Friday, October 15, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about base cards lately.

You know....the cards that aren't strewn with autographs or jerseys or memorabilia and such. No fancy foils or scarce serial numbering. That's right.....the stuff a lot of us bypass nowadays.

Simple. Basic. Base cards.

There was a time when base cards were the only thing you'd get in a pack. Heck, there was a time when the cards were filler for the bubblegum that kids craved. Today, they seem to be the last, weak link in the hockey card chain.

Why is that?

I'll admit, there were a few years when base cards meant pretty much nothing to me. I still find occasions where I have too many of them sitting around. But I think I have a greater appreciation for them.

The designs on some of them can be really cool. The info on them can be very useful. They still hold some value to me.

I think part of the reason is that I have found a 'place' for base cards in my collection. No, I don't mean a section of closet space, but rather an identified aspect of my collecting habits where base cards are needed.

I think the toughest aspect of the hobby for the base card is that kids no longer yearn for them. When I was a kid, it was a lot of 'got it, got it, got it, need it'. But kids learn from their elders and now all they see is jersey cards, autos, big box hits and no use whatsoever for base cards.

I wish that more kids would get back into the enjoyment of collecting a set. Previous releases like OPC, MVP, Victory along with upcoming sets like Score lend those on a tighter budget the opportunity to collect. To be a part of the hobby. To enjoy base cards.

But kids don't want to for the most part. I don't think they will ever again. Much like rotary phones and TV antennas, hockey cards are something that your parents (or grandparents) had.

The next time you are at a card shop or at your local card show, take a moment to go through some base card boxes (if there are any). For nothing else than to enjoy the player selection (good, bad or ugly), the plethora of designs and the thought that these pieces of cardboard are fractions of the price of most cards out there.

What are your thoughts on base cards? Are they worthless pieces of cardboard? Are they something you collect?


  1. I like base cards.

  2. Base cards are great, at I think they are. I've got so many of them, but they're always fun to take a look back at.

    I've always organized by binders by team and then base set, so it's cool to see how different cards from each set look next to one another.

    Yeah, there are some awful base card designs out there, but hey it can't all be perfect right? On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting and unique ones out there, and those are the ones I value the most.

  3. I actually like base cards, especially from the big sets that feature guys from fourth line and third goalies - Retrospectively, it is a great way to learn about all the players that played in that year. On the top of that, not all the base cards are boring :)

  4. I agree with you about the base card. I'm for it. They are usually designed way better than the auto and memorabilia cards that need to squeeze the player picture in a corner somewhere. You don't see too much attention paid to the base card on blogs because people don't really want to see what anybody can get by opening a WalMart pack. We want to see rare and exciting high dollar stuff.

    Great post.

  5. Great comments everyone. Thanks!

    I agree with a lot of the points you all made.

    I do think that people want to see the rarest or the most expensive stuff vs. a boring ol' base card. I do think that people pass by stuff that often is given away by others. I also think they are fantastic learning tools (especially for kids). Number building skills...even a bit of math (yikes!).

    A lot of people don't place the base card with any value. I like that I do.

    I like that you guys do too.

    Keep enjoying them! :)

  6. If it weren't for base cards, our autographed hockey card collection wouldn't even exist. Though I don't worry about building sets, I get more excited pulling some third- or fourth-liner than I do pulling another card for Sid or Ovie.

    As much as I place a greater emphasis on getting pucks signed, a book full of base cards, especially those I don't have to "erase," are a staple of my hockey-hounding campaigns.

  7. Thanks for a great post. I would love to see a base card revival in the hobby! I think low end products like score and victory and opc are great for collecting... but making some base cards more difficult or short printed helps them out tremendously. in baseball, the heritage set is a neat way for set collectors to get meaningful base cards. For high end products, I like the idea of just one base card per pack. Makes the base card more meaningful!

  8. I agree. I think the variety that base cards offer nowadays allow collectors more choices.

    I think some feel that since all that different stuff is out there.....they needt it all.

    I think that since there is so much out there, I have a choice of how to hone my collection and collecting habits to suit my wants (be it dictated by me favorite sets, players or even how much cash I have in my wallet.

    The 'rare base' is a nice angle while at the same time, some good quality 'low-end' base makes for good collecting as well.

    Choices. It's all about choices.

  9. I'm a big fan of base cards, but what's the deal with foil with players name?! How about 2006-07 Fleer Ultra? It's like the designer has gone to bed and told his monkey to do it.