Trading cards are enjoying incredible popularity and interest in them is growing worldwide. However, this can raise many questions for beginners in the game of trading cards. We would like to ease the entry into this fascinating world and give an insight into the world of trading cards.

The genesis of modern trading cards can be traced back to a baseball legend, Honus Wagner, during the early 20th century. He took a principled stand by refusing permission for his card to be used as an advertising medium in cigarette packs, as he did not want young baseball fans to have to buy tobacco for his card. The American Tobacco Company, unable to include his card, had to publish their baseball cards without it. This decision turned Wagner’s card into one of the rarest and most sought-after in history, significantly contributing to the widespread popularity of trading cards as a collectible item. This pivotal moment marked the birth of a new market – the idea of producing cards explicitly for collecting. The concept of modern trading cards emerged and captured the imagination of collectors worldwide. In 2022, a 1909 Wagner card fetched an astounding $7.25 million at auction, setting a record price and solidifying its status as an iconic piece of trading card history. This legendary tale continues to inspire the passion and value collectors place on these remarkable cards today.

Sports Cards are one of the best known categories of trading cards and enjoy great popularity worldwide. They usually show pictures of athletes/teams from different sports and also contain specific information, special key figures and statistics. The most popular sports are: Basketball, Football, Baseball, Soccer, Ice Hockey, Wrestling and Boxing. Some cards may also include special features such as autographs on the cards and memorabilia, i.e. cards with pieces of the game’s clothing (e.g. jerseys or shoes).

Non-Sports Cards are trading cards that have no connection to sports, but instead portray images of characters from movies, TV shows, comics, video games, or other popular media content. Popular non-sports cards include: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, Harry Potter, Marvel or Star Wars. These types of cards are often part of a larger merchandising program aimed at engaging fans of popular entertainment media and giving them the opportunity to collect their favorite characters. Non-sports cards may also have rare or limited editions that are especially valued by collectors.

Collectors have multiple avenues to acquire trading cards, tailored to their preferences and the type of cards they seek. For direct purchases, boxes and packs are available from manufacturers or specialty stores. However, due to high demand, these sell out rapidly, leading many to explore the secondary market through online platforms like eBay or auction houses such as Sotheby’s. Here, access to boxes, packs, and individual cards can be found. Additionally, enthusiasts can attend trading nights, fairs, and events to engage in trading, buying, and selling cards, fostering a vibrant community of collectors.


Autographed Cards (On Card/On Sticker)

Signature cards (on-card and on-sticker) are trading cards signed by a player. On-Card means that the autograph was written directly on the card. On-Sticker means that the autograph was written on a sticker and then applied to the card.

Base Cards are the basic trading cards in a set, usually representing the design and theme of the set. They often contain information about players and teams, but no additional features like autographs.

Blasters usually contain multiple packs, come in special packaging, and can include exclusive cards – such as special memorabilia or autographs.

A box break is the opening of a box and the sealed packs in the box.

Chase cards are trading cards that are harder to find than the regular cards in a set. They are rarer and more valuable. They can be Rookie, Memorabilia, or Signature cards.

A checklist is a list of all the cards that are included in a particular trading card set.

Dinged cards are “damaged” cards. Dinged refers to the condition of a trading card that has slight to moderate damage. For example, corners that are worn or bent.

Error Cards are trading cards that were accidentally produced with errors or misprints. These cards are highly sought after by collectors due to their rarity.

Grading is a process in which trading cards are inspected and evaluated by an independent grading agency. The cards are evaluated on criteria such as condition, corners, edges and surface quality to determine their overall condition. This can have a value-enhancing effect on the card, if applicable.

A Hit Card is a trading card that is particularly rare, such as a Signature card, a Memorabilia card, or a 1 of 1 card.

Hobby boxes are often limited edition and, unlike blasters and retail boxes, are usually available for purchase in specialty stores and online stores. They are usually more expensive, but contain a larger number of cards and a higher probability of containing rare and exclusive cards. Hobby Boxes usually contain between 1 and 4 autograph or memorabilia cards and are very popular with collectors.

“Match Worn” refers to items worn by an athlete during an actual match (e.g., jerseys, shoes, or gloves) and incorporated into cards as memorabilia.

Memorabilia cards contain a small piece of an item associated with a particular player or event, such as a piece of a soccer player’s worn jersey. These cards are thicker than normal cards because of the memorabilia they incorporate, and are particularly sought after by collectors because of their uniqueness and emotional value.

A Multi Player Card is a trading card that features multiple athletes.

Numbering on trading cards is a way for manufacturers to limit the number of cards produced in a set. For example, a card numbered 25/100 could mean that it is one of only 100 cards produced, and that this card is the 25th of those 100.

The 1 of 1 is a special trading card that was produced in only one copy, which makes it especially rare and valuable. This card is a unique piece and is also called “Holy Grail” among collectors.

A pack is a package of trading cards that usually contains 4 to 15 cards. It is a random assortment of cards from a particular trading card series. Packs have opaque packaging so you can’t see what cards are included until you open the pack.

A Personal Collection is a collection of trading cards or other collectibles that is personally assembled and owned by an individual.

A Player Collection refers to a collection of trading cards or other collectibles that are targeted to a specific athlete or person.

Retail boxes are often available in limited editions and are usually sold in retail stores. It is a larger box than a blaster and usually contains between 24 and 36 booster packs. These boxes may also contain exclusive cards – such as memorabilia or autographs – that are only available in these boxes to increase the value of the boxes.

A Rookie Card is the first official trading card of a player released in a professional set or drop. These are particularly sought after by collectors due to their rarity, the potential of the personalities, and their historical and emotional value.

A Team Collection is a collection of trading cards or other collectibles that focuses on a particular team, for example, a collection of baseball cards that contains only players from a particular baseball team.

A top loader is a plastic sleeve used to protect trading cards and keep them from damage.