What You Need To Know to Collect Like A Pro

If you are motivated to become an expert Bench Warmer collector there are several terms you need to know. 
First off, there is the base set. This is a complete set of base cards or common cards for a particular card series. You usually cannot purchase the base set. More than likely, each card is randomly packaged in the packs. This way, when you open a pack, you never know which cards you will get.

What’s more, there are insert cards or chase card series. These are the non-rare to rare cards that are randomly inserted into packs at various ratios (e.g. 1 card per 24 packs). An insert card is often different from the base set in appearance and numbering. Some favorite Bench Warmer insert/chase cards are the autographed cards, swatch cards (which contains a piece of the model’s outfit in the card) and kiss cards (which has an imprint of the model’s lips)!

Assessing Card Value

The value of a trading card depends on a combination of the card’s condition, the subject’s popularity and the scarcity of the card. Some of our series are “limited editions” which have smaller print runs to boost value. Each card does have a true monetary value. Cards are only worth as much as a collector is willing to pay.
Popularity of our trading cards is determined by the familiarity, or content of the card, and is usually subjective. Often, certain trading cards will be printed less often than others; this then makes the specific less printed card more valuable than others. Sometimes, each card will be labeled in some way in order to indicate its scarcity. Time can also make cards more scarce due to the fact that cards may be lost or destroyed.

Other Important Collectors Terms To Learn

9-Up Sheet: Uncut sheet of nine cards, usually promos
Autograph Card: Printed insert card that also bears an original cast or artist signature
Base Set: Complete set of base cards for a particular card series
Box Original: Manufacturer’s container of multiple packs, often 24 packs per box
Box Topper Card: Card included in a factory-sealed box
Blister Pack: Factory plastic bubble pack of cards or packs, for retail peg-hanger sales
Case: Sealed crate filled with card boxes, often six to twelve card boxes per case
Chase Card: Included as a bonus in a factory-sealed case
Common Card: Non-rare cards that form the main set. Also known as base cards
Factory Card Set: Typically complete base sets, sorted and sold from the manufacturer
Hobby Card: Item sold mainly to collectors, through stores that deal exclusively in collectible cards. Usually contains some items not included in the retail offerings
Insert Card: Non-rare to rare cards that are randomly inserted into packs, at various ratios (e.g. 1 card per 24 packs). An insert card is often different from the base set, in appearance and numbering. Also known as chase cards
Master Set: Not as well defined; often a base set and all readily available insert sets; typically does not include promos, mail-in cards, sketch, or autograph cards
Oversized Card: Any base, common, insert, or other card not of standard size
Parallel Card: A modified base card, which may contain extra foil stamping, hologram stamping that distinguishes the card from the base card
Pack: Original wrapper with base, and potentially insert, cards within, often called ‘wax packs’, typically with two to eight cards per pack. Today the packs are usually plastic or foil wrap
Retail Card: Cards, packs, boxes, and cases sold to the public, typically via large retail stores, such as K-mart or Wal-Mart
Rack Pack: Factory pack of unwrapped cards, for retail peg-hanger sales
Promo Card: Cards that are distributed, typically in advance, by the manufacturer to promote upcoming products
Redemption Card: Insert Card found in packs that are mailed (posted) to the manufacturer for a special card or some other gift
Sell Sheet: Also ‘ad slicks’. Usually one page, but increasingly fold-outs, distributed by the manufacturers to card distributors, in advance, to promote upcoming products
Sketch Card: Insert card that feature near-one-of-a-kind artists sketches
Swatch Insert Card: Card that features a mounted swatch of cloth, such as from a sports player’s jersey or an actor’s costume
Tin Factory Metal Can: Can typically be filled with cards or packs, often with inserts
Unreleased Card: Card printed by the manufacturer, but not officially distributed for a variety of reasons. Often leaked to the public, sometimes improperly. Not to be confused with promo cards
Uncut Sheet: Sheets of uncut base, insert, promo, or other cards
Wrapper: Original pack cover, often with collectible variations