In today’s card collecting hobby, many people believe that a collection is defined by its hits. Although this is not necessarily the case, the hits are what seem to be keeping collectors coming back for more.
A “hit” card is any card that has memorabilia or an autograph. We’ll discuss more when we get to our buying options, but these hits can be found with different probabilities in packs and boxes. With a retail blaster, you may see that there is one hit per box or a few hits in a particular hobby box.
With these types of cards, they can come in a normal base type of card or they may come on a variation, insert, or parallel card. Whatever the case, hit cards are always exciting to pull!
Memorabilia cards are the first of the hits that we’ll take a look at. These have been referred to in a number of ways over the years – jersey cards, relics, patches, and swatches, but they all fall under the same category.
The range of these memorabilia cards has continued to expand from jerseys to just about anything these days. In what started as jersey pieces, we now see patches, pylons, gloves, and even cleats included in the sports world or memorabilia cards. They also extend outside of the sports realm to celebrities and movies with relics or memorabilia pieces. Here are a few examples of these memorabilia cards:
While these memorabilia pieces are “hits”, most collectors would prefer an autograph of a player over the memorabilia piece worn by that same player. The card companies have taken some liberties in the memorabilia world that has made them a little bit more common and also has decreased the collection value.
These memorabilia pieces were once only game-used swatches, but producers have now broadened their terminology to player-worn materials. This slight change in words has given the companies the ability to use any material that was worn by the player rather than the pieces that were once hotly contended for. That said, some of these pieces will still have game-worn authentications on them.
Regardless of the value and changes that have come over time, memorabilia cards have always been fun cards to collect. For fans all over, these cards give the opportunity to feel a little more connected to our favorite players.
Autographed cards, more commonly referred to as “autos”, are the best of the best in the hobby. As straightforward as an autographed cards seems, there are still some differences and key characteristics to be noted as you go on collecting.
Company Guaranteed Autographs
These company guaranteed autographs are the ones that you would pull out of a pack or a box. They, as defined, are the ones that have been certified by the company that has produced the cards. Because they are certified by the card companies, collectors can be assured that they have an authentic autograph.
In the realm of company guaranteed autographs, there are two subcategories. The first is the on-card autograph. These are now considered to be a premium because of the hard signing. Some collectors will only go for on-card autographs because of the importance that they place on the player actually holding and signing that particular card. Some examples of cards that have this type of autograph are Flawless, National Treasures, Limited, Optic, Contenders, Impeccable, and as well as a number of your Topps, Bowman, and Leaf products. You may notice that these cards are typically the higher end of the spectrum in price. Here is an example of ab on-card signature:
The alternative to on-card autographs are sticker autographs, which are now pretty widely distributed in the card world. These autographs make things much more convenient for card companies because they simply have the player sign a page of stickers that they can then slap on a card. There’s no wait time, but also removes the player from personally signing the given card. Some types of cards that typically feature sticker autographs are Elite, Certified, Absolute, Select, and XR. We’ll also show a few of these so you can note the differences between the two:
This used to be the more common practice in the hobby. It used to take a lot more work to get an autograph than it does now, typically happening in form of getting a card signed at a game or mailing it to the player with a signature request. That challenge and the rarity of chances made these in-person signatures quite sought after. Today, there are still some that prefer these, but with many people trying to make a quick buck, there are counterfeits all over. With that being the case, in-person autographs don’t hold as much resale value unless authenticated by a reputable company.
I’ll throw in a bonus section: redemption cards. These redemption cards are a newer concept in the collecting world and come in a couple different forms. Both can be found in random packs or boxes. The first of the two types of redemption cards that we’ll discuss redeems a specific card. For example, with the Topps Heritage 2018 set, I received a redemption card for an “Anthony Rizzo Real One Autograph”. What this means is that, by using the code on the card, I was able to go online and make the request to receive the card that was named on the redemption card. Once I submitted my code and made the request, I received the card a number of weeks afterwards. Some people love these redemptions while others despise them. The reason that some may love them is due to the fact that the card has not been circulated. The reason that others hate them is because you have to wait for a long time to receive that card (and sometimes may receive a replacement card instead).
The second type of redemption cards are points cards. Some companies, like Panini, have a rewards system in which people are able to redeem their points for cards or packs. These point cards come in different denominations, similar to the quality of the hit that you may receive in a given box. Again, people have a love/hate relationship with this type of card. The lovers enjoy the opportunity to pick out the card or save up for exclusives that they may want, while the haters would prefer to receive the hit in their pack.
Discussion: Do you have a major preference in regards to getting an in-person, on-card, or sticker autograph?
We know that there are many elements to the card hobby. Whether you’re just starting out or have been doing it for years, we’ll do our best to help you better understand the ins and outs of collecting. If you’d like to receive our updates, we’d be happy to have you join us on this journey!