It’s important to collect what
you like. Don’t collect what you think you “should” collect, or the most
popular cards everyone else is collecting. You have a lot to choose from.
alone there are some 40 baseball sets released each year! If you're just
starting out in the hobby a good thing to collect might be your favorite
player or team.
As of 2006, there are two
baseball card manufacturers, Topps and Upper Deck. Each
manufacture puts out a basic set, this basic/base set is normally just
named by the year and the company; for example, 06 Topps, 06 Upper Deck.
The base sets are made up of large numbers of cards, 500 or more! The
base sets normally feature high quality photography and exciting action
shots of the players. These base sets are usually not too expensive and
are very popular with set collectors.
Topps and Upper Deck produce several different
sets. Sets can be premium sets (more expensive) or
basic sets. In 2006 there are going to be about 40 different baseball
sets released, so there is certainly no lack of sets to choose from! Keep in mind, packs of
cards these days can cost anywhere from $1 up to $100, so there’s a pack
to fit every budget! Some people will only collect the
basic set that Topps puts out every year and that’s it, others try to
collect a basic Topps set and one of the premium Topps sets like Topps
Finest or Bowman Chrome. Still others try to collect every set that they
can afford! Our experience is that you’ll be able to afford more cards if you decide
to become an active baseball card trader!
Most baseball card sets contain a wide variety of different types of
cards including: The Base Set, Subsets, Inserts, Parallel Cards,
Serially numbered cards, Memorabilia Cards. Sets might also contain Short
Printed Cards (SP) meaning that there are fewer of them so they are more
challenging to collect, but are often more valuable.
Rookie cards are a popular type of card to collect. As of 2006, rookie
cards are released only after the player has played in his first MLB
game. This has not always been the case and it will be interesting to
see how this new rookie card requirement impacts the supply and demand
of true rookie cards, our guess is that it will make rookie cards more
valuable. Rookie cards are usually the most
valuable base card for of a player. If you think you might like to
collect rookie cards, you should consider collecting Bowman, a product
made by the Topps company and known for having a lot of rookie cards.
There's also a fancier version of Bowman called Bowman Chrome.
How do I know a star card from a semi-star and common card?
These are the cards of the
most well known and best players. When you look up your cards in a price
guide like Beckett you’ll see a lot of the star cards already listed in
the set that you’re looking up; you’ll also see a category for “unlisted
Star” cards. Go to the back of the price guide section and you’ll see a
chart/listing of all of the Unlisted Stars.
Similarly you’ll see listings for Semi stars and
Minor stars, again, check that chart in the back of the price guide to
see who’s on those lists to help determine the value of your cards.
These are base cards that are worth the least (based on the price guides
anyway). Common cards are very important to Team and Player collectors!
Graded baseball cards are cards that have been evaluated by a 3rd party grading
company and assigned a grade based on the condition of the card. Sports
card and baseball card grading requires paying a fee. Some collectors only collect
Just like it sounds, there are cards inside of most new products
that have been autographed. For the most part, if you buy a hobby box
you have a pretty good chance of getting an autographed card. There are
cards that have been directly signed on and there's a newer phenomena of
"sticker autographs" (also called "band aid" autographs by collectors.
Players are given an entire sheet of stickers to sign and then those
autos are put onto various products the company makes throughout the
year(s). Since the player didn't sign the card directly, some collectors
value these less.
These are autographs that
are taken from a document, letter, or check, that a player signed and
are then placed into a card. When we think of cut auto cards we think of
more historical players from the past who aren't around any more to sign
the cards themselves. Cut autos are tough to get, odds are often
something like 1 every 48 hobby boxes.
These cards have a piece of something imbedded into the card that
pertains to a particular player. Items might include a piece of the
jersey, bat, ball, base, dirt, turf, etc. You'll also find cards that
are a combination of an auto and a memorabilia card such as an auto
jersey, auto bat, auto ball, etc.
Numbered cards are a popular thing to collect. These types of cards are
more limited in production to various degrees. Generally the more
limited the production the more valuable the card. So, a "one of one"
card means that there's only one of those cards made, and it would have
1/1 stamped on it. If your numbered card corresponds to something about
the player, like their jersey number, that can sometimes increase the
value of the card.
Printing Plate Cards
These are usually low numbered cards that were used in the printing
process. Printing plate cards are usually a numbered card with a few
different versions relating to the printing process such as magenta,
yellow, blue and red.
Sometimes the manufactures goof and there are collectors that want those
cards. Sometimes error cards can increase the value of the card, but not
always. It depends on how many were made and what type of error was made.
The Internet has provided card manufactures with the opportunity to create
electronic baseball cards that collectors can keep on line in a portfolio
or can exchange for the real card. Topps has Etopps cards which are located at
etopps.com; these cards can be traded and sold with other people that
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