New card shop caters to sports memorabilia fans


If you have a spare 25 grand to play around with, you can own the football Trevor Lawrence used in his first NFL game, autographed and — in his handwriting — verifying its “game-used” authenticity. For a bit more — $12.6 million, to be exact — you can add a mint-condition Mickey Mantle Topps 1952 rookie card to your collection. Yes, sports memorabilia is something folks with deep pockets are investing in, with big ticket items galore.

“The $12.6 million figure is what the Mantle card went for at auction in 2022,” says Woodie Woodward, a former pharmaceutical executive who now resides at the TPC. “No, I never had one, but if you go retrieve your grandpa’s shoe box of old baseball cards from the attic and discover one inside, you can sell it and live a life of luxury till the end of your days. It's strange. It's probably more money than Mantle made during his entire lifetime — all for just one of his rookie cards in mint condition!”

Always having had an interest in sports memorabilia, Woodward recently decided to fulfill his lifetime dream of opening a shop dedicated to providing for this market. He has rented store space next to Woody's Bar-B-Q across the parking lot from Winn-Dixie on the corner of A1A and Solana Road.

The name of the store is Ponte Vedra Beach Cards & Comics. Even if you're not in buying mode, the shop is worth a visit because its walls and display cases are a museum of mouth-watering items sure to tickle your cravings for latching onto mementos from your sport of choice. And it's all for sale.

“My name is Woodie, and I'm right next to Woody's,” Woodward says with a laugh. On a more serious note, he adds, “People like to have a tangible link to their athletic heroes — a rare card with their picture or something they have autographed, like a photo, baseball, football or jersey,” he said. “It makes the one possessing it feel more a part of the game, like he has an actual stake in that athlete's accomplishments, and I'm here to provide that connection for him — or her. If that item is 'game-used,' it's more significant, more valuable, and consequently, more expensive.”

“I used to enjoy visiting card shops when I was a kid, and now I'm giving the next generation of kids the opportunity to experience that same thrill,” he says, adding that he even gives his youthful visitors a free card as a souvenir. “Life is short, and you have to do what you always wanted to do because we're not promised tomorrow. I always wanted to have a sports shop, so now here I am, running this shop during the spare time I have when I'm not engaged in my other great passion, which is coaching flag football teams at area schools. I want to be a part of this community and provide Ponte Vedra Beach with something it never had before, which is a shop of this kind.”

He is now an authorized distributor for Fanatics, one of the largest providers of game-used and autographed sports memorabilia in the nation, with contracts with almost all the big-name athletes to produce such items. Recently, Fanatics purchased the Topps Chewing Gum Co., the nation's largest manufacturer of baseball and other sports cards, which are also available in his store.

While some of the items are pricey and for serious collectors, Woodward insists it is a local shop with something for everyone, whether it's the seven-year-old just starting out or the 70-year-old looking for a conversation piece to exhibit in his den.

“While adults come in here looking for nostalgia from when they were kids, the kids come in looking to create future nostalgia to enjoy when they themselves get older,” he points out. “I love seeing parents bonding with their kids through sports. That's what this is all about.

“So, if you're interested in finding your nostalgia or seeing your kids start on the road to their own, do stop in. That's what I'm here for! You might be surprised at what you find.”