As we enter our thirty-third year as a Local Card Store in San Antonio, Texas, there are no words to adequately express how blessed and grateful we are to be able do what we love and provide a source of income for me and my family. We are truly blessed with many great customers throughout Texas and beyond.

Sports Cards Plus San Antonio is a family business, partnered by my children and grandchildren. My wife, Norma and I have six (yes, six) children and nine grandchildren, most of which have worked by my side (at one time or another) at the shop or at card shows since 1984.


My dad's (Valerio DiPietro) father (Carmelo DiPietro) immigrated from Sicily, through Ellis Island on May 5, 1905 at the age of 18 to join relatives in Reading Pennsylvania.  Grandpa Carmelo served in the U.S. Army during World War I as an ambulance driver for Army Medics.

After World War 1, Grandpa Carmelo's relatives in Hoboken, New Jersey introduced him to a young Teresa Bongiovanni. They married moved to Reading, Pennsylvania in 1919. The Great Depression made it difficult for Grandpa Carmelo to provide for his family. "The Prohibition" provided grandpa the opportunity to employ his WW1 driving skills for bootleggers and "speakeasies."

Grandpa Carmelo died of tuberculosis in 1925 when my dad was two years old.  There were not many jobs for women at that time and Grandma DiPietro had no education or working skills.  Grandma soon married her deceased husband's former business partner. Her new husband convinced Grandma it would be best to place dad and his year-older brother Filippo in two different orphanages.

Dad said life in "The Home" was good.  Uncle Phil said his life in his orphanage was terrible.

Both Dad and Uncle Phil enlisted in The Army immediately following Pearl Harbor.  Dad was only 17 and had to have written permission from his mother to join The Army.  Both Uncle Phil and my dad fought in The Pacific.  The U.S. Army did not want them to have to shoot at possible Italian relatives.

At the end of WWII, dad was stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas where he met my mom, Olivia Fernandez at a USO Dance. My mom was born in Mexico and was brought to the United States during The Great Depression.  My grandparents and my mom (as a young child) worked as migrant workers picking crops from South Texas and up to Chicago as crops needed harvesting.

My parents married in 1947 and moved to a one-bedroom house on the deep westside of San Antonio.  With millions of Army Veterans back in the workforce after WW2, the best job dad could find was as an elevator operator at a down-town San Antonio hotel.

Dad was a smart man.  Soon after taking a Civil Service Exam he was hired-on at Kelly AFB as an Engineering Technician. We then moved to a bigger 2-bedroom house on the deep westside of San Antonio (Popular & 24th Street).  That was where my three siblings and I grew up.

After working at Kelly for just a few years, it became evident dad had Parkinson's Syndrome. By 1960 it was bad enough for dad to apply for disability retirement.

While in high school at the age of 15, I was working 40-hours a week to help out the family and try to save money for college.  I did earn a full scholarship to Texas A&M University where I earn a degree in Industrial Engineering.

I went on to work at Kelly AFB, Wright Patterson AFB and Randolph AFB where I worked as a Lead Analyst for Air Force-wide studies. I enjoyed the work I did over the course of my 36-year Civil Service Career.

Sports card collecting has been my hobby since 1958. Back then, my brother Wally and I would take our red wagon throughout the west side of San Antonio collecting soda bottles along the side of the road to turn in at the corner store for 2-cents a bottle. We used our money for baseball cards. Topps Cards 1-Cent Packs had one card and a stick of gum.  My childhood card collection was over 5,000 baseball cards.  That's a lot of soda bottles.


I met my wife, MSGT Norma DiPietro in 1985 when she worked at HQ AF Recruiting Service at Randolph AFB.  Our blended family of six children have many great memories of working card shows since 1985.  We did card shows nearly every weekend throughout Texas. Post WW2 Baseball Cards was my thing. I specialized in Vintage Baseball Cards at shows.

In 1991, Norma retired from the Air Force and in March 1992, we opened Sports Cards Plus in our current shopping center.  Norma worked the store during the day and I worked the store after working my Civil Service job.

Basketball sales were brisk because of Shaq O'Neal but there were 53 card shops in San Antonio.  Competition was challenging.  $800 was a really good day.  Lucky, I had my day-time job to fall back on.  The 1990's junk-wax era resulted in card values dropping every month.  As more and more collectors fell-out of the hobby, more and more card shops closed.

Things started turning around when Tim Duncan joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1997.  Everyone in San Antonio wanted Tim Duncan Cards.  About this time Jordan was the GOAT and Kobe looked to be the heir apparent.  Basketball sales were picking up.

In 2001, Tiger Woods was the overwhelming draw for Upper Deck's entry into the PGA Golf Card market.  Tiger Woods brought in people who never collected cards before.  And then in 2003 Lebron James brought in new high-end collectors.  Upper Deck responded to this new high-end clientele with a product they called Exquisite.

Baseball had Jeter, Pujols, then Trout, Ohtani and the latest young prospects.  Football started picking up in 2012 with Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, then came Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow and Tua. Today it's Brock Purdy, C.J. Stroud.

The business again picked up in 2018 and jumped up in 2019. COVID-19 closed down our store in March 2020 and we had to pivot to on-line sales for a few months.  People were stuck at home and spent too much time on the internet and listening to internet-influencers. Card prices were going up 100%, 200%, 400% and more as people decided card flipping was easy money. 

People were quitting their jobs and hanging out at Target and Walmart waiting for retail boxes to be delivered.  People could buy and sell a handful of blaster boxes and make more money than they did at their day-time job.

The bubble burst about mid-2022.  While card values were generally down, it was still a good investment for prospectors and most vintage.  Before it was easy money, now you have to play it smart.

While 2023 was Sports Cards Plus' second best year ever, we are working to build on 2023 results.  We are working hard to make sure our customers get the most for their investment and entertainment money. 

In 2023 we were honored to be named Sports Collector's Digest "Card Shop of The Year." In 2024 and beyond, Sports Cards Plus will work hard to provide a fun place for you and your family.  We will work hard to provide you the products you want at the lowest possible price. We owe this to you, our many great customers for making us who we are.