Your original cards have likely been in a shoebox or binder for a few years or decades. They are nostalgic. They remind you of a period of time early in your life. They are authentic. The origins trace back to when you bought the packs when they were first released. It's important to preserve your cards because they are or soon will be vintage. Many of your cards could be valuable and desired by collectors or just suited to your own personal collection.
Your cards have value based on these factors:
- Emotional attachment
- Rarity or scarcity
- The represented point in time
- Number of previous owners
- Popularity or fame of original owner or previous owners
- Public interest in the item
- Market interest in the item
- Subject to forgery, fraud, theft
- Others desire having the item
Right now, your ungraded cards are worth as much as you paid for them or what the market is willing to pay for a raw card.
These are the common types of cards to collect:
- Hall of Fame inductees
- Record breakers
- Leaders in goals, assists, home runs, penalties, saves, etc.
- Trophy winners
- Championship team players
- Memorial (athletes who have deceased)
- Athletes from your hometown
- Non-sports such as Pokemon or Star Wars
Other cards to collect could be your favourite players or cards with known errors such as incorrect image, name, stats or personal information. Some cards have variations. They can be corrected errors or different images of the same player issued in separate series.
You might find that one of your sets is a few cards from completion. Various buy and sell sites, dealers and social media groups will sell you those missing cards graded or raw. Use caution when purchasing raw grade-worthy cards. Fraudsters and fake cards are out there waiting for you. Ask individual sellers for their VerIfied Seller Certificate to protect yourself. If you have acquired your raw cards through an unverified third party or even family members, have a few cards graded to check for authenticity and condition.
Most collectors will have cards graded that were printed prior to 1990. However, getting your popular, rare, unique or high market value cards graded from any year is recommended. Graders determine the condition and print quality of the cards and will also check to make sure your cards are not fake or altered. Your cards will receive a grade from 1 to 10 (sub-grades from some graders), a label with serial number and a protective tamper proof plastic case. Be aware that grading takes anywhere from 1 day to 1 year depending on the service you pay for and the backlog. If you can't wait, consider purchasing an already graded card in the market.
Once graded, you can keep your cards at home or in a vault provided by companies specifically for cards. Consider pairing your graded cards to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ownership, identification and collecting in the metaverse. We offer our own branded NFTs as well as KSA's Phygitals for their graded cards.
Grading and card database web sites are good resources to learn more about your cards and how much money they were sold for by other collectors.
If grading does not fit into your budget, keep your cards in a safe place for your personal collection or sell them as ungraded (raw) cards. Ideally, put them in a penny sleeve and then in a top loader protective plastic holder. Do not store them in screw down cases. Over time, the card could change in size and be considered altered by graders. Also, the image could transfer to the plastic.
Take inventory of your cards so you can quickly reference them. Create a spreadsheet with columns for player name or subject, team, card number, print year or season, printer or manufacturer. A status column will be useful for knowing if the card is ungraded, graded, out for grading, to be graded, sold, traded, in search of, ordered or pending delivery.
Here's our services to help you manage your collectibles: