A transparent plastic sometimes used in the making of cards rather than traditional paper card stock. While popular among many collectors, acetate cards have been known to suffer from discoloration over the years.


When a card has been changed from its original condition. Examples of alterations range from trimming edges and corners to recoloring faded pictures.


The process of potential buyers bidding against each other with the highest bidder winning the item(s).


The process of an expert examining an item to verify its legitimacy. Autographs are a popular example within the hobby of an item that often needs to be authenticated by an expert.

Authentication is one of the three foundational services offered by companies like PSA, BGS, SGC, along with grading and encapsulation.

Authenticity Guarantee

A service provided by eBay where qualifying trading cards sold over a certain threshold are automatically shipped to CSG for authentication before being sent to the buyer.


Base card

Cards that make up a product’s base set. Examples of non-base cards are autographs, relic cards, parallels inserts.

Base set

A product’s entire lineup of Base cards.


A hobby-based company that is involved in several areas. Beckett publishes the Beckett Price Guide and also offers Beckett Grading Services (BGS).


Short for Beckett Grading Services, a third-party card grading service that began grading in 1999.

BGS Simple Grading Scale

Beckett Grading Services uses an easy-to-understand 1 to 10-point grading scale, with descending increments of one-half point (for example 10, 9.5, 9, 8.5, etc.). Since you are provided with a detailed report on your card's key attributes, there are no confusing qualifiers to decipher.

Top-graded cards are identifiable at a glance thanks to Beckett Grading Services' premium-colored labels. A gold label on the front of the unique cardholder signifies the highest graded cards (9.5-10). A silver label graces cards graded 8.5 to 9. Cards in all other grades are identified with a distinctive and attractive white label.

Blank Back

When a trading card was printed without anything on the back. Blank Backs are often errors but can also be by design.

Blaster Box

One of several retail formats for sports and trading cards. Blaster boxes typically contain between four and 10 packs and are considered one of the more affordable retail configurations.

Blister Pack

A retail format that often features several packs of cards with a cardboard backing and clear plastic front. Similar to cello pack formats.

Book Value

Refers to a card’s value, and is often associated with the Beckett Price Guide.

Booklet Cards

A large card that includes a hinge, allowing the item to be open or closed like a book. Booklet cards are generally found in high-end products and often include patches and autographs.


The area around a trading card that typically surrounds the main photograph. Borders are most often a white area or other design that forms a frame within the card. Card borders are often the reference point when determining centering during the grading process.

Box Break

The process of opening up a box of cards. Can also refer to what is expected to be in each box, on average.


An additional item often included in more premium sets of cards. These often include oversized cards or other types of memorabilia.


Similar to box break, break can simply refer to the opening of a box of cards. More generally, the term break can also refer to Group Breaks.

Bubble Mailer

A shipping parcel often used to send trading cards that is filled with bubble wrap. The phrase Bubble Mailer with Tracking (BMWT) is commonly used to describe how a card will be shipped.

Buy It Now

A purchasing option most associated with eBay where buyers can purchase an item for a set price rather than participate in an auction. Often abbreviated as “BIN.”


Card Saver

A plastic card protector that is sturdier than a penny sleeve but thinner than a top loader. The preferred method to protect cards when shipping to grading services like PSA. Also called a “semi-rigid” card holder.

Card Stock

The physical material that a trading card is made of. Materials like cardboard and paper are the most common while metal, leather and acetate are also used.


The packaging that describes a certain number of boxes of a specific product. Cases of lower or mid-end products can often contain 10 to 20 boxes while higher-end products may only contain two boxes.

Case Hit

Refers to the rarity of a card, and is most associated with a card that appears, on average, just once per case of boxes.

Cello Pack

A retail format where packs of cards are wrapped in a plastic similar to cellophane. Cello Packs come in full boxes, typically with 24 packs, and are often hung from a rack at retailers for single purchase. Note: pronounced “sello” as opposed to “chello” (like the instrument).


One of the major categories used when determining the grade of a card. Borders are the most common way to determine centering, though things like logos and lettering can be used for full-bleed cards without borders.

Chase Card

A card that is typically considered one of the most desirable in a product that collectors can “chase.”


A full list of every card in a single product.


Damage often associated with the edge of a card that comes from age or poor handling. Commonly seen on cards with dark borders like black or blue.


A metallic finish found on many of the hobby’s most popular cards.


An online marketplace that focuses on the buying, selling and trading of fractionalized sports memorabilia.


The most common and often least desirable cards in a set. These are most often Base cards of non-rookies or cards that don’t feature parallels, autographs or memorabilia.

Common Sports Card Era’s

Pre 1900’s – This era describes cards created before 1900.

Pre-War – This era describes cards dating from 1900-1941.

Vintage – This era describes cards dating from 1941-1979.

Junk Wax – This era describes cards from 1980-1996.

Modern – This era describes cards from 1997-2018.

Ultra Modern – This era describes card from 2019 forward.


Describes the physical quality of a card. Important areas that impact condition include surface quality, corners, centering and edges.


A term used to describe the cracking of an encapsulated card from its slab.


Declared Value

A projected final value of a raw card being sent for grading, once the grade is assigned. Some grading companies charge more money to grade cards with a higher final value. Submitting a card for grading requires a maximum final value estimation which corresponds to specific service levels. Underestimating the declared value can result in upcharges after grading has been completed.


A card that has been cut by the manufacturer to create a specific shape beyond the regular rectangle design of most cards. These cards can sometimes carry a premium over other sets due to their unique designs. Die-Cut cards can also be difficult to find in good condition because of edge damage caused by the additional cuts.

Ding/Dinged Corner

Describes damage most often associated with the corner of a card. “Soft” corners can be created by poor handling of even the card simply shifting within the pack.


A wholesaler that helps push products from the manufacturer to retailers and other card sellers.


Describes the act of altering a card, usually to artificially improve its physical condition. A common example of doctoring is the trimming of a card’s edges or corners to make them appear sharper, or attempting to recolor surface imperfections.



Refers to a card that has been sealed in a protective plastic case, typically associated with grading services.

Error Card

A card that contains a mistake, which often ranges from incorrect photos, names or statistics. Error cards were considered highly valuable in the junk wax era but have since largely fallen out of favor. Some sets like Heritage now include intentional “Error” cards as chase inserts.


Refers to memorabilia included in a sports or trading card that was simply worn at to an event rather than used in a game, and is typically considered less desirable than game-used.



A replica autograph that is stamped on by a manufacturer, rather than authentically signed by the athlete.


A metallic texture sometimes applied to cards to enhance the design. Foil cards are often highly condition sensitive, like Derek Jeter’s 1993 SP Foil rookie card, which only has a population of 21 in PSA 10.

Friends/Family (FFL)

Shorthand for sending money via PayPal’s Friends and Family option. Sending money this way avoids additional fees and taxes, but doesn’t include Purchase Protection that comes with sending money with the Goods and Services option. Using F&F is not recommended for buyers or sellers you don’t personally know and trust.



Refers to memorabilia that has been used in a game by an athlete. This category carries a premium over player- or event-worn memorabilia that didn’t appear in a game.

Gem Mint

The condition rating given to a card that receives a PSA 10, BGS 9.5, SGC 10 or CSG 10.


A popular card manufacturer that produced cards in the 1930s and 1940s. The 1933 Goudey release is widely considered one of the most iconic sets ever and contains several cards of Babe Ruth.

Graded Card

A card that has had its authenticity verified and the quality of its physical condition evaluated by a grading service like PSA, BGS, SGC or CSG.


The process of a third-party grading service assigning a numerical value to describe a card’s physical condition.

Grading Scale

A numerical scale used by grading services to represent the physical condition of a card. Companies typically grade cards on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being considered the highest quality. In addition to numerical values, grading companies also assign phrases to describe each number. For example, a PSA 10 is considered Gem Mint while a BGS 10 is considered Pristine.

Gravity Feed

One of several retail formats for trading cards, a gravity feed is a tall box with a slot at the bottom where packs of cards are fed through. As you remove a pack from the slot at the bottom, another pack from above slides down to take its place. Gravity Feeds typically contain several dozen packs per box.

Group Break

The process of a group of collectors splitting the contents based on a predetermined order or format. Popular formats include participants receiving all of the cards of a specific player or all players from a specific team.


Hanger Box

A retail format of trading cards that hangs rather than sit on a shelf. Ultra-modern hanger boxes typically contain a single pack of cards.


Refers to cards considered more valuable or desirable than other cards in a product. Common examples of hits are autographs or memorabilia cards.

Hobby Box

A type of product configuration specifically designed to be released online or through hobby shops. Hobby boxes typically contain more guaranteed hits and/or parallels than retail formats.


Refers to products that only appear in hobby formats. This can be entire products that only have hobby box configurations (National Treasures, Flawless) or the specific contents of a product like parallels, inserts or other chases.


Describes a card that has been slabbed or encapsulated in a plastic holder by a grading service.


Insert Card

A non-base card that is typically part of a themed series within a product. Insert cards were originally created as chases to increase sales and debuted during the Tobacco card era. The 1990’s are considered the era when inserts really emerged and reigned supreme. Popular examples of ultra-modern inserts are Color Blast, Downtown and Kaboom.


Jersey Card

A card that contains a piece of a jersey or uniform from the subject. Pieces of jersey are typically classified as game-worn if a player wore it during an actual game or player/event-worn if the jersey was simply put on for a moment during an event. Jersey cards are typically single-colored swatches, while patch cards contain two or more colors.

Junk Wax

Refers to cards produced during the 1980s and 1990s that were overprinted and have mostly lost long-term value outside of secondary scarcity created through grading. While not all cards produced during the Junk Wax Era have lost value, many cards of even the best players often hold little value because they are far too common.



An extremely popular modern insert that features comic-style artwork. Kaboom! has appeared in sets like Absolute Memorabilia for football, Innovation and Crown Royale for basketball, and Prizm English Premier League Soccer The set was also part of 2018 Panini Rewards.



Refers to cards that have the right to use both player names and team logos on trading cards through deals with leagues like the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB as well as their respective Players Associations.

Low Series

Refers to the first series of cards printed for a specific set in a year.


Manufactured Relic

A piece of memorabilia created by a card company specifically to appear in trading cards. These haven’t been worn or touched by the athletes on the card.


A trading card company that produces different types of cards. Ultra-modern manufacturers include Leaf, Panini, Topps and Upper Deck.

Master Set

The entire checklist of an entire set that includes everything from Base cards to autographs and inserts.

Memorabilia Card

Similar to a Jersey Card, a Memorabilia Card features a piece of memorabilia, though these can range from jerseys to pieces of bats, gloves, sneakers or balls.


A smaller version of a normal-sized card. Some mini cards are included in modern sets as chase cards while the 1975 Topps Mini Baseball set only featured cards measuring 2 ¼” by 3 1/8″.

Minor League

Cards that feature players with their Minor League teams. Minor League cards are typically less popular than MLB cards though there is a small, passionate following.


A grading term that describes the physical quality of a PSA 9. PSA describes these cards as having sharp corners, no major flaws and are centered no worse than 60/40.



A numbered card has its print run and number within the run stamped by the manufacturer, often on the back. Example: 5/10.



A Canadian confectionary company that has produced candy as well as trading cards over the years. Often associated with Topps, the modern-day O-Pee-Chee brand is produced by Upper Deck.

The 1979 O-Pee-Chee Hockey release contains an iconic Wayne Gretzky rookie card, which is considered one of the most important and valuable cards in the hobby.


Refers to an autograph that has been signed directly on the card. On-card autographs are typically considered more desirable than autographs signed on stickers that are then placed on the card.


A card that is serial numbered 1/1, indicating a one-of-a-kind card. Not to be confused with things like “eBay 1-of-1”, which is a deceptive term attempting to indicate the only one on the marketplace.


A magnetic holder typically used by collectors for mid- to high-end cards that aren’t graded but need protection similar to a top loader. One-Touch holders are generally preferred to top loaders when it comes to eye appeal and displayability. Sometimes also called “Mags.”



A group of cards packaged by the manufacturer.

Pack Searching

Refers to a person who searches, weighs or opens packs before purchasing. Pack searchers often attempt to find “thicker” packs containing jersey/memorabilia cards or autographs.


A major card manufacturer best known for its long history of international sticker sales and the production of ultra-modern football and basketball cards. Panini is best known for iconic sets like Prizm, Optic and Select as well as high-end releases like National Treasures and Flawless.


A base card that features a specific design or unique coloring, making it distinct from the more common base card itself. Popular examples of parallels are colors like Silver, Gold, or Black, or pattern-based parallels like Mojo, Scope or Wave. Parallels usually vary in rarity from unnumbered short prints to serial numbered 1-of-1s. Collecting one of every parallel in a checklist is referred to as “building the rainbow” or “rainbow chasing.”


Refers to a piece of jersey placed inside a trading card. While sometimes synonymous with jersey cards, some collectors use patches to refer to higher-quality jerseys that may contain multiple colors or logos.

Penny Sleeves

A plastic sleeve that can hold and protect a trading card. Penny sleeves are generally the cheapest form of protection and can also be easily placed in a top loader.

(PC) Personal Collection

Abbreviated as PC, this refers to a collector’s personal collection of cards that they typically don’t intend to sell. This term is often used in the context that a collector will “PC” specific players or teams.

(Pop) Population Report

Sometimes abbreviated Pop Report, this is the published census of cards graded by a specific grading company. PSA, SGC, BGS and CSG all have public population reports.


Refers to cards, usually vintage, that were printed after World War II.


Refers to cards printed before World War II.

Price Guide

A publication that lists possible price estimates for sports and trading cards. Similar to Book Value, the term price guide is often associated with the Beckett Price Guide. Online tools like Market Movers from Sports Card Investor also provide pricing data using sales data from marketplaces like eBay, PWCC and Goldin Auctions.

Print Run

Refers to the overall number of copies of a single card. Some cards have small print runs like 1/1 while others have been printed millions of times.

Printing Plate

This refers to the physical plates used to print trading cards. Four plates are used in the process and are colored Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. Printing plates can also be found in packs of cards as hits, and are each numbered 1/1. Though rare, printing plates are not typically highly sought after and will not command the price premiums that true 1/1 parallels command.


A shiny parallel, often associated with refractors from Topps. Not to be confused with the Prizm brand or the Prizm parallel associated with Panini.

Prizm (Brand)

A flagship set produced by Panini since 2012 that is included in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, UFC and WWE products. Prizm has become extremely popular during the ultra-modern era, and is often one of the most desired sets for Panini rookie cards.

Prizm (Parallel)

Refers to a parallel from Panini that often features a shiny, metallic surface.


Most often associated with baseball, a prospect is a player that typically hasn’t reached the MLB level yet. Prospect cards are found in Bowman products, part of the Topps brand. Speculating and buying prospects early with the hopes that they become stars is a major part of collecting and investing in baseball cards.


An abbreviation for Professional Sports Authentication, PSA is a California-based grading company founded in 1991. PSA is generally considered the most desirable grading company for selling cards on the secondary market. PSA is part of Collectors.

PSA Grading Scale

A PSA Gem Mint 10 card is a virtually perfect card. Attributes include four perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus and full original gloss. A PSA Gem Mint 10 card must be free of staining of any kind, but an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection, if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the card. The image must be centered on the card within a tolerance not to exceed approximately 55/45 to 60/40 percent on the front, and 75/25 percent on the reverse.

A PSA Mint 9 is a superb condition card that exhibits only one of the following minor flaws: a very slight wax stain on reverse, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 60/40 to 65/35 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

A PSA NM-MT 8 is a super high-end card that appears Mint 9 at first glance, but upon closer inspection, the card can exhibit the following: a very slight wax stain on reverse, slightest fraying at one or two corners, a minor printing imperfection, and/or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 65/35 to 70/30 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

NM 7
A PSA NM 7 is a card with just a slight surface wear visible upon close inspection. There may be slight fraying on some corners. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. A minor printing blemish is acceptable. Slight wax staining is acceptable on the back of the card only. Most of the original gloss is retained. Centering must be approximately 70/30 to 75/25 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.

A PSA EX-MT 6 card may have visible surface wear or a printing defect which does not detract from its overall appeal. A very light scratch may be detected only upon close inspection. Corners may have slightly graduated fraying. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. Card may show some loss of original gloss, may have minor wax stain on reverse, may exhibit very slight notching on edges and may also show some off-whiteness on borders. Centering must be 80/20 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

EX 5
On PSA EX-5 cards, very minor rounding of the corners is becoming evident. Surface wear or printing defects are more visible. There may be minor chipping on edges. Loss of original gloss will be more apparent. Focus of picture may be slightly out-of-register. Several light scratches may be visible upon close inspection, but do not detract from the appeal of the card. Card may show some off-whiteness of borders. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.

A PSA VG-EX 4 card's corners may be slightly rounded. Surface wear is noticeable but modest. The card may have light scuffing or light scratches. Some original gloss will be retained. Borders may be slightly off-white. A light crease may be visible. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.

VG 3
A PSA VG 3 card reveals some rounding of the corners, though not extreme. Some surface wear will be apparent, along with possible light scuffing or light scratches. Focus may be somewhat off-register and edges may exhibit noticeable wear. Much, but not all, of the card's original gloss will be lost. Borders may be somewhat yellowed and/or discolored. A crease may be visible. Printing defects are possible. Slight stain may show on obverse and wax staining on reverse may be more prominent. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.

Good 2
A PSA Good 2 card's corners show accelerated rounding and surface wear is starting to become obvious. A good card may have scratching, scuffing, light staining, or chipping of enamel on obverse. There may be several creases. Original gloss may be completely absent. Card may show considerable discoloration. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.

FR 1.5
A PSA Fair 1.5 card's corners will show extreme wear, possibly affecting framing of the picture. The surface of the card will show advanced stages of wear, including scuffing, scratching, pitting, chipping and staining. The picture will possibly be quite out-of-register and the borders may have become brown and dirty. The card may have one or more heavy creases. In order to achieve a Fair grade, a card must be fully intact. Even though the card may be heavily worn, it cannot achieve this grade if it is missing solid pieces of the card as a result of a major tear, etc. This would include damage such as the removal of the back layer of the card or an entire corner. The centering must be approximately 90/10 or better on the front and back.

A PSA Poor 1 will exhibit many of the same qualities of a PSA Fair 1.5 but the defects may have advanced to such a serious stage that the eye appeal of the card has nearly vanished in its entirety. A Poor card may be missing one or two small pieces, exhibit major creasing that nearly breaks through all the layers of cardboard, or it may contain extreme discoloration or dirtiness throughout that may make it difficult to identify the issue or content of the card on either the front or back. A card of this nature may also show noticeable warping or another type of destructive defect.

Half-Point Grades

Cards that exhibit high-end qualities within each particular grade, between PSA Good 2 and PSA Mint 9, may achieve a half-point increase. While PSA graders will evaluate all of the attributes possessed by a card in order to determine if the card may be eligible, there will be a clear focus on centering.

Generally speaking, a card must exhibit centering that is 5-10% better, at minimum, than the lowest % allowed within a particular grade. It is important to note that there may be cases where the overall strength of the card, such as the quality of the corners and print, will give the card the edge it needs despite the fact that it may exhibit only marginal centering for the grade. This is especially true for cards that find themselves within the bottom half of the PSA 1-10 scale.

Finally, keep in mind that qualifiers will not apply to grades that achieve the half-point increase since, by definition, these cards have to exhibit high-end qualities within the grade in order to warrant consideration. For example, there will not be cards graded PSA NM-MT-Plus 8.5 OC or PSA EX-MT-Plus 6.5 PD since the half-point is reserved for high-end cards within each grade.

At this time, only cards qualify for half-point grades. Coins, pins, tickets and packs will not receive half-point grades.



Refers to a card’s complete series of parallels. Collecting the “rainbow” of a certain player has become extremely popular during the ultra-modern era with the rise of parallels.


Refers to the supply of a card, with rare cards being more limited. Not to be confused with scarce, which indicates that a card’s supply doesn’t meet its demand. Cards can often be rare but not necessarily popular or desirable.

Rated Rookie

A series of rookie cards associated with the Donruss brand. Originally exclusive to the Donruss set, Rated Rookie cards also appear in the ultra-modern chrome Donruss Optic set.


Refers to a card that hasn’t been graded or encapsulated by a third-party service.


Another name for a lottery or raffle that involves cards. An example of a razz features the original owner raffling off a card through 10 spots at $10 per spot. A winner is selected at random from that group to receive the card. Collectors should approach razzes with caution, as they are often conducted through social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with little protection against fraud or other deceptive practices.


The act of altering a card’s color to better match the original design while hiding damage or aging. Recoloring a card is considered an alteration and will be designated as such by a third-party grading service if discovered.


The process where a card, often an autographed card or other “hit”, is substituted with an agreement that the owner will receive the card at a later date. Ultra-modern redemptions feature codes that the owner must submit to the manufacturer before receiving the card.

Redemptions have become controversial over the years as many are unable to be fulfilled by the manufacturer in a timely manner. This happens for a variety of reasons, though one of the most common is that the autographed card is never returned to the manufacturer by the intended signer.

In these cases the redemptions must be substituted for a different card or other bonus.


Refactors feature different effects when exposed to light. Common features include rainbow-like colors or other designs and patterns. Topps first introduced the term refractor with the debut of 1993 Topps Finest. Panini uses the term “prizm” to describe its refractors (in all of its sets, not just Prizm).


A reproduction of a card that was previously printed. New collectors should pay special attention to sale listings marked “RP” as these are not original copies of the presented card.

Retail Box

A product strictly meant to be sold at major retailers like Target and Walmart. Similar in cards per box to Hobby Boxes, Retail Boxes generally don’t offer as many hits or low-numbered cards.


Refers to cards that appear only in retail formats. Examples could be inserts that only appear in Blaster Boxes or parallels that only appear in Hanger Boxes.

Rookie Card

Refers to a player’s first year of cards, though not always their rookie season. Players can have dozens of rookie cards that vary in value. Some, but not all, rookie cards are stamped with some type of rookie designator that varies by manufacturer.


Abbreviation for Rookie Patch Autograph. These types of cards are often the most desirable and expensive in the hobby.



Refers to a card’s supply not meeting the demand. Not to be confused with Rare, which indicates a card with a more limited print run.

Secondary Market

Refers to cards being sold through online marketplaces like eBay and COMC or auction houses like Goldin Auctions and Heritage Auctions.

Serial Numbered

Indicates that a card has been stamped with a serial number. Example: 12/25. Synonymous with Numbered.


The entire print run of cards from a specific year’s product. Can also refer to a product’s Base Set.


A third-party grading service that has a history of expertise in vintage cards and sets. Its phrase “Tuxedo Time” refers to its distinct black slab and primarily white label.

Shill Bidding

The process of bidding up the price of an item in an unnatural way to benefit the seller. Shill bidding is most common through online marketplaces where sellers can create additional accounts to place bids. Typically these items are ultimately left unpaid to create the illusion of a higher value.

Short Print

Abbreviated “SP”, refers to cards with a lower print run than most other cards in a set. Numbered cards are also considered short-printed though not every SP card is numbered.


Describes cards sold individually rather than in a pack. Buying singles is typically recommended over opening packs when purchasing for investment purposes.


Describes the plastic case that encapsulates a card through a third-party service.


Stickers are similar to their sports card counterparts but are often meant to be peeled and placed in an album. Historically more popular in Europe and Asia than North America, some stickers like Michael Jordan’s 1986 Fleer rookie can hold significant value on the secondary market.

Sticker Autograph

Describes an autograph signed on a sticker that is then placed on a trading card. Sticker autographs are typically considered less desirable and valuable than on-card autographs.

(SSP) Super Short Print

Abbreviated SSP, these cards are even more rare than short-prints. While there are no stated print runs for an SSP, the pack odds are definitively more rare than SP. Typically a print run under 50 is considered SSP.


Team Bag

A term used to describe resealable plastic bags, historically used to hold groups of cards or team sets.

Team Card

Describes a card that features an entire team.

Team Set

Refers to every player from a single team within a specific set.

(The) Hobby

Slang for the sports card hobby.

Tobacco Card

Cards that were distributed with packs of cigarettes as a bonus. Most common in the early 1900s, these cards were considered a marketing tool to sell more packs while also providing additional structural support to the packs.

The T-206 set is widely considered the most iconic tobacco card set while the set’s Honus Wagner rookie is considered one of the most important and valuable cards in existence.

Top Loader

A common protective plastic case for cards. Top loaders are typically placed over a card with a penny sleeve for additional protection. These cases provide more protection than penny sleeves but are more flexible than hard plastic cases like one-touches or screw downs.


An iconic sports card manufacturer best known for producing licensed baseball cards for decades. Popular sets include Topps Chrome, Topps Finest, and the Bowman sets. Topps was purchased in 2022 by Fanatics for approximately $500M.


Uncut Sheet

A sheet of cards that hasn’t been cut into individual cards by the manufacturer yet. Uncut sheets from important sets can sell extremely well on the secondary market.

Upper Deck

A sports and trading card manufacturer that has produced cards for multiple sports since 1989. Best known during the ultra-modern era for producing important hockey sets and the iconic Young Guns rookies.



Describes a card that is different from the Base card. Variations can feature different photos or subtle changes to coloring or shading. Parallels and Refractors are also types of variations.


A subjective term that describes older cards. A widely accepted cutoff is 1980, with cards produced before then considered vintage by modern standards.



Describes unopened packs of cards, including single packs as well as sealed boxes.



An extremely rare parallel that features a zebra-print pattern offered in Select products.

receive weekly specials by signing up for our newsletter