Like all collectibles, the sports memorabilia market has its own terms and slang. The following is a brief definition and explanation of the most frequently used sports collecting terms.
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- Short for American Basketball Association.
- Acronym for the American Card Catalog. This catalog, written by Jefferson Burdick and published in 1960 by Nostalgia Press, uses numerical and alphabetical designations for identifying and cataloging card sets.
- Action Packed
- A sports card manufacturer that is well known for its unique style of embossed sports cards.
- Abbreviation for the American Football League
- An artistic way of touching up a photo. This is common practice on sports cards that feature players who have changed teams. Hats and uniforms will be airbrushed to depict their new team.
- Short for baseball's American League.
- all-star card
- A sports card that features a member of any given sport’s all-star team. The first all-star card was in the 1958 Topps baseball set.
- all-star game
- An annual sporting event by any given league that highlights the top stars in the league. All four major sports have an all-star game, although the NFL refers to theirs as the Pro Bowl.
- Altered Stock
- This term is used when the paper stock is altered in one or more of the following ways: trimming, recoloring, restoring, or enhancing the gloss.
- A group or lot of cards that includes duplicates of one or more cards. For example, "A lot of 100 assorted cards".
- An offering of sports collectibles where the buyer must bid against other potential buyers, as opposed to ordering an item from a catalog, price list, or advertisement at a set price.
- auction catalog
- A catalog which lists all of the items being offered for sale at a specific auction. Auction catalogs usually contain a description of the items being offered, often including statements about the condition (grade), rarity, and importance of the items. Most sports auction catalogs include “opening” or “minimum” bid amounts along with numerous photos.
- Verifying the originality or genuineness of a sports collectibles item. For sports cards, the largest and most respected third party authentication (and grading) is Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). For sports autographs, the most well known authentication service is PSA/DNA. For other sports memorabilia items you must depend on the selling dealer's knowledge and integrity.
- authorized issue
- An issue or set of cards that has the consent of the given league or player’s association.
- A person’s signature. Autographs are a very significant part of the sports memorabilia market. Frequently autographed items include photos, cards, and equipment (balls, bats, uniforms, hockey pucks, gloves, etc.).
- autographed card
- A sports card that has been autographed, almost always by the player depicted on the card. Autographed cards have a smaller market but are still quite valid as a sports collectible. Autographs can sometimes be a negative lowering the value of a card, as would be the case for a great condition rarity card that wasn’t of an all-time great player. Sometimes the autograph can raise the value of a card, as would be the case of a lower condition card of an all-time great whose autograph was rare and valuable.