The Juiced Guide To: Sports Cards Reselling Terminology

Januar 27, 2024

In recent years, trading cards and specifically sports card collecting and reselling have seen a significant resurgence, becoming a lucrative hobby for many. However, navigating this world can be daunting, especially with the specific jargon used by collectors and resellers. This guide aims to demystify the terminology you’re likely to encounter in the sports card reselling market, making your journey smoother and more profitable.

1. Base Card

A base card is the most common type of card found in any sports card set. These cards feature a standard design and are typically the most abundant. They don’t include any special features like autographs or memorabilia, which makes them less valuable than their more embellished counterparts. Understanding what a base card is can help resellers differentiate between common and rare items.

2. Chase Card

Chase cards, often the goal of collectors, are rare or unique cards included in a set. These might feature autographs, memorabilia pieces, or unique designs and are usually highly sought after. For resellers, identifying chase cards is crucial as they often command higher prices in the market.

3. Parallel Card

Parallel cards are similar to base cards but with some variations in colour, finish, or design. These cards are often part of a “parallel set” which mirrors the main set but with these unique alterations. Parallels can range from being slightly uncommon to extremely rare, and their value can vary accordingly.

4. Insert Card

An insert card is a special card that is “inserted” into packs at random and is not part of the main set. These can include limited edition series, autograph cards, or cards with other unique features. For resellers, knowing the popularity and rarity of different insert series can be key to successful trades.

5. Rookie Card (RC)

A rookie card is a player’s first official card, typically marked with an “RC” symbol. These cards hold special significance as they capture the beginning of a player’s professional career. The value of rookie cards can skyrocket if the player becomes

a star athlete, making them highly sought after in the reselling market. For resellers, keeping an eye on emerging talents and securing their rookie cards early can be a lucrative strategy.

6. Condition and Grading

Condition is crucial in the value of a sports card. Cards are graded based on their condition, which includes the assessment of corners, edges, surfaces, and centring. The grading scale typically runs from Poor (PR) to Gem Mint (GM), with grades like Very Good (VG), Excellent (EX), Near Mint (NM), and Mint (MT) in between. Cards are often graded by professional services like PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) or Beckett Grading Services (BGS), and a high grade can significantly increase a card’s value.

7. Short Print (SP) and Super Short Print (SSP)

Short Print (SP) cards are printed in lesser quantities than the standard base cards, making them rarer and often more valuable. Super Short Prints (SSPs) are even rarer variations of SPs. Identifying these can be challenging but rewarding, as they can be hidden gems in a collection.

8. Relic Card

Relic cards, also known as memorabilia cards, contain a piece of player-worn items, such as a fragment of a jersey, bat, or glove. These cards are especially popular among collectors due to their tangible connection to the athletes. Resellers should be aware of the authenticity and the player associated with the relic, as these factors heavily influence the card’s value.

9. Serial Numbering

Serial numbering refers to a unique number printed on limited edition cards, indicating its production run. For example, a card numbered 25/100 means it’s the 25th out of 100 copies made. Lower numbers, especially 1/1 (one-of-one), can command premium prices.

10. Variation Card (VAR)

Variation cards, or VARs, are cards that have slight differences from the base version, often in the image or background. These variations can be subtle, requiring a keen eye to spot. They’re typically more valuable than the standard versions due to their rarity and

the intrigue they bring to collectors. Variations can include image swaps, different colour schemes, or alternative designs.

11. Breaks and Box Breaks

A box break is an event, often live-streamed, where a box of sports cards is opened, and the cards are distributed to participants who have bought a spot or a team. This term is essential for resellers to understand, as box breaks can be a way to acquire highly sought-after cards or rare inserts at a fraction of the price of buying a whole box.

12. Flip and Hold Strategy

In sports card reselling, ‘flipping’ refers to the quick reselling of a card for a profit, often soon after acquiring it. Conversely, ‘holding’ involves keeping a card for an extended period, waiting for its value to be appreciated. Understanding when to flip or hold can significantly impact a reseller’s profitability.

13. Prospect Card

Prospect cards are issued for athletes who are considered promising but haven’t yet reached the professional leagues or rookie status. These cards can become extremely valuable if the athlete becomes a star. For resellers, investing in prospect cards is a high-risk, high-reward strategy.

14. Complete Set

A complete set includes every card in a specific series or release. Completing a set can be challenging, especially if it contains rare or chase cards. For resellers, selling complete sets can often be more profitable than selling individual cards.

15. Beckett and PSA

Beckett and PSA are two of the most prominent sports card grading companies. They assess the condition of cards and encapsulate them in protective cases with a grade. Cards graded by these companies, especially those with high grades, are generally more trusted and valuable in the reselling market.

16. Wax Packs and Hobby Boxes

‘Wax packs’ refer to the traditional sealed packs of sports cards, while ‘hobby boxes’ are boxes of these packs. They are called ‘wax’ packs due to their old-style wax paper packaging. Hobby boxes are typically sold in card shops and can contain exclusive cards not found in retail packs.


Understanding the terminology is a critical step in navigating the sports card reselling market effectively. From recognizing the types of cards like base, chase, and rookie cards to understanding grading, condition, and box breaks, this knowledge is vital for making informed buying and selling decisions. If you want to learn more about buying and selling sports cards then you should sign up for Juiced here. In addition to providing information on the most profitable cards, sneakers, electronics and more being released, our app also includes tools such as those to help manage your inventory.