When you’re new to something, it’s often not enough to simply learn on your own. Especially with a hobby so vast and complex like sports cards, it’s almost a must to be able to ask questions of others, learn about their experiences, and so much more.
It really is the power of the community in general, and the fact that with so many moving pieces – and so many people involved – you’d benefit from being able to interact with different specialty groups.
Well, in cards, you have that. One corner of the hobby knows a ton about vintage, while another is really deep into how to get cards graded, etc.
There are blogs and plenty of websites. There are active and passive social media channels with pockets of sports card collectors. And nowadays, you even have major publications talking about baseball cards.
But really, before all of the aforementioned sources started to grow in popularity, there were sports card forums.
While the experience of most of these platforms might seem like something of the past, forums are simple and efficient and don’t require much to be valuable. In fact, the simpler, the better. If someone has a question or a need, they post that hurdle, and the community responds.
Please note that like all platforms, I’d suggest doing your due diligence and never just assume a forum is full of good characters. Unfortunately, there are people looking to scam, steal, troll, and take advantage of others and their cards, so use caution.
So, without further ado, let’s look at your options when it comes to sports card forums.
- Blowout Forums: Modern cards and current hobby events
- The Bench: Trading and set-building
- Sports Card Forum: TTM and general discussion
- Net54: Vintage cards and memorabilia
- PSA: PSA graded cards and process
- Beckett: BGS graded cards and hobby talk
- Cardboard Connection: Card showcasing and sharing
1. Blowout Forums
Perhaps the best sports card forum for modern cards, Blowout Buzz is the community hub of the uber-popular online card store Blowout Cards.
With all sorts of hobby talk across all of the major sports and then some, one thing I really like about the Blowout Forums is not only the dedicated “break” section for people to talk about their rips, but just how lively the discussion is.
All the cool stuff I’ve learned about the hobby, I learned it here, oh and Blowout Forums. If you aren’t there, you should go check it out. A good place to gain knowledge about the hobby.— RC_BST Sports Cards (@RC_BST) December 30, 2022
Of course, it wouldn’t be a great sports card forum without a marketplace to buy, sell, and trade, so there is plenty of that as well!
2. The Bench Trading
After all of these years, I love the fact that the Bench is still around. I say that because The Bench was probably my first taste of a hobby outside of eBay when I first got started in buying, selling, and trading.
In fact, I’ll be searching through my emails for something and I’ll find random Bench emails talking about different trades and transactions I was a part of.
Anyway, if trading is your main goal, I’d start with The Bench to see if you can get anything done. You can post want lists, trade offers, set building needs, and more.
3. Sports Card Forum
I mean, it’s right there in the name! And the tagline isn’t bad either—”The ultimate in sports card trading and discussion.”
While I’ve never personally involved myself in the Sports Card Forum, many have! It looks like the TTM (Through the Mail Autographs) section is a big draw:
Sports Card Forum has a great (and free) database of addresses and a way to track your TTMs. I recommend checking that out.— Musclebeech (@Musclebeech) September 17, 2021
That said, all of the forum’s different corners seem to be lively and full of good discussion, including:
- New Member Section
- Sponsors Marketplace
- Card Trading
If you’re looking for a vintage card resource, or even one full of knowledgeable minds who know a lot of about pre-war cards and memorabilia, Net54 is probably a good place to start.
Net54 for vintage baseball is by far the best resource imo— Hordfest (@Hordfest) December 3, 2022
From an outsider’s point of view, what I like about Net54 is the specialization and focus. While there is certainly room for forums that offer a little bit of everything, for anyone serious about diving into. a particular piece of the hobby will find a lot of unique value in a forum built around one sub-topic, which is more or less what is going on here.
5. PSA Forums
So far we have found resources for those who like modern, and others who like vintage and pre-war. There is a great trading resource and one forum that does a bit of everything. But we have to have somewhere to talk graded cards, right?
And what better source than PSA, or in this case, the parent company Collector’s Universe? Included are different areas for PSA set registry, buy/sell/trade, general hobby talk, and more.
One underrated aspect of the forum experience is good ol’ storytelling, even if not intended. For instance, someone posts their card rip, pulls an amazing card, gets the card graded, receives it back, sells it, etc.
Sure, you see a lot of this on social media, but it’s often a condensed version that comes at you all at once, but not the real-time “chapters” that a forum might provide.
From a 1958 Topps Football Cello pack to @PSAcard. Graded today. This is the kind of thing collectors dream about. One lucky hobbyist pulled this beautifully-centered Jim Brown rookie card, which he documented on the PSA Message Boards here: https://t.co/mgHN88iJyE pic.twitter.com/zoAVvHvEMv— Joe Orlando (@CollectingByJoe) April 29, 2021
6. Beckett Message Boards
If you’ve been in the hobby a while, the Beckett name is not new. From their price guide that paved the way for card values in the hobby, to their current grading operations, marketplace, and more, if any online platform was going to have a forum, it would and should be Beckett.
https://t.co/Z8kvGeVM2q Guy on here says he bought one back in 2013— Christopher Malone (@Buffalo1188) August 7, 2021
Per the tweet above, this is probably a good place to mention, while platforms like eBay, COMC, and others have a ton of cards, you just never know what else is out there. Not to mention that another collector might have a card you’re looking for just sitting in a box, and never thought to post it for sale because it was to much trouble, etc.
Thus, one big benefit of a big card forum is being able to put information out to a world of active participants who can read about your needs and take action if applicable.
7. Cardboard Connection
Last but not least, sometimes you just want to show off your cards right? While the Cardboard Connection forums host a card marketplace and a section for general hobby talk, the “showcase” threads seem to get a lot of action as well.
No matter your choice of sports card forum, you’re most likely going to get out what you put into it. Meaning, there is plenty to learn from simply browsing and being an observer, but the magic tends to really happen upon participation.
Over time, such forums can become your own little niche community, where you build relationships, network, have fun, and even buy, sell, or trade a few cards along the way. I’ll send by saying, still, for all the good, keep eyes and ears open for anything that doesn’t seem right or too good to be true, just like you would on Twitter, FB groups, etc.