There is no collectible item more iconic than the traditional sports trading card. Trading cards have circulated in the memorabilia industry for decades and are available for different sports or games in price ranges from a few pounds to thousands of pounds. Whether one's intent is to build a priceless, sentimental collection or to make money off highly sought rookie cards, Topps trading cards are products that continue to be precious items to own. For many in the United Kingdom, collecting, trading, and selling Topps trading cards is a common pastime for football lovers.
Trading cards vary in sports, clubs, and years for the players on the cards. They can be purchased or traded individually, or cards can be purchased in bulk packs, boxes, or even cases. Some trading cards cost more than others, based on the availability of the card or the perceived 'worth' of the player. Topps trading cards can be purchased in brick and mortar stores that specialise in trading cards and collectibles, or they can be found online on websites like eBay. Finding that next priceless rookie card or an autographed trading card for one's own collection is certainly an achievable goal.
What Are Topps Trading Cards?
Topps trading cards are cards specifically produced by the Topps company, an American company that specialises in the trading card business, for sports like football, American football, baseball, and hockey and for pop culture and entertainment icons. Originally a chewing gum business, Topps' first cards appeared in 1949 as free photographs of American baseball icons like Babe Ruth that came with the chewing gum. Shortly thereafter, Topps trading card sets featuring pop culture icons were available for purchase, and the rest is history.
Topps trading cards continue to be popular collectors' items as well as popular trading items. Many collectors make money selling players' cards as many of the cards gain value over time, much like an appreciated stock. Trading cards can be kept in the family for generations, appreciating in value and becoming family heirlooms. Others hunt for trading cards for short-term ownership in order to turn around and sell them for a profit. No matter how one trades or collects cards, they are iconic, fun memorabilia to buy.
There are several ways to go about collecting Topps trading cards. Many individuals look for the rookie cards that are expected to gain value as the players go on to extremely successful careers. Collectors also purchase Topps cards that maintain value as classics in their collections, regardless of sport or preference for the player. However, for those who wish to buy Topps trading cards for the sake of building one's favourite club or as an ode to the best players of a particular sport, shoppers can find Topps trading cards by years played, by sport, or by club.
Topps trading cards can be purchased by decade within a certain sport or era of pop culture. This is a popular collecting trend for the collector that is a fan of a given decade, such as the 1960s. Older decade trading card decks also become more valuable as time passes if the serial number is low to signify an original deck or if there are few trading cards in good condition left from that decade.
Many trading card enthusiasts collect Topps cards by the sport out of pure love for the genre. This is most common amongst children, although it is also a somewhat common trend amongst older collectors. The value of collecting Topps cards by sport is that several of the cards may become more valuable over time, and the collector has a greater chance of owning a valuable card because he or she owns a variety of cards from numerous clubs. Topps offers trading cards in several sports, including football, the most popular sport in the United Kingdom, baseball, hockey, mixed martial arts, and American football. Non-sport-related genres, including pop culture icons, are also available in Topps trading cards and are popular amongst children.
For those who are fans of specific clubs, collecting Topps cards by the club is a necessity. This collecting trend is particularly common when a club is doing well during a season because it increases the overall value of all the club players. This is beneficial for those who own cards of players with average statistics on a successful club. The collecting trend is also common for those who are just fans of a club, whether the fandom is born of success, same hometown, or some other attachment. If someone is an active trader, it can be fun to physically trade cards with a friend when a player is traded out of or into one's club of choice.
Topps has a popular Rookie Player deck that they release regularly that showcases each sport's newest set of rookies who could go on to huge success with professional clubs in upcoming seasons. Rookie cards are where the money is made because each rookie player has the potential to become the next Most Valuable Player of the season. Rookie cards also cost very little when they are initially printed since the players have few statistics and an unproven professional history to build price. They often turn into excellent investments for collectors.
Trading cards that sport an autograph, whether it was done in person or is a special edition card sold by Topps, are another valuable form of trading card for collectors. The autograph increases the value of the card because of its rarity, and an autographed card increases even more in value if the player is particularly significant throughout his career. These make for excellent collectors' items purely because of their rarity, and they can become priceless gifts or heirlooms for the family.
Memorabilia cards are trading cards that have an additional form of memorabilia, like a piece of a player's jersey, attached to the card. These are valuable because they are rare, much like an autographed card, and they look beautiful as the centrepiece of one's card collection. Memorabilia cards of a significant player become priceless over time, and many collectors hunt for such cards that still have yet to accrue in value as a form of investment.
Buying Individual Cards vs. Buying Packs
Topps trading cards are sold individually and in packs, boxes, or cases. Many individuals buy the trading cards as packs, cases, and boxes to see if there is a valuable card in the bunch, while others buy cards individually because they closely follow the statistics and probabilities of increased values for players. The benefit of buying multiple trading cards in a pack is that it is an affordable way to begin a trading card collection; however, trading cards of the same average player become a common occurrence in these packs, which can be frustrating. Those who purchase cards individually may already be paying a premium for more important cards, and there is the risk that the card loses value after it is purchased. On the other hand, card collectors who purchase individual Topps cards tend to only have valuable and well-researched pieces in their collections.
Buying Topps Trading Cards on eBay
Topps trading cards for all sports, decades, and players can be found online using the extensive database and helpful search tools on eBay. The search box on every page on eBay allows users to insert keywords like 'football Topps card' or 'Manchester trading card', and the results appear within seconds. Trading card search results can be further narrowed down by filtering the search listings with a specified price range, sport genre, team, or decade.
In order to feel confident about the authenticity and condition of the trading cards being purchased on eBay, it is important for shoppers to thoroughly research the reputations of the various sellers by reading the feedback left by previous customers. Trusting the seller and the quality and authenticity of the trading card is important for an overall successful online purchase. After the transaction is complete, collectors can submit their own feedback regarding their experiences with particular sellers.
While collectors are known for their interest in a wide array of collectable items, trading cards have a long history for being valuable collectors' items, beginning with Topps trading cards that started with American baseball players in the late 1940s. Topps trading cards are available for fans of several other sports, as well, including football, hockey, and American football. There are even trading cards available for celebrities in pop culture.
Collectors tend to purchase, trade, and sell Topps trading cards to increase the value of their overall collections. Many collections are categorised by decade, by sport genre, or by club. The most valuable cards tend to be the rookie cards (after the passing of time), autographed cards, and memorabilia cards. These can all be found in brick and mortar memorabilia stores or online using websites like eBay. Whether the intent is to build a priceless personal card collection or to make a profit off the pastime, Topps trading cards make for an incredibly rewarding hobby.