Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the best way to start collecting baseball cards?
  2. Why should I collect baseball cards?
  3. What was the first baseball card or set of cards produced?
  4. How do I determine the value of my cards?
  5. Should I factor in whether or not I like a particular player when determining how much a card is worth to me?
  6. What is the production schedule of the card companies?
  7. Once a baseball season ends, is that the last time cards for that year are produced?
  8. What is a factory set?
  1. What is the best way to start collecting baseball cards?
    The first rule to starting a collection is to remember to buy what you like. You want to collect items that are of interest to you. Make sure to enjoy what you are collecting! A few ways to accomplish this are to collect by your favorite player, team or set of cards. There is also collecting purely for the enjoyment of opening packs. The advantage of buying your favorite player is that they are cards you enjoy looking at, as well as following their stats over the course of a career. Collecting team sets presents the challenge of building a whole collection of a certain type of card. You will have to buy each card individually or buy unopened boxes in search of that missing card(s). Finally, collecting by set is a great project to do over a period of time. The "got it, need it" method is employed here as you rifle through packs to see what you have. Topps offers the ability to purchase some full sets, if choose to go that route. Opening packs to see what you get provides the enjoyment of not knowing what you are getting. The other nice thing is that you get the surprise of game used cards or other special cards included in the pack. However you collect, the designs and photography of the cards capture baseball at it's finest.
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  2. Why should I collect baseball cards?
    By collecting cards, you will be continuing a tradition started over 100 years ago. In the present, collecting provides another forum for you being a fan of the game. You can collect in the manner that provides you with the most enjoyment. Besides it’s present value, your baseball card collection will be something to pass down, similar to family photographs. Future generations will enjoy looking at cards of the past to see images and designs. A great guardian/child activity that fosters communication, teaches children about statistics and how to complete a project (i.e collecting a full team set.).
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  3. What was the first baseball card or set of cards produced?
    The first baseball cards were produced in the late 1800's. They were originally designed as a cardboard insert to give a pack of cigarettes a rigid inner, keeping cigarettes from breaking in shipping. One of the most famous of these cards is the Honus Wagner, which holds the record as most expensive card sold. Honus Wagner objected to smoking, and thus requested his card be pulled from the packs, creating the first "short print" Baseball Card. There are very few copies of these that have ever been found. A similar scenario just played out in 2006 Topps on the Alex Gordon Rookie Card. Alex Gordon was not yet eligible for his card to be produced, and Topps pulled his card from the set, but apparently not all of them as a few copies have been found in packs!
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  4. How do I determine the value of my cards?
    Certainly, a card is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. You should always remember as well that most price guides list a retail selling price - it is not realistic to expect a retail store owner or dealer to pay you what the price guide may show for a card.  Most cards that are being sold by collectors will sell for less than the guide, as stores have to buy at a wholesale level. Having said all of that, Beckett price guides are one of the oldest and trusted price guides that have been in use for over 20 years. Another reputable price guide is published by Tuff Stuff. Both will give you an idea of retail selling prices for cards.
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  5. Should I factor in whether or not I like a particular player when determining how much a card is worth to me?
    Absolutely,  when selling a card, you have to decide if you value the card more than the offer. It is the main reason we encourage collectors to "collect what you like" - that way it will always have value to you. If you enjoy your collection, that may outweigh your desire to sell it.
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  6. What is the production schedule of the card companies?
    Most cards are begun to be planned appox 13 months out. It takes time to design a card look, a theme that the set will fall under and the player selection. From there, players have to be approved for inclusion by the Players Association. The statistics and the biographies written and approved, and photos chosen. Finally, any insert programs that involve Autographs or Game Used Memorabilia items have to be acquired from the athletes, and made into cards as well. It takes time to put a set together.
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  7. Once a baseball season ends, is that the last time cards for that year are produced?
    No - Baseball cards are being produced year round, as collector interest and different markets need different items. Rookies are often included heavier in late season releases to reflect call ups later in the Baseball season.
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  8. What is a factory set?
    A factory set is the complete set of cards issued by a manufacturer. The most common and issued factory set is from Topps, but Upper Deck, Fleer and Donruss have also issued these over the years. The set will contain all of the base cards issued for that brand by the manufacturer. There will not normally be any shortprinted insert cards included in these sets, but any Rookie Cards that were part of the basic set will be included. Some of the famous Rookie Cards included in factory sets are the 1993 Topps Derek Jeter Rookie Card, 1987 Topps Barry Bonds, 1989 Topps, Fleer or Donruss Randy Johnson or the 1985 Topps Roger Clemens Rookie Card! Cards that were pulled from the set, like the 2006 Topps Alex Gordon, or the 1989 Fleer Variant Billy Ripken card that had a swear written on the end of his bat will not be included in the sets. Sets make a great "Legacy Collection" for yourself, or an excellent annual birthday or holiday present for a loved one!
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