PSA Glossary

Sports Lingo

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.

Note:This is a work in progress and we would love to hear your comments and suggestions. Send your thoughts to [email protected].

game used
A piece of equipment that has been used by an athlete during a game.
Game Used Cards
A card that has a piece of game used memorabilia embedded into the card. These are often thicker than regular issue cards.
Gem Mint
A card that is virtually perfect. Corners must be razor sharp, centering must be no worse than 55-45, and the cards color and gloss must be original.
Gem MT
Short for Gem Mint.
The shine on the surface of a card. Most cards were originally printed with a gloss. The amount that still remains plays an important role in the condition of the card.
glossy set
A set of cards that have a more-glossy-than-normal front. These are generally rarer versions of an established set. Fleer and Score have both issued glossy sets, as has Topps, although it is referred to as a “Tiffany” set.
A grading term used to describe a card’s condition. A card in good condition may have rounded corners, multiple creases, and major flaws. Values of cards in this grade are somewhat diminished.
An extremely popular card manufacturer that produced cards from 1933 to 1941. The 1933 Goudey set is their most popular, and arguably the most popular pre-war set produced. The art drawing set features numerous Hall of Famers, including two cards of Lou Gehrig and four cards of Babe Ruth.
A description of the condition of a sports card or sports memorabilia item.  Grade is always a big component of price.  The higher the grade, the more desirable, and consequently, the more valuable the item.  Nowadays nearly all valuable sports cards are graded using the 10 Point Grading Scale established by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) in 1991.  See PSA 10 Point Grading Scale.
See Also: condition
The hard, brittle pink stuff that is supposedly used for chewing. Topps is most well known for its coupling of gum and cards in packs. Actually, cards were intended as an insert in packs of gum. Currently, packs are gum-free, as sports cards are much more desirable than a stick of gum.
gum card
A term used to describe a card issued with gum, most commonly, Topps.
gum stain
A stain on a card that is caused by gum. When gum was inserted in packs, it was placed on top of the pack, between the wrapper and the card. Over time, the gum would stain the card. Cards with gum stains are worth only a fraction of those without.