Guide to Non-Sports Trading Card Collecting

October 10, 1996

Chapter 1: What Are Non-Sports Trading Cards
   1.1.0 How Cards Are Manufactured
   1.2.0 How Cards Are Packaged
   1.3.0 Chase Cards
      1.3.1 Stickers
      1.3.2 Holograms
      1.3.3 Chromiums
      1.3.4 Foil Cards
   1.4.0 Trading Card Accessories

Chapter 2: Card Grading and Pricing
   2.1.0 Grading
   2.2.0 Pricing

Chapter 3: How To Trade On The Internet
   3.1.0 Packaging Cards for Mailing

Appendix A: Distributors and Manufacturers

Copyright ©2007 Times of Legend and Lore All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 1
What Are Non-Sports Trading Cards

Non-Sports Trading Cards

When we think of trading cards, we picture children haggling over their prize baseball cards but that is just one aspect of card collecting. Originally, trading cards were used in commercial advertising and included with cigars, bubble gum, cookies and other products. They depicted things such as wildflowers, animals and television characters. In contrast to baseball cards, these have become known as non-sports trading cards. Today, non-sports collecting has grown to nearly overwhelm sports card collecting. Card manufacturers typically produce several genres of cards: Television & Film, Comic Book Related, Art, and Swimsuit.
Mimicking baseball cards, non-sports cards typically measured 3.5" tall by 2.5" wide but now there is another fairly standard, wider size available measuring 4.5" x 2.5" which is often used when reproducing images from motion pictures.

1.1.0 How Cards Are Manufactured

Trading cards are printed on large sheets containing many cards. These sheets are cut into the individual cards which are them mixed and sealed in wrappers which are boxed and shipped to distributors.

1.2.0 How Cards Are Packaged

1.3.0 Chase Cards

Chase cards were created by a marketing genius who gambled that if the odds of finding certain cards were not as good as others, people would buy more packs in order to collect these cards to complete their set. The gamble worked and sales increased. As word spread through the industry, chase cards became more common. Today nearly every set has at least one level of chase cards.

1.3.1 Stickers

I can remember back to my days as a youth, collecting Topps movie cards such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and E.T. But even before that, packs were being stuffed with peel-off stickers. Back then, I recall most sets having 88 cards and 10 stickers which were usually packaged one per pack.

1.3.2 Holograms

1.3.3 Chromiums

1.3.4 Foil Cards

1.4.0 Trading Card Accessories

The popularity of collecting trading cards has spawned an entire market of products which cater to the needs of collectors. This market produces products for storing and archiving everything from single cards to entire collections. These products come in two basic categories: plastic and cardboard.
Before these specially designed products, shoeboxes were the collector's choice for storing their collections. Now, there are many different sizes of boxes made especially for the storage of trading cards. The difference is they are sectioned off into rows which fit cards perfectly. They are marketed by they number of cards they can hold such as 250, 500, 1000 count boxes. They can be purchase assembled or unassembled. Since there is always one row in the box that isn't completely filled, jam pads wedge into the row and hold the cards from falling.
Most of the products made from plastic contain no PVC's, because as polyvinalchlorides breakdown, they produces gases which can deteriorate cards, and are UV-coated to protect the cards from fading and discoloration caused by exposure to sunlight. The goal of these clear plastic containers is to allow viewing of the cards while protecting them from the acids on fingers. For single cards there are soft sleeves, hard toploads, snap cases, and screw-downs cases. For multiple cards, there are 9-card pages which snap into binders, and jewel boxes.

Chapter 2
Card Grading and Pricing

2.1.0 Grading

A perfect card with no defects which looks like it just came off the press. The picture is razor sharp, the corners are perfectly square and there are no printing defects.
Near Mint
The card has a few minor flaws such edge wear or a printing flaw like the picture being off-center.
Minor defects and wear are visible on the card. Some of the corners are slightly rounded.
Very Good
The card has been handled a lot, with minor creases, rounded corners, notches on the edges, discoloration, or fuzzy picture.
Abused and scuffed card with the corners separating and rounded, poorly aligned picture and major creasing.
My dog ate it! The card contains tears, notches, holes, and water damage. These are usually only kept around as a holder in the set until a replacement card in better condition can be found.

2.2.0 Pricing

Chapter 3
How To Trade On The Internet

Appendix A
Distributors and Manufacturers

21st Century Archives
P.O. Box 1927
Royal Oak, MI 48068
Betty Page, Cheesecake, Petty Girl, Pin-Up Girls
(800) 295-7080
Hagar, Bettle Bailey
Bon Air Collectibles
541 Southlake Blvd.
Richmond, VA 23236
(800) 732-8394
(804) 794-7259 fax
Fire Engines, Native Americans
Card Creations, Inc.
67 Wall Street
Suite 2411
New York, New York 10005-3101
Popeye 25th Anniversary
Cardz Distribution
Flintstones, Muppets
Coca-Cola, Power Rangers
Comic Images
Saddlebrook, NJ 07663
Movies, Art: Olivia
Cornerstone Communications, Inc.
P.O. Box 18306
Tucson, AZ 85710
(502) 722-1304 (9am-5pm MST)
(502) 722-3149 fax
Avengers, Doctor Who, Monty Python
D.B. Cardiff Trading Cards
8375 Brentwood Blvd., Suite A
Brentwood, CA 94513
(800) 433-5574
Hot Shots Adult Cards
Dart Flipcards
(514) 856-6824
Hershey, Pepsi
Decisive Marketing
P.O. Box 571625
Tarzana, CA 91357
(818) 345-1831
(818) 345-6937 fax
Video Vixens Adult Film Stars
Edge Entertainment
1120 Route 73
Executive Plaza, Suite 300
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08053
(800) 424-6735
(800) 343-6816 Customer Relations
Disney, Marvel, Star Trek
2539 Washington Road
Building 1000
Pittsburg, PA 15241
Fantasy Art, Colossal Cards
P.O. Box 90248
Raleigh, NC 27675
Glodeneye (James Bond)
Kitchen Sink Press
320 Riverside Drive
Northampton, MA 01060
Krome Productions
Evil Ernie, Lady Death
Lime Rock
Market Square
Scream Queens
Metallic Impressions
Aluminum Cards, Star Wars
Mother Productions
Purchased by Fleer in late 1995.
Disney, DC Comics, Simpsons, Star Trek
Sports Time, Inc.
PO Box 4424
Carson, CA 90745
1-800-428-6643 for Product Information
1-800-266-6763 for Team Sports Time
Marilyn Monroe, Playboy
The Topps Company, Inc.
Duryea, PA 18642
Star Wars, X-Files
Upper Deck
(800) 873-7332 Customer Service
Groo, Spawn, WildStorm

Cardboard box composed of a group of packs arranged in stacks for display. Contains an overwhelming amount of art and information about the cards inside to attract buyers. Most commonly, holds 36 packs and 10, 12 or 20 boxes come in a case. Also provides protection during shipping.
Manufacture's sales unit made up of a group of usually 10, 12 or 20 boxes packed in heavy cardboard for shipping and distribution of large quantities of product. Purchasing a case, and often multiple cases, is how dealers a price break and manufactures/distributors move more product.
Collect, inspect and assemble a group of single cards in order so that they make a set.
Single card that is easily acquired from packs or trading. The odds of finding a common card are equal to the number of cards in each pack. As opposed to insert cards.
Back in the good old days, every pack of cards contained a really hard, brittle piece of pure sugar gum which was often coated with flour to keep it from sticking to the wrapper. The gum seems to have a longer shelf life than twinkies but it often ruined one of more of the cards which absorbed the 'juice' from the gum and left a stain. The gum did serve to make the cards smell tasty but today you will rarely find gum along with the cards. It can easily be bought separately at the checkout but just isn't the same.
Insert (Chase Card)
Card often produced by a special process which is randomly inserted into individual packs. Since the odds of finding one of these cards is less than finding a common card, they are often sold separately and for a higher price each. They are often called chase cards since you have to chase them down, or referred to by their manufacturing process such as hologram, spectra, chromium, thermograph, foil. Sometimes promo and survey cards can be considered inserts since they are usually unnumbered, randomly distributed, and not advertised as part of a regular set.
Jam Pad
Foam block for holding an incomplete row of cards from sliding in a collecting box. Available in a width range of colors but all about the same size. Sometimes included with the purchase of a collecting box.
Jewel Box
Hinged clear hard-plastic box for holding cards. The lid snaps open for inserting and removing groups of cards and is often bordered with a ridge to make stacking easy. Since they most often hold up to 100 cards, sets are sometimes packaged in them.
A bundling of single cards (usually 8-10) in a wrapper. Multiple packs make up a box.
Clear plastic UV-coated page with 9 pockets to hold single cards. These are meant to be placed in binders so entire sets can be displayed and protected from sticky fingers. Often referred to as 9-card pages.
Screw-down Case
Two pieces of plastic or glass which can be screwed together forming a holder for single or multiple cards (side-by-side). Available in varying thicknesses from slim to brick-like to provide protection for more valuable cards.
Collection of common cards that consists of one each of all the cards manufactured and intended for the series. Most sets contain 90 to 120 cards. When a 'set' is advertised for sale assume it contains only common cards. Technically, a set would mean all the cards common and insert made for a series. To avoid confusion these combinations of common and insert cards is called a master set.
Clear, soft polypropylene case for holding a single card and protecting it from the acid of fingers. These are easily bendable unlike toploads and are often used on cards before inserting them in toploads.
Snap Case
Two clear, hard, plastic pieces which snap together forming a holder for a single card. Similar to a topload but more rigid. Often ridged to be stackable.
Group of cards within a set that have something in common.
Clear, UV-coated, hard plastic case designed to hold a single card and protect it while allowing it to be handled. The card is insert into the holder through an opening it the top, hence the term top-load.
An mutual exchange of cards by two individuals usually with the aim of completing a set.
The envelope surrounding the group of cards making up a pack. Colorful art advertising the enclosed cards and a description of contents are on the front while advertising and collation information are on the back. The material used in manufacturing wrapper was originally a wax paper which kept the cards dry and kept the gum from sticking to the wrapper. Now, most packs are made of foil-like paper or plastic.