Collectible cards are cards that are related to a specific subject or topic and considered to be worthy of gathering into a collection for fun or for profit. In size, most collectible cards are the size of a normal playing card from a deck of cards. It is not unusual for one side of the card to carry an image while the opposite carries printed information related to the image found on the opposing side.
Collecting cards related to different subjects has long been a favorite pastime of many people. Card collection itself is often traced back to the 19th century, when it became fashionable for men to collect what were known at the time as French postcards. A more respectable form of card collecting involved the creation of recipe cards that could be collected by cooks employed by the wealthy as well as the housewife.
During the 20th century, collectible cards associated with sports figures and other types of celebrities became prized objects for many children and teenagers. Many boys during the 1930-1960 era would actively collect baseball cards sporting a picture of their favorite players on one side and the player’s game statistics on the opposite side. In order to add to the collectibles, many producers of the cards would release a new set of cards for each new baseball season.
Bubble gum manufacturers were among the first businesses to see the value of coupling baseball cards with their product. A set of four or five cards would be packaged along with thin flat pieces of bubble gum and sold for a few cents to eager young consumers. By rotating the cards packaged in each set, this created a marketing approach that encouraged sports enthusiasts to continue purchasing packages of bubble gum until they had a complete set of that year’s cards. Any duplicates were used to initiate trades with others in exchange for cards needed to complete the collection.
Collectible cards soon spread to other sports as well. By the middle of the 20th century, it was possible to collect cards related to professional football, soccer, and many other popular sports. Along the way, the idea of collectible cards caught on with other public celebrities. Manufacturers were soon issuing sets of cards related to television shows, musical performers, and even cartoon characters. Collectors of all ages would scramble to acquire complete sets of a series issued by a manufacturer, which usually added value to the collection.
While collectible cards related to sports figures and other celebrities continue to be popular, a contemporary twist has been added to the card collecting hobby. In recent years, collectible cards related to ongoing games of magic have attracted the attention of a young audience. As with collections in years past, the idea is to secure individual cards that are highly sought after along with eventually possessing a complete set of the cards issued.
Because of the popularity of collectible cards over the years, some of these collections have become extremely valuable. For example, a complete set of baseball cards related to a specific year and a specific team can easily sell for a considerable sum. There are investors who deal in the purchase and sale of rare collectible cards in a manner that is not unlike making an investment in a stock market. As with many collectibles, rare cards often generate a great deal of interest and command a hefty price when offered for sale.