Sports Card and Memorabilia Comprehensive Glossary

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  • ACEO: Art Card Editions Originals. These are modern-day broders and as such are often made illegally. See Also – Counterfeit.
  • Acetate: See Also – Card Stock.
  • AL: American League.
  • Altered: Refers to a card that has been intentionally altered in some way: re-colored, trimmed, or otherwise doctored in an effort to intentionally deceive buyers.
  • AU/AUTO: Autograph.
  • Authorized Release: An issue that has been produced with consent from the associated league and/or player’s association.


  • BAS: See Also – Beckett.
  • Base: See Also – Common.
  • BCCG: See Also – Beckett.
  • Beckett: A once industry standard in trading card pricing. While still around today, the publication arm of the company is a shell of what it was during pre-eBay years. Currently, the company is most recognized for its various grading/authentication divisions:
    • BGS: Beckett Grading Services. This is Beckett’s premiere and most popular grading services. It comes with a four-point grading scale for Centering, Corners, Edges, and Surface. Cards are slabbed within sleeves inside sturdy cases.
    • BVG: Beckett Vintage Grading. This is Beckett’s grading arm for anything pre-1981. It takes into account the technology used at the time and grades with a more precise evaluation.
    • BCCG: Beckett Collectors Club Grading. This is Beckett’s high volume, more lenient and affordable grading arm. Cards are slabbed raw (no inner sleeve) inside cheaper cases.
    • BAS: Beckett Authentication Services. This is Beckett’s authentication arm that specializes in athlete and celebrity autographs.
  • BGS: See Also – Beckett.
  • Big Three: This usually refers to the big three reputable grading companies: Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), and Sportscard Guaranty (SGC).
  • BIN/OBO: This term describes the format of a sale. BIN means Buy It Now. OBO means Or Best Offer. This is common terminology with eBay listings.
  • Black Sox: Derogatory nickname given to the 1919 Chicago White Sox team because they threw the 1919 World Series. The tale is remade in the great 1988 film, Eight Men Out.
  • Blank Back: A card with no printing on its back side.
  • Blank Front: A card with no printing on its front side.
  • Blaster Box: See Also – Retail.
  • Book Value (BV): Antiquated phrase once used in pre-eBay years to reference a card’s value based on the opinion of once popular pricing publications i.e., Beckett, Tuff Stuff, etc. In the current market, collectors often go off of eBay Completed Sold Listings. See Also – Comps, and VCP.
  • Booklet: See Also – Game Used Cards.
  • Break: This means to “open.” For example, “I’m going to break a box of 2010 Bowman Chrome.”
  • Breaker: Type of seller who opens sealed boxes of trading cards and sells them in some pre-arranged way: player, team, etc.
  • Buyback: This term has two meanings:
    • The first is when a manufacturer buys something back from the secondary market to have re-inserted into packs. These cards are usually upgraded in some way i.e., signed by the player and/or serial numbered, encased, etc.
    • The second is when the winner of an online raffle takes a cash payment instead of the item.
  • BVG: See Also – Beckett.


  • Cabinet Card: Oversized cards once issued by Tobacco manufacturers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Name originated because it was common place at the time for collector’s to display these cards in curio cabinets.
  • Card Show: See Also – Show.
  • Card Stock: Type of material on which a card is printed. Common materials are cardboard, acetate (transparent plastic), and metal.
  • Career-Year: Refers to products released during a player’s playing years. For example, “He only collects Ken Griffey Jr. career-year stuff (1989-2010).”
  • Cello: This is a card packaging format where cards are sealed in clear plastic and typically made available exclusively to retailers.
  • Centering: Important factor in determining a card’s overall grade. 50/50 on both axis’s – X and Y – is the most desirable and valuable.
  • Certificate of Authenticity (COA): An official statement from a credible source validating an items genuineness.
  • Chase: Term used to describe the act of looking for something. For example, “I’ve been chasing that card for years.”
  • Checklist (CL): List of cards available for a specific theme: player, set, etc.
  • Chipping: This term describes the condition of the edges of a card. Chipping is common on cards with color borders i.e., 1971 Topps Baseball, 1986 Fleer Basketball.
  • Clean: Referencing a card with little to no visible, or otherwise serious flaws. Clean cards come with strong presentation value.
  • Clubhouse Signature: A signature not made by the actual athlete but instead by someone else: bat boys, equipment managers, etc.
  • CMYK: These are the four colors of printing plates: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K).
  • Coining: Taking a pic of something with something else next to it to prove ownership. For example, taking a pic of a card with a sticky tab indicating the owners name next to it.
  • Collation: Organizing cards in some common theme, usually by number. Sets may come factory, or hand collated.
  • Common: This term has two meanings:
    • The first is a player, or a card depicting a player of little to no performance value beyond utility.
    • The second is the most basic version of a card, a.k.a. base.
  • Comps: eBay Completed Sold Listings. This term has replaced Book Value and is the most accurate reflection of the current market value for any item.
  • Counterfeit: A bogus reproduction made with the specific intent to deceive buyers into buying the real thing for profit. If someone uses team names, logos, and player names, without permission from MLB, MLBPA, or other sports licensing organizations, with the intention of turning a profit, that someone is committing copyright infringement, which is a convictable offense that can be punishable by hefty fines and prison time. These items don’t hold any value.
  • Crack It Out: Refers to the process of removing a card from a graded card case (slab).
  • Crossover: Removing a card from the slab of one grading company and having it re-graded by another grading company. This is often done in an effort to achieve a higher grade, or for uniformity.
  • Current: This term describes anything produced during the current year.
  • Cut Signature: This term describes a card with an autograph that’s not on the card itself but instead on a piece of a foreign item, often times a check, embedded into it. This is commonly done to add signatures by people who have passed away.


  • Dealer: Someone who buys and sells within a specific category i.e., wax, unopened packs, boxes, cases, trading cards, memorabilia, etc.
  • Diamond Cut: Refers to the quality of image alignment on a card. If a sheet of cards is cut at a slant to any amount, we could refer to the cards from that sheet as having diamond cuts.
  • Die Cut (DC): This term describes cards that have been intentionally cut during manufacturing to accommodate the intended final design specifications of the card. These cards come with a shape dissimilar from the standard rectangle.
  • Ding: Damage to the corner of a card.
  • DLP: Donruss, Leaf, Playoff.
  • Doctored: Refers to a card that has been intentionally altered in some way: re-colored, trimmed, or otherwise to deceit buyers and maximize profits.
  • Double Print (DP): This term refers to cards that have been printed twice the amount as the other cards in the set. This occurs when the same card appears twice on a sheet before cutting.


  • eBay 1/1: Spammy term often included in an eBay auction to indicate its uniqueness to current eBay availability in an effort to artificially inflate actual demand for the item. This term is overused and comes with little to no buyer influence or overall credibility and is often viewed negatively. To see the current eBay auctions using this annoying language, click here.
  • Encapsulated: This term refers to when a card is encapsulated in plastic during the grading process.
  • EOL: End Of Life. This term is often used in Project Management. I use it to refer to the the end of something – an era, prospect hype, redemption terms, etc. For example, “The Ohtani hype reached EOL status by 2019.”
  • Error (ERR): This is a card that was printed with some type of manufacturing mistake. Some examples include: wrong back, wrong front, missing text, wrong text, wrong photo, etc. Values are all over the board with this stuff.
  • Event Worn: A relic that’s been used in a particular event, which may not be a game i.e., award ceremony, photo shoot, etc.
  • EX: See Also – Grade.
  • EX-MT: See Also – Grade.
  • Extended Rookie Card (XRC): In the 1980s and 1990s, these cards were issued in set format. More modern sets such as 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres were released in standard pack-issued format but also feature cards with the XRC designation. The XRC designation applies to rookie era cards depicting players who weren’t found in the standard-issued set.


  • Facsimile: An exact replica of an autograph applied in the form of a stamp.
  • Factory Set: An entire set of cards produced and packaged by the manufacturer specifically for sale to the public. These are usually made for retail sale and often come with exclusives to entice buyers.
  • Fake: See Also – Counterfeit.
  • Find: In reference to the discovery of a valuable collection of items.
  • Fine 9: This term describes a BGS graded card with all 9 sub grades.
  • Flip: The paper insert located within and at the top of a graded card slab.
  • Foil: Cards packaged in foil packaging for retail sales.
  • Food Issue: A product exclusively released in conjunction with a perishable product – cereal, cookies, candy, potato chips, etc.
  • Forgery: See Also – Counterfeit.
  • FOTL: First Off The Line, or 1st Off The Line.
  • FR: See Also – Grade.
  • FS: For Sale.
  • FT: For Trade.
  • Full Bleed: This term describes images on cards without borders. The images on these cards go all the way to the edges.


  • Game Used (GU): A relic that’s been used in an actual professional game.
  • Game Used Cards: Cards with pieces of relics embedded in them. Relics may be pieces of bats, gloves, shoes, swatches, complex patches, etc. Cards are made as singles or booklets – multiple cards connected together by partitions and made as one single item.
  • Gem(ed): Current or past tense. Referencing the condition of a card when it achieves Gem Mint status from a reputable grading company: BGS, PSA, or SGC.
  • GEM-MT: See Also – Grade.
  • Glossy: Thin layer of gloss applied to the surface of the card. This is often done as a parallel to the base set and often carries a multiplier in value and associated desirability. Fleer and Topps have both produced limited edition sets in glossy formats, some of which are offered in set form as update and traded sets. See Also – Tiffany, and Traded Set.
  • GOOD: See Also – Grade.
  • Grade: The description of the condition of something. Grade has a strong influence on price. The generally accepted range is 1 through 10 with 10 being the highest grade and associated value. The common numerical scale is as follows:
    • PRISTINE: 10
    • GEM-MT: Gem Mint (9.5, or 10)
    • MINT: Mint (9)
    • NM-MT: Near Mint-Mint (8)
    • NM: Near Mint (7)
    • EX-MT: Excellent-Mint (6)
    • EX: Excellent (5)
    • VG-EX: Very Good-Excellent (4)
    • VG: Very Good (3)
    • GOOD: Good (2)
    • FR: Fair (1.5)
    • PR: Poor (1)
  • Graded: A card that has been graded by a grading company, preferably one of the reputable grading companies: BGS, PSA, or SGC.
  • Gum Card: This term describes an issue that was released with a piece of gum, which is most commonly associated with Topps.
  • Gum Stain: This is a stain on a card caused by gum. This happens with cards in packs that are pressed against the sticks of gum contained in the packs.


  • Hand-Cut: These cards were printed and released in panel form and are then cut by customers.
  • High End: This term describes ultra premium products with extremely high price tags ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. These products generally come with extremely limited print runs and often guarantee autographs, relics, and/or 1/1s.
  • High Numbers: Refers to cards released in the final or near final series of a set. Manufacturers would intentionally produce these in limited quantities for the specific reason that demand was lower because they were made at the end of a season. Over time, this resulted in scarcity, higher demand, and as such higher value.
  • Hit: This term describes the most desirable pull from a pack, box, or case of cards. The hit is usually a card with an autograph, relic, and/or low print run.
  • Hobby: One of two main formats manufacturers use to place their products. The Hobby format refers exclusively to Sports Card Shops. If something says, “Hobby Box” it means that box was made available exclusively in Sports Card Shops.
  • The Hobby: This term describes the industry, market, and category of Sports Card Collecting.
  • HOF: Hall of Fame.
  • HTA: Home Team Advantage.
  • Hulking: This term describes the greening effect chrome cards can develop as they age.


  • Inscription: See Also – Personalized.
  • Insert: This term describes cards that are added to a regular set to help drive sales.
  • In-Person (IP): Refers to how an autograph was obtained. An IP autograph was obtained in-person.

J, K

  • Jersey Cards: See Also – Game Used Cards.
  • JSA: James Spence Authentication. JSA is one of the most reputable authentication companies.
  • Junk Wax: This term describes anything produced during the Junk Wax Era (1986-1993).
  • Key Card(s): These are the most valuable, desirable, or important cards in a set.


  • Layering: This term describes the condition of card stock as the paper stock layers separate, which can usually be identified by corner wear.
  • LCS: Local Card Shop.
  • Limited Edition: This term describes cards or items printed specifically for profit gain. These cards are often manufactured in packaging that uses the phrase, “Limited Edition.” Most of this stuff holds very linear value, which means value remains pretty much the same over time.
  • Line: See Also – Razz.
  • Lot: This term has two meanings:
    • The first refers to a group of cards offered together as a package deal.
    • The second refers to an auction item, which includes a lot number.
  • Low End: This term describes the most affordable products on the market. Depending on the product and who’s selling it, prices can be as low as $0.50/pack. More common price points fall between $1 and $3/pack.


  • Memorabilia Cards: See Also – Game Used Cards.
  • Mid End: This term describes products of average or moderate affordability. These are the most common and offer a wide range of great potential pulls.
  • Mini: This term has two meanings:
    • The first refers to a smaller version of a standard or regular-sized card.
    • The second refers to a sales tactic in online breaks and razzes where the seller will break remaining unfilled spots into smaller, more affordable lots to fill the remaining spots. For example, let’s say a seller implements a razz at 10 spots at $50/ea. and the razz stalls with one spot remaining. The seller might open a second mini razz at 10 spots at $5/ea. The winner of the mini razz gets a spot in the main razz.
  • MINT: See Also – Grade.
  • Miscut (MC): See Also – Qualifier.
  • Mixer: This term is used in the Breaker community to describe a mixed-product offering with some related theme, usually sport.
  • Marks (MK). See Also – Qualifier.
  • Modern: This term describes anything produced after 1993.
  • MVP: Most Valuable Player.


  • The National: What began in 1980 has grown to become the largest and most attended sports card show in the hobby. See Also – The Hobby.
  • NFS: Not For Sale.
  • NFT: Not For Trade.
  • NL: National League.
  • NM: See Also – Grade.
  • NM-MT: See Also – Grade.
  • No Hitter: Occurs when a pitcher completes a game without recording a hit.
  • No Notes: This term refers to a request by people taking PayPal Friends & Family (FF) payments. It’s a request not to include comments on the payment to avoid raising suspicion from PayPal.
  • Non Auto: Spammy term often included in an eBay auction to capture AU/AUTO related search traffic. This term is deliberate and is often viewed negatively. To see the current eBay auctions using this irritating language, click here.
  • Non-Sport Cards: Cards that depict content or characters unrelated to any organized sport. Examples include Magic The Gathering (MTG), Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, movie/series cards, etc.
  • Notching: This term describes indentations in the card’s edge. This is sometimes caused by rubber bands, paper clips, etc., and negatively impacts the card’s final grade.
  • Numbered: This term describes cards with serial numbers printed on them. It’s generally accepted that numbered cards with value premiums are the first serial number, last serial number, and jersey number of the player depicted on the card.


  • Obverse: The side of the card generally considered to be the front.
  • Oddball: Product releases not typically associated with professional athletes or celebrities but showcase their likenesses. Examples include key figures depicted on cards from sets released from Post, Hostess, Kellogg’s, etc.
  • Off-Center (OC): See Also – Qualifier.
  • One of One (1/1): These are cards with print runs of just one example. The concept was introduced to the market in 1997 with Flair Showcase Masterpieces. It’s grown to be a hobby staple.
  • Out of Focus (OF): See Also – Qualifier.


  • Pack Fresh: This term has two meanings:
    • The first refers to a card that has just now been pulled from a pack.
    • The second refers to a card that went straight from a pack to a protective case with minimal handling.
  • Pack Searcher: This is an unethical buyer who feels out packs of cards in search of thicker ones, or those thought to have GU cards and only buys those packs leaving the rest of whatever for everyone else. This kind of buyer is usually found and caught in retail stores. This is strongly discouraged behavior and can get you booted from hobby shops.
  • Parallel: This is a premium version of a base card counterpart. These versions come with some distinguishing quality – different color border, overlay, color, print run, etc. and usually come with a value multiplier. A card can come in many different parallels and when a collector pulls them all together, it’s called a Rainbow.
  • Patch: See Also – Game Used Cards.
  • PC: Private Collection, or Personal Collection.
  • Pedigree: Information on the flip of a slab that denotes the ownership of the card in some way i.e., Dmitri Young Collection.
  • Penny Sleeve: Individual plastic sleeve made to house a single trading card. Collectors usually use these to protect cards before inserting them into toploaders. These are typically sold in 100ct packs and usually sold for $1 meaning each sleeve costs a penny. Hence the name. See Also – Toploader.
  • Perfect Game: Occurs when a pitcher completes a game without recording a base run.
  • Personalized: This term describes a personal note included next to a signature i.e., “Best Wishes”, “To [name]”, etc.
  • Pine Tar: Once actual but now often synthetic substance used to aid in a batter’s grip.
  • Pop[#]: This is the graded population followed by the number of times a specific card has achieved a specific grade. This number has little meaning for 1/1s as it’s implied. In fact, some grading companies don’t even slab some 1/1s since resubmissions would drive up the population beyond the card’s print run.
  • Pop Report: Population Report. This is the actual record of number of times something has been graded.
  • Post-War: This term describes anything produced after 1945 (after the end of WWII).
  • PR: See Also – Grade.
  • Pre-Rookie Card (PRC): This is a player’s first cardboard appearance before they’ve made their professional debut.
  • Press Plate: See Also – Printing Plate.
  • Pre-War: This term describes anything produced before 1939 (before the beginning of WWII).
  • Print Defect (PD): See Also – Qualifier.
  • Printing Plate: During production of a trading card, four colors plates (CMYK) are made to accommodate the color reproduction on the card. These plates are the same size as the associated trading card and each is a unique item (1/1). See Also – CMYK, and One of One (1/1).
  • Pristine: See Also – Grade.
  • Private Signing: When an athlete signs for an individual or company on an exclusive basis. These events are sometimes invite-only and the athlete may be paid by the hour with the hosting company offering items for sale to have signed at the event.
  • Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA): Founded in 1991, PSA has become the industry standard in card grading. Its 10-point scale has become the norm among collectors when discussing the unofficial grade of a card.
  • Program: Magazine-like publication offered by a team and usually at a game, which includes information about the team and its players.
  • Promotional Card (Promo): Limited production offered by the manufacturer to promote an upcoming release.
  • Prospect Card: See Also – Pre-Rookie Card.
  • PSA/DNA: Authentication service for sports and celebrity autographs. Authenticated items get a sticker applied to them with a unique ID number.
  • Pull: See Also – Hit.


  • Qualifier: This term applies to the area in which a card falls short during the grading process. For example, a card might receive high marks everywhere except in Centering and would receive an OC qualifier next to its final grade i.e., PSA 9(OC). Qualifiers hurt final values. Common qualifiers are as follows:
    • Miscut (MC): This refers to the quality of the manufacturing cut from a sheet of cards. These card often depict portions of other areas of the sheet – other cards, print lines, CMYK colors, etc.
    • Marks (MK): This refers to cards that have been marked up with pens, pencils, markers, or something else.
    • Off-Center (OC): This refers to when the centering on a card falls below minimum standards for the associated grade. The borders on these cards are drastically uneven.
    • Out of Focus (OF): This refers to when photo quality falls below minimum standards for the associated grade.
    • Print Defect (PD): This refers to cards depicting manufacturing defects such as white spots (snow), print spots, print lines, etc.
    • Stain (ST): This refers to cards with stains caused by a foreign substance i.e., bubble gum, potato chips, etc.


  • Rack Pack: These are packs designated specifically for retail sales. They come packaged in three sections of packs with connected partitions and designed to hang from store displays.
  • Rainbow: See Also – Parallel.
  • Raw: A card in ungraded form.
  • Razz: This term describes the operation of selling spots in a raffle-like buying arrangement for a card typically valued at, or near the value of the total spots. For example, a seller is razzing a 1982 Topps Traded Ripken PSA 10 (MSRP $1400) at 14 spots at $100/ea. If all spots fill, the seller randomly selects a spot and the buyer of that $100 spot wins the card. All other buyers eat the cost. This is technically illegal since spot buyers who wren’t selected don’t get their money back or anything in return.
  • Recolored: Refers to a card that has been intentionally and fraudulently altered by touching up the color in some way, usually the border to hide physical flaws. Due to its black borders, this is commonly encountered with 1971 Topps baseball cards.
  • Redemption: These are generic cards made to be traded in to the company who produced them for the actual card stated on the redemption card. These exist so manufactures can meet release deadlines while they wait for items to be returned from players – signed cards, signed stickers, etc.
  • Refractor: This term typically refers to Chrome cards but versions of this technology have made their way into non-Chrome products as well. These cards have been laminated with a plastic diffraction grating that produces a beautiful spectra prism appearance.
  • Regional Release: These are sets released exclusively in a specific geographic location. These sets are usually much smaller in size and often printed in limited quantities.
  • Relic Cards: See Also – Game Used Cards.
  • Repack: Repackaged Products. These are usually made by companies and shop owners to move old stock. This is common during the holidays.
  • Reprint: Authorized and officially licensed reproduction of a card, usually one with exceptionally high value and desirability. If the maker doesn’t have permission to produce these, they’re called counterfeits. These are two completely unique designations; there’s no exception.
  • Restored: A card that has been doctored in some way from its original state and typically done in an effort to deceive buyers.
  • Resub: Resubmission. This is in reference to the process of sending the same card in for grading a second time. This is often done in an effort to get a higher grade. The drawback to this is it artificially inflates the population count for the associated card. For example, the population of a card may state it has been graded 155 times when in fact only 90 examples have been submitted with 65 resubmissions.
  • Retail: One of two main formats manufacturers use to place their products. The Retail format refers exclusively to Big Box Stores such as Walmart and Target. K-Mart was once part of this mix. If something uses phrases like, “Retail Box,” or “Blaster Box” it means that box was made available exclusively in Big Box Stores. These boxes usually contain around 5 to 8 packs and sometimes come with one bonus pack. To help drive sales of retail exclusive products, companies will often include retail-only inserts. Some of which carry high value.
  • Reverse: The side of the card generally considered to be the back.
  • Rookie Card (RC): This term is defined differently depending on who you ask. The RC title is generally given to the card that’s the very first appearance of a player on licensed cardboard. This may be many years before the player makes their professional debut, or it may be the same year as their debut. See Also – Pre-Rookie Card, and Rookie Year Card.
  • Rookie Era Card: I began using this term a while back to refer to any card from the three related categories: Pre-Rookie Card, Rookie Card, and Rookie Year Card. Each of which is described here in this guide.
  • Rookie Year Card: This is another term I began using some time back because it made sense to me. This is the official card released after a player logs the professional performance minimums required to achieve Rookie Status. These cards, and only these cards, are accompanied by the official RC logo.
  • RPA: Rookie Patch Auto. An RPA is a card that is accompanied by an autograph, a patch, and has rookie card designation.


  • SASE: Self-Address Stamped Envelope. See Also – Through The Mail.
  • SCD: Sports Collectors Digest.
  • Sealed Wax: Refers to any pack, box, or case of trading cards from any time with the factory seal still intact.
  • Secretarial: Due to time constraints and high demand of autograph requests, sometimes a celebrity will allow a secretary or other assistant to sign their name and process requests.
  • SGC: See Also – Big Three.
  • Shill: This term has two meaning:
    • The first is the act of using a proxy to bid on your own auctions to drive the final price up in an effort to maximize profits.
    • The second is someone who pretends to give an impartial endorsement of something in which they themselves have a vested interest.
  • Short Print (SP): A card that is printed in lesser quantities than the other cards in the set.
  • Show: Single to multi-day gathering of collectors and dealers in a large space of some type such as a hotel ball room or traditional convention hall. See Also – The National.
  • Signed-in-the-Presence: An autographed that was obtained in-person and in the presence of a representative of a reputable third-party authentication service. See Also – In-Person.
  • Single Signed Ball: Baseballs containing just one signature.
  • Singles: Individual trading cards. See Also – Common.
  • Slab: Refers to graded cards. When cards achieve graded status, you might say they’ve been “slabbed.”
  • Snow: This term describes the white, flaky print spots often found on older cards.
  • Soft Corners: This term describes the quality of card corners with moderate wear.
  • Sports Market Report (SMR): Graded card price guide publication by PSA.
  • Stain (ST): See Also – Qualifier.
  • Subset: This term describes a set within a set. For example, the 1996 Select Certified Baseball set consists of 144 cards; cards 1-134 are the standard basic cards, while cards 135-144 consist of the Pastime Power subset.
  • Super Short Print (SSP): See Also – Short Print.
  • Superfractor: The rarest and most desirable of parallels and always a 1/1. Topps debuted the concept in 2005 and it has since become a staple in annual sale records. See Also – One of One (1/1).
  • Streaky: This term describes the quality of an autograph on a card. If the ink doesn’t present boldly all the way through and shows streaks in any capacity, the autograph could be called “streaky.”


  • T.C.G.: Topps Chewing Gum.
  • Test Issue: Extremely limited release issued by a manufacturer to gauge market interest.
  • Through The Mail (TTM): This term describes the process of sending cards to players, current or past, to have them sign and send back. This is very popular and fun to do. A common delivery method is a self-address stamped envelope (SASE). Adding the card and the SASE in a separate envelope makes the sign and return process easy and free for the return sender.
  • Throw In: When something is added to a deal at no additional charge to help facilitate deal completion.
  • Tiffany: This is a limited parallel release by Topps with white card stock and high gloss finish that carries higher demand and overall value. Topps debuted this concept in 1984 and renamed it “Limited” in 2000. See Also – Glossy.
  • Toploader: Cases used to hold trading cards. These are named for their top loading entry point. These are the industry standard for housing trading cards. See Also – Penny Sleeve.
  • Tough: This term describes something that’s difficult to find/acquire, or otherwise obtain. For Example, “1997 Collector’s Choice Crash the Game Instant Win parallels are tough.”
  • Trade Value: The value in trade one puts on their items.
  • Traded Set: This is a set released late and sometimes between seasons that features cards of players who’ve switched teams as well as those who’ve made their professional debuts. Topps started producing these sets in 1981 and other companies have since followed suit.
  • Trimmed: Refers to a card that has been intentionally altered by trimming it along its axis in an effort to intentionally deceive buyers.
  • Triple Crown: This is an award given to the hitter who leads their league in batting average, home runs, and RBI. It’s also given to the pitcher who leads their league in ERA, strikeouts, and wins.
  • TV: Trade Value.


  • Unauthorized Release: An issue that has been produced without consent from the associated league and/or player’s association. These cards are illegal and hold little to no value. See Also – ACEO.
  • Uncut Sheet: This is a sheet of cards that hasn’t been factory cut into individual cards.
  • Update Set: See Also – Traded Set.


  • Variation: A card that differs in some way from its routinely found counterpart. Depending on when the variation was corrected during manufacturing, rarity can range from common to nearly impossible.
  • VCP: This is a resource for sports card final sale values.
  • Vending Box: Branded boxes of cards, typically 500/ea., that were once made for vending machines.
  • Vending Set: A set of cards that was hand collated from cards from vending boxes. These sets are generally in better condition because the cards weren’t put through the pack-out process or exposed to gum.
  • VG: See Also – Grade.
  • VG-EX: See Also – Grade.
  • Vintage: This term describes anything produced from 1939 to 1974. Personally, I extend this to anything produced from 1939 to 1986 since that’s when the Junk Wax Era begins. See Also – Pre-War.

W, X

  • Want List: Collector-generated list of cards they want to acquire.
  • Warping: This term describes what happens to some chrome cards when printed. Some chrome sets were manufactured with significant warping. This isn’t really a condition flaw because the cards were printed that way. However, caring for them requires more focus to prevent damage. 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects is a known warped set.
  • Wax: This term describes unopened packs, boxes, or cases of cards.
  • Wax Stain: This is a stain on a card caused by a wax wrapper.
  • XRC: See Also – Extended Rookie Card.



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