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Important Terms to Know about Collecting Baseball Cards
Before buying collectible baseball cards from a dealer, you should familiarize yourself with the following terms.

Grading: A grading system tells collectors and dealers what condition a baseball card is in. While this can make trading, selling, and buying baseball cards much easier, there are now several grading services that use their own independent systems. This can cause some confusion.

SCD Grading Guide: The predominant card grading system created by Sports Collectors Digest in 1981. It includes several grades, including mint condition, labeled as MT, for cards in perfect condition. Near mint and mint, labeled as NM or M, for cards that do not show any creases and have at least three square corners. Excellent, labeled as EX, for cards that show some wear but are still in good condition and do not have any creases. Fair, labeled as either F or Fr, for cards that show considerable wear, printing mistakes, and damage.

Rookie Card: The card printed for a baseball player's first year. Since some players have rookie cards for playing in the Minor League and Major League, they can actually have more than one. These are often the most valuable cards for players that go on to establish excellent careers.

Reprints: Reprints are baseball cards that have been produced years after their initial printing. In most cases, someone will reprint the baseball card because it has become highly valuable or the player has become very popular. The reprints, however, do not have nearly the same value as original prints. In many cases, they are nearly worthless to collectors.

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Nick's Baseball Cards Write review for this local business
7522 Campbell Rd, Dallas, TX 75248
(972) 248-2271  
Baseball Card Shop & Book Ctr Write review for this local business
218 Bonham St, Paris, TX 75460
(903) 784-6223  

Baseball cards are sold by the pack at hobby shops and by professional dealers for millions of dollars. Much like the old days, informal collectors are sometimes neighborhood kids who trade with one another. Whatever your level of baseball collecting, consider these questions when purchasing or dealing.

  • How much value does the card carry in mint condition?
    Price guides indicate a baseball card’s market worth, but this variable is subjective. Bidders at an auction may drive up a card’s selling price, or an unnoticed rare card may go to a lucky buyer at a discount. Rare, vintage and rookie cards are highly collectible, as are inserts of legend players. Cards featuring players on popular Major League teams such as the New York Yankees will normally carry more value.

  • What condition is the card in?
    Price guides base their appraisals on mint-condition cards. Mint condition means that there are no flaws to the condition or in the printing whatsoever. Near-mint cards carry 75-95 percent of the appraisal worth, with “excellent,” “very good,” “good” and “poor” carrying increasingly less value. Frayed corners, printing imperfections, and water damage are some of the factors that may decrease a card’s value.

  • Is it the right timing to buy or sell this card?
    Buying a card right after a player breaks his record will mean that you pay top value, whereas all-star players in bad seasons will have cards available at a discount. And when buying a rookie card set, you may benefit from waiting a few months for the demand to fall before purchasing yours. Buying during a recession is generally a good idea since supply outweighs demand at this time. Much like the sport itself, successful collecting relies upon good timing.