As the hobby of collecting sports cards and entertainment trading cards continues to evolve year-after-year, it’s easy for both novice collectors and seasoned veterans to get confused by the verbiage and terminology related to collecting sports cards.

With that in mind, we thought we would produce a comprehensive glossary of hobby terms and definitions for beginners that will help navigate in the current market.


Acetate: A clear, transparent plastic occasionally used by trading card manufactures in place of other, more traditional, paper and cardboard card stocks. One of the most popular uses of this type of card has been used in Upper Deck hockey products including ICE and Trilogy.


Artist Proof: A type of parallel card. They were originally produced by Pinnacle Brands Inc. in 1994.


Auction House: The hobby of sports card and sports memorabilia collecting serves a wide range of collectors. Some of these collectors have a wealth of financial resources at their disposal. Often times, purchases of high-grade cards and vintage sports memorabilia are made through one of the hobby’s numerous auction companies.


Autograph Authentication: The process of having an autographed item examined by an expert or third-party authenticator to determine if the autograph is legitimate and in fact signed by the person purported to have signed the item.


Autograph: A signature of an athlete, entertainer, celebrity or other personality.


Autograph Card/Autographed Card/ Auto and AU: A trading card accompanied by the signature of an athlete, entertainer, celebrity or other personality.


Base Card/ Regular Card: The main cards that comprise a sports card or non-sport product’s base set. The cards are typically numbered on the back of the card.


Base Set: All of a trading card product’s base cards.


BCW: A manufacturer of storage supplies and display pieces for trading cards and memorabilia.


Beckett: The publisher of various sports card specific publications and pricing guides.


Blank Back: A trading card that has no printing, of any kind, on the card’s back. This can either be by design or as the result of a printing error. Blank back cards that are printing errors often carry a premium in value.


Blaster Box: A packaging configuration for collectible sports cards and other trading cards, typically reserved for retail distribution through a “big-box” store such as Wal-Mart or Target. The boxes usually contain anywhere between 5-10 packs and on occasion a premium (see below).


Blister Pack: A retail-only package that contains multiple packs of cards. These usually consist of 2, 3 or 4 packs sealed in a hardened plastic bubble against a cardboard backer. In recent years, many blister packs may also contain a few standalone cards, usually parallels and wrapped in cellophane. They can also be used to package team sets.


Book Card /Booklet Card:: A trading card that combines two trading cards into one by attaching them with a hinge, or spine like a book. They can be vertically or horizontally oriented and usually are a high-end card showcasing game-used memorabilia and/or an autograph.


Bowman: A brand of trading cards owned by the Topps Company. Bowman was originally a gum manufacturer that produced sports cards starting in 1948. The company was purchased by Topps in 1956. The first use of the Bowman brand name by Topps was in 1989. Today, the Bowman brand includes several trading card sets, primarily focused on prospects and rookies.


Box Break: Usually referred to as the expected contents contained within a box of sports cards. Also can be used as a term for the process of opening a box of sports cards.


Box Break Site: A website that conducts Group Breaks.


Break/Crack/Bust: A slang term used to describe the process of opening a box of trading cards.


Card Show: An assembly of sports card and memorabilia collectors and dealers. These events first originated in the 1970s as small regional shows, usually taking place in a mall, hotel lobby or banquet room. Today, these shows still exist but have also evolved to include much larger shows attended by collectors from across the country.


Card Stock: The material a trading card physically consists of and is used as the printing medium.


Cardboard Connection: An independent website that generates hobby related media content.


Case: Typically used in reference to a packaging of  a specific trading card product. Cases contain multiple boxes depending on the product and can range between 2-20 boxes.


Case Breaker: A term referred to a person or business that opens multiple cases of product or operates as Group Breaking website.


Case Hit(s): In an effort to encourage the purchase of cases of trading cards, some manufactures guarantee a specific type of high-value or short-printed card in every case. These cards are referred to as “case hits”.


Category: A term used by industry professionals in the trading card business to describe the retail and hobby market for selling sports cards and entertainment trading cards.


Cello (Packs/Boxes): A form of packaging similar to cellophane that was used for retail trading card distribution in the 1970s through the early 1990s. They are sometimes referred to as rack packs (see below) for the way they could be hung on a pegboard “rack”.


Certificate of Authenticity / Letter of Authenticity: Also known as a C.O.A., a Certificate of Authenticity is a document attesting to an item’s authenticity. They are commonly issued by a third party grading or authentication company “certifying” that an autograph is in fact legitimate or that an alleged “game-used or worn” item was in fact, worn/used by said player. Individual sellers can, and often do, issue there own C.O.A.’s, however, they carry very little value compared to those issued by a reputable third-party services in the hobby.


Chase Set: Used in place of insert set by many non-sport or entertainment trading card companies.


Checklist: A listing of all of the cards contained in a product’s base, insert and subsets.


Chrome: The original metallic-like trading card stock manufactured by Topps


COMC: An acronym for the website Check Out My Cards, which is an online marketplace where collectors can buy and sell cards


Commemorative: A collectible created to acknowledge a historic event, record-breaking achievement, anniversary or other special event.


Common(s): A term used to describe the least expensive cards in a set. These can be player cards not belonging to a rookie, semi-star or star. They can also be used in reference to any non-insert or parallel card as well. The later being the more common use of the term in the modern collecting era. Common, can also be used to describe lesser known or desirable players in memorabilia sets such as silk blankets, bobbleheads or figures.


Condition: Used to describe the attributes of a trading card or collectible that contribute to its overall physical quality based on a condition scale (see below).


Dealer: A term that refers to a person that buys and sells  trading cards and other related collectibles as a source of income. Several years ago this term was used strictly in referring to those people who set up tables at local card shows, ran mail order businesses, placed classified ads in newspaper advertising that they would be at specific geographic location on particular dates for the purpose of buying people’s collections.. However, with the advent of eBay and other online marketplaces, a large percentage of collectors have themselves become dealers, if only on a part-time basis.


Diamond Certified Dealer: A program created by trading card manufacturer Upper Deck to designate and reward dealers of Upper Deck product that meet certain distribution criteria and attain specified sales goals.


Die-Cut: A trading card that has had part of the card stock removed to create a specific shape, design or function, such as a stand-up. In today’s collecting era, such cards are used as inserts and are usually short-printed resulting in increased rarity to that of other cards in the set.


Ding / Dinged Corner: A “ding” is the term used to describe damage on the corner of a trading card. Dings  commonly occur as the result of  cards being mishandled. A card with such condition issues (see above) is obviously worth less than a card without a “ding”. The result of a ding is a bending of the corner or a fraying of the paper at the corner.


Distributor: A wholesale specialist serving as a middleman between the manufacturer and the retailer that provides marketing support, sales promotions and other incentives to help drive product sales along the distribution chain.


Donruss: A trading card manufacturer that began production of entertainment trading cards in the mid 1950s. They began production of sports cards in 1981. The company and brand changed hands several times and the intellectual property, including the Donruss name is now owned by Panini America.


Encapsulated: A card that has been sealed in a tamper-resistant, permanent plastic case. This typically occurs after grading or authentication. However in recent years, some higher-end sports cards products have been produced with the cards encapsulated at the trading card manufacturing facility and come packaged as such.


Entertainment Trading Cards / Non-Sport Trading Cards: Trading cards that are printed without sports as the subject but instead entertainment subjects. These can include TV shows, movies, comic book characters, art and fantasy, models or anything that is non-sport related.


Error Card: A trading card that contains a mistake. Some of the more common errors include misspelled names, inaccurate statistical information or the wrong photograph. Often times, the error is caught before the entire print run has been completed. If the card with the mistake is corrected this is referred to as a Corrected Error Card. Depending on which card was printed in the smaller quantity determines which of the two cards may have any premium in value.


Factory Set: A complete set of trading cards packaged by the manufacturer.  Factory sets typically carry a premium over hand-collated sets.


Fleer: A now defunct, New Jersey based trading card company whose intellectual property is now owned by Upper Deck.


Foil: Shiny, metallic-like accents added to a trading card. Foil is added through an additional step in the printing process.


Forum, Board or Message Board: An online community designed for collectors to discuss the hobby, make trades, find information and have questions answered by peers.


Game-Used: A piece of memorabilia that has been used in a professional sporting event. These items can include, but are not limited to: bats, fielding gloves, batting gloves, bases, football pylons, hockey sticks, basketball nets, etc.


Game-Worn: A piece of memorabilia that has been worn by a player in an actual game. These items can include, but are not limited to: jerseys, hats, shoes, pads, etc.


  • Player-Worn: A piece of clothing or memorabilia that has been worn by a player but not in a game. This may be their draft day jersey, a jersey used in a photo shoot or an item held while taking a photo.
  • Photo shoot Worn: A piece of clothing or memorabilia worn/used, specifically and only, during a photo shoot. This typically occurs during a player’s draft day and rookie debut events.
  • Event Used: A memorabilia piece that has been worn or used at a specific event like a player’s draft day and rookie debut events.


Gem Card: In recent years, some trading card manufacturers have begun to embed or affix actual genuine gemstones on certain trading cards including Panini’s Flawless brand of cards and Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey. They can also be referred to as Jewel Cards.


Gimmick Card: A derogatory term used by collectors to describe a card created by a trading card manufacturer that has little true collectability and was simply created to garner mainstream media attention or hype a new trading card set. The example show to the left, features a variation of Derek Jeter’s 2007 Topps card. If you look closely you can see a Photo-shopped (see below) image of President George W. Bush in the stands.


Gloss/Glossy: A card with a shiny luster. This is part of the printing process and typically is the result of applying an ultra-violet (UV) coating to the card.


Graded Card: A trading card that has been examined by a third-party service (see below) grading specialist for condition and assigned a specific numerical grade, that corresponds with the card’s physical condition.


Grading Company: An independent, third-party service  (see below) that specializes in examining cards for physical condition and assigning the card a corresponding numerical grade for the card. Today, the trading card market recognizes the following companies as industry leaders: Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA), Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Sports Card Guaranty (SGC). Other reputable companies that collectors will encounter include Global Authentication Inc. (GAI) and International Sports Authentication (ISA).


Graded/Grading Card Scale: Each individual grading company bases their card grades on a numerical scale. All but one company uses a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest grade. SGC (see above) uses a 10 to 100 numerical scale. Each number on the grading scale corresponds to a card’s physical condition on the Condition Scale (See above.)

  • Pristine: A term used by BGS to describe the highest possible grade, a 10
  • Gem Mint: A term used by PSA to describe the highest possible grade, a 10


Gravity Feed: A retail packaging method where individual packs are accessed through an opening at the bottom of the box. The boxes are tall and rectangular in nature and sealed at the top. They contain retail packs and hold 48, 72 or 96 packs.


Group Break: An opportunity for a “group” of collectors to come together online and split the cost of a box or case of cards and then divide the pulled cards amongst themselves in a manner which was previously agreed upon before the break begins.


Hanger Box: In recent years, hanger boxes have started to replace blaster boxes (see above) in many big box retailer store to conserve shelf space. Like blasters, they contain an assorted number of unopened packs and hang from a store display.


Hit or Hit Card: A modern hobby term referring to higher-valued cards or those perceived to be of having a higher value than other cards pulled from a box of trading cards. These cards are typically those that are autographed, contain a piece of memorabilia or are significantly short-printed.


Hobby Box: A box of trading cards, exclusively packaged for distribution through approved online retailers and traditional card shops.


  • Retail Box: Packaged for sale and distribution at large retail outlets and chains like Wal-Mart and Target. The contents of the two types of boxes often varies, with Hobby Boxes, typically, having better insert odds and sometimes different content altogether. In recent years, the buying power of these establishments has generated demand for Retail Only products or those with exclusive content.


Hot Box: A modern era trading card term that describes a box that contains either nothing but high-end, “hit” cards or additional, bonus content.


Hot Pack: This term has two different meanings depending on the era in which the pack was manufactured. 1) During the mid-1990s, the Fleer company would often include a pack that contained only inserts and no base cards. 2) In the present day hobby, a “hot pack” of trading cards is one that is guaranteed to contain either an autograph or memorabilia card. These packs are usually offered on eBay. How these packs can be guaranteed to contain such a card without first having been opened is subject for debate.


Inscribed/Inscription: A term used in autograph collecting where the subject, in addition to signing their name includes a specialized notation, such as a statistical achievement, nickname Hall of Fame induction year or personalization.


Insert Card: In general, can be used to describe all non-base and non-parallel cards in a trading card set. These cards typically have their own themes, names, designs and numbering.


Insert Odds: Stated in terms of how many insert cards per the number of packs in which they are inserted, such as 1:4, 1:12, 1:24 – meaning one in four packs, one in twelve packs, one in twenty-four packs, etc.


Jersey Card: A trading card that contains a piece of jersey material, often referred to as a swatch.


Jewel Card: In recent years, some trading card manufacturers have begun to embed or affix actual genuine gemstones on certain trading cards including Panini’s Flawless brand of cards and Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey. The can also be referred to as Gem Cards. To the left is Damian Lillard’s 2012-13 Panini Flawless Rookie Card. Only 20 of each base card were produced and each, contains a genuine diamond, located to the left of the card’s serial numbering (see below).


Jumbo Pack: A hobby exclusive trading card pack-out configuration that consists of substantially more cards than regular hobby or retail versions. The most common brands this configuration is used in are Topps and Bowman Baseball. These packs often contain 50-60 sports cards.


Junk Wax: A term used in reference to the majority of trading cards manufactured between the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was an era of over-production in the trading card industry, the likes of which the hobby had not seen up until that time or since. The cards from this era have little, if any, monetary value.


Key: A term used to designate the most important cards in a set, players on a checklist or rookies in a draft class year.


Leaf: A trading card manufacturer whose origins dates back to the 1930s. The company was bought out in the 1980s and changed hands several times eventually becoming part of Panini America’s stable of brands in 2009. Panini let the Leaf trademark lapse and it was quickly picked up by upstart Razor Entertainment. The company now operates as Leaf Trading Cards.

Lenticular: A printing technology which causes a 3D-like effect allowing the image or images to have the appearance of movement when viewed at different angles. To create this effect, a small, ribbed, plastic lens is used to produce images that give the illusion of having depth.


Licensed: A trading card that carries with it the official endorsement and authorized usage rights from a respective sports licensing body like the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB.


Limited Edition: A term often used by trading card manufactures and memorabilia companies in an attempt to imply scarcity of an item. The value of a limited edition item is commiserate with the exact number produced. If the supply of the item exceeds demand, the card or item will result in having little or sometimes no value.


Limited Production Run: A term often used by a trading card manufacturer to describe a product’s total print run when it is considerably smaller than that of the company’s other trading card products.


Live Ink: A term used to describe real ink that has been applied to an item and not from a stamp or photocopy.


Lot: An auction term typically used to describe a number of items up for bid, like trading cards. The cards, or other items, may be the same type or they may be an assorted variety.


Manufacturer: A company that produces trading cards or memorabilia in the sports and entertainment collectibles market.


Manufactured Relic: A non-game used or player worn item that is physically manufactured by the producing company and included as a premium or insert in a trading card product. In recent years, these have included pins, coins, plaques, rings and charms, all of which are embedded in the trading card and are limited in nature.

  • Manufactured Patch: A manufactured relic that consists of a fabric related material, often embroidered to commemorate an event, player, team, year, etc.


Master Set: An entire print run of cards from a product including all base, parallel and insert cards including autographs and memorabilia.


Memorabilia Authentication: The market and demand for genuine, game-used and game worn (see above) uniforms, jerseys, bats, balls, helmets and other memorabilia has exploded in recent years. Special services examine such items to determine that they are in fact genuine and authentic.


Memorabilia Card: A card that contains a piece of player related equipment, DNA, venue item or other authentic items in some way related to the player or subject depicted on the card. The item is actually embedded in the card. They are also referred to as Relic Cards.


Metal/Metallic: A card that is printed with a technology that mimics or actually consists of a metal finish.


Mini: A non traditional card size. The most popular of these are from the 1975 Topps test issue (see below). The concept has been used in recent years to create mini-parallels to traditional sized cards within a set and even entire mini-sized sets.


National (The): The National Sports Collectors Convention is an annual sports card and memorabilia show that began in 1989. It is the largest show of its kind in terms of size of the venue, number of exhibitors, corporate partners and attendees. In recent years the show has rotated between Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and Atlantic City.


New In Box (NIB): Used to describe any type of memorabilia, toy, or novelty item whose original packaging consists of a box.


Numbering: The card number affixed to the back of a trading card indicating its order in its respective set.

  • Serial Numbering: Usually stamped in foil on the card indicating its exact print run and represented as xx/xxx, with the first set of numbers indicating the exact card’s serial number and the second set of numbers showing the total number of cards of that type printed. Serial numbering is most commonly used on parallels and insert cards.


On-Card: A term used to describe an autographed card whose signature is directly on the card and not on a sticker label affixed to the card.

  • Hard-Signed: Another term synonymous with On-Card.
  • Sticker Auto, Sticker Autograph: An autographed trading card that has a sticker or label signed by the card subject affixed to the card as compared to being signed “on-card” or hard-signed”


One-of-One: A one-of-a-kind trading card, typically serial numbered as such with the designation 1/1, meaning that there is only one of that exact trading card in existence.


Pack: A group of cards packaged for sale by a manufacturer.


Parallel: A card that is similar in design to its counterpart from a base set but offers a distinguishing quality. This can be in the former of border color, texture, card material, printing technology employed among other characteristics.


Penny Sleeve: A thin plastic pocket used as the first level of card protection. They can also be inserted into a top loader (see below) for further protection. Penny sleeves are inexpensive and come in quantities of 100 to a package.


Personal Collection (PC): A term used in the modern hobby to describe cards that a collector is typically not willing to sell or trade. These cards belong to the focus of a person’s collection.


Pocket Sheets/Pages: A protective sheet that holds trading cards. These sheets are archival quality with no acids or PVCs and provide ultra-violet protection. They come in dimensions to fit in a standard three ring binder and can be purchased in configurations to hold standard cards, exhibit cards, tobacco cards, 8×10 photographs and other additional sized ephemera (see above). They are designated as 9-pocket sheets for standard cards.


Population Report: The number of cards that have been graded by a specific grading company. It is also used in expressing the number of cards receiving a specific grade. Below is a sampling of the PSA Population Report for Michael Jordan’s legendary 1986 Fleer RC. Grading


Premium: Can mean an additional item included with a box of trading cards like a box-topper (see above). It can also mean an increased value placed on a card or item from a set due to various influencing factors including rarity, condition issues (see above) etc.


Price Guides: Third party publications, either in print or online that provide collectors with an estimated value of a trading card according to the current market. Prices are accumulated on an ongoing basis from online marketplaces and traditional hobby shops. These card values are often referred to as book value (see above).


Printing Plate(s): In recent years the actual plates used in the printing process have become collectibles in and of themselves. Each trading card in a set is made using four (4) individual plates in the following colors: Black, Cyan, Magenta & Yellow. These plates are often inserted into packs and are serial numbered 1/1. Pictured here are the four printing plates used to print Jose Reyes’ 2007 Topps Moments & Milestones, card #66.


Prism: A card that displays a metallic like quality with a bright and shiny design that creates an appearance that refractors or disperses light.


Prizm: A term used by Panini America to describe their own type of specific parallel cards. They also use it as its own brand name. The cards display a metallic like quality with a bright and shiny design that creates an appearance that refractors or disperses light.


Prop Card or Prop Relic: A type of memorabilia card found in entertainment trading card products containing a piece of a prop from a movie or TV show.


Rack Pack: A trading card packaging configuration generally distributed for sale through retail channels. Rack packs hang from a store display and look similar to three single packs of cards all attached together. The quantity of the cards contained in a rack pack varies by sport and manufacturer but always contains more than a single pack of cards.


Rainbow: The complete series of all the possible parallel colors of a player’s specific card.


Rare: A card or series of cards of very limited availability making them hard to obtain.  The term is very subjective and today is used all too liberally to hype a card’s value.  It should be noted that when using the term in reference to vintage trading cards, “rare” cards are harder to obtain than scarce (see below) cards.


Rated Rookie: A baseball card term originally used by the Donruss company to designate a top tier rookie player. Rated Rookie remains in the hobby lexicon as part of the Donruss brand of baseball cards now owned by Panini America.


Raw: A card that has not been encapsulated by a grading or authentication company.


Redemption: A program established by multiple card manufacturers that temporarily substitutes a card that should be in the product for the right to redeem that card when it is available from the manufacturer. The practice became necessary in the 2000s as the demand for autographed cards increased. Often times, manufacturers are left to the mercy of athletes to return their contracted autographs and must wait to fulfill those redemptions until the cards are returned. However, the manufacturers cannot wait an indefinite time to release the product in which the cards are supposed to be contained, resulting in the practice of including a redemption card.


Refractor: Similar to a Prism Card (see above). A card that utilizes a printing technology that produces a visual effect that refracts and disperses light in a manner that produces a prism or rainbow-like effect. The process has become very popular with modern trading card manufactures as a result of increased demand for these types of cards from collectors. Topps was the first trading card company to utilize this dynamic printing process.


Release Date: A term used by trading card manufacturers to denote when a new trading card product is scheduled to be available to the public. These dates are often fluid as a result of unforeseen circumstance in the manufacturing process.


Reprint: A card that has been purposely reproduced of an original, usually more expensive, card or set.


Retail Box: Packaged for sale and distribution at large retail outlets and chains like Wal-Mart and Target. The contents of the two types of boxes often varies, with Hobby Boxes, typically, having better insert odds and sometimes different content altogether. In recent years, the buying power of these establishments has generated demand for Retail Only products or those with exclusive content.


  • Hobby Box: A box of trading cards, exclusively packaged for distribution through approved online retailers and traditional card shops.


Rookie Card (RC): Designates a player’s first officially licensed trading card after making the roster for one of the four major sports professional teams at the major league level MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL.


Scarce: A card or series of cards with limited availability .  The term is very subjective and today is used all too liberally to hype a card’s value.  It should be noted that when using the term in reference to vintage trading cards, “scarce” cards are easier to obtain than “rare” (see above) cards.


Secondary Market: Usually referring to an online marketplace like eBay or Check Out My Cards (see above).


Serial Number: A card produced in a specific quantity and numbered with the notation XX/XXX indicating that the cards is number XX of a total of XXX that were produced. Serial numbering used to apply specifically to parallel cards but now many “hit” cards and even base cards are often accompanied by the designation. The card pictured is serial numbered in the upper left-hand corner, 4/5.


Series: A group of cards that are a part of a larger set and released together at a specified time. Up until 1974, Topps issued cards in several series, which were released throughout the sport’s regular season.


Shill-bidding: An illegal practice where a seller bids on his own item, or an item consigned to him, in order to increase the sale price. This can also be done by a proxy on behalf of the owner or consigner.


Short-Print (SP): A base-set card that is printed in lesser quantity than other cards in the set. Once occurring because of necessity, given the number of cards on a printing sheet and the total number of cards in a set, manufactures now do this to spur additional sales as collectors purse completion of the set.


Slabbing/Slabbed: The process of encapsulating a card for protection and tamper resistance after it has been graded and/or authenticated.


Sports Card Album: A popular website that allows collectors to upload images of their collection and list them to eBay.


Star Rookie: A term used by Upper Deck to describe a potential young star and their first Upper Deck card. The term is used in their line of baseball, basketball and football cards.


Sticker Autograph: An autograph signature applied to a sticker or label which is then applied to a trading card. (See also On-Card above.)


Subset: Can be used to refer to a themed number of trading cards within a product’s base set or to be used synonymously with insert set (see above).


Third Party Services: These are businesses in the sports card and sports memorabilia industry that provide support services to collectors, dealers and retailers. These services include card grading, autograph authentication, image hosting, pricing information and memorabilia authentication (see above).


Team Bag: A small plastic bag with a sealed strip used to store trading cards. The can safely fit about 25 cards, thus the term “team bag”.


Team Card: A sports card depicting a picture of an entire team.


Team Set: All the cards from a sports card set consisting of players from a specific team.


Trading Card Game (TCG): A trading card product designed for use in playing a game.


Ultra-Pro: A manufacturer of trading card and collectibles storage supplies and items used to display such items.


Uncut Sheet: A printed sheet of trading cards that has not been cut into individual cards by the manufacturer.


UV Coating: A protective layer applied to the surface of trading cards to prevent them from color fading as a result of ultra-violet rays from the sun.


Variation (VAR):  A card that is, in someway, subtly different from the same cards in any set. These variations can include, but are not limited to characteristics such as: a different color background or lettering, a corrected error, a name misspelling or photo variation. Below is an example of a color variation in Mickey Mantle’s 1969 Topps baseball card. Notice the letters of his name are in white on the card on the left, which is the more rare, variation, and the regular yellow letters on the right.


Vintage: A subjective term used to describe older sports cards and entertainment trading cards. Some people refer to anything printed before 1973 as vintage. This was the last year that Topps issued cards in more than just a couple of series. Other people consider anything produced prior to 1970 to be vintage.


Want List: A list kept by a collector designating cards he or she “wants” for their personal collection (see above).


Wax: A general term used to describe trading cards either as a single pack or a box full of packs. Even though manufactures today use different packaging types, the generic term “wax” has remained part of the hobby vernacular.


Wax Pack: The original packaging used to seal trading cards in was colored wax paper.


Young Guns: A term used by Upper Deck to describe a hockey player’s rookie card (see above). Young Guns are short-printed (see above) and have proven to hold there value very well despite not being serial numbered or autographed. This is a rare occurrence in the modern hobby.