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    

1987 Fleer Basketball Unopened Wax Pack Box Bbce Sealed1984 O-pee-chee Hockey Wax Box, 48ct Wax Packs, Yzerman Rookie? Bbce Auth (pwcc)1979 O-pee-chee Hockey Wax Pack Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1961 Nu-card Rock-n-roll Wax Box, 36ct Wax Packs, Bbce Auth (pwcc)1988-89 Fleer Basketball Unopened Wax Pack Box Bbce Sealed 1975-76 O-pee-chee Wax Pack Hockey Card1966 Topps Batman Series A Wax Pack Gai 8.5 Nm-mt+ (pwcc)1962 Topps Civil War News Wax Pack Gai 9 Mint (pwcc)1966 Topps Batman 2nd Series Wax Pack Gai 9 Mint (pwcc)1984 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs Poss Elway Marino ReadStar Wars Iv A New Hope 1977 Series 4 Green Unopened Wax Packs Cards (6) Free Sh1981 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs 1981 Topps Football Card Sealed Rack Pack W/3 Wax Packs Joe Montana Rookie1985 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce From Sealed Case1981 Topps Football Sealed Rack Pack Contains 3 Wax Packs Joe Montana Rookie1976 Topps Hockey Wax Pack Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1974 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Gai 8 Nm-mt Garbage Pail Kids 2nd Series Original Fan Art Canvas 11" X 14" Oversize Wax Pack1986 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box Bbce Wrapped And Authenticated1985 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce From Sealed Case1986 Topps Football Unopened Wax Pack Lot Of 8 Poss J Rice S Young R White1983 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs 1985 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce From Sealed Case1966 Batman B Series Unopened Wax Pack Gai 7.51980-81 Topps Basketball Wax Pack1980 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Box Bbce Wrapped And Authenticated1986/87 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Magic Sticker Showing On The Back.1974 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Gai 8 Nm-mt 1989 Upper Deck Low Numbers Wax Box 36 Packs Ken Griffey Jr Randy Johnson Rc's1983 Topps Wax Box, 24ct Wax Packs, Sandberg Gwynn Boggs Rc? 1976 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Psa 61988 Fleer Basketball Hobby Wax Box! 32 Packs Sealed Unopened Jordan? Pippen Rc?1964 Cfl Toops Football Wax Pack1993 Topps Baseball Series 1 Wax Box - Unopened (derek Jeter Rc)☆ (3) 1986 Topps Football Wax Packs & (4) 1985 Topps Wax Packs 1986 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Gai Mint 9 From Full Box Jordan Rookie1980-81 1980 1981 Topps Basketball Wax Packs Lot Of 16 Please Read Description1989 Upper Deck Low Numbers Wax Box, 36 PacksVintage 10¢ 1970 Topps Pro Football Picture Cards Wax Pack Nfl Gai Nm-mt+ 8.51972 Opc O-pee-chee Baseball Series 2 Wax Packs Lot Of 3 W Wax Box1993 Topps Baseball Series 1 Wax Box - Unopened (derek Jeter Rc)☆ Lot Of (3) 1985 Topps Football Unopened Rack Packs & 1 Wax Pack! 1981 Topps Baseball Wax Box 36 Packs Unopened1978-79 1978 1979 Topps Basketball Wax Pack Lot Of 6 Jabbar Erving1989-90 Fleer Basketball Unopened Wax Box, 36 Packs, Jordan, Magic, Bird, MoreVintage 1959 Baseball Topps Wax Pack Box Only1987 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack1977 Topps Star Wars Series 4 Gai 10 (perfect) Wax Box With 36 Packs1989 Upper Deck Low Numbers Wax Box, 36 PacksVintage 1968 Baseball Topps Wax Pack Box Only 1988-89 1988 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Lot Of 2 Michael Jordan Pippen Miller 1984 Topps Football 15 Card Wax Packs. Lot Of Twelve (12)!! Marino Or Elway1985 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Bbce From Sealed Case1989-1991 Football Wax Packs Boxes 21 Total Fleer Score Topps Ud Rc Stars Hof 1982 Donruss Baseball Wax Box 36 Packs Great Shape 1988-89 1988 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Lot Of 6 Michael Jordan Pippen Miller Large Lot Of Wax Boxes & Joe Montana,emmitt Smith And Barry Sanders Bonus1981 Fleer Baseball Wax Packs 38 In Box 100% Unopened Fleer 1st Year !1974 Unopened Graded Wax Pack Gai 8.0(3) Fleer Baseball Wax Boxes 1987 1989 1990, Sealed Packs, Flat-rate Shipping!