If you have a sports card lover in your family, or if you’re just looking to treat yourself, you’re in the right place! Here are some great ideas for this holiday season.
UNIQUE GIFT IDEAS
There are a number of really cool gift ideas you can buy a sports card collector other than cards themselves. For the collector who has nearly everything, you may wish to go this route. Many of these spring forth from artisans who sell primarily through Twitter or Instagram. A few of my favorites this year are:
SlabStand sells 3D-printed display stands for graded cards. On their website, you can find pre-made stands with a gem design, city stands with uniform logos, and generic stands, but the real prizes are the custom stands. You can have a custom text stand made, or a stand with a logo made. (@SlabStand)
Classic Court Tiles creates beautiful coasters of some of your favorite teams and players using cards and wax wrappers. There are also some very nice non-sport items. You can find them on Etsy. (@classiccourtti1)
Millburg Trading Cards sells custom cards, art prints, cut signatures, and more on their website, but they also make custom cut signature displays and ticket cards via request through their site. There are tons of options, ranging from modern holographic cards to cards that look like they were plucked straight out of the 70s.
LJ’s Custom Cards makes some really cool card art, too, available for purchase on their website. All of the cards made by Lee of LJ’s are 1/1s, so you will be the only person to ever own your card. While there are many pre-made customs in his online shop, he also takes commissions by messaging him. Uniquely, LJ’s offers gift cards that can be used on commissions, so that your gift recipient could design his or own card later. And, LJ’s is currently offering $20 off orders with promo code “Holiday22”.
This is an obvious choice for a sports card collector, of course! But with so many cards out there, how can you know what to buy?
One option for single cards is to sneak onto an eBay account and look at the cards on your collector’s “Watch List.” But if you don’t feel that kind of rogue mission is for you, there are still other options.
If you’re lucky enough to have a local card shop, make a call or take a trip there and talk with them. If the person you’re buying for is a regular customer, it’s a good bet they’ll have an idea of what they like. Even if not, they can point you in the right direction. Most shops will also offer gift certificates.
A factory set is a classic gift. Factory sets are complete sets in a decorative box and often come with some bonuses. You can get different varieties of these sets, and they range in price from $49.99 to $59.99. You can find them at a local shop or at Target, Walmart, the MLB Shop, or Fanatics.
Collectors may also appreciate complete sets with some significance, like their year of birth. These are available in factory form from most of the 1980s on, or in hand-collated form. Your best bet for these is eBay.
If the collector in your life has a favorite player, a great gift idea is a graded card of the player. Stick with one of the big 4 grading companies — PSA, BGS, SGC, or CSG. Non-vintage graded base cards of even the biggest stars are pretty affordable in high grade; vintage cards in lower grades won’t break the budget either.
If opening packs is something your collector may be interested in, determine a budget and look at Blowout Cards or Dave and Adam’s Card World to find boxes in your price range. A more flexible solution would be a gift card to either site.
Every collector needs supplies, and no collector likes buying supplies for themselves. The shortages of 2020 are starting to wane, but prices for supplies are still higher than normal. For those who like to protect their cards individually, BCW magnetic card holders ($9.90 for a 5 pack, $17.90 for a 10 pack) are a great purchase for 35-point cards, which are standard thickness cards. For thicker cards like patches or high-end autographs, they offer similar packages of 180-point holders ($11.48 for a 5 pack, $27.55 for a 12 pack), suitable for thick cards like patches or high-end autographs.
Those who like to display their cards will enjoy BCW’s card stands ($9.95 for a box of 20), which come in two easy-to-assemble pieces that allow for varying depths and angles.
Collectors who store cards in boxes may prefer toploaders, which come in a variety of sizes and are sold in different pack sizes. A nice deal is available on Ultra Pro’s regular toploaders ($25for 200, plus 200 free soft sleeves), which are used on cards with a standard thickness.
If the card collector in your life submits cards to PSA, Beckett, or SGC for grading, they would appreciate semi-rigid “card savers.” Cardboard Gold’s version are my favorites ($20.57 for 200).