Coming to Terms

TERMS COMMON TO THE TRADING CARD HOBBY
  • 9-Up Sheets – uncut sheets of nine cards, usually promos.
  • Autograph Cards – printed insert cards that also bear an original cast or artist signature. Cards
  • Base Sets – a complete set of base cards for a particular card series.
  • Box Topper Cards – cards that are included in a factory sealed box.
  • Boxes – original manufacturer's container of multiple packs, often 24 packs per box.
  • Blister Packs – factory plastic bubble pack of cards or packs, for retail peg-hanger sales.
  • Cards – usually the standard baseball size of 2.5 in. by 3.5 in., but 'widevision' cards are of the tall historically-basketball size.
  • Cases – factory-sealed crate filled with card boxes, often six to twelve card boxes per case. Often 24 packs per box.
  • Chase Cards – card or cards included as a bonus in a factory sealed case.
  • Cigarette Cards  – collectible cards given away with cigarettes.
  • Common Cards – also known as base cards. Non-rare cards that form the main set.
  • Confectionery Cards – trade cards produced by confectioners, similar to cigarette cards, tea cards, etc.    
  • Factory Sets – card sets, typically complete base sets, sorted and sold from the factory.
  • Hand Collated - complete card sets assembled by sorting through packs of cards by hand. 
  • Hobby Cards – items sold mainly to collectors, through stores that deal exclusively in collectible cards. Usually contains some items not included in the retail offerings.
  • Insert Cards – also known as chase cards. Non-rare to rare cards that are randomly inserted into packs at various ratios like 1 per 24 packs for example. An Insert Card is often different from the main set as well as being numbered differently.
  • Insert Sets – a complete set of a particular class of inserts, often called a 'subset'.
  • Master Sets – not well defined; often a base set and all readily available insert sets; typically does not include promos, mail-in cards, sketch, or autograph cards.
  • Oversized Cards – any base, common, insert, or other cards not of standard or widevision size.
  • Parallel Cards – usually a modification of the main set of base cards which contains extra foil stamping, hologram stamping and are often seen one per pack up to one per 36 packs.
  • Packs – the original wrapper with base and insert cards within, often called 'wax packs', typically with two to eight cards per pack. Today the packs are usually plastic or foil wrap.
  • Retail Cards – cards, packs, boxes, and cases sold to the public, typically via large retail stores.
  • Rack Packs – factory packs of unwrapped cards, for retail peg-hanger sales.
  • Promo or Prototype Cards – cards that are distributed, typically in advance, by the manufacturer to enhance sales.
  • Redemption Cards – special cards that come in packs that are mailed  to the manufacturer for a special card or some other gift.
  • Sell Sheets – also 'ad slicks'. Usually one page, but increasingly fold-outs, distributed by the manufacturers to card distributors, in advance, to enhance case sales.
  • Sketch Cards – insert cards that feature near-one-of-a-kind artists sketches.
  • Swatch – insert cards that feature a mounted swatch of cloth, such as from a sports player's jersey or an actor's costume.
  • Tins – factory metal can, typically filled with cards or packs, often with inserts.
  • Unreleased Cards – cards printed by the manufacturer, but not officially distributed for a variety of reasons. Often leaked to the public, sometimes improperly. Not to be confused with promo cards.
  • Uncut Sheets – sheets of uncut base, insert, promo, or other cards.
  • Wrappers – the original pack cover, often with collectible variations.
  • Mint condition - A perfect card; no printing imperfections or damage whatsoever.
  • Near Mint/Pack Fresh/Factory Fresh – Numerous terms which refer to, with slight variation, the same thing: a collector's grade card. There may be a minor production imperfection or very slight damage from handling or storage, but you have to look carefully to notice. These terms refer to cards in, more or less, the same condition they were in when they left the factory.
  • Mint/Near Mint - At least near mint. A shorthand for collectors and sellers that do not single out their mint cards but simply deal in anything that is at least near mint.
  • Excellent – A nearly perfect card, with a bent corner or other minor imperfection.
  • Fine/Very Good – An otherwise good card with inconspicuous errors which are not easily visible, but can be seen on close inspection.
  • Good – A card with small amounts of writing on it, poor centering, a mild crease, or worn (but present) corners.
  • Fair – A damaged card, with damage such as bad creases or completely worn-off corners.
  • Poor – A seriously damaged card with little value, except if it is extremely rare or limited-edition.