cricket and soccer. His optimism has been heightened with the apparent return of baseball.
“People don’t understand how powerful (baseball) is,” Steiner said. “(Baseball) is a sport that goes solo during the summer and you can add up all of the numbers that it generates. It’s a pretty explosive sport. Once it gets back up and going, it can be a great up tick.”
Steiner has been exuberant about the current higher profile, but his history in the business tempers his temporary enthusiasm.
“This is something unique and different,” he stressed. “These are items that can go up in value over time. It’s a process. People are buying from each other in a safe way.”
For more information, check out collectibleXchange.com