By MATT ENGEL
Growing up mostly on the Jersey Shore, Marco Parrino and his brother, Sammy, were always collecting all kinds of sports cards, holding all their valuables in a binder for safekeeping. Their biggest motivator as collectors was none other than their father and business partner, Charlie.
“From a young age, and before football games, my father would tell me, ‘Play a great game and we’ll open up a box of packs later!,” said Marco Parrino, who graduated from Shore Regional High School and is currently attending college in Florida. “My favorite cards to collect were usually Yankee players and Mickey Mantle cards.”
Today, the three Parrinos are founders of Just Rip It, a trading card company where customers can purchase “shares” of potentially valuable sports cards in a pack, similar to how investors on Wall Street can buy stock in a company.
The official slogan of Just Rip It is “Digging Up Cardboard Treasure.” Many of the vintage trading card packs offered by Just Rip It come from an era when the value of collector’s items were simply not recognized or appreciated. The trading cards can go back decades, even before the days when Michael Jordan was dominating the NBA and Wayne Gretzky was a hockey phenom.
“Within these time capsules is the real possibility of pulling a gem-mint pack fresh card of any Hall of Famer, All-Star, rookie or any other cardboard treasure that’s out there that I think could be worth a lot of money,” said Charlie Parrino, a 1988 graduate of Monmouth University in West Long Branch.
Parrino said that one of the ways he realized the increasing value of sports cards when he saw the value of a card of baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner be sold for around $1 million.
“I wish my mother had never thrown away all of my vintage Yankee cards,” he said.
To participate in a pack, collectors can go on justripit.com, make an account and buy any random card/share of vintage trading card packs they see on the website. Once the cards are all sold out, the packs will be ripped open live on the next broadcast (held on YouTube and Facebook) and collectors will be guaranteed a card that, if they are lucky enough, could be worth up to thousands of dollars depending on the grade.
To receive 10 percent off their first orders on Just Rip It, collectors can use the promo code “JS10”.
“If our shareholders are in it for the return on investment, our equity packs provide a great convenience for them,” said Marco Parrino. “As we grade the cards free of charge and send them to the auction house, they sit back and wait for the result.”
While working as the head of marketing for Just Rip It, Marco is also heading into his senior year at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. Being a full-time student and managing a company is not easy, he says, but he plans his schedule so as to get the most out of his days.
“What keeps me motivated is the process and journey of it all, and knowing that we as a company are providing value, education, and entertainment,” he said.