Card Collecting Terminology 101

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Card Collecting Terminology 101

It’s a hard world to navigate and understand when you first start collecting, and sometimes the terminology you see in various places (Facebook, Forums, Instagram, eBay etc) are enough to make your head spin! Therefore to help out new and seasoned collectors alike, this page intends to serve as single repository for all your Card Collecting Terminology needs.

 

The below list was initially compiled by the good folk over in the Trans Tasman Trading-Cards and Collectibles group on Facebook. I’ve added some extra entries and descriptions to it, and intend on progressively updating it with new information as it makes its way into the hobby. If you can think of anything I have missed feel free to drop a comment at the bottom of this post and I will add it.

Acronyms

AcronymFull NameDescription
BBBox BreakRefers to the opening of a box or boxes. Could be indivudually or part of a group break.
BBBuy BackThe amount of money that is offered to the winner if they choose to take cash over the actual card. Typically 80% of the total razz/challenge value.
BGSBeckett Grading ServicesA company who assesses the condition of the cards submitted to them and grades them out of 10 based on the centering, corners, edges and surface condtion of the card.
BINBuy It NowThe price necessary to secure an immediate sale. Usually found on eBay
BOBest OfferAllows prospective buyers to offer a price for the card. Usually found on eBay along with a BIN price
BSTBuy, Sel l and TradeUsually refers to a type of page/group/forum or a sale being run
BVBook ValueRefers to the value of the card as presented in the latest Beckett Price Guide
COMCCheck Out My CardsCOMC is a web based company that provides a mallbox and selling service for cards. They are located in the USA and are useful for internationl buyers wanting to avoid the significant cost of postage to their home country, typically due to the eBay Global Shipping Program.
FFFriends and FamilyPreferred method of payment via PayPal when buying cards or spots in a razz/challenge. Not recommended if you do not know or trust the seller as it provides you with no coverage (insurance) if you are scammed. The sender of the money also pays the PayPal fees (if any) so the person receiving the money gets the full amount.
FSFor SaleIndicates the card is for sale and should be accompanied with a price in most instances
FTFor TradeIndicates the card is for trade and should be accompanied with a TV in most instances
GBGroup BreakRefers to when a group of people join together to open a box, boxes, a case or cases of cards and share the cost between them. Usually a person known as the Breaker will open the card packs live on YouTube, Facebook etc for everyone to watch. Group Breaks are often run as Pick Your Team (PYT), Rnadom Teams, Rand Serial Number, Conference Breaks or Hit Drafts (refer to definition table for more information on each format). You then receive the cards that are 'hit' based on the team or spot you have which is determined prior to the break if it is a random team, serial number or hit draft.
GEM-MTGem Mint Graded CardIndicates the card is in exceptional condition and has either been graded a BGS 9.5 or PSA 10, or the seller believes it should achieve these grades if submitted.
GSGoods and ServicesAn alternate method of payment through PayPal which comes with buyer protection (essentially insurance) however the person receiving the money will pay the PayPal fees instead of the person sending the money.
HMHow MuchHow much does a person want for the card
IPIn PersonRefers to an autograph obtained in person instead of being signed as part of the normal card release. For example during an organised signing event when a player signs a non-autograph card.
LCSLocal Card ShopYour closest or most frequently visited card shop.
MAGMagnetic Case / One-TouchA type of hard card case that is held together by a small magnet. Often referred to as a one-touch and is usually only used for high end cards.
MTMintIndicates the card is in superb condition and has either been graded a BGS 9 or PSA 9, or the seller believes it should achieve these grades if submitted.
NFSNot For SaleUsually combined with Not For Trade (NFT) to indicate the card is not available
NFTNot For TradeUsually combined with Not For Sale (NFS) to indicate the card is not available
NILNext In LineUsually written after someone has marked sold on a card in a sale to indicate the person is NIL if the original sale falls through
NM-MTNear MintIndicates the card is in great condition and has either been graded a BGS 8/8.5 or PSA 8, or the seller believes it should achieve these grades if submitted.
OBOOr Best OfferIndicates that people are able to make offers on the card which are less than the asking price
PCPersonal CollectionThe cards/players/set the person collects
PMPersonal MessageIndicates a PM has been sent to a prson via Facebook, Group Messenger etc
PPPayPalTraditional payment method for cards online via eBay, Facebook, Forums etc
PristinePristine GradingIndicates the card has been graded a BGS 10.
PSAProfessional Sports AuthenticatorA company who assesses the condition of the cards submitted to them and grades them out of 10 based on the overall condtion of the card. Unlike BGS, PSA do not provide sub grades for corners, centering, sruface and edges nor do they grade cards in 0.5 increments. PSA grades are whole integers only (e.g. 10, 9, 8 etc). Generally accepted within the hobby as being best for vintage cards, howevver recent trends have shown an increase in more modern cards being graded by them due to the slight premoum a PSA 10 provides over a BGS 9.5.
PWEPlaine White EnvelopeA generally unaccepted method of sending cards via a standard paper envelope. Often leads to damaged cards due to the lack of protection it provides. Unless otherwise agreed a PWE should not be used for shipping cards, with the general minimum standard for shipping being a bubble mailer with the card inside a top-loader and team bag.
RCRookie CardDefines a card of a player from their first year in the league and typically commands higher value than non-RCs
RedRedemptionEssentially and IOU for a card issued by the manufcaturer within a release to indicate the card (usually an autograph) didn't make it back to them in time to be included in the set. The redemption is redeemed online via the manufacturers website by entering the unique code and providing them with you shipping details.
RefRefractorSilver or Chrome variation of a card. Typically an SP variation of the non Refractor version.
RPARookie Patch AutoA RC with a piece of jersey patch (nameplate, number, team name, ribbing etc) and an autograph
SPShort PrintUsed to describe a card that whilst not numbered, has a limited print run in the set.
SSPSuper Short PrintUsed to describe a card that whilst not numbered, has an extremely limited print run in the set
SVSell ValueDescribes the value at which someone is willing to sell the card for
TVtrade valueDescribes the value at which someone is willing to trade the card for
UDUpper DeckCard manufactuer for Hockey and some non-licenced products such as Goodwins Champions. Has exculsive contracts with Michael Jordan, LeBron Jamesa nd Ben Simmons which prohibits them from signing any Panini products. Therefore obtaining autographs of these players is difficult.
VetVeteranUsed to describe a player who is in his second or more season in the league
VinVintageTypically describes cards that are at least 20, if not 30 years old or older.
WWatchingUsually typed in a sale thread or post to indicate the person is watching to see what cards are posted for sale

Definitions

TermDefinition
BreakerA person who opens boxes or cases of cards on behalf of others (their customers) and distributes the hits to each person after the breal
Case HitRefers to the usual approachc by manufacturers to include at least one big card per case. These big cards are referred to as the case hit and generally are the best card in the case.
Coin/NameplateTerminology used to indicate the need for someone to playe a piece of paper with their name and date alongside their card in order to prove they, or someone they know, has the card in hand
Conference BreakA group break whereby people purchase spots based on the different sport conferences. Some breaks are random conference (each spot is the same price but the conferences are randomed between the participants) or pick your conference (varying prices based on the quality of teams in each conference).
FiresaleA sale post or thread that typically includes cards at below market prices. Often the term is used misleadingly to describe a sale when in fact the prices are market value or higher so due dilligence is recommended
Game WornIndicates the item of memorabilia has been worn by the player during an NBA game
Group BreakRefers to when a group of people join together to open a box, boxes, a case or cases of cards and share the cost between them. Usually a person known as the Breaker will open the card packs live on YouTube, Facebook etc for everyone to watch. Group Breaks are often run as Pick Your Team (PYT), Rnadom Teams, Rand Serial Number, Conference Breaks or Hit Drafts (refer to definition table for more information on each format). You then receive the cards that are 'hit' based on the team or spot you have which is determined prior to the break if it is a random team, serial number or hit draft.
HitUsually a card is considered a hit if it is either numbered, contains an autograph or piece of memorabilia, or is a highly sought after insert.
IncomingIndicates that cards are no in hand yet but are on their way from the seller/group break etc
In HandIndicates the cards are currently with the person
Jersey PieceRefers to a piece of memorabilia inserted into a card that is a single bit of material and not from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts
MaildayUsed to indicate that the cards just arrived in the mail
PatchRefers to a piece of memorabilia inserted into a card that is material from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts. Normally only inlcuded in lower numbered cards, or high end products.
Penny SleeveA thin plastic slip that cards are placed in to protect their condition
Player WornIndicates the item of memorabilia has been worn by the player during something other than an NBA game such as a manufacturer promotional event
PYS BreakA group break whereby all spots are the same price and you pick a number/s (e.g 1-30 for the NBA) from those available. The list of teams is then randomised and once complete the team name next to your chosen number indicates the cards that you will receive from the break. E.g if you have spot 20 and the LA Lakers are in spot 20 after the list has been randomed, you will get all the Lakers cards.
PYT BreakA group break whereby you pick your desired team and pay the corresponding price for that team. Price is typically based on the quality of the RCs, veterans and legends in the set.
Random.orgA website used by almost all group breakers and razz/challenge pages to randomise the list of participants in a group break or razz/challenge
Random Serial Number BreakA group break whereby you pick a spot, the list is randomised, and a serial number assigned to each spot. The each card is pulled and the serial number matched to the correct spot. For example if all cards in the set were numbered to 25 or less, then each participant would be assigned a number between 1-25. If a card numberd 11/25 came out during the break, the person with serial number 11 next to their name would receive that card.
Random Team BreakAs per PYS desccription.
Randomise/RandomThe process of taking a list of participant, whether it be in a group break or razz/challenge, and randomising them a certain number of times to determine a final list order. Random.org is the typical means of completing this process with a virtual pair of dice used to determine the number of times the list will be randomised.
Razz/ChallengeEssentially a raffle for a card. For example if a card is valued at $100, it may be lined at 10 spots, $10 each spots. People then chose their spot between 1-10 and once all 10 spots have been claimed and paid for the list is randomised with the person on top of the list after the randomisation process winning the card.
Scam/ScammerSomeone who has been proved to have ripped people off by taking their money/cards without paying or sending the cards to the other person/people. Some group breakers have also been caught scamming their customers, none more famous that a man named Dustin Klay and his now infamous "Brandon Cooks to 99" statement.
SoldIndicates that a person writing it is claiming the card and agreeing to pay the stated amount for it
SwatchRefer to jersey piece description.
Top LoaderA plastic holder for a card that offers it additional protection beyond that of a penny sleeve

Card Types

Card TypeDescription
AcetateA clear, hard finish placed on a card by the manufacturer. Generally only used on more valuable cards
AutoA card containing an autogrpah/signature of the player
BaseRegular card that forms part of the base set in the release. The most common card type
Chrome/RefractorSilver or Chrome variation of a card. Typically an SP variation of the non Refractor or base version.
Die CutA card that has been machine (die) cut so it is no longer a rectangular shape.
InsertA card that has been inserted into packs/boxes at a lesser ratio than base cards, and does not typically form part of the base set
JerseyA card that contains a piece of memorabilia inserted into it hat is a single bit of material and not from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts
Jersey AutoA card that contains an autograph/signature as well as a piece of memorabilia inserted into it hat is a single bit of material and not from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts
One of OneA unique variation of any given card that has a serial number 1/1 and is the only version of that card in existance
ParallelAn alternate version of a certain card that is generally a slightly different finish
PatchRefers to a piece of memorabilia inserted into a card that is material from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts. Normally only inlcuded in lower numbered cards, or high end products.
Patch AutoA card that contains an autograph/signature as well as a piece of memorabilia inserted into a card that is material from the number, nameplate, logo, edging etc of the jersey or shorts. Normally only inlcuded in lower numbered cards, or high end products.
PrizmA chrome/refractor technology trademarked by Panini
Serial NumberedIndicates a card that has been numbered, for example 21/100, 10/25, 3/10, 1/1 etc.