As avid collectors, we often accumulate many common sports cards over time. While less valuable than the more sought-after hits and inserts, these base set cards still hold potential.
Especially after ripping multiple packs from an expensive hobby box, you tend to have many base or common cards left. Sometimes common cards are not desirable and challenging to get rid of, especially since there’s an overproduction of them.
This article explains in-depth what to do with your common sports cards, unwanted base cards, or old vintage ‘junk era’ cards your parents handed you.
Let’s explore some practical and creative solutions to address the issues of money and space when dealing with common sports cards.
What To Do with Common Sports Cards First
First, understand the goal you want to achieve with your base cards and then use this approach.
To get value out of base cards and make the most of your resources such as time and space, there’s a popular methodology is to focuses on categorizing these cards into these four groups:
- Keep: To hold.
- Donate: To move on from quickly.
- Sell: To earn from the value of cards.
- Discard or Recycle: To move on without thought.
Believe it or not, some base cards are worth keeping. I will share why a base card is worth keeping and what criteria you can use to sort through your base sports cards.
What Makes a Common Sports Card Worth Keeping?
Identifying a common sports card worth keeping depends on a few factors: Popularity, Scarcity, and Personal Connection. So, first, determine if the player on the card has all three factors and may be worth keeping.
For example, Patrick Mahomes’ common football cards are worth $12+. They will continue to demand a high premium even when it’s a primary card, simply due to their popularity and performance and how few are printed of this highly sought-after card.
Additionally, in this example, Are you a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs? It would count towards having a personal connection with a player on that team, which could result in wanting to keep that common card. Sports cards help fans get closer to their heroes/idols.
Start by Breaking Down the Base Sports Cards into Specific Lots:
A lot is a bundle worth selling more accessible in bulk or having a group of cards in one place. Here are a few examples of lots you can create to increase the value of your common base cards, making them easier to move or give to others.
- Team Lots: Breakdown by Division, like AFC vs. NFC, or by State, like New York. Or by a specific team like New York Jets or New York Giants.
- Player Lots: Specific stars and veterans who have played well in their recent seasons or Hall of Famer.
- Position Lots: All Quarter Backs for Football, All Pitchers for Baseball, All goalies for Hockey, etc.
Taking the time to sort these cards into lots of different kinds gives collectors a chance to get what they are looking for and want.
For example, a collector may only collect quarterbacks and have a quarterback lot that’s perfect for them. Keep the ‘collector’ in mind when sorting, as there are many ways to add these cards.
Additional examples could be:
- By Year (1990s, 1998s, 2021s etc.)
- By Brand (Prizm, Mosaic, Select, etc.)
Determine the value of those base cards using the following tools: Market Movers Sports Card Investor. Also, a free alternative pricing guide is Trading Card Prices | Free Ungraded & PSA Price Guide (pricecharting.com).
We wrote an article which goes into sports card pricing and investing tools, which can help you determine the value of your base cards. Card Ladder vs Market Movers: Which is Worth it?
Be sure to create a separate category in your store labeled ‘Card Lots,’ you can post each of them for easy searchability. Your customers will enjoy having a dedicated space to look through bundles and expect to find deals. For example, a lot can sell for $10 easily if you have enough cards to make it worthwhile.
Alternative Ways to Dump Your Base Cards
Find an Ecommerce Store (Like an eBay Store Seller):
Stores that sell low-end cards and would gladly take your common cards off your hands. You can donate them to that store or sell them in a bundle/lot for a few dollars.
Our store NOWCollectibles, takes all cards, especially as we grow – send us an email about your interest in donating base cards.
Reach Out to Parents Who Love to Collect:
If you connect with other collectors via Twitter or Facebook, you can build a relationship with them where you can send your base cards directly. Especially if they have kids’ base cards are a great way to introduce them to the hobby we love.
Leave in Storage Unit:
Over time you’ll accumulate thousands of base cards if you are ripping multiple packs per week.
Consider putting a few boxes into a storage unit to sort later. Then, make a trip to your storage unit once a month to sort through them and work through selling them on an online marketplace.
8 Creative Ways to Get Rid of Base Sports Cards
Here are eight creative ways to get rid of your common sports cards.
1. Connect with Collectors: Selling and Trading Commons
When it comes to selling individual commons, it can be a time-consuming task. However, some platforms cater specifically to sports card enthusiasts, such as Check Out My Cards (COMC) and Sport lots.
These websites provide a convenient way to trade or sell your commons to others who may find value in them. It’s an opportunity to recoup some of your investment with little time.
2. Donate to Charitable Organizations
Consider donating your sports card commons to charitable organizations with federal tax-exempt status, like Goodwill.
By doing so, you free up valuable space and receive a tax-deductible receipt for the estimated value of the cards. This option allows you to contribute to a worthy cause while offsetting your tax liability.
3. Explore Alternative Donation Options
In addition to Goodwill, other charitable organizations used to accept bulk card donations, such as Cards 2 Kids and Commons 4 Kids.
However, checking whether these organizations still accept sports card donations is advisable, as their policies may have changed. Another option is contacting children’s hospitals and schools, as they could be potential recipients of your sports card commons.
Contact them beforehand to ensure they are open to receiving such donations.
4. Utilize Commons for Packaging and Shipping
When it comes to shipping your valuable cards, protecting them is crucial. Instead of using standard cardboard or filler material, consider using sports card commons as additional padding around your cards.
And it safeguards your valuable cards and provides a pleasant surprise for the recipient.
Adding a few extra commons or even some all-star level cards can be appreciated by collectors and buyers.
5. Engage Kids and Neighborhood Enthusiasts
If you have children or know neighborhood kids who enjoy collecting sports cards, consider giving them some of your commons.
Sharing your collection can bring joy to these young collectors and encourage their interest in the hobby.
Additionally, you can use your commons as treats for Halloween or rewards for good behavior, offering an alternative to the traditional candy-based giveaways.
6. Combine Higher-Value Cards with Commons for Sale
When it’s time to sell your sports card collection, consider pairing higher-value cards with your commons.
This strategy allows potential buyers to acquire sought-after cards alongside a bundle of commons. By bundling them together, you can increase the collection’s appeal and attract more buyers.
7. Responsible Recycling: Get rid of Base Cards Environmentally safe
Although not the ideal option, recycling your unwanted commons is viable when other alternatives are exhausted.
If you find an excess of commons you cannot sell or donate, disposing of them through recycling ensures they will only take up space for a while. Remember to recycle responsibly and by your local recycling guidelines.
8. Save for Future Value or Collection Size
Parting with any cards can be difficult for some collectors, even when they are base cards that don’t demand a premium.
Whether for sentimental reasons or the hope that certain players will gain value, saving your commons allows you to expand your collection or wait for the right time to sell or trade them.
However, it’s essential to consider the space limitations and justify your decision to your significant other to maintain a balanced collection.
Why Getting Rid of Base Cards Is Easier Than You Think
As a result, managing sports card commons can be challenging, but with these creative solutions, you can make the most of your collection. Whether you choose to keep, sell, discard, or donate.
Categorizing your cards, connecting with collectors, and utilizing commons for packaging are effective strategies to address the challenges of unwanted commons while optimizing your collection.
Additionally, donating to charitable organizations, engaging young collectors, bundling with higher-value cards, recycling responsibly, and saving for the future provide further opportunities to manage your sports card commons in a meaningful and beneficial way.
Finding a suitable approach based on your goals will help maintain a balanced collection and ensure you continue to enjoy the hobby.
Remember, the value of a collection goes beyond just the monetary aspect; it’s the joy and passion that make it truly rewarding.
Today, implement these actionable solutions to maximize your resources and create a balanced and satisfying sports card collection. Remember, every step you take brings you closer to a clutter-free and fulfilling hobby.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:
- How to Sell Sports Cards on Online (2023)
- Future of Sports Trading Cards: Why Sports Cards Lose Value?
Sports card hobby enthusiast (originally from New York) who can’t resist ripping cards and eating donuts on the weekends. Passionate about all collecting, have been collecting football cards and other memorabilia for half a decade. Enjoys going to card shows, visiting card shops and getting to know other collectors. Owner of NOWCollectibles a collectible e-commerce business – online card shop for buying affordable cards helping connect sports fans with their favorite teams and players. Follow my personal IG to see PC: @NowCollects See my latest articles here: NowCollectibles Articles (thinksportscards.com)