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    

1971-72 Opc Series 2 Hockey Wax Pack Psa 81985-86 O-pee-chee Hockey Unopened Wax Box, 48 Packs, Clean/pristine, Lemieux Rc1977-78 O-pee-chee Hockey Unopened Wax Box (48 Packs), Clean & In Great Shape1978-79 O-pee-chee Hockey Unopened Wax Box (48 Packs), Bbce1975 Planet Of The Apes Full Wax Box (36 Card Packs) Topps1985-86 Topps Hockey Unopened Wax Box (36 Packs), Bbce, Mario Lemieux RookieLot Of (6) 1977 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Packs Gai (4 - 8's, 2 - 7.5s)1985 Leaf Baseball Unopened Wax Box From Case! Clemens & Puckett Rookie! Rare!1976/77 Topps Hockey Wax Box W/ 23 Unopened Packs1980 Opc Empire Strikes Back Series 1 Wax Box Of Unopened Packs! Extremely Rare!1979 Topps Hockey Unopened Wax Pack Psa 71978-79 Opc Hockey Wax Box 48 Packs Graded 33xpsa 9, 15xpsa8 1 Of A Kind1996 Topps Finest Series 1 Factory Sealed Wax Box (24 Packs) (kobe Bryant Rc)1982 Topps Baseball Wax Box Of 36 Packs *minor Moisture* Read Description Ripken1993 Topps Baseball Series 1 Factory Sealed Wax Box (36 Packs, Jeter Rc?)1982 Donruss Baseball Unopened Wax Box Of 36 Packs Mint1985 Donruss Baseball Unopened Wax Box From Case L@@k!1986 Donruss Baseball Wax Pack Box From Bbce Case1988/1989 Fleer Basketball Cards Wax Box1986-87 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Ga Graded Nm-mt 8.5!!! 1983/84 Opc Full Sealed Wax Box Of 48 Unopened Packs!! Very Rare!!1959 The 3 Stooges Fleer Original Wax Pack Wrapper1983 Donruss Baseball Unopened Wax Box Of 36 Packs L@@k1986 Topps Baseball Wax Box 36 Count New1986 Topps Football Card Wax Pack Graded Psa 9 Mint Highest Grade No 10 Last One1966 Superman Wax Pack Authentic Gai 9.5 Gem Mint Mr. Mint Find Wow Impossible1975 Topps Mini Baseball Empty Wax Pack Display Box 36 Wrappers Mint Bbce1974 Topps Wacky Packages Gum Wax Pack Purple 1966 Gilligan's Island Topps Original Wax Pack Wrapper1985 Topps Garbage Pail Kids 2nd Series Unopened Wax Pack Lot Of 7 Packs Rare!(4) 1981 Topps Football Wax Packs Winslow Monk Montana Rookie Year1984 Gremlins Wax Pack Box 36 Packs Fresh From A Sealed CaseGarbage Pail Kids Series 1 Box Unopened 48 Wax Packs Made In Usa Matte1976 Unopened Graded Wax Pack Gai 8.01987 Fleer Baseball Unopened Wax Box From Case Bonds Rc1986 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Box 36 Ct From Case!! 1977 Topps Football Unopened Wax Pack #412 Pat Tilley Rc Cardinals On Back(2) 1979-80 Topps Hockey Wax Packs 1978 O-pee-chee Baseball Original Unopened Wax Pack Psa 8 - Robin Yount On Back1980 Topps Basketball Unopened Wax Pack Psa 7 Nm ( Bird Johnson Rc Year )1974-75 Opc Wha Hockey Wax Pack Psa 8 Nm-mt1976 Welcome Back Kotter Topps Wax Box 36 Unopened Packs Picture Card Rc.1986 Donruss Baseball Unopened Wax Box Of 36 Packs!!!!1977 O-pee-chee Opc Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Psa 9 Low Pop1979 Topps Baseball Wax Packs Lot Of 61980-81 Topps Basketball Card Wax Pack - Larry Bird, Magic Johnson Rc? #41986-87 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Graded Psa 7 Near Mint From Full Box !Huge Football Wax Box Pack Lot Topps Auto Game Used More 1000+ Peyton Manning1985 Garbage Pail Kids Series 1 Graded Wax Pack - Gai1986 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 4 Wax Pack Box 48 Packs1978 Donruss Elvis Collectors Series Trading Card Unopened Wax Pack Psa 91979 Topps Football Wax Packs Lot Of 71993 Topps Gold Cards! Wax Pack Box Factory Sealed. Jetter Gold ? Series 1,,1974 Unopened Graded Wax Pack Gai 8.51981 Fleer Baseball Bbce Wrapped & Authenticated Unopened Wax Box Of 38 Packs! 1968 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Gai 8.5 Nm-mt+1982 Topps Baseball: 31 Unopened Wax Packs, Fresh, Unsearched, Tight - Ripken?1980 Topps Football Wax Packs Guaranteed Unopened - 9 Pack Lot!1986 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Gpk Series 10 *40 Wax Packs* Near Box1974 Topps Football Wax Box 24 Packs Rare Fun Packs Psa Bgs ?