COMC Now Accepting CSG Cards

COMC is excited to announce we now accept cards graded by CSG Certified Sports Guaranty. CSG is backed by the same ownership and management team behind NGC, PMG and CGC who are branded leaders in coin, paper money and comic book certification services.

With 30+ years experience in certifying collectibles it was a logical extension for the founding group of NGC to expand services to gaming cards with CGC Certified Grading Company and sports cards under CSG (both accepted by COMC). Collectibles certified with CSG and CGC offer guarantees of authenticity and accuracy, as well as top-notch security elements to prevent against tampering and counterfeiting. COMC confidently welcomes cards graded by CSG to our marketplace!


For the full list of which types of trading cards are accepted for COMC’s consignment services head to our Supported Trading Cards page.

When you consign with COMC, our team fully prepares and lists your cards on the COMC Marketplace and eBay Store. Once sold, our team handles all of the shipping and fulfillment. To learn more about our consignment services, visit our COMC Selling page.


COMC Service Updates

COMC Trading Card Consignment Updates 2021

Let’s face it, it’s been a wild year for trading cards and unprecedented growth would be an understatement. News about the hobby has entered the mainstream, and chances are even your mom’s friends have told you that cards are really heating up.

It’s been a year of highs and lows in the industry. We’ve seen values skyrocket and shatter records across every major card category, which for some has meant windfall return-on-investment almost overnight. Not long ago card supplies seemed unquestionably available in any quantity, but now we’re seeing shortages as a result of supply chain disruptions and continuous growth in the industry. We’ve also seen new products sell out in seconds to be flipped on the secondary market for unbelievable prices, only to surprisingly sell out again! And, we’ve seen price-hikes from grading and authentication companies as they experience submission levels beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations – sometimes receiving months worth of cards in a matter of days!


COMC Changing With The Industry

Here at COMC, we have experienced highs and lows as well. Our 2020 projections for card submissions were broken mid-2020 and have not stopped growing exponentially month-over-month ever since. Every day, we are excited by the increased interest in trading cards and strive to make COMC the #1 online marketplace for buying and selling cards. We are also aware that the massive growth we experienced led us to drop the ball in some areas, especially in Shipping and Customer Service. Explosive growth in the short-term, coupled with staffing shortages and space restrictions, led some users to experience severe delays in shipping and a negative overall experience with COMC. We sincerely apologize, and we’re doing something about it!

Over the past few months, we’ve looked closely at the areas where we could make immediate improvement and made significant changes to streamline our services and provide a notably better COMC experience. We are happy to say that COMC is growing strong; we’ve more than doubled our employees in Customer Service and Shipping and recently opened a new facility, which is the world’s largest building dedicated to trading cards! We are making these changes to help grow in step with the industry and prepare for the future.

COMC’s Giant New Trading Card Facility – Opened March, 2021

COMC Service Updates

Due to the massive increase in demand for COMC’s consignment and shipping services, we can no longer offer all the options we have in the past. Instead, we have chosen to focus on simplifying our services, reducing the options, and setting timelines that we can stand behind. As the trading card market continues to evolve and as COMC’s investments in infrastructure start to pay off, we will revisit our service offerings, but for now, we are focusing on a fewer number of core services.


Introducing Standard and Select Consignment Services

The Standard and Select services are the two most economical ways to submit cards for consignment at COMC and start at $0.50 per card. These services have turnaround times as short as 2-weeks and are designed for submitting any cards: from vintage to current year cards. Cards submitted with Standard and Select have a maximum list price on COMC of $100, for cards over this amount we require our Elite consignment service. Check out our Consignment Rates page for more information.


Elite Consignment Service

Our Elite consignment service is the premier experience for any raw or graded card worth more than $50. For only $2, Elite includes industry-leading high-resolution photos (front and back) and 2-week guaranteed turnaround times with a 50% discount if we miss the deadline. For more information, please visit our Elite Service page.


COMC Auctions on eBay

COMC Auctions will now only support single trading cards with a $50 minimum auction value. For items valued below $50, we recommend using our Standard or Select services. There are no up-front fees to consign new submissions directly to COMC Auctions on eBay and items are each listed as a 7-day, $0.99 no-reserve auction. More information on how COMC Auctions on eBay are structured can be found on our Auctions page.


Mailbox

Our popular Mailbox service is an easy way to consolidate your online card purchases through a US-based address for eventual sale or bundled shipment. The service is modeled after our Select consignment service and also has a 2-week processing time. It is perfect for buying now and safely holding cards for sale or shipment later. Find out more via the COMC Mailbox page.


Raw Card Review and Reprocessing Services

In order to dedicate more time to other services, we are suspending our Raw Card Review service, and we are limiting our reprocessing service to only the Reprocess as Elite option. Also, you will need to use the Reprocess as Elite service before you can send an item that is already on COMC to an eBay Auction. Once an item has been Reprocessed as Elite, you will be able to immediately send it to an eBay Auction since it will no longer require any reprocessing. At that point, you will also be allowed to select a specific eBay Auction Event you would like to target, or you can simply have the auction launch as soon as possible.


Shipping Updates

We have simplified our shipping services and are now offering streamlined shipping options with more accurate shipping estimates. Find out about your available shipping options by entering your zip code on our Shipping page.


This has been an unbelievable year and we thank you for being part of COMC. We will keep you updated on all the changes and how they will better support your passion for trading cards. We’ll continue focusing on improving our services and delivering an excellent experience so you can maximize your enjoyment of buying and selling trading cards!

Announcing COMC’s 2021 Hockey eBay Homepage Auction Event:

COMC Auctions is partnering with eBay to promote a special 2021 Hockey auction event leading up to the Stanley Cup Finals!

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We are excited to announce COMC Auctions will be featured on eBay’s homepage from May 17 to May 23. This Hockey promotion is the perfect opportunity to increase auction visibility as the 2021 Hockey season approaches the NHL Finals.

Cards submitted to auction via COMC will be included in eBay’s Homepage banner promotion. This means cards opted in will benefit from large audience visibility via eBay’s Homepage – maximizing views at a critical time of auction. Below you’ll find all the information you to get started, and if you’re new to COMC there’s still time to register!

When and how to submit your cards:

COMC users have multiple options for submitting cards for this event. Whether you already have cards consigned with us that you would like to auction off or are considering sending new cards to COMC specifically for this event, details and key dates are listed below.


Mail-In Submission Deadlines

  • Cards received by 4/29/2021 will be included in the promotion
  • ON THE OUTSIDE OF ALL ITEMS MAILED FOR THE PROMOTION PLEASE MARK “HPP”
  • “HPP” must be clearly written on all sides of package/envelope

To create a new mail-in auction submission, first Register, then log-in and visit Start New Submission in your COMC Account and select the “Hockey eBay Auction Event” processing service as shown below:

COMC Submission Wizard

Elite Item Transfer Deadlines

Elite Item Transfer deadlines apply only to items which have already been processed through our Elite Consignment Service.

  • To be included in the promotion, cards must be transferred by 5/6/2021
  • Cards submitted to auction during these dates will be included in the promotion

After transferring your cards to auction, they move from your Inventory Manager to Auction Submissions in your COMC account. Once scheduled for auction, you can monitor your auctions in Auction History.

COMC Submission Wizard to Transfer Elite Items

Non-Elite Items Transfer Deadlines

The transfer deadline for Non-Elite items applies to items currently on COMC, but which have not yet been upgraded to Elite.

  • To be eligible for the promotion, items must be sent for Elite reprocessing by the end of Thursday, 4/22/21.
  • Once cards are upgraded to Elite in your Inventory, please Send to Auction by 5/6/21 as noted above.

If you already have a card in your COMC account follow these steps to upgrade:

  1. Find the item you want to upgrade in your Inventory Manager
  2. Click on the Actions menu
  3. Select Reprocess as Elite
  4. Select COMC Reprocessing
  5. Pay $2 to submit the item

Important Auctions Reminders

  • The minimum fee per auction is $3.50, regardless of the final sale price.
  • We recommend you only submit cards to auction that will sell for approximately $50 or more. COMC Auctions reserves the right to change the service level of new Auction submissions to our 3-Week fixed-price service ($0.50 per item) if submissions primarily consist of items valued less than $10 (i.e. Junk Era Baseball common cards). For a full breakdown of Auction fees, see the COMC Auction Schedule and Fees blog.
  • There are no cancellations once we receive your auction submission. If you want to consign your high-end trading cards through COMC as buy-it-now listings, we encourage you to submit them using our Elite Service.
  • Please review our Supported Trading Cards criteria if you have any questions about what items you can consign with COMC.
  • For more information about our auction service, please refer to our Auctions and Auctions FAQ pages.

We are excited for you to participate in this eBay NHL Finals 2021 Auction Event!


Toploader Buyback Program

Toploader Shortage

As the hobby continues to surge, the demand for plastic protective toploaders has also peaked. Due to this unpredicted surge in product demand as well as impacted supply chains, many manufacturers of protective toploaders are currently struggling to meet inventory. Hence, there have been shortages seen across the industry at retail hobby shops, card shows, and even here at COMC.

COMC Response

To address the toploader shortage currently affecting the industry, COMC is launching a toploader buyback program and making the following changes to how we process and ship cards.

Toploader Buyback Program

Starting immediately, COMC will buy new and gently-used toploaders of all sizes for $0.10 each, provided that they meet the following criteria:

  • Empty toploaders only
  • New or gently-used
  • Free of tape, price tags, residue, discoloration, writing, or major scuffing
  • No toploaders with labels (i.e. “Rookie Card)
  • All toploader sizes are welcome!

How to Use:

  • Begin at the Toploader Buyback Program service level in the submission wizard
  • Provide the quantity of toploaders you’re sending
  • Print submission paperwork and include it with each submission group
  • Ship your Toploader Buyback Program submission along with any consignment submissions
  • COMC will credit your account $0.10 per toploader when we receive your submission

If you have a bulk supply of sealed, new toploaders you would like to sell, please contact us at toploaders@comc.com

COMC Toploader Buyback Image

Toploader Processing and Shipping Changes

To adapt to the critical shortage of toploaders, COMC is immediately enlisting the following changes:

  • All raw Elite items and items purchased for more than $50 will ship in a penny sleeve and toploader.
  • All other raw non-Elite items will ship in a penny sleeve and will be carefully braced with mail stiffeners for safe shipment
  • Suspension of the “Add Toploader” upgrade on new Shopping Cart purchases and Shipment Requests. If cards with toploaders are desired, please purchase with a COMC account and wait to place a shipment request until we receive more supply.

Toploader Removal Fee Stands

  • COMC processes thousands of cards a day, which is why we recommend using just penny sleeves when consigning with us so that we can process your cards expediently.
  • Time spent removing toploaders and other plastic cases beyond penny sleeves has a multiplying effect and restricts COMC’s ability to efficiently process new consignment submissions.
  • Thus, the Buyback Program Will Not Affect Removal Fees.
  • There will still be a toploader removal fee of 50 cents per card for cards submitted through our standard service levels.
    • However, the fee is not in place for the Elite or Auction service levels.

What if I already added toploaders to an order?

Our current toploader supply is sufficient to fulfill existing orders. Orders placed prior to the temporary removal of the “Add Toploader” option will be honored.

We expect our supply to be replenished by Summer 2021, and hope in the meantime the Toploader Buyback program allows you to turn unused toploaders into COMC credit!

Introducing, Rookie FAX

If you collect trading cards, then you know how important rookies are! We’ve all had the thrill of pulling a new rookie and pondering if they’re on their way to becoming a superstar, or finally pulling the trigger to acquire an iconic rookie card of a favorite player. Rookies, simply put, are a huge part of the magical allure of trading cards, which is why we’re introducing a new, weekly content series called Rookie FAX.

2015 Bowman Draft Chrome Ke'Bryan Hayes Asia Exclusive Black Refractor #137
Ke’Bryan Hayes 2015 Bowman Draft Chrome Asia Exclusive Black Refractor #137

An Expanding Portfolio of Rookies

Great rookies cards yield value since they are the first version of a player’s card; and one of the unchanging rules of the industry is that rookies consistently command higher levels of desirability! Recently, the price of some rookies have risen astronomically, sometimes even pulling second-tier, previously overlooked rookies upward along the way with them. With each passing year of hobby growth, there are more rookie cards of each player and it takes time for clear market favorites to establish themselves. Another trend in the industry are new, emerging categories, or old ones being rediscovered, and with all these trends together, there is a deeper and more diverse range of rookie cards than ever before.

2011 Upper Deck MLS Alex Morgan #198 Rookie Card
Alex Morgan 2011 Upper Deck – MLS #198

Welcome to Rookie FAX

With more rookies to keep track of as the industry grows, our team at COMC is proud to introduce “Rookie FAX”, a weekly curated pick showcasing good value and emerging rookie cards currently available on COMC. Why FAX? Seeing the popularity of the slang “Facts” explode in 2020 as a term of undisputed truth, we’ve recently seen it taken one step further, shortened to just “fax”. And, well, we just thought it was cool.  

What are Rookie FAX?

These cards are chosen for being either iconic, beautifully designed, culturally significant, undervalued, overlooked, or just a solid choice for a first-year card.  Some Rookie FAX you’ll know and love, some Rookie FAX will come as a surprise, and some may even cause debate, but they are all cards that stand-out as special (out of the other 7 Million unique cards currently available for sale on COMC!)  

1996-97 Fleer Ultra Kobe Bryant Rookie Card #52
Kobe Bryant 1996-97 Fleer Ultra #52

Every Wednesday, Get Them Fast

It is our hope that Rookie FAX becomes a helpful tool in curating up-and-coming prospects and great value rookie cards, intelligently picked for collectors and investors alike. As conversations surrounding 5 and 6-figure cards continue to spiral upward, Rookie FAX are here as a reminder that great cards do not always need to break the bank and that card collecting is still all about having fun – Facts!

About the Author

Robert has been passionate about cards ever since he was young. After graduating from UC Berkeley, his interest in collectibles led to a career in marketing, product management, and eCommerce. Having worked at Google, APMEX, and Collectors Universe, Robert brings a wealth of experience to the COMC team through the lens of a collector, investor, and digital Marketing Manager.

Announcing COMC’s 2021 Baseball eBay Homepage Auction Event:

COMC Auctions is partnering with eBay to promote the 2021 Baseball season with a special auction event!

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We are excited to announce COMC Auctions will be featured on eBay’s homepage from April 26 to May 2nd. This Baseball auction event is the perfect opportunity to increase auction visibility as the 2021 baseball season begins.

Cards submitted to auction via COMC will be included in eBay’s Homepage banner promotion. This means cards opted in will benefit from large audience visibility via eBay’s Homepage – maximizing views at a critical time of auction. Below you’ll find all the information you to get started, and if you’re new to COMC there’s still time to register!

When and how to submit your cards:

COMC users have multiple options for submitting cards for this event. Whether you already have cards consigned with us that you would like to auction off or are considering sending new cards to COMC specifically for this event, details and key dates are listed below.

Mail-In Submission Deadlines

  • Cards received by 4/8/2021 will be included in the promotion
  • ON THE OUTSIDE OF ALL ITEMS MAILED FOR THE PROMOTION PLEASE MARK “BBP”
  • “BBP” must be clearly written on all sides of package/envelope

To create a new mail-in auction submission, first Register, then log-in and visit Start New Submission in your COMC Account and select the eBay Auction processing service as shown below:

Baseball Cards, Football Cards, Basketball Cards, Soccer Cards, Hockey Cards, Pokemon, Trading Cards, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards, The Hobby, eBay, eBay Auctions, 

Transfer to Auction Deadlines

If you already have cards in your COMC Inventory Manager, you can send them to auction in just a few clicks. This includes cards you bought from other consignors on our site, and a potential opportunity for flipping!

  • To be included in the promotion, cards must be transferred between 4/2/2021 4/8/2021
  • Cards submitted to auction during these dates will END during the promotion

Inside the Inventory Manager, click on “Actions” and then select “Send to Auction” to begin the auction transfer process.

Baseball Cards, Football Cards, Basketball Cards, Soccer Cards, Hockey Cards, Pokemon, Trading Cards, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards, The Hobby, eBay, eBay Auctions, 

Elite Item Transfer Deadlines

Elite Item Transfer deadlines apply only to items which have already been processed through our Elite Consignment Service.

  • To be included in the promotion, cards must be transferred between 4/9/2021 4/15/2021
  • Cards submitted to auction during these dates will be included in the promotion

After transferring your cards to auction, they move from your Inventory Manager to Auction Submissions in your COMC account. Once scheduled for auction, you can monitor your auctions in Auction History.

Important Auctions Reminders

  • The minimum fee per auction is $3.50, regardless of the final sale price.
  • We recommend you only submit cards to auction that will sell for approximately $50 or more. COMC Auctions reserves the right to change the service level of new Auction submissions to our 3-Week fixed-price service ($0.50 per item) if submissions primarily consist of items valued less than $10 (i.e. Junk Era Baseball common cards). For a full breakdown of Auction fees, see the COMC Auction Schedule and Fees blog.
  • There are no cancellations once we receive your auction submission. If you want to consign your high-end trading cards through COMC as buy-it-now listings, we encourage you to submit them using our Elite Service.
  • Please review our Supported Trading Cards criteria if you have any questions about what items you can consign with COMC.
  • For more information about our auction service, please refer to our Auctions and Auctions FAQ pages.

We are excited for you to participate in this eBay Homepage Baseball 2021 Auction Event!


Set Building Using COMC and Upper Deck ePack

This is a special guest blog contributed by Mike Sommer of WaxPackHero.com. COMC is a proud sponsor of the WaxPackHero Sports Card Minute podcast!

The Upper Deck ePack program has proven to be a successful integration between manufacturer and marketplace.  Over these first few years, I’ve primarily taken advantage of the opportunity to flip these cards directly on COMC

I typically use flipping to generate store credit which allows me to fund my true passion: set building.  As I was browsing the COMC listings last fall, I realized even with all the ePack cards I was buying and selling, I had never attempted to build an Upper Deck set via ePack!  This led to the idea described in this article.  I decided I would choose a set that was released via ePack, and then attempt to build the set entirely by buying the cards on COMC.

The Set

First, I needed to pick a set.  I wanted it to be attainable, which means it couldn’t be too big or too expensive.  I also wanted it to be fully available via ePack.  This meant I couldn’t pick Upper Deck Series 1 & 2 or even Goodwin, as a good portion of the base cards from those sets are only available in “parallel” versions.  The true base cards are not available in physical form.  I also wanted to try and build a style of the set I had never done before.  After considering all these things, I landed on the 2019-20 Upper Deck Series 2 Rookie Materials set. 

This 40-card set includes a player worn swatch of some of the biggest NHL rookies of the 2019-20 season.  One of the things I love about hockey memorabilia cards is the variety of colors in the embedded material.  They aren’t all just plain white jerseys like we sometimes see in some other sports.  In fact, only seven of the 40 cards I purchased included white jersey swatches! 

The “base” Rookie Materials cards are not serial numbered, but they do have varying levels of scarcity.  The odds for the tiers range from 1:98 packs up to the rarest cards only falling 1:333 packs.  I assumed this would create a bit of a challenge for obtaining some cards.

Since the set is numbered using the player initials vs. numbers, I decided to make a checklist on an Excel spreadsheet for me to use to track my progress.

The Journey

I started the process by searching for the set and sorting to display the lowest-priced cards first.  I was pleased to see that the prices started at around .60 each! 

I started at the top, and began to examine the available inventory of each card.  As I dug through the listings, there were a few things I was looking for.  I wanted to find a variety of swatch colors, and ideally, I wanted to find the cards at the lowest price possible.

That last one brings me to something that often gets overlooked.   Whenever you are considering a purchase on COMC, you should determine if the seller accepts offers!  There are many times where even though a seller’s original asking price isn’t the lowest on the site, it becomes the lowest after they accept an offer.  Sellers are more likely to give you a discount if you are buying multiple items from them, so trying to bundle multiple cards from the same buyer was another priority for me.

Over the next few days, I was able to acquire 37 of the 40 cards from a total of 24 different sellers (can you imagine the cost of shipping if I had to buy these from 24 individuals on eBay?).  The total asking price was $72.37, however, I was able to make offers to seven of those sellers and secured a discount of $3.97 or around 5%.  I was hoping for a bit larger discount, but with it being a fairly new release and with some of the cards having limited inventory due to their scarcity, I wasn’t completely surprised.  The average price for the first 37 cards was about $1.85 per card.

The Final Three

There were three cards that proved to be elusive in my initial search.  Adam Boqvist, Kaapo Kakko, and Quinn Hughes did not have their card available on the site.  Those three were all in the 1:333 scarcity tier, and with Kakko and Hughes being a couple of the most popular rookies last year, I knew this may take some work.

Since most items consigned with COMC get cross-listed on eBay, you can use the eBay notification tools to help alert you to new items!  I set up alerts for those three cards, and each time I got a notification, I was able to see if that was a listing from COMC or another random seller. 

It took a couple of months, but I was finally able to acquire the remaining three cards using this method.  The Adam Boqvist card ended up costing me $3.50.  I paid $15.00 for the Hughes, and the Kakko was the final card and it set me back $12.99.

Wrapping It Up

The final cost for the set was just shy of $100.  Since I operate in “advanced reseller” mode, I’ll need to add an additional .25 per card when I have them shipped home, so my final delivered cost will be closer to $115. 

This proved to be a fun, challenging, but attainable build.  I feel it was a great use of my store credit, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to build this set anywhere else for less than I did here on COMC.

If you enjoy set building, I challenge you to find an ePack set of your own to chase.  There are a variety of insert sets and other autograph or relic sets that are available on the site, or if parallels are your thing, there are even ePack exclusive parallels for many of the base sets.  Regardless of which you pick, you’ll have fun along the way.

Mike Sommer of Wax Pack Hero

About the Author

Mike is a husband, father, baseball chaplain, sports card collector, and owner of WaxPackHero.com. He has collected since 1986 and is a lifelong Cubs fan. You can connect with him on his blog, on Twitter @themikesommer, and on various other social media platforms under the name WaxPackHero.

Vintage vs Modern Cards

For many new collectors, the decision on what to collect is driven by one qualification: familiarity. With stunning images of familiar players in each pack, modern cards can quickly turn a fan into a collector. Conversely, vintage cards feature players that have been retired for decades who collectors may or may not have ever watched play. Vintage collectors lament about the seemingly overwhelming number of cards currently produced. The most popular modern stars may have hundreds of different cards produced each year across dozens of sets. For new collectors, vintage’s one saving grace may be the smaller range of cards to collect, as star players from vintage era have at most only a handful of cards each year due to a much smaller quantity of different sets being produced. No matter how you collect, however, it is likely you will want to have both eras represented in some form in your collection. If you’re looking to diversify your collection across different eras of hobby history, it is easy to learn about and expand your collecting horizons to include both modern and vintage cards.

How is Vintage defined?

‘Vintage cards’ is truly a catch-all term for all varieties of cards produced before 1980. Vintage cards are further divided into two segments, Pre-War and Post-War. There is no universally accepted turning point where vintage ends, but the consensus among collectors is that ‘vintage’ does not extend past the mid-1980s at the latest. The vintage label could be applied to everything from 1887 Allen & Ginter tobacco cards to nearly the first 30 years of Topps sets. What these decades of cards all have in common is their simplicity. There are no chromium cards, no relic cards, and no parallels. Sometimes, that simplicity is mistaken as ‘plainness’ by new collectors.

Pre-War cards, being the oldest of cards, can be particularly daunting to new collectors. Many modern collectors are used to cards being packed with information. While the backs of many pre-war cards feature full statistical information and more facts such as birthday and height, they are lacking many of the key elements of modern cards. Aspect of trading cards we consider essential today such as player name, position, team, and the rookie logo on the front may be absent. Many early cards and the most renowned cigarette cards, have minimal information. Take, for example, the famous (and monstrous) T206 set. The front of T206 cards shows a player’s last name alongside the team’s location and league. Flipping the card over reveals no further information. The entire reverse of T206 cards are simply advertisements for the cigarette brand.

Baseball Cards, Football Cards, Basketball Cards, Soccer Cards, Hockey Cards, Pokemon, Trading Cards, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards, The Hobby, Vintage Cards, Modern Cards, COMC, Checkout My Cards, Buy, Sell, Flip, 

Research is definitely a prerequisite before jumping headfirst into building any type of vintage card collection. Time spent gaining knowledge of the set, player, and prices can go a long way when the decision to purchase a card is finally made. There is one more major aspect to consider that is not as prevalent as a concern compared to modern cards, and that is condition. Older vintage cards were produced before the secondary market for collectibles had truly taken shape, and were not always handled with the same care as modern cards. The vintage cards available on today’s secondary market are rarely pack fresh and will require careful inspection to evaluate their condition. To truly get the most out of vintage cards you must familiarize yourself to some degree with card grades and their parameters. You can skip having to judge raw cards’ condition for yourself if you stick to buying cards already evaluated and encapsulated by third party grading companies, although it still helps to know what condition each number on the grading scale signifies.

Another peculiarity of vintage cards is their sizing. Tobacco cards are the size of minis you might find in modern Topps Allen & Ginter releases, with the latter intended to replicate the former as a tribute to the hobby’s history. Vintage Goudey cards are almost square. In some cases, the cards are not even cardboard at all. Silks and B18 Felt Blankets are largely grouped with vintage cards and can often be found in a vintage card dealer’s display case. There are even 19th century postcards and trade cards depicting baseball players which can also be considered as vintage cards.

Baseball Cards, Football Cards, Basketball Cards, Soccer Cards, Hockey Cards, Pokemon, Trading Cards, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards, The Hobby, Vintage Cards, Modern Cards, COMC, Checkout My Cards, Buy, Sell, Flip, 

Topps, Upper Deck, and Panini are known today for producing cards, but trading cards were originally manufactured to accompany different products before spawning an industry of their own. Tobacco cards were included in packs of tobacco to keep packs stiff and help the cigarettes maintain their shape. The card’s popularity among children was soon recognized by another industry and cards were included with a number of food items, including crackerjacks and caramel candy. Cards would be forever ingrained in popular culture with a different candy: gum. The first major gum set to include cards was the Boston-based Goudey during the 1930s. Following Goudey’s lead, Philadelphia’s Gum Inc. issued their baseball card set ‘Play Ball.’ Gum Inc. was renamed to Bowman after World War II, and in 1951 Topps Chewing Gum would produce their first baseball card set.

Post-War Vintage

In the Post-War era, company names recognizable to collectors today emerged. Topps and Bowman battled each other by putting increasing amounts of priority towards their baseball card sets. The two companies battled for player rights among themselves for decades, at times monopolizing the industry. Topps and Bowman also created football sets. Bowman created basketball cards only in 1948. Topps then created a basketball set for one year as well in 1957 before returning to the sport in 1961 and again stopping production in 1980. Hockey cards started being produced on a large scale by Parkhurst in 1951, Topps followed in 1954. Both continued hockey card production relatively thoroughly for a number of years, but hockey is recognized as a much smaller market, comparatively.

For the majority of this period, each company produced one set. Most players would have only one card unless they were also denoted on as a League Leader. For decades, this is how cards continued to be produced, without many changes. Each year, one set featuring one card was produced by one company. Topps long had a monopoly on the ability to produce baseball cards. The resolution of a six-year legal battle culminated in 1980 with the dissipation of Topps’ monopoly on baseball cards. The end of the monopoly is often used by collectors to mark the end of the vintage era.

Entering the Modern Era

Donruss and Fleer would begin producing baseball cards alongside Topps in 1981. The 1980s saw a steady rise in the popularity of sports cards before collecting popularity exploded by the end of the decade. Two different monthly magazines devoted to tracking the ever-changing values of cards were started in 1984. Sports cards were clearly beginning to enter the public consciousness in a way they never had before.

Baseball Cards, Football Cards, Basketball Cards, Soccer Cards, Hockey Cards, Pokemon, Trading Cards, Sports Cards, Non-Sports Cards, The Hobby, Vintage Cards, Modern Cards, COMC, Checkout My Cards, Buy, Sell, Flip, 

Upper Deck began producing sports cards in 1989 and immediately hit a home run. Card #1 in Upper Deck’s inaugural release, depicting then-rookie Ken Griffey Jr., is one of the most iconic cards of all-time. 1989 also saw the re-introduction of Bowman-branded cards, now being produced by Topps and focusing on younger players. As more sports card companies emerged in the 1990s, manufacturers looked to separate themselves from new competition by creating a number of sets beyond their main releases. These non-flagship sets were produced with quality in mind, and their price-point reflected that.

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By the end of the 1990s, it was clear that card collecting had firmly entered a new era. High-priced packs could be opened to reveal shiny cards or autographs. Collectors opened packs hoping to find a serial-numbered card. The onslaught of cards being produced by an ever-increasing amount of manufacturers was inevitably leading to overproduction. The 1994 MLB Players strike had an adverse effect on baseball’s popularity and was an even greater detriment to collecting. While the home run chases and big bats of the Steroid Era would bring back some viewers, card collecting had stagnated overall.

With the exception of a notable handful of key rookie cards, most cards from the mid-80 to 90s are not particularly valued in the hobby due to overproduction. This time period is often referred to as the “Junk Wax Era” within the hobby. It is likely someone you know still has a large box in a closet or basement still filled with sealed packs and boxes from this time waiting to cash-in. Unless there are any notable basketball sets, unfortunately nearly all base cards from this era are not worth the ink that was used to print them.

Topps would soon have their monopoly reinstated and a large number of other card producers disappeared. Topps continued to produce a growing-number of sets under both the Topps and Bowman brand names. Upper Deck stopped producing baseball cards in 2010 after losing their license to use MLB logos and team names. In 2011, Panini decided to produce baseball cards to rival Topps. Despite being barred from being able to use official MLB team names or logos on their cards, Panini has rolled out more baseball card products of their own to compete with Topps over the past decade, including baseball versions of Prizm and Optic.

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Today’s Cards

For nearly all of collecting history, the most valuable cards have been the oldest cards, most notably the famed T206 Honus Wagner. Along with other important examples such as the T206 Eddie Plank and 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, vintage cards had a firm hold on the high-end card market. Over-production and preservation of cards released since the 1980s made it very difficult to even sniff the price tag of vintage cards. As the modern hobby switched its focus to high-end and purposefully short-printed cards, this tiny supply forces prices to spike sharply. The high-end modern sports card market is especially dominated by rookie cards, so much so that rising rookie prices have in turn driven up prices for top players’ second-year cards.

The most valuable modern cards today are only the most limited. The current most valuable modern card, a 2009 Mike Trout Bowman Draft Picks Chrome Prospects Superfractor is a 1 of 1 parallel, unique with no other equivalent. Trout’s basketball counterpart is the LeBron James 2003-04 Exquisite Collection Rookie Parallel featuring both a jersey patch piece and an autograph is serial-number to only 23.

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Grading is an increasingly important factor in today’s market for both vintage and modern cards. While it is easy to see why vintage cards are good candidates to be graded to both confirm their authenticity and preserve their condition for the future, a large number of modern cards are also sent to grading. The benefit of grading a modern card is that it offers heavy-duty protection to the card and provides confidence and a fair assessment to both the owner and any potential trading partners. Even modern cards carefully pulled from fresh packs are far from a guarantee to receive a Gem Mint grade.

There are certain aspects of a card’s conditions which influence a third-party grade that the card’s owner has no control over. Aspects such as the card’s centering or any corner or edge damage coming straight out of the pack are examples of this. Collectors can avoid any condition risks by buying cards that have already been third-party graded. Like it or not, for any ultra high-end card today to even have a chance at a record-setting price, it would need to be graded by a major third-party grading company. Many collectors can point out flaws in any company’s grading process, but graded cards are here to stay and will likely only become more prevalent in the hobby.

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State of the Hobby

2020 was an incredible year for sports cards and showcased many new trends within the hobby. Baseball has for many decades been the belle of the ball, but basketball cards sold at record-pace to the many new collectors entering the hobby last year. Soccer cards finally got more of the attention they deserve, with their popularity within the hobby slowly catching up to the sport’s worldwide dominance. Outside of the sports world, Pokémon cards were championed by a number of celebrities.

The hobby is as diverse as it has ever been, both in terms of the cards being produced and in the population of collectors themselves. With everyone enjoying the hobby in their own way, it seems that there could be sustainable growth for this industry. There are many reasons to be hopeful for the future and confident we are not repeating the bubble of 30 years ago.

COMC looks forward to being a part of the hobby’s bright future with you. 

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About the Author:

Matthew is a COMC Customer Service team member and lifelong baseball card collector. In addition to collecting cards, he enjoys writing about their history and the current market as well as Flipping on COMC. His personal collection boasts cards of his hometown Boston Red Sox and vintage Boston Braves.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

The NFL Playoffs are rushing towards this year’s Super Bowl, with the Conference Championship games taking place this Sunday. The NFC Conference Championship will see Buccaneers QB Tom Brady appear in his 9th conference championship game in the last 10 years, having now played in 14 conference championship games in his 21-year career. His opponent will be the #1 seed Green Bay Packers led by QB Aaron Rodgers, who many experts expect to win the MVP award this season. A snowy Sunday forecast for Lambeau Field should create an incredible atmosphere for this epic matchup of two great quarterbacks.

For the second season in a row, the AFC conference championship will feature the Kansas City Chiefs, who had another dominant season following their Super Bowl victory last year. They’ll take on Josh Allen and the rising Buffalo Bills in what will be the Bills’ first conference title game appearance since 1994.

Who will hoist the Lombardi trophy as victors of Super Bowl LV? We will have to wait a few more weeks to see, but it has already been a truly incredible NFL season.

The Season that Almost Wasn’t

As with most professional sports in 2020, the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic created uncertainty surrounding the NFL season. The NFL developed a plan to isolate coaches, players, and staff in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID. Although all of the preseason games were cancelled, the NFL kicked off a full 16 game regular season on September 10th.

The NFL was able to design the season with proper flexibility to move games to alternate dates and days of the week, or even switch teams that would play in the event of COVID spikes. After a 19-week season, and a total of 256 regular-season games on the schedule, the NFL managed to play all 256 games.

Several Teams Find New Homes

The 2020 season marked the Raiders’ debut in Las Vegas after spending the past 22 years in Oakland. The Raiders franchise is no stranger to moving and changing cities. After making their debut in 1960, the Raiders called Oakland home for 22 seasons before moving to Los Angeles in 1982. The team would then return to the Bay Area in 1995 and remain there until their move to Las Vegas this season, the third move in franchise history! The Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas is Allegiant Stadium, which opened this fall.

Two teams which moved to Los Angeles in recent history also settled into their new home this season. 2020 was the inaugural season for SoFi Stadium, the home for both the Chargers and Rams in Inglewood, CA. COVID restrictions in California prevented attendance at SoFi Stadium this season, so we will have to wait to see the 70,240 seat stadium filled with fans.

It’s All in a Name Change

After many years of debate, NFL owner Dan Snyder dropped the Redskins name and imagery from his franchise in July 2020. Although there was a plan to announce a new team name and mascot before the season began, the re-branding timeline was pushed into the future and the team will be renamed at a later date. For the 2020 season, they’d be known as the Washington Football Team. The first official Washington Football Team trading cards appeared in some of the 2020 football products, including Prizm.

Top Quarterbacks Change Teams

Another storyline which made the 2020 season special was that some of the NFL’s most well-known quarterbacks found new homes.

After 20 years with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady became a free agent and found a new home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or “Tompa Bay” as their fans would soon say. Brady largely lived up to the hype and led the Bucs to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2007.

Tom Brady’s departure left a big question mark at QB for the Patriots: who would Belichick choose as Brady’s successor? The Patriots sent shockwaves through the football world by signing 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton, a former #1 overall draft pick and the longtime QB for the Carolina Panthers. The hobby’s reaction to the news reflected excitement and optimism for Cam to succeed with the Patriots, and his football cards were rapidly bought and sold in the hours following the news. Although Newton showed flashes of his former greatness, the Patriots ultimately finished at 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

After mutually agreeing to part ways with the Chargers franchise after 16 seasons, Philip Rivers found a new home with the Indianapolis Colts, leading them to the playoffs with a wildcard berth this season. This would be his final NFL season, as Rivers announced his retirement from pro football on January 20th.

Quarterbacks Rule the Game

Some of the game’s younger quarterback are quickly becoming faces of the NFL. One of those is Patrick Mahomes, who has already won an MVP award and a Super Bowl in his first four seasons. Putting up another brilliant season, Mahomes has the Kansas City Chiefs poised to make a run at back to back Super Bowl victories.

Several other young QBs are taking their place in the spotlight too. The Bills’ Josh Allen and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson each led their teams to the playoffs, and 2019 #1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray showed signs of growth in his second year with the Cardinals.

The 2020 NFL Draft featured a trio of talented young quarterbacks in the top 10 picks. #1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow was Cincinnati’s starting quarterback from the beginning of the season, but unfortunately suffered a season ending injury in Week 11. #5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa showed his potential to be a future franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. The early favorite of the 2020 rookie QB class, however, was the player taken one pick after Tua, the Chargers’ #6 overall pick Justin Herbert. He broke Carson Wentz’s 2016 NFL Rookie record for the most completions this season, and passed for a near-record of 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

Don’t Miss COMC’s Football Finale Auction Event

Football card collectors, don’t miss COMC’s eBay Homepage Auctions Event January 25th – 31st. Building up to this year’s Super Bowl, this “Football Finale” Auction Event will place a special focus on modern football cards and is the perfect opportunity to find high-end football cards to add to your collections and portfolios.

While the eBay homepage the promotion will be focused on football cards, COMC Auctions lists new 7-day, $0.99 auctions across all major sports every night from 5-9pm PST. Shop auctions ending soon here! And with a COMC account, you can transfer your auction wins from COMC’s eBay store directly into your COMC account to ship later or try to flip. Link your COMC and eBay accounts today at COMC.com/Manage/AuctionsWon to take advantage of this incredible feature of COMC!

Whether you have hot football cards of your own, rarities from Pokémon, or high-end trading cards from nearly any other category, COMC makes it easy to sell them! Please review our “COMC Supported Trading Cards” blog for more information about which cards can be consigned with COMC, and get started selling with us at COMC.com/sell

About the Author:

Andy is the COMC Marketing Manager, bringing a wealth of marketing experience combined with a passion for trading cards. As an active hobby investor, he enjoys collecting and selling trading cards, especially football cards. Andy’s energy and enthusiasm are shared with the local community through his volunteer efforts at the theater and shouting from the stands at the University of Tennessee football games.

Should I Get My Cards Graded?

“To grade, or not to grade?” This is a question which many collectors found themselves asking more and more as the trading card market reached new heights in 2020. Most collectors have their own preference for ungraded (“raw”) or graded cards when it comes to their own personal collection, but might be new to the process of sending cards off for grading themselves. Submitting your cards for grading will require research, money, and patience, but could ultimately result in profit and peace of mind for you.

Let’s examine some of the important pros and cons of getting your trading cards graded.

Why you should get your cards graded 

Protecting Your Investments

Graded cards hold up much better over time than a standard raw card. If you want to invest in a player that you believe in, grading their cards is an excellent way to protect your investment for the long haul. Raw or poorly-protected cards can get lost or damaged over time, but grading them can help preserve their condition and value.

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Prospecting

It’s a great idea to get cards graded of some of your favorite rookies or prospects. If you think they’re going to become a superstar later in their career, getting their cards graded early on could prove to be very lucrative in the long run. By the time the players are in their prime, you’ll already have graded copies of their cards in hand and ready to sell with confidence.

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Maximizes Value

Simply put: the higher the grade, the better it sells! If you pull a low numbered parallel of one of the game’s hottest players, that’s great. Getting it graded and having it come back as a 9.5 or 10 is even better. Many buyers are willing to pay steep premiums for high-grade copies of certain cards, creating opportunities for value creation if you have a good eye for gem mint raw cards.

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Less Guesswork

Grading a card provides you with an expert valuation of its condition, which is extremely beneficial whether you intend to sell or hold the card. Buyers who are particularly selective about the condition of raw cards know exactly what they’re getting with a graded card, saving you the headaches of condition-related returns claims.

Even if you have no intentions of selling the card, having it graded will help you establish its value and authenticity for your own collection.

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Ultimate Protection

There is no better form of protection for a card than a graded slab. The slabs themselves are very difficult to damage, and you won’t have to worry about the safety of the card inside. While a scratched or chipped slab might negatively affect the value, it takes a lot to damage graded slabs as long as you are careful handling, storing, and shipping them.

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Authentication

If you have after-market autographed cards from TTM or in-person signings, major grading companies can offer an extra sense of security that the autograph on the card is authentic. Authenticity can also be a concern for vintage cards, and getting them graded will establish that they are not counterfeit or altered.

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Online Certification Database

When your card gets graded, it gets added to the grading company’s database and assigned its own certification number. This certification number could help identify your card if it were to ever be stolen, which can be especially valuable for vintage or otherwise unnumbered cards.

Why you shouldn’t get cards graded 

Quick Flips

If you want to make quick cash, forgo grading and sell your cards raw. As the trading card industry boomed amidst the pandemic, turnaround times at most major grading companies became much slower than expected and are still in flux today. Given how volatile the trading card market can be, your cards’ value will likely change during the time they are going through the grading process. For leading grading companies’ standard services, many collectors have been waiting for more than six months to receive their cards back. If you’re looking to sell your card in the short term, think carefully before sending away for grading unless you are using one of the fastest turnaround services.

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It’s Expensive!

While some grading companies offer services starting at $10 per card, these low-price services come with longer turnarounds and certain maximum value restrictions. Grading in bulk or using more premium grading services comes with substantial upfront costs, never mind the opportunity cost associated with sending the cards away. Beyond the grading fees themselves, you must consider all of the costs of getting the cards to the grading company in the first place. Unless you have the opportunity to drop the cards of for grading in-person, this will include supplies, postage, and insurance for your shipment. So, if you’re going to get your cards graded, you better be sure they’re going to be worth the investment. 

They Can’t All Be Perfect Tens

Receiving high grades can add value to your cards, but for some modern cards any grade less than “Gem Mint” 9.5 or 10 could result in the loss of value. A card which might seem to be a Perfect 10 to the untrained eye could still have flaws, resulting in disappointment when it comes back with a less than mint grade. Even the adage of cards being gem mint fresh out of the pack isn’t always the case. Before you develop your own eye for Gem Mint Tens, consider seeking a second opinion on the condition of your cards before submitting them for grading. Another risk which must be considered is that your cards will be damaged or lost in the process, so be sure to ship them to the grading company with the utmost care.

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Storage

Graded cards can be hard to store compared to raw 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ cards which can be easily preserved in widely-available nine-pocket pages and cardboard boxes. Some collectors will invest in custom boxes, containers, or even display cases to keep all their graded cards together, but those can be expensive and take up a lot of space in your home.  

Low Value Cards

If you’re considering grading low-end cards, you should carefully evaluate whether its even worthwhile based on recently sold listings and overall demand for the card. In many cases with base and widely produced cards, there are enough cheap raw options available where sellers would probably end up losing money on a lot of what they sent away to get graded. 

One of Ones

There has been much debate within the hobby about whether or not one of ones are worth grading. Some collectors would argue that the only time you should ever get a one of one graded is if you’re 100% sure you’re going to get a 10. After all, why go to the trouble of grading a one of one when there’s no other copy out there in better condition than yours? Conversely, grading can help establish a card’s authenticity as a true one-of-one.

We hope this blog provided you with some informative pros and cons about grading your trading cards. When considering grading your cards, remember to ask yourself “Is this worth the risk?” Good luck!

COMC.com accepts consignments of cards from many of the leading grading companies, including PSA, BGS, and SGC. To see the full list of grading companies whose cards we accept for consignment, visit this link. COMC also offers a Condition Review service, where 2-3 people independently look at the physical item and determine the condition rating. To learn more about COMC Condition Review, visit COMC.com/grading.

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About the Author:

Roman Tomashoff is a Senior Trading Card Specialist at COMC. Prior to working at COMC, Roman worked in the sports department at the Everett Daily Herald newspaper. He’s a big fan of baseball, football, and basketball, the proud dad of two dogs, and he’s been collecting cards his whole life. His personal collection includes a wide array of Boston Red Sox, Washington Huskies, and New England Patriots cards.