If you’re just getting started within the collecting hobby, or you’re hoping to brush up on your skills, we’ve come up with a quick guide that will take you through everything you need to know about when and where to buy the best soccer cards over the upcoming year.
Here are our thoughts about the current state of the soccer card market, including the best time to buy, how to save money, and what to look out for specifically.
When to Buy Soccer Cards: Tips
Let’s say you’ve identified the card you want, be it graded or not. The next step is to set a price that you’re willing to pay, perhaps with a lower/higher estimate so you have an exact idea of what you’re likely to spend.
If you’re not sure about what types of cards to search for, feel free to check out one of our many guides for some of the best soccer players ever. Otherwise, we’d advise to look at signed versions, rookie cards, and the rarest parallels as a rule of thumb.
Graded cards will be assigned with a numerical rating, which can be used to see how close a copy is to being pristine. Typically, they work on a 1-10 scale, with higher numbers being closer to perfection.
- Graded versions will always be more expensive – for good reason
- Prices and interest are likely to build in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup – especially during the tournament itself
- Auctions that end on weekdays or random times will probably see fewer bids overall
- It’s never a good idea to buy a card after a strong performance on the pitch, as you’ll be competing with casual buyers
- Prices for many cards have increased year-on-year, although prices will fluctuate wildly over a three-month period
- If you think that a player will break a record or has great potential, it’s sometimes better to buy on the rumour and sell on the hype
- There will be a range of 2022 World Cup cards and stickers released this year, which could represent a good long-term investment
Where to Buy Soccer Cards
Here are a few tips for anyone wondering where to buy soccer cards in 2022.
Topps and Panini produce numerous soccer related sets, splitting the rights to player images between them. (For example, Panini has a deal with the Premier League, while Topps has a deal with the Champions League.)
Meanwhile, the likes of Futura also hold soccer licenses for a wide variety of sports and non-sports titles including Collections for 12 English Premier League Football and Championship clubs.
As of 2019, Panini has license rights for football international competitions such as the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League and Copa América. Their sticker sets are always popular with fans, and they offer premium card sets.
- Auction sites like eBay tend to be a good place to look for the rarest cards – that’s where I make many of my purchases
- If you’re looking at ungraded versions, make sure to go over any flaws if possible
- It’s always cheaper to buy directly from the manufacturer, although stock is likely to run out quickly
- Hobby boxes are always available on the resale market, but you’ll be paying a significant markup compared to the normal RRP
- Most hobby boxes come with a guaranteed number of parallels and signed cards
- Be wary of counterfeit cards, or anything with a price tag that seems ‘too good to be true’. Trust your instincts if you think something is wrong
- Social media is also a great place to look if you’re willing to buy online
- The same goes for card events and trading shows, if there are any in your local area
- Trusted resellers include the likes of COMC, Dave & Adam’s Card World, etc
When to Buy Soccer Cards: Pricing
Ideally, you’ll be paying the lowest possible fee if you aim to sell the card in future. (The lower the price, the lower the amount needed to see a decent return on investment.)
For now, we’d look to the upcoming 2022 World Cup as the next ‘big’ event, which should see values rising in time for the tournament which takes place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.
Some cards hold their value all year round. Take the example of Messi’s RC, which commands a premium price tag no matter what. The same goes for many early graded cards featuring legends of the game.
We’ve listed a few tips which should be helpful if you’re interested in learning more about pricing.
- Remember, players tend to be cheaper while their domestic season isn’t running
- An injury or time away from the limelight also works to lower prices for non-legends
- The majority of sellers will be open to offers, especially if an item has been listed for a while
- Cards, packs, and boxes will almost always be cheaper if you buy them directly from the manufacturer
- Job lots are typically a good way to get cards you want for a cheaper price
- Check out sold eBay listings if you’re not sure about how much a card is worth
When to Buy Soccer Cards: Summary
There’s nothing to stop you from grabbing some of the best cards today, although prices will vary significantly depending on when and where you buy them from.
2022 looks to be a great year for the soccer card market, even if the Qatar World Cup isn’t without controversy. We’d avoid buying cards during the later stages of the tournament, although it’s probably a great time to list up players.
Otherwise, we expect to see an astonishing number of packs released over the next year, as Topps and Panini aim to extract every last penny from customers with endless hobby boxes that dilute the rookie card market. We’d stick to numbered cards if possible, and it’s not a good idea to be in a rush to buy anything.