top of page

Sports Card Beginner's Keyword Guide

Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a newbie to sports cards, there are a number of abbreviations, words, and slang that we use to describe things that can make anyone's head spin.

Hopefully this will serve as a guide to the things you'll most commonly see:

-"The Hobby": This is simply the endearing name we have for the world of collecting sports cards, and the community within it.

-"PC": This stands for "Personal Collection." It's a way to let people know what you're looking for. Ex: "Trae Young is my PC." "What do you PC?"

-"Hit": This is a term used to describe things such as an Autograph or Jersey Card. If opening a box, you may hear that a box guarantees three hits, or someone may tell you their "hit" they got out of a pack of cards.

-"Parallel": Refers to a card that resembles a base card, but with a visual difference that sticks out. It may be the same exact picture, but with a different coloring, border, etc.

Pic: Parallel version seen above, base seen below

-"Refractor": The most simple way to describe this is that there is a rainbow-like, metallic shine to this type of card. If you move it around in the light, you'll see the colors. Sometimes a refractor is a specific color (purple, pink, green, red, etc.)

Refractors are made on a specific design of card, and don't appear on cards that are of that matte/paper design. If unsure, you can look at the back of the card, and a refractor will be noted on one of the upper corners, either by the word: "Prizm" (in Panini products), or "Refractor" (in other products).

-"PWE": Stands for "Plain White Envelope." It is a description of how the card you're getting will be shipped. Note: You probably don't want to ship this way, or have your card shipped this way due to the risk of damage.

-"SP": Stands for "Short Print." Refers to cards that have limited production. Back in the day it was due to things like issues with printing plates, but is more of a planned thing in modern cards. Sometimes Short Prints are serial numbered, other times it takes some research to find out if a card is or not.

-"OBO": Stands for "Or Best Offer." You may see someone list a card for a certain amount, or the best offer. Ex: "$50 OBO"

-"BMWT": Stands for "Bubble Mailer With Tracking." This is again a description of how your card will be shipped to you, as opposed to "PWE" (Plain White Envelope).

-"On-Card/Sticker": This is a direct reference to autographed cards. It refers to how the signature is done. Sometimes stickers are sent to players to sign and be attached to cards later on, and sometimes the players are physically holding the cards that they autograph, and it is signed right onto the card, with no sticker. This notes the difference.

-"One-Touch" : Refers to the type of case a card may be put in. One-touches are generally either screw-down, or magnetic.

-"Top Loader/Penny sleeve": Another way to properly protect cards. Penny sleeves are those flimsy little sleeves that you can put cards in before putting them into a top loader (or hard case).

-"Relic/Game-Used/Patch": Refers to cards with a piece of the player's jersey on it. Game-Used is exactly as it sounds. The jersey on the card was used in a game.

Relics signify that the jersey was most likely not game-used. You'll often find that a rookie's jersey card is a relic (you can look at the back of a card and it will tell you either way), due to the fact that the jersey was probably only used in a photo shoot, and not a game.

A patch means there is more than just the mesh part of the jersey included on the card. It could be a chunk of the stitching that contains another color, a piece of the player's team logo, number, or nameplate, etc.

-"RPA": Stands for "Rookie Patch Auto." It simply serves as a way to more quickly describe a card that fits that description.

-"LCS": Stands for "Local Card Shop."

Hopefully this serves as a good kickoff to understanding some of the words we use in "the hobby." Have any that you're wondering about that I didn't mention? Feel free to hit me up on twitter with any questions about collecting at any time! Twitter- @dmntakeover

bottom of page