How to Buy Australian Rules Trading Cards on eBay

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How to Buy Australian Rules Trading Cards on eBay

Australian Rules Trading Cards have been around in different guises since the beginning of the 20th Century. In the Australian Football League, players have come and gone and teams have risen and fallen. Card manufacturers over the past hundred years have also been privy to the same natural boom and bust cycles. The mix of these two volatile worlds has created a complex and compelling ecosystem full of history, intrigue and intricacy.

Understanding the world of Australian Rules Trading Cards can, at times, be overwhelming for beginners. This guide aims to help by offering advice on things to look out for when buying Australian Rules Football Cards on eBay.

First things first, decide which cards are of interest for buying. There's no right or wrong answer. Collectors can choose whatever type of card they are interested in, whether it is to complete a full year's set, historic cards of a favourite team, or only the rarest super-limited edition cards. The huge variety of cards that have been produced, and the access eBay offers to this treasure trove of football history means the ability to collect is limited only by the ability to decide what is of interest for starting out.

For many fans, the starting point is with the annual releases of cards for the new season. Every year a new set is released reflecting alterations to squad selection and player performances. It's common to collect a year's set with the intention of getting hold of every card. New cards come in sealed packets and it can be an exciting experience opening a new one to find out which cards are inside, especially if there is a rare insert card.

Select Australia, who took over the manufacture of football cards in 1993, also offer completed sets of brand new cards for purchase. Buying a completed set of Australian Rules Trading Cards can be more affordable than buying multiple packs, through which many copies of the same card are often acquired. It does however remove the excitement of opening new packs and the possibility of swapping doubles of cards already owned with friends. Trading is a large part of the joy for many football card collectors.

Buying Australian Rules Trading Cards for Money and Prestige

Some people come into football cards with the intention of making money. Sports and money have always had an odd relationship and football cards are just the same.

With the rarest fetching thousands of dollars, there is money to be made. The value of the majority of cards, however, is dependent on the popularity and performance of a particular player and the market can quickly lose interest in yesterday's most adored footballer, when today’s events on the pitch create new heroes. To know the market of football cards and be able to work within it there's only one solid golden rule: be a true fan.

The cards that fetch the highest values are the most in demand and the hardest to find. There are a number of different types of these:


Some of the earliest Aussie Rules cards were included in cigarette packs in the early twentieth century.  Other limited card sets were produced throughout the following decades. The first annual production of Aussie Rules trading cards came in 1963 when Scanlens published their first set. Cards from that first set and the limited and various runs of cards that were published before then, are vintage items.

Rare cards can command impressive prices. Some top rated sellers on eBay may be able to give you an idea of how much a rare card is worth.

 Pre-Corrected Error Cards

We're all human, and we all make mistakes. With so many cards to make and so many statistics to put on them, perhaps card manufacturers can be forgiven for making the occasional error. Errors can be as small as a slight cropping to a player's photo or as big as putting the wrong photo or wrong name entirely on the card. When it's noticed that a card has an error, it's withdrawn from circulation and a new card is issued. To many collectors, this makes the pre-correction card valuable.

Rookie Cards

Rookie cards, also known as “draft picks”, are a hotly contested segment of the Australian Rules card market. Collectors place bets on cards of the new intake of players that season (the 'draft'), hoping that in future seasons these players will turn into stars of the league. If they do, the player's rookie card from their first year playing AFL becomes valuable in the eyes of some.

Non Common Cards

Since Select began making cards in 1993, there have been a number of additions to the standard cards (also known as “commons”).  There are:

·    insert cards

·    redemption cards

·    signature cards

·    the ultra-exclusive line-up of signed case cards

·    Hall of Fame signatures

·    Brownlow Medal winner signatures

·    League Legend signatures

These categories of cards are super rare, and if someone’s main consideration when buying Australian Rules Trading cards is collecting cards of high value, these are amongst the ones they should be searching for.

Judging Rarity

Demand fluctuates, but fortunately for dedicated card collectors, the supply of newer cards is quantifiable. In most cases, yearly guidance is published detailing the total production of cards. Cards within a 5,000 box release will naturally be of more value than cards in a release of 12,000 boxes, so fluctuations in value occur can occur season on season for cards of all types.

Rarity can also increase if a card is signed by a player; unless buying the official signature series which is also verified by the card manufacturers, there's always an element of trust in ensuring that the signature on the card is indeed genuine.

Card Value

The value of a card is a combination of its rarity, condition, and the demand there is for that particular card. Especially when buying the more valuable, limited edition cards, make sure to check the item's pictures to assess the cards condition. Key defects to look out for are:

·    scratches to the surface

·    trimming errors

·    misaligned photos

·    light fading

·    damaged corners

·    stains on the card

·    creases

 These can all detract from the value of the card; collectors want cards which as close to mint condition as possible.

How to Buy Australian Rules Trading Cards on eBay

Now that you've worked out which Australian Rules Trading Cards you want, find them quickly on eBay. To start shopping, go to the Sporting Goods category. Click the AFL, Australian Rules portal.

Categories: The categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Memorabilia and Trading cards.  As you refine your search you'll be able to narrow down your choice by subcategory.

Product Finder: Use the Trading Cards finder to quickly narrow down item listings by type of Bundle Type, Autographed, Team, Era, and Condition.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try browsing eBay Stores or tell the eBay Community what you’re looking for by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a matching item becomes available.

Remember also to check out eBay’s Deals page to search for bargains.

Buy Australian Rules Trading Cards with Confidence

Make sure that you know exactly what you’re buying and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your Item

Read the details in the item listing carefully.

Remember to add delivery costs to your final price. If you’re buying a high value item, check that the seller will insure it until it is delivered to you.

If you want more information, click the “Ask seller a question” button on the seller’s profile or the “Ask a question” link at the bottom of the item listing page.

Know your Seller

Research your seller so that you feel safe and positive about every transaction.

·    What is the seller’s feedback rating?

·    How many transactions have they completed?

·    How many positive responses do they have?

·    What do buyers say in their feedback?

·    Do they offer a money-back guarantee?

·    What are the terms and conditions?

·    Are buyers positive about the seller?

·    Most top eBay sellers operate like retail shops and have a returns policy.


The collector should now have a good idea of the type of card that is of interest.

Keep in mind that once a collection has been started it will need to be cared for correctly, particularly if the intention is to sell the cards on in the future.

No matter what Australian Rules Trading Cards have been decided upon, they can usually be found quickly and easily on eBay.

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