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Q&A with REA: Matt Clark, Operations Director at REA

PJ Kinsella

PJ Kinsella in Q&A With REA
Feb 22 — 4 mins read

Matt Clark oversees much of the day-to-day activity at the company, from spearheading the organization of auctions to working directly with consignors. He’s not only an integral part of the REA team but a passionate hobby enthusiast who has a love for both cards and memorabilia. In this Q&A with REA, he talks about the growth of REA, the industry and what excites him as both a professional and a collector.

REA has grown substantially in the past five years. To what factors would you attribute REA's expansion?

I obviously have to give credit to our company President, Brian Dwyer, who has always stressed to his employees how much our work means to our clients. We frequently discuss how each consignment, no matter how big or small, means the world to the individual putting it up for auction. Through this lens, along with the fact that many of us are collectors ourselves, we treat the material we work with as if it were our own. I think the hobby recognizes that level of care and detail in our work, and it naturally results in repeat business with our clients. 

Over the past few years, the hobby as a whole has experienced substantial growth. Since REA has always been a leader in the industry with an emphasis on customer service, we've been well-positioned to attract new collectors as well as hold onto our existing clients. Record-setting prices realized, frequent offerings of six- and seven-figure items, an industry leading catalog, exposure of items through social and mainstream media, and a knowledgeable staff with well over a century of combined hobby experience are major contributing factors as well.

What's the most treasured card or piece of memorabilia that's in your personal collection?

I have a 1911 T205 Gold Border Cy Young SGC 5 with a Sovereign Back. I've always loved T205s and felt they were under-appreciated relative to T206s. It was one of the first vintage cards I ever bought, and it’s basically the only one I've never considered selling.

The hobby has seen a lot of change since REA was established in 1993. What do you believe has had the biggest impact on the overall evolution of the hobby during that time?

As a community over the past thirty years, I think we've transitioned from purely a hobby to a lucrative industry where careers in many different areas and specialties can be made.The advent of card grading and autograph authentication has definitely propelled us forward. Technology is a big factor for sure. Ultimately, there's always been something about this hobby that draws people in and the ability to continue to add new collectors is the biggest factor, in my opinion.

What are a couple of items coming up in REA events that you're particularly excited about?

We have a 1968 Al Kaline Detroit Tigers game-used jersey that’s coming up in our Spring Auction. It's a very cool Hall of Fame jersey worn during a championship season, and it originates directly from the collection of a Tigers scout. We'll also be offering a signed 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig with a PSA/DNA MINT 9 signature. Gehrig signatures are tough, especially on cards, and this one really stands out. It's one of the most significant Gehrig cards I've had the privilege to work with.

Give us the five cards that you believe have been most impactful to the hobby? They don't necessarily have to be the most famous or most valuable, but the five that have had some type of notable impact.

The top two are the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle and the 1909-1911 T206 White Border Honus Wagner. It goes without saying at this point that these two cards share the top spot for the most iconic sports cards in existence. They're coveted by collectors and I believe they've had the most significant impact on our industry. 

The other three that would round out my top five are: