Wax packs, also called unopened packs, are collectible cards still in their original packaging. Similarly, trading-card boxes are unopened boxes of cards. Buying wax packs and trading-card boxes involves a little bit of risk and suspense, and a whole lot of self-control—you won’t know what you’ve bought until you open the pack, but opening it decreases the value, so most collectors never do.

There are wax packs for musicians, movies, and sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), among other things, though baseball wax packs are the most collected. Most, but not all, wax packs include a stick of bubble gum. If the wax pack is vintage, the gum is likely rock-hard by now. Vintage wax packs printed before the 1970s are especially sought-after.

While some people call wax pack collectors crazy, the accumulation of unopened packs is simple economics: the packs of cards themselves are often scarcer than the cards inside, so the unopened packs gain value both for collectors of unopened packs and for those hoping to get their hands on a pristine Mickey Mantle or Michael Jordan card. And every time an unopened pack from pre-1970 is opened, that means one fewer wax pack still exists, and the value of those that do goes up.

Although wax-pack collecting is definitely a niche hobby, the Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) has begun grading unopened packs for collectors, and so has Global Authentication Inc., as counterfeit wax packs have become prevalent.

Not surprisingly, the most collectible wax packs come from the most popular sets ever printed. Number one on that list would be the 1952 Topps baseball set, which includes Mickey Mantle’s rookie card and a bevy of other memorable cards of stars such as Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Yogi Berra. Not far behind the ’52 Topps set is the 1933 Goudey Sport Kings baseball set, which is the only prewar baseball pack that has been authenticated and includes the likes of Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.

Most unopened packs of interest to collectors date from the 1960s or before, but the most collectible basketball wax pack is the 1986 Fleer set. Although there are ample supplies of this pack, demand always seems to outweigh it, as this is the set that contains the coveted Michael Jordan rookie card.

For football, the most collectible packs are the 1953 Bowman, 1955 All-American Football, and the 1965 Topps. Popular hockey packs include the 1966 Topps set, which carries Bobby Orr’s rookie card, and the 1979 OPC set, which has a rookie card for Wayne Gretzky. Collectible non-sports wax packs include a Topps 1978 Battlestar Galactica set and a 1984 Michael Jackson trading-card box.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Non Sports Cards: Tobacco, Gum and Candy

Non Sports Cards: Tobacco, Gum and Candy

Tom Boblitt moderates this extremely deep, collaborative site dedicated to non-sports cards (tobacco, gum and candy… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1985 1986 Topps Football Opened 7 Cello Boxes And 15 Wax Packs 4700+ Cards Nfl1961 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Graded Psa7The Partridge Family 1971 Topps Wax Box 48 Sealed Packs Complete Rare Free Ship1981 Donruss Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce Sealed*rare* 1975 Topps Mini Unopened Wax Box Containing 36 Packs! 10 Gai 8 Sealedcase1984 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Pack Mint Shape Dan Marino John Elway Rc1986 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Psa 8 Jordan!1981 Topps Football Unopened Wax Pack Joe Montana Top Rc Rookie Psa 81958 Topps T.v. Westerns 5-cent Unopened Wax Pack Gai 9 *4857941981 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box (36 Packs) Bbce Sealed & Authenticated 1984 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box (36 Packs) Bbce Sealed & Authenticated 1980 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs Hall Of Fame Rickey Henderson1976 Topps Baseball Wax Box - Fully Graded By Psa 1984-85 Hockey O Pee Chee Opc Wax Box 48 Unopened Packs. Bbce. High Grade1976 Topps Football Wax Pack - Psa Mint 9 - Walter Payton Rc?1980 The Dukes Of Hazzard Wax Box Bubblegum Cards1965 Fleer Three Stooges 5 Cent Wax Pack Gai 7.5 Nm+1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack 36 Pack Wax Box Michael Jordan Pippen MillerRare 1970/71 O-pee-chee Nhl Hockey Card Series 2 Wax Pack Wrapper Nice!! Opc1987 Fleer Basketball Sealed Wax Pack Gai 9 Mint (#60 Kersey On Back) Jordan?1972 Topps Baseball Wax PackVintage 1984 Donruss Baseball Card Unopened Wax Box With 36 Packs1981 Fleer Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce Sealed1981-82 1981 1982 Topps Basketball Wax Pack 36 Pack Wax Box Larry Bird1979 Topps Baseball Grocery Wax Pack Tray - Bbce Authenticated1973 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack 5th Series Psa 7 Nm1970 Topps Football Wax Pack1982 Donruss Wax Box 36 Unopened Packs Cal Ripken Rookie Year Rc1969 Topps Baseball Wax Pack Graded Gai 7.51988 Topps Football Factory Sealed Case Of 20 Wax Boxes1956 Topps Football Unopened 5-cent Wax Pack Psa 6 *487779Six Million Dollar Man 1975 Donruss Wax Box 24 Sealed Packs Complete Free Ship1971 Opc O-pee-chee Wax Pack Psa 8 Baseball 1972 Topps Basketball Wax Pack Psa 71975 Topps Mini Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Psa 7 Nm 1975 Topps Baseball Regular Size Wax Pack1986 Topps Football Unopened 7 Wax Packs In Original Box1978-79 1978 1979 Topps Basketball Wax Pack Box 36 Unopened Packs Jabbar Erving1980-81 O Pee Chee Opc Hockey Unopened Wax Pack Graded Psa 91979-80 Topps Hockey Wax Pack Psa 7 Wayne Gretzky Rookie Year **no Reserve!!!**1992 Bowman Jumbo Wax Pack *hobby* Box 36 Packs / 23 Cards Mariano Rivera Rc's 1983 Donruss Baseball Wax Box 36 Pack Poss Wade Boggs Gwynn Or Sandberg Rookie1959 Topps Unopened 1 Cent Wax Pack Nm Nice!1979 Topps Hockey Wax Pack1983 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Pack Mint Shape Bbce Sealed1970 Opc O-pee-chee Wax Pack Psa 7 Baseball 1983 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Pack Mint Shape Charlie's Angels-topps 1977- Series 2 Unopened Wax Box- Missing 2 Packs1990 Opc Baseball O Pee Chee Wax Box Thomas Sosa GriffeyGarbage Pail Kids Series 3 Wax Box -3rd Series Gpk - Must See!1985 Topps Baseball Wax Pack Box / 36 Packs1966 National Periodical Superman Cards Wax Pack Mint! Unopened!1971-72 Topps Basketball Wax Pack1975 Topps Football Wax Pack - Psa Nm-mt 81989 Topps Football Factory Sealed Case Of 20 Wax Boxes1982 Donruss Baseball Wax Box 36 Pack Poss Cal Ripken Or Lee Smith Rookie1962 Topps Baseball Card 1c Wax Pack Wrapper1985 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Pack Mint Shape 1962 Topps Football Wax Pack1969 Wax Pack Planet Of The Apes Unopened