Which collectible trading cards are best?

Collectible trading cards is a popular hobby that’s highly favored among people of all ages. Whether you’re interested in collectible trading cards for fun or investment, there’s certainly no shortage of options to choose from.

Collectible trading cards are available in several different themes, ranging from popular sports icons to fantasy characters and more. One of the most loved collectible card sets is Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021, which includes various Magic cards for those who want to play the card game or add to their prized  collection.

What to know before you buy collectible trading cards

Getting into the collectible trading card space or trying to find what suits you best can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re a novice. 

Here are some key points to keep in mind while you shop:

Collectible trading card themes 

When looking for just the right collectible trading cards, enthusiasts can choose between sports cards, character cards or video game cards.

Sports cards are generally based on professional athletes who compete in popular sporting activities, such as basketball, football, baseball, boxing and auto racing.

Collectible trading cards that are not sports-related include cards from a variety of popular fantasy franchises, such as Magic: The Gathering, “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, “Pokemon,” Fortnite, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Harry Potter and many more.

Collectible card options 

When shopping around for collectible sports cards or character cards, you can take your pick from the many different arrangements that are available, including:

  • Single cards, which are typically limited or rare individual cards.
  • Packs of collectible trading cards that usually come with three to 20 or more cards in a single pack.
  • Boxes that include multiple packs, ranging anywhere from 24 or more packs in one box.
  • Sets may come with a few pieces of a full production run set or the full run set, in which the number of cards can vary anywhere from 60-100 or more. If you’re a beginner, sets can be a great place to start. 
  • Lots, which generally contain a huge assortment of cards that are completely random. These aren’t usually exclusive to one specific production run set, manufacturer or rarity group, so keep this in mind while you shop. 

If you already know exactly which cards you want to add to your collection, then it’s a good idea to obtain single cards or packs that are specific to your goals. If you are looking for more of a surprising and exciting experience, then packs, sets or lots are the way to go.

Finding your favorite franchise, team, player or character cards

Obtaining particular or rare cards within a certain theme can be a hassle that not everyone is prepared to go through. Luckily, there is a way to get precisely the card you most desire. Some people buy certain cards directly from other collectors because they find them more valuable or they haven’t been lucky enough to obtain that particular card. This approach can be optimal if you’re searching for a specific player, team or character card. 

Obtaining your cards this way will guarantee that you get the exact card you need to play with or want to add to your collection. This method also frees you of the process of sorting through dozens of cards in an attempt to find the right one.

What to look for in quality collectible trading cards

Completing a set

Some collectible trading card fanatics want to obtain every single card from a specific set. In these cases, the number of cards could range anywhere from 30-100 cards. While achieving this can be quite a feat, there are preconfigured sets available that include a high number of common cards.

Other people simply can’t resist the thrill of opening random packs in the hopes of finding just the card they were after. However, keep in mind that this approach could very well leave you more duplicate cards than you know what to do with. 

Valuable or rare cards

Collectible trading card manufacturers also produce uncommon and rare cards that tend to be the most sought-after of the bunch. While common cards often have an almost unlimited number of copies, uncommon cards can be slightly harder to come by. Rare cards, on the other hand, are by far the most valuable, as these have a limited number of copies produced. Most collectors are always on the hunt for the next best rare card to add to their collection, while others obtain these rare cards with the intention of selling them once the value increases. 

Collectible trading card games

There are some collectible trading cards that are a part of a competitive game, such as Magic: The Gathering, where players gain special powers, weapons and perks by playing certain cards. Some other widely popular trading card games include fantasy franchises, such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Pokemon” and many others.

How much you can expect to spend on collectible trading cards

Starter sets for beginners usually clock in at around $5-$30, while complete sets or advanced packs that come with a higher number of rare cards are usually between $20-$100. Vintage or extremely rare cards can range from just a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Collectible trading cards FAQ

What types of trading cards should I collect?

A. This depends entirely on your personal interests. For instance, people who are interested in popular TV shows such as “Pokémon” or “Yu-Gi-Oh!” would do well to get started with trading cards that match these themes. Sports fans, on the other hand, will likely lean toward collecting trading cards that represent their favorite sports teams or athletes. At the end of the day, the best collectible trading cards for you should reflect your own unique set of interests and preferences. 

How can I best protect my trading cards? 

A. The best way to keep your collectible trading cards in mint condition is by sliding each card into a protective sleeve and then placing it in a specialized trading card box. Although somewhat more expensive, there are also protective card binders that protect your cards while still allowing you to show them off to others without risking damage. 

What are the best collectible trading cards to buy?

Top collectible trading cards

Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021

Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021

What you need to know: Magic is one of the best known and popular trading card games. This particular set is especially well-loved by competitive players due to its variety of design and game play. 

What you’ll love: The Magic community continues to grow together and create fun memories and moments. From casting spells, using artifacts, to summoning creatures as depicted on individual cards drawn from their decks, there’s loads of fun to be had with this collection. These cards also boast mind-blowing illustrations that just about any age group can appreciate. 

What you should consider: These cards tend to come in random packs, often leaving collectors with an abundance of duplicate cards. 

Where to buy: Amazon 

Top collectible trading cards for the money

Pokemon Sun & Moon Trainer Kit

Pokemon Sun & Moon Trainer Kit

What you need to know: Pokémon is a revolutionary game that remains a firm favorite among all ages, with new and exciting characters continuously emerging to keep players intrigued, and this affordable starter kit is a top choice for beginners. 

What you’ll love: While it’s certainly fun and highly entertaining, this trading card game also improves organizational and mathematical skills. This set includes all the basics you need to get started, making it a great pick for those who are just starting out. 

What you should consider: The game play is rather straightforward and simple, which could be a deal breaker for more advanced players. 

Where to buy: Amazon 

Worth checking out 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Hero Decks

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Hero Decks

What you need to know: For fans of the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” franchise, this set can be an excellent expansion pack, offering a large and varied number of cards at a budget-friendly price. 

What you’ll love: Yu-Gi-Oh!’s seemingly childish mechanics have made it a much simpler game to understand and enjoy for casual players. This set contains three separate decks with different card collections, opening up more opportunities to engage in a wider variety of gaming strategies. 

What you should consider: This set contains only three decks, making it a better option for those who’ve already started their collection. 

Where to buy: Amazon


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Erica van Blommestein writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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