The Card Collectors Beginners Guide Part 6: Memorabilia Cards by Matt Gilman

Written by Matt Gilman

Greetings Fellow Collectors!

Welcome back to my series of collecting basics where I break down the hobby of trading card collecting piece by piece.

In Part 1, we broke down what Base/Common Cards are. Part 2 we got deep into the confusing Sp’s and variations. Part 3 we dove into what parallels are and in Part 4 I showed off what inserts are. Part 5 we looked at the depth of Autograph cards and saw there was more than just a basic version of them and today, we are taking an in-depth look at memorabilia cards with what others call “the hits”.

Some call them “relics”. Some call them “hits”. Some call them “jersey cards”. Some call them “patches”. Some may even call them “pieces of clothing” but no matter what you refer to them as, they are all summed up as Memorabilia Cards.

I do want to mention before moving onto the memorabilia cards that they can be numbered and can have parallels just like the base cards we spoke about already.

Here is a basic memorabilia card. This is a 2018 Score Home & Away jersey of Nelson Agholor. Nothing too flashy or exciting, it’s the most basic of the basic when it comes to jersey memorabilia cards.

Here is another example of a basic jersey memorabilia card. This is a piece of Andy Dalton’s jersey from 2016 Panini Classics football. It is also numbered, as some may be.

The cards may look similar on the front, but there is small difference in the nature of the card on the back.

Once again, we will examine the authenticity note on the back and point out a difference in the write-up between the two cards.

First let’s look at the Agholor, it states, and I quote, “The enclosed player-worn  material is guaranteed by Panini America Inc.”

Now let’s look at Andy Dalton’s. His states and I quote, “The enclosed game-worn material is guaranteed by Panini America Inc.”

Notice the difference? If you guessed player-worn versus game-worn you are a winner! Many collectors are very frustrated with the usage of player-worn versus game-worn, as player-worn jersey card’s output is two-to-one vs game-worn, especially for football card collectors (note that this number is my opinion and not a proven fact). Player-worn jerseys are simply jerseys worn by a player at an event. They could have just shown up to Panini’s office, wore the jersey while signing some cards and then it got taken off to be cut up for cards at any point after that. Game-worn jersey cards are the ones you watch the players wearing in games and it goes off their back and embedded right into your cards.

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I feel that the overuse of player-worn jersey cards has hurt the market for these cards as most collectors like to get as close as they can to the action and game-used is the only way to go.

Jersey cards can come in an array of colors based on the team and sport and can sometimes include a “stripe” on the swatch. Jersey cards can also come with a swatch of the players patch on their jersey such as the number, name or side arm patch and they can make for some nice looking cards.

These are called patch cards. Some collectors call the basic jersey cards patch cards but that is not at all what they are. These are patch cards as you can see.

This is a 2017 Panini USA Stars And Stripes Tools of the Trade Sammy Faltine with some impressive patch swatches.

This 2017 Elite Extra Edition quad patch numbered 9 out of 10 of Chicago Whitesox prospect Michael Kopech is even more impressive.


But jersey and patch swatches aren’t the only pieces of memorabilia you will find on cards.

This Donruss Rubber Relics card has a swatch from Tony Stewart’s race-worn tire.

This 2001 Private Stock card has a swatch of game used bat by Jay Bell.

And then there are these really cool finds from 2018 Topps Pro Debut Fragments of the Farm relics.  This one of Zach Kirtley is from the New York Penn League Championship Banner.

And this one of Ryan Vilade is a wall sign swatch from Sam Suplizio Field. These are the types of relics I get really excited about finding since they are oddballs.

Celebrity relics are known as “wardrobe swatches”. This 2015 Panini Americana On The Tube of Laura Prepon is an example of a wardrobe swatch.

And this Willa Holland card from the TV series Arrow.

You can also find other unique pieces of memorabilia on cards such as cleat swatches, shoe pieces, glove swatches, hats pieces, helmets pieces, whole mouth guards, props from movies and TV and so much more! The creativity with the hits is endless.

There is also one more form of memorabilia card you may stumble upon. They are called “manufactured relics” and they are exactly what they say they are, manufactured.

Take a look at this 2014 Topps Commemorative Topps All Star Rookie Team Patch of Justin Verlander’s 2006 Topps All-Star Rookie season. Except it’s not actually a real swatch. It was made by Topps to be used on this card.

They tell you this on the back of the card and it says and I quote, “The patch on the front of this card was specially created for 2014 Topps Series 2.”

The manufactured relics are not just in sport cards either. They are spread across non-sports as well. Like this Topps Star Wars Commemorative Patch of Director Krennic.

Or this commemorative medallion from Topps Star Wars of Snap Wexley.

Just keep in mind these commemorative relics are not authentic and that they are company made. However, some of these are pretty cool.

Before I close out today’s lesson, I want to mention a couple more hits that you may find that aren’t as exciting to see but can be either an autograph or memorabilia card.

This is what’s called a Redemption Card. These cards are found when a player is a part of a products autograph checklist but didn’t sign their card in time for it to physically be in the pack. These cards require you to go to the card company’s website, type in the special code on the back of the card to claim it. Some redemption cards take only weeks to get a return on and others may take years and years.

The other new type of “redemption card” is this Panini Rewards. These are different than redemption cards as they don’t have a specific card you get in exchange. Instead they have point values, and the cards on the website also have point values. This allows you to choose which card or cards you want depending on what point value you have or the amount of point values to which you save up.  The points values can be anywhere from 150 to 10,000 or more. There is also a Panini Rewards app you can download and just scan the front of the card into to make it easier.

Well, that does it for memorabilia cards and even a look at what redemption and rewards cards are. Next time we will get into buying options on the market. I want to break down what you can expect from each level, from Dollar Tree packs to Rack Packs all the way up to Jumbo Hobby Boxes. Stay tuned for that one as it may help you decide what to purchase the next time you are out to buy.

I hope something I wrote about today can help guide you in your journey of collecting sport cards.

Til next time, keep collecting!


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