John Wiley & Sons Sports Card Collecting & Investing For Dummies Cover Become a part of the growing sports card trading community Sports Card Collecting & Investing For D.. Product #: 978-1-394-22505-7 Regular price: $21.40 $21.40 In Stock

Sports Card Collecting & Investing For Dummies

Wilson, Geoff / Burrows, Ben / Nethercott, Tyler


1. Edition March 2024
320 Pages, Softcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-394-22505-7
John Wiley & Sons

Further versions


Become a part of the growing sports card trading community

Sports Card Collecting & Investing For Dummies will teach you how to start or resume collecting, how to trade, sell, grade, and protect your cards. This is a comprehensive yet easy-to-read breakdown of the sports card hobby and its many nuances. You'll learn the basics and get up to speed on the recent influx of new brands, companies, investors, influencers, and technologies that have completely reshaped the community. The popularity of sports cards as an alternative investment is at an all-time high, and this Dummies guide helps you budget and make smart trades. The anatomy of a sports card, spotting card damage, grading scales, buying safely, using trusted marketplaces, building your collection, pricing and selling your cards, avoiding scams--it's all in here. Become a savvy card collector, the easy way.
* Learn the ins and outs of trading sports cards as a collector and an investor
* Determine the value of your cards and discover where to find rare deals
* Stay safe while buying and selling from local dealers, with online marketplaces, and at in-person events
* Become a part of the collector community

Beginners of all ages who want to start (or resume) collecting sports cards can find all the must-know info in the pages of Sports Card Collecting & Investing For Dummies.

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

How This Book Is Organized 2

Part 1: Getting the Scoop on Sports Cards 2

Part 2: Checking Out the Many Traits of Sports Cards 2

Part 3: The Basics of Buying and Collecting 3

Part 4: Flipping, Investing, and Turning a Profit 3

Part 5: The Part of Tens 3

Glossary 3

Foolish Assumptions 4

Conventions Used in This Book 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: Getting the Scoop on Sports Cards 7

Chapter 1: Sizing Up the Sports Card Craze 9

The Psychology of Collecting 10

Why we collect sports cards 10

A new (not really) kind of investment 12

Getting Lost in the Cardboard (It's a Good Thing.) 13

Rediscovering your old collection 13

Tips for finding cards you will (or won't) love 16

Chapter 2: The Evolution of Sports Cards through the Decades 19

Where It All Began 20

Exploring the 1800s and the first cards 20

Pre-War and Vintage 22

Colors, stats, and a sweet new hobby 23

American Caramel and Cracker Jack 23

1933 Goudey Big League Gum 24

The early Bowman, Leaf, Fleer, and Donruss entries 25

1952 Topps and the modern sports card 27

O-Pee-Chee and Panini make their debuts 28

The Modern Era 30

The sets that defined the era 30

Great music, junk wax 33

A near-death experience 34

The great rebound 35

We won't get fooled again 36

The Ultra-Modern Era 36

More than a sandwich 37

The big boom 38

Record-high market 38

Death by parallel and the Junk Slab Era 39

Violence, theft, and the retail controversy 41

Where the hobby goes from here 41

Part 2: Checking Out the Many Traits of Sports Cards 43

Chapter 3: The Anatomy of a Sports Card 45

What Makes a Sports Card? 45

Major card designs through the years 46

Making a first impression 51

What's on the back? 54

Art cards and custom cards 54

Exploring the Printing Process and Product Configuration 55

The materials that make sports cards 55

Set size, hits, chases, and what makes a product 56

Understanding the Packout Process and Distribution 58

From the printing press to sealed packs and boxes 58

The journey from manufacturer to storefronts 60

Chapter 4: Understanding Product Checklists: Base Cards, Parallels, Inserts, and More 63

Learning How to Read (the Checklist) 64

Checklists 65

Product information sheets 67

Spotting a Base Card and the Rainbow of Parallels 68

Identifying base cards 68

Spotting the many variations 69

Inserts and Design Madness 74

What makes an insert 74

Embracing the design madness 75

Chasing Autographs and (Maybe) Game-Used Memorabilia 78

Understanding authenticity 79

Signed, sealed, and delivered 80

Getting closer to the game (or your local retailer) 82

Chapter 5: Different Sports and Their Nuances 89

Basketball cards 90

Built on superstars and flash 90

Iconic basketball players 91

The transition to Panini 93

WNBA rises in popularity 94

Baseball cards 96

The richest history 96

Iconic baseball players 97

Football cards 100

Quarterback or bust 100

Iconic football players 102

Hockey cards 103

A small but passionate fan base 103

Iconic hockey players 105

Other notable sports 105

Soccer 106

Boxing and MMA 108

Golf and tennis 108

Racing 109

Chapter 6: Key Manufacturers, Brands, and Products 111

Licenses make all the difference 111

Unlicensed cards 112

Key basketball card sets 113

Key baseball card sets 115

Prospecting and Minor League cards 118

Key football card sets 119

Hockey cards 120

Other notable sports and key sets 123

Key soccer card sets 123

Key boxing and MMA card sets 124

Key golf and tennis sets 125

Key racing card sets 125

Chapter 7: The Importance of Card Condition -- From Printing to Grading 127

Physical Aspects of Cards 128

Surface condition, centering, corners, and edges 128

Spotting print defects, damage, and other issues 134

Cleaning or altering? 136

Card Grading 138

Benefits of grading, from authentication to market value 139

Trusted grading companies 140

Grading scales and numerical values 144

The grading process 145

Part 3: the Basics of Buying and Collecting 149

Chapter 8: Deciding What Kind of Collector You Will Be 151

Setting Your Collecting Goals 151

Setting realistic expectations 152

Quality versus quantity 153

Tips for staying on track 153

Picking Your Personal Collection Themes 155

What kind of collector are you? 155

Chapter 9: Buying Basics and Building Your Collection 159

Buyer's Market 160

Sealed products 160

Box breaks 161

Singles 162

Lots 162

Online Marketplaces and Retailers 163

eBay 163

COMC 164

MySlabs 164

Alt 165

Blowout Cards 165

Dave and Adam's Card World 165

Others worth considering 165

Take It to the (Auction) House 166

Goldin Auctions 166

PWCC 166

Heritage Auctions 167

Others worth considering 167

It's Always Personal 167

Local card shops 167

Card shows 168

Trade nights 168

Let's get social 168

Great Deals (Aren't) Hard to Find 169

An honest mistake 169

The great negotiator 170

R-E-S-P-E-C-T 171

Displaying and Storing Your Collection 171

Penny sleeves, Toploaders, and other holders 172

Fit for a museum 174

Chapter 10: Navigating a Card Show Like a Pro 177

Don't Forget the Essentials 177

Straight cash, Homie 178

These shoes are made for walking 178

Baggage claim 178

Navigating the Chaos and Making a Deal 179

Needle in a haystack 179

Deal or no deal 180

Card Show Etiquette 182

Table manners 182

Thank you for being a friend 183

Plenty of fish in the sea 183

Chapter 11: Finding or Building a Community 185

Using Social Media to Find Your Community 186

Best platforms to get started 186

How to safely communicate online 187

Starting a community when you can't find one 189

Networking at Events to Grow Your Community 189

Event etiquette 190

Why all events aren't created equal 190

Chapter 12: Resources to Grow Your Hobby Knowledge 191

Free Industry Resources 191

Set and product details 192

Authentication, grading, and auctions 193

Community Content and Other Media 194

Pricing data tools 194

Picking the right creators 194

Magazines and more 195

Chapter 13: The Dark Side of the Hobby 199

Too Good to Be True 199

Spotting fake cards 200

Avoiding scams 202

Shill bidding 203

Online etiquette 204

Drama queens 204

Pumping and dumping 205

Personal Responsibility and Managing Your Budget 205

What is and isn't out of your control 206

Setting a budget and staying on target 207

Part 4: Flipping, Investing, and Turning A Profit 209

Chapter 14: Investing in Cards While Attempting to Turn a Profit 211

The Basics of Sports Card Investing 212

Some important disclaimers 213

Key concepts to follow 215

How, when, and where to sell your cards 222

Fatal mistakes to avoid 225

Building Your Business from Scratch 226

Making your first deals 227

Building on a budget 227

When to take a loss 227

Creating realistic expectations 228

Chapter 15: Three Ways to Profit 229

The Quick Flip 229

Spotting flipping candidates 230

Targeting the right timeline 232

Using data to make the right moves 232

Other tools to help 233

Short-Term Speculation 234

Expectations and timeline 234

Grading or selling raw 235

Buying and selling seasons 236

Long-Term Investments 237

What makes a great long-term hold 237

Why vintage has been considered a good investment 240

Chapter 16: Properly Valuing and Selling Your Cards 243

Sales Data Matters, but There's More to the Story 243

Trusted pricing tools 245

Important price points, trends, and more 247

Becoming a High-Quality Seller 251

A personal touch 251

Maintaining a good standing selling online 253

Handle with care 254

Part 5: the Part of Tens 257

Chapter 17: Ten Unwritten Rules Every Collector Should Follow 259

Have Fun and Collect What You Love 259

Don't Let FOMO Drive Your Decisions 260

Set a Budget and Stick to It 260

Respect How Others Collect 261

Be Reasonable When Trading 261

Ship Cards Like You'd Want Them to Be Shipped 261

Understand the Cost of Doing Business 262

Support Your Local Card Shop 262

Look to Pay It Forward 262

Never Stop Learning 263

Chapter 18: Ten Tricks to Building a Great Collection 265

Find a Collecting Theme, Identity, or Style 265

Set Realistic Goals, but Dare to Dream Big 266

Be Patient and Play the Long Game 266

Use Data and Other Resources to Find Great Deals 267

Curate Your Collection Periodically 267

Consolidation Can Help Win Holy Grails, but It Isn't for Everyone 268

Go Off the Beaten Path and Search for Hidden Gems 268

Develop a System to Store and Display Your Cards 269

Find Hobby Friends and Collecting Groups 269

Learn from Your Mistakes 270

Chapter 19: Ten Iconic Cards Every Collector Should Know 271

1909-1911 T206 Honus Wagner 271

1933 Goudey Babe Ruth 273

1948 Leaf Jackie Robinson 274

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle 274

1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky 276

1980 Topps Bird/Erving/Johnson 277

1986 Fleer Michael Jordan 277

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr 279

2000 Playoff Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph Tom Brady 280

2003 Exquisite Collection LeBron James 281

Glossary 283

Index 291
Geoff Wilson is the founder of Sports Card Investor, the leading content network and data platform for trading card enthusiasts. Ben Burrows is a journalist and the former content director for Sports Card Investor. Tyler Nethercott is the VP of product development for Sports Card Investor.