1) Don’t put your baseball cards in a nine-sleeve page back-to-back, so you can fit more cards (18 rather than 9) in a sleeve.What are the reasons for this? Well first, you won’t be able to view the backs of the cards without taking them out. You might need to view the backs of the cards in order to see the card number to look up it’s value, or just to (the old fashioned way) check the player’s stats. The most important reason though, is because the cards will warp when pressed together in a sleeve meant for one card. Warped cards = less valuable cards.
2) Don’t forget to put the best cards you pull from a pack into a soft-sleeve and top-loader immediately. If you pull a David Wright Auto card from a pack of Allen and Ginter, and then lay it down on your desk, without instantly protecting that card, you’re inviting danger. What if you spill the drink on your desk? What if you accidentally knock the card on the ground with your elbow and wreck a card corner? What if your cat fluffy decides he likes the shine of the card and decides to scratch his way across David’s signature?
3) Don’t expect to get rich buying hobby boxes. Yes, hobby boxes can be a lot of fun to crack open. But they ain’t cheap. And even if you’re guaranteed a hit (an auto, game-used card, etc.) it’s not guaranteed to be a highly valuable hit. Purchase hobby boxes with your expendable spare cash. Save your investment money for cards of a different feather.
4) Don’t buy a baseball card from an eBay seller with less than 95% feedback rating, unless you read the recent seller ratings and are convinced that your money will be well spent and reimbursed in the event of a mishap. Generally, the top baseball card sellers online have a close to 100% feedback rating. They treat their customers fairly and quickly. This doesn’t mean that a seller with less than 100% feedback is a seller to avoid. There will be disagreements in shipment time, card quality, etc. Some buyers you just can’t please. But the seller shouldn’t have more than one negative feedback rating in the past month and certainly not more than five in the past six months.
5) Don’t spend more than you can afford on baseball cards. This is a fun hobby. It can quickly turn into a bank account drainer if you’re not careful though. I’ve found that setting a monthly budget for how much I will spend on baseball cards has worked well, and has kept me from credit card debt. I buy a couple boxes a month, and a few cards from eBay a month, in addition to maybe a few packs from Target. Keeping a card spending budget will help you keep this hobby fun for yourself by helping to keep you out of money troubles.
6) Don’t search packs at Target or Wal-Mart. If you’re not familiar with the term pack-searching, it refers to sorting through an open box of single packs, looking for the “hit”. The auto card, game-used card, relic card, whatever. Topps and Upper Deck have put blank thick inserts into some baseball card releases to prevent “searchers” from finding the hit. Don’t do it. Not fair to other collectors, and certainly not fair to the kids who buy these packs.
7) Don’t forget to have fun!! In your quest for that card, that set, or to sell your baseball cards. Remember this is supposed to be fun. Yeah, it can be treated like a business, especially for card shop owners and dealers, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. That’s what drew us to card collecting in the first place, right? FUN!