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What are ‘Comps’ in Sports Cards – Definition – The Sports Card Glossary

The term comps, short for comparables, refers to using metrics and other factors to determine the valuation of an item.

In real estate, comps might be previously sold homes of the same size in similar neighborhoods. In sports cards, comps are determined from the sale prices of historically sold cards, usually of the exact same card in the same condition and rarity and within the same time frame.

In cases when the exact same card has no historical sales, then similar cards will be used as comps; these might be:

  • Sold cards from the same card set with the same rarity and in the same condition, but featuring a different (though similar) player,
  • Sold cards for the exact same card, but in slightly worse/ better condition. The comp price would be adjusted to account for the difference in condition,
  • Sold cards for nearly the exact same card in the same condition, except the rarity differs. The comp price would be adjusted to account for the difference in rarity.

Of course, card prices are never set in stone. And so while comps might give you some sense of value/price, the card market is dynamic and prices can shift according to many variables, including how the player is doing (hot vs. cold), how the hobby is doing (bull vs. bear market for the sports card industry), how recent the set is, etc. As such, cards will often sell for higher/lower than comps, which helps to reset comps to new values.

Rory Hansen

Rory Hansen is a San Diego-based sports card collector and social media influencer. Considered an expert in the process of grading sports cards, he regularly advises other collectors on how to assess, prepare and submit cards for grading. Originally from Canada and now living in the US, Rory collects both hockey cards and baseball cards. His personal collection focuses on Shohei Ohtani, Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish, Pavel Bure, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo.