Baseball card collecting, even if it's just for fun, can become an expensive hobby. Learning the basics is important, or you'll wind up wasting your money.
Step 1: Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame website Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame website. Learning about the great teams and players in game history is a prerequisite for a beginning collector.
Step 2: Learn card collector jargon Learn card collector jargon. A "set" is a series of consecutively numbered cards, and a "jersey card" can include an embedded swatch from a player's uniform.
Step 3: Decide what your collection focus will be Decide what your collection focus will be. Some collectors focus on individual players or teams and others concentrate on building a full set.
TIP: A "super collector" might aim at collecting every card ever produced for a team or player.
Step 4: Learn card values jargon Learn card values jargon. "Book value" is a card value based on a baseball card guide price and "sell value" is the actual price paid for the card.
TIP: "Exclusive spokesperson cards" are autographed or jersey cards from a player with an exclusive card company contract.
Step 5: Learn card grading terms Learn card grading terms like "mint," "near mint," "very good," "fair," and "poor." Physical defects include corner wear, creasing, trimming, and stains.
TIP: If you want to buy a rare card, get one that's been professionally graded.
Step 6: Visit a sports memorabilia convention Visit a sports memorabilia convention for an overview of card prices, or visit a dealer shop authorized by a card company like Topps or Upper Deck.
TIP: A graded card in an unopened plastic holder guarantees that the card grade remains unchanged even if traded multiple times.
Step 7: Start your collection with a box of new baseball cards Start your collection with a box of new baseball cards. Rarer cards are sometimes randomly placed in a box; these are called "hits."
Step 8: Learn how to protect and store your cards Learn how to protect and store your cards correctly. You can put them in individual plastic holders or in a three-ring binder containing nine-card plastic pocket sheets. You can now begin to enjoy your new hobby!
FACT: The world's most valuable card, a 1909 Honus Wagner tobacco trading card, was once owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.