North Little Rock's John Rogers: The Man Behind the $1.62 Million Baseball Card

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 2, 2009 12:00 am  

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In his senior year, he sold cards and memorabilia at trade shows in the area and earned $60,000.

After graduating with a degree in marketing and business management, Rogers didn't land a single job offer. So he hit the road selling baseball memorabilia.

"I decided I will do this for the first year or two and then I'll find a real job," he said.

His strategy included befriending relatives of former players and then buying that player's estate, which could feature World Series rings, jerseys and other rare items. Rogers would then turn around and sell off pieces of the estate for a profit.

Rogers made his first $1 million by the time he was 27.

In 1998, Rogers began using the new Internet auction site, eBay, as a way to generate more sales.

Instead of solely selling baseball memorabilia, Rogers has branched out and markets other rare items such as Elvis Presley's jukebox, which went for $350,000 in 2007. And he also sells historic political documents.

But Rogers' main business now is collecting the copyrights of photographs and film clips. So far, he owns 2.2 million images, and Getty Images Inc. of New York manages his collection. He receives a royalty check when the shots are used by media companies, such as ESPN or HBO.

In 2008, Rogers' revenue is expected to be $6 million, with most of the money coming from those images.

The Auction

In the summer of 2008, Rogers learned that a Wagner card was going to be sold at an action in Chicago.

"I was like a manic, hyperactive kid," he said. "I was figuring out [and] plotting a strategy on how I was going to buy it."



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