Sportscard Glossary

As a public service I’ve listed some of the sportscard terms and acronyms which can be confusing to the uninitiated.  Please feel free to suggest anything else which should be included.

Update 8-22-2015: Added “Broder”, “Cello”, “NPN” and “Rack pack”

Blaster, Blaster Box:  A box containing a number of individual packs and usually sold at retail stores like Target or Wal-Mart.  I don’t know where the term came from, I think it may be a retail industry term.

Boxtopper:  An larger-than-than standard card, or a strip of unseparated cards, which are inserted into a box of wax packs as a bonus.

Broder:  “Broder” has come to mean any unlicensed and unauthorized card, but the original Broders were created by a man (or men) named Broder…  As Broders are unlicensed, it is best to consider them to be worthless (which is not to say I don’t have some in my collection).

Cello, Cello pack:  Up through the 1980’s, one option for buying cards was a cello pack… These involved a larger-than usual number of cards wrapped in transparent cellophane, usually with some sort of design on the front.  If you could afford it on your allowance, it allowed you to see two of the cards you were getting, and the price-per-card was usually lower.

Cereal Box:  A small box of cards sold at retail;  the name comes from the fact that they look like one of the little boxes of breakfast cereal sold in variety packs and available at breakfast buffets and the like.  It seems like Topps has replaced the “Cereal Boxes” with “Hangers”.


Hanger, Hanger Box, Hanger Pack:  A box made to hang from a hook in a retail store, usually containing a number of cards wrapped together in cellophane (rather than containing individual packs of cards).  These usually sell at a price point in between packs and blasters.

LCS = Local Card Shop

NNO (or more commonly, #NNO) = No No. = No Number;  a card that does not have a number assigned to it or printed on it.

NPN:  “No Purchase Necessary”.  Usually refers to cards received through an offer made by card manufacturers on the outside of packs and boxes… I believe it’s a legality brought about by the fact that inserts could be considered a contest, and as such they give you a chance to win the contest without buying the product.

PC = Player Collection, a collection devoted to a single player (for example, “I got these cards for my Brian Roberts PC”)

Penny Sleeve: A soft plastic sleeve which is used to protect individual cards;  cards are often put into a penny sleeve, and then put into a toploader.

PWE:  “Plain White Envelope”;  the most basic (and least protective) way of shipping cards through the mail.  i.e. “I can’t believe I paid $6 for shipping and he sent it in a PWE!” or “I’ve got a few commons I want to send to you, do you mind if I use a PWE?”

Rack pack:  A type of pack which is designed to hang from a hook and usually has cards wrapped in cellophane or other plastic, in groups of two or three.  Vintage rack packs had clear cellophane so you could see a number of the cards you would get.

SASE:  “Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope”

Toploader:  A hard plastic sleeve which is used to protect individual cards;  usually used in conjunction with a penny sleeve.

TTM:  “Through The Mail”;  refers to an autograph obtained by writing the player and including an item to be signed and a self-addressed, stamped envelope (see “SASE”).

Wax, wax packs:  an individual pack of cards.  The term comes from back in the day when pack wrappers were made of wax paper.

2 thoughts on “Sportscard Glossary

  1. A small suggestion… PWE. That and ‘blaster’ had me stumped when I came back to cards and began reading blogs.

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