Tips For The Beginner Collector

Over the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of meeting new collectors. Some have literally just begun their collections.

When beginning something new there are always plenty of questions. This is sort of a guide in an attempt to help out new collectors or those looking to begin a collection. It’s certainly not a guide, as each collector and collection is unique.


What To Buy

Packs are a great way to start your collection. I would suggest starting your collection by buying retail blaster boxes. First, “retail” is generally defined as Target and Wal-Mart. A blaster box is a small box with about eight packs of cards that retails for $19.99.

Any retail box is a good start, but basic Topps (series one or series two) is a perfect starter set. Other recommendations are Opening Day and Bowman. Both Topps Heritage and Allen & Ginter are personal favorites, but each product has a number of parallels and inserts that can be confusing even for a more seasoned collector.

What To Look For

“Hits” are what you’re looking for, so they don’t get piled with common cards. Hits can vary by product, but are typically serial numbered cards, relics, and autographs. Serial numbered cards will be, for example, 10/99, and will be stamped on the front or back of a card. Relics are mainly jersey cards with a swatch of jersey on the front of the card. Certified autographs will always be denoted as an autographed card (many sets have replica signatures on their cards).

A great source to find what parallels or variations may be in a set is Cardboard Connection. You can just google a set (for example 2018 Bowman), and Cardboard Connection will usually pop up among the first couple results. There you can find checklists as well as variations.


What To Collect

This one is all up to you! There are so many ways to collect cards. You can become a set builder and try to complete a set (this is fun for new collectors), or collect your favorite team (obviously this is my favorite way to collect), or maybe collect your favorite player.

How To Store Your Collection

Boxes and binders are the two most popular ways to store your collection. I utilize both. If you have a smaller collection that you want to look at, buy some 3-ring binders and Ultra Pro pages. Usually your retail store will have both for sale with the cards. If your collection is getting large and it consists of a lot of cards you don’t necessarily want to look at purchase some storage boxes. These can be purchased from a local card shop or online. There are several box types (monster boxes that hold 3,200 or 5,000 cards, 900 count boxes, 500 count boxes, down to 100 count boxes).


If you’re a new collector and soon-to-be collector and have any more questions let me know via Twitter or send me an email. This is just a rough guide to get started.

One thought on “Tips For The Beginner Collector

  1. What is the best pack that you can get with the highest chance of it a hit that isn’t extremely expensive.

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