Buying sports trading cards is fun and exciting. Finding a rare card or game-used piece of memorabilia in a card, at a great price can be a thrilling experience. When you buy a sports card the condition is the most important thing to consider. Your enjoyment of your new sports collectable, as well as its future value depends on its condition.
- Steer clearand avoidanything that says reprint or reproduction.
- If buying autographed card, always try for Certified Autograph.
- If buying in-person, check condition out of sleeve.
- Buy from sellers on-line with great feedback.
- Avoid fuzzy images or photographs.
Sports Trading Card companies will reprint a card as part of an anniversary promotion or because of popularity. These cards look very similar to the original cards except for some small writing on back of card at the bottom stating “reprint”. Also, some people will copy popular or rare cards and hope you do not read the description too close.
Certified versus Non-Certified Autographs
When a Sports Trading Card company offers autographed cards in their packs and boxes, these cards were signed for the card company and then inserted into packs. These are Certified Autographs and are backed by the card company as being authentic. If a regular card is taken out of a pack, then given to a player to sign, say as he is leaving practice, that is a non-certified autograph. Certified Autographed cards are worth more money and are generally more rare.
In-Person versus On-Line
If you are buying your sports trading card or at a show, it will be easier to identify the condition than buying something online. If you’re buying something on the Internet you need to make sure that the reputation of the seller is solid. Check the sellers feedback to ensure the description of the items condition will match what you receive. If you overlook a seller’s poor feedback, you have to accept your taking a risk.
What to Look for if Buying In-person
The most important part of a card’s condition to look for is the corners. Check all four corners for any dings. Even a small ding, can drastically lower the value. The next thing to check is the surface of the card. If possible, take the card out of its penny sleeve and carefully check the surface for scratches or dents. The other two factors to consider are the centering of the printing on the card, and the edges of the card. These last two factors are not as important as the first two as far as value is concerned.
If buying on-line, make sure the seller has great feedback. If not, do not be surprised when you get your card, if it is not what you wanted as far as condition. Most on-line sellers are very reputable, and the ones that are not have several dings to their feedback from unhappy buyers.
Another thing to watch for are scans or photographs of cards that are fuzzy or look like they are ten feet away. This is usually not a good sign, and not worth risking being unhappy. The only reason for these bad images are either they are new to selling, or are trying to mask some problem with the card.
Sports trading cards are more high-tech then they used to be and also can be very valuable fresh out of the pack. It is possible to pull a card out of a pack that is worth ten of thousands of dollars. Sometimes that card will be a rookie card, other times it will be a rare autograph or memorabilia card. If that card gets sold in the future, the buyer is going to want to look over that card very closely before buying. In some cases, you may buy a card that is not in good condition such as a vintage card, or a rare modern card. As long as you get what you paid for, you are happy. But, if you pay top-dollar for a “perfect card” and find out later it is damaged, it takes the fun out of collecting. Keep the collecting fun!