For anyone getting started with the card collecting hobby in the UK, one of the first questions you’re probably wondering is; ‘where can I buy sealed hobby boxes?’ Here’s what you need to know.
If you collect Pokemon cards, or football stickers, it’s easy to find sealed boxes in the United Kingdom. You can head down to Argos, or get Amazon to ship you products with next-day delivery. You might even find something in the corner shop.
However, it gets a lot tougher if you collect sports cards, or something from a more obscure TCG series such as an anime. We’ve come up with a guide containing everything you need to know to get started with buying sealed hobby boxes in the UK, including where to look, and what to avoid.
Where to buy sealed hobby boxes in the UK
Whether it’s a retail box, mega box, a blaster box, or a hobby box, they can be tough to locate in the UK. Here’s where to begin looking.
Auction sites tend to be a good place to start. I use eBay for buying most of my singles and many sealed boxes, as the platform offers robust protections against scammers. For example, if someone sends you a box that has been opened already, you’ll just need to take a picture and let eBay know to get a refund.
I’ve actually never had to return a box myself. I try to stick to trusted sellers who have a history of sourcing sealed products. If you’re looking at auctions, some boxes can be found for less than the RRP, although you’ll probably be paying more if you choose the ‘Buy it now’ option.
Direct from manufacturers
However, most popular boxes sell out almost instantly, which is how many end up online. If you’re looking for anime cards or something from an obscure TCG, it’s worth checking out their site first just in case. However, many distribute their cards via retailers or online resellers in the UK.
The UK Pokémon Center is arguably the best place to get sealed Pokémon products.
Online resellers in the UK
Numerous online resellers exist, selling sealed boxes for a slight premium. Some are fairer than others, when it comes to pricing, but it’s down to a case of supply vs demand. In other words, what are people willing to pay?
Different websites will specialise in selling boxes to suit various interests. For example, you can look for a site focusing on sports cards, or one that imports the latest boxes from Japan.
Forbidden Planet is great for anime and other TCGs, with a number of physical stores in the UK if you’d prefer.
If in any doubt, check out sites like TrustPilot to see if you can find any impartial reviews. Use a service like PayPal to ensure that you’re protected.
Specialist hobby stores in the UK
There aren’t many specialist hobby stores found in the UK. We’ve mentioned Forbidden Planet, but what about sports cards?
Sports Trading Cards is a reasonably popular online reseller, which has opened up a large retail space in Kent.
If you live in a major city, it’s worth checking to see if there are any nearby options, such as hobby shops. However, they are currently few and far between in the UK.
Importing from the United States and elsewhere
There’s also the option of importing boxes from the US, Japan, or elsewhere. This will depend on the website/service, and shipping will take a while. You can also import sealed boxes from sites like eBay for a cheaper price, but they will take a while to arrive due to intercontinental shipping times. Depending on where the product is being shipped from, you may also have to pay an import fee.
Social media is a good place to start, as long as you don’t go buying boxes from random accounts with no profile picture. Card collecting communities are reasonably close-knit, and there are lots of buyers and sellers found in the UK.
Are sealed hobby boxes a good investment?
It’s difficult to say. Some sealed boxes have proven to be especially popular in later years.
For example, there aren’t many sealed Pokémon First Edition Base Set products left on the market. The majority have either been opened, lost, or ruined over the past two decades. Factory sealed 1999 Pokémon products always cause a stir when they come up for sale.
However, most modern products are printed in high numbers, with manufacturers hoping to cash in on increased interest in the hobby.
It’s not the most exciting investment option within the hobby. However, popular sealed hobby boxes are always likely to make money in the long run.
What to remember
We’ve listed some key advice to remember if you’re looking at picking up a few sealed boxes:
- Try to use a protected payment method like PayPal
- Don’t buy boxes from dodgy websites
- Ignore offers that seem ‘too good to be true’
- Research what you can actually get from a box before buying it
- Make sure you’re paying a fair price, check out past sales on eBay if you’re not sure
- Check if it’s a hobby box, or a cheaper retail box
- Look for a seal around the box
- Be wary if the seller doesn’t have much feedback on their profile
- Don’t expect too much from your box! Watch somebody opening one on YouTube to get an idea of what to expect
The UK collecting scene is significantly smaller than the US, but it has still grown rapidly over the past few years. You’ll be able to buy sealed UK hobby boxes from lots of specialist services and sites, and a few shops are beginning to pop up nationwide.
Panini and Topps are great in most respects, even if boxes are slightly overpriced, and the latter takes a while to actually print and ship the cards over in the first place. Sites like Forbidden Planet are great for booster packs, and there are lots of importers to choose from.
You should now have a better idea of where to look if you’re on the hunt for sealed hobby boxes.