Topps House of Hobby | AA Mint

AA Mint is the Card Shop of the Future

Date: Mar 14, 2024
Author: Greg Bates, Senior Writer
Topics: AA Mint, Collector Stories, House of Hobby
Length: 847 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

When Aaron Amarant started collecting Formula 1 cards in 2018, there weren’t a lot of product options.

Luckily, after Topps acquired the exclusive license to produce F1 cards beginning in 2020, there were plenty of high-quality collecting choices for open-wheel racing fans.

“When 2020 Topps Chrome came out, it was a big day for my collecting journey,” Amarant told Topps RIPPED.

Amarant — who owns AA Mint Cards hobby shop in Cooper City, Florida, and is a student at Florida International University — almost exclusively collects F1 cards.

Amarant holding some of his prized F1 collection (photo courtesy of Aaron Amarant)

“That’s my life,” said the 21-year-old. “I love cards. I love racing, F1. I’ve been into it my entire life. I worked at the Miami Grand Prix last year. I’ve started a Formula 1 club at my school that has like 200 members in it.”

Aaron Amarant Collecting His Favorite F1 Drivers

Amarant’s personal collection consists of 100-200 Formula 1 slabbed cards. He enjoys collecting singles of his favorite racers.

Amarant met driver Alexander Albon and was impressed with him.

“Alex Albon’s the up-and-coming investment guy, and I like Charles Leclerc. He’s let me down many years, but I enjoy collecting him,” Amarant said. “Overall, I don’t necessarily have specific drivers I collect other than those guys—I’m just a huge fan of the sport. I’ll buy any Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen card if it’s a unique card with a cool story behind it.”

Amarant has a few favorite cards from his collection. He owns an Albon 2020 Topps Autographed Dual Relic /10 in a PSA 9. Amarant loves his Michael Schumacher 1992 Grid in a PSA 10; this is considered Schumacher’s rookie card, which a Canadian company produced.

“I also love all the Topps Chrome Sapphire stuff from 2020,” said Amarant, whose go-to rip is always Sapphire hobby boxes. “I have the Max Verstappen portrait, and a cool one I have is a Max Verstappen sitting variation portrait out of 70 from 2020 Sapphire — that one’s really cool.”

More of Amarant’s F1 goodness (photo courtesy of Aaron Amarant)

Some other chase cards Amarant would someday like to acquire are Verstappen and Hamilton from the 2020 Topps Dynasty release. However, at this point, those are a little out of his price range.

Amarant’s most prized non-F1 card is a 1976 Topps Walter Payton rookie in a PSA 7. His dad, Mark, got it for him when he was 12.

Acquiring His Favorite F1 Cards

At the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Amarant attended an F1 dinner. Collectors flocked to the event in droves with their favorite F1 cards.

The person who had pulled Hamilton’s 2020 Topps Chrome Superfractor was at the gathering, and Amarant got to hold arguably the Holy Grail of racing cards.

“At the dinner, there were 30 or 40 Superfractors from the Topps Chrome set,” Amarant said. “It was the most insane dinner I’ve ever been to. Everybody was throwing around Superfractors at each other. It was, ‘Ooh. Aah.’ I was blown away. I was like a kid in a candy store.”

Amarant is waiting for the day when a Superfractor of a star F1 driver enters his state-of-the-art hobby shop, which opened on January 20. When customers come into his store to sell their items, Amarant picks up some cards for his personal collection. Sometimes it can be tough for Amarant to decide whether to buy a card to sell in his shop or bring it home for his collection.

“It depends on the driver. If I consider whether the driver has long-term upside or had a good race, maybe I want it,” Amarant said. “I’d say 70% of the stuff that we buy is F1, which I get for myself. If it’s a nice, low-numbered card—high-grade examples of Sapphire in 2020, Chrome autos, especially—that’s what I’ll take.”

Large F1 Inventory at AA Mint

When Amarant was designing his hobby shop, he created an area dedicated to F1 products.

According to Amarant, AA Mint Cards will have one of the country’s largest allocations of 2023 Topps Chrome F1 and a huge inventory of 2020 Topps Chrome F1. Amarant calls that F1 product the equivalent of 1986 Fleer Basketball, where all the big-name drivers at that time—including Verstappen, Hamilton, and Lando Norris—had their rookie cards.

“We’re going to have one of the most comprehensive selections of 2020 Topps Chrome and Sapphire,” Amarant said. “We’re going to have a lot of Formula 1 influence in the store.”

With F1 extremely popular overseas and trying to gain traction in the United States, fans and collectors of F1 cards are still getting a taste of big things to come. “I think F1 cards are really an untapped market,” Amarant said. “It’s one of the biggest sports in the world. Yet, in the world of cards, it’s one of those random non-sports. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, we have a box of this here.’ It’s really in its infancy for cards.”


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