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].

rack box
A box containing rack packs.
rack case
A wholesale unit that includes three or six rack boxes.
rack pack
Packs designed for retail sale. These clear packs usually contain three panels of cards, which are designed to hang from store displays. Rack packs with stars showing are collectible, much like they are with cello packs, although they are not quite as valuable.
The supply side of the supply/demand equation.  The fewer examples available of a sports collectible, the rarer the item, and, the harder it is to find that sports collectible item.  Also used to describe a truly rare record as in, thats a rarity.  Rarity is a major component of value in the sports collectibles market.  There are many rarities, but a sports collectible must also have collector demand to be really valuable.
Abbreviation/short for rookie card. Notes a player's rookie card.
The art of fraudulently recoloring the surface of a sports card to hide wear or physical damage.
red back
A card with a red back. This term is most commonly used with the 1951 Topps red back set.
Red Heart
Red Heart refers to the 33 card set from 1954 that was issued by the Red Heart Dog Food Co. The set was issued in three series of 11 cards each that had different colored backgrounds behind the player: Red, green, and blue. The red background series is considered to be the scarcest. This issue was redeemable by mail from the manufacturer and was reportedly available as late as the early 70’s.
A card that has chrome reflective devices. These cards often come with a thin removable protective layer. The card loses some value if this plastic layer is removed.
regional set
A set issued only in a specific geographic area. These sets are usually smaller and feature one or several teams from the issued area.
A card that is a reproduction of an original, usually more expensive card or set.
A card that has been doctored from its original state. The most common act of restoration is the rebuilding of a card's corners. Restored cards have very little value.
The backside of a card.
A player in his first season. Also short for rookie card.
rookie card
A players first year of cards, whether or not it is his rookie season. Players may have one or dozens of rookie cards, depending on how highly touted he was as a youngster and in which year his rookie card was issued.