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    

1986 Fleer Bball Wax Pack W/ Michael Jordan Sticker Rookie Back Psa 8 No Reserve1987 Fleer Basketball Wax Box, 36ct Wax Packs, Michael Jordan?, Bbce Auth (pwcc)1966 Batman B Series Unopened Wax Pack Gai 7.5 Nm+Rare Wax Pack Wrapper Topps Batman 1966 Topps Charlie's Angels Full Wax Box With 36 Unopened Pack 1st Series 19771975 Topps Baseball Mini Wax Box With 36 Unopened Packs Bbce Sealed. No Reserve1985 Fleer Baseball Wax Box 36 Packs Vintage1988-89 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Miller Rc, Pippen Rc, Jordan!1990 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Psa 8 Michael Jordan Top1966 Topps Superman Wax Pack Psa Graded Authentic1986 Fleer Basketball Wax Pack Gai 9Beatles Original 1964 ' Color Series ' Bubble Gum Cards Sealed Wax Pack! 1991 Stadium Club Football Unopened Wax Box Lot (3 Boxes) Brett Favre Rookie Rc1993 Topps Baseball Factory Sealed Set And Wax Box Derek Jeter Rookie Rc Gold1985 Topps Baseball Wax Box Bbce Beatles Rare Original 1964 Uk ' Ab&c ' Bubble Gum Cards Sealed Wax Pack! 1989 Fleer Basketball Case No Reserve 12 Boxes 36 Unopened Unsearched Wax Packs "rare" 2000 Pokemon Topps Chrome Tv Animation Series 2 Factory Sealed Wax Box1974 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Graded Gai 8 Nm-mt Dave Winfield Rc Year1980 Topps Sealed And Bbce Authenticated Wax Box - No Reserve1979 Topps Wacky Packages 1st Series 1 Full Red Box With 36 Red Wax Pack 1988 Fleer Basketball Wax PackGarbage Pail Kids-1 Pack Series One-1985 Usa Wax Pack-topps-unopenedLot(2) 1985 Donruss Wax Box, 36ct Wax Packs, Puckett Rookie? 1966 Fleer Three Stooges Unopened Wax Pack 1986 Topps Football Wax Packs (2)1985 Donruss Baseball Wax Box Bbce Fasc1981 Topps Football Wax Packs (2)1978 Topps Football Wax Pack W/ Ken Stabler Back Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1969-70 Topps Nhl Hockey Original Wax Pack Wrapper Only1961 Fleer Pirates Bold 5 Cent Unopened Wax Pack36 1980 Topps Football Unopened Wax Packs1978 Topps Football Wax Pack W/ Larry Csonka Back Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1968/69 Topps Nhl Hockey Card Empty Wax Pack Wrapper Only! Nice Original Vintag1978 Topps Football Wax Pack W/ Too Tall Jones Back Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1989 Upper Deck Baseball Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs1966 Topps Baseball Card Empty 5 Cent Wax Pack Display Box 1985 Garbage Pail Kids 2nd Series Unopened Wax Packs W/3rd & 4th Series Stickers1987 Donruss Baseball Wax Box Bbce Fasc1981 Fleer Baseball Wax Box1978 Topps Baseball Unopened Wax Pack Gai 9.5 Eddie Murray & Paul Molitor Rc ?Vintage Lot Of 2 1976 Topps Baseball Card Unopened Wax PacksRare 1979 Topps Wacky Packages 2nd Series Full Pink Box With 36 Yellow Wax Pack1974-75 Topps Basketball Wax Pack Unopened Poss Gervin Walton Rcs Psa 71987 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box 36 Packs1984 Topps Unopened Baseball Wax Pack Box From Case 36 Packs Mint Mattingly Psa1981 Topps Basketball Wax Pack W/ Magic Johnson Back Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1986 Topps Football Wax Pack Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1986 Topps Football Wax Pack Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1982 Fleer Baseball Wax Box 24 Packs 28 Cards Per Pack Cal Ripken Jr Rookie Rc1986 Topps Football Wax Pack Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)Vintage Lot Of 2 1977 Topps Baseball Card Unopened Wax Packs(3) 1985 Topps "garbage Pail Kids" Series 2 Wax Packs **unopened**1989-90 Fleer Basketball Wax Box Bbce SealedAdults Only Wax Box Trading Card Lot-5 Different Wax Boxes-playboy-penthouse1985 Topps Football Wax Pack W/ Tony Dorsett Top Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1989 Topps Football Unopened Wax Box - In Original Box1989-1990 Fleer Basketball Basketball Wax Box 36 Packs Free Shipping!!1962 Topps Civil War News Wax Pack Gai 5.5 Ex+1981 Topps Basketball Wax Pack W/ Julius Erving Back Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)