Finding free card collecting tools gets me excited, so I hope you can get on board with many of these, if not all of them. Sometimes we need help to build out a great card collection, and that is what these free card collecting tools are meant to do – give you help, save you time, and improve your collection’s value!
My website and YouTube channel is based around helping sports card collectors working with a limited budget. That means when we spend our hard-earned money, we prefer to spend it on awesome cards for our collection – and not expensive card collecting tools that are meant to help our six-figure investments!
Why Do We Need Free Card Collecting Tools?
That is where the genesis of this article began – I was creating my own list of free card collecting tools, so I could save money to improve my collection!
Sports card collectors already have to spend a ton of money on things like hobby boxes, blasters, singles, grading, top loaders, cardboard card boxes, display cases, shipping fees and more!
Even penny sleeves don’t cost a penny! This hobby can be expensive!
With money going elsewhere, I’ve decided to adopt this slogan:
“If it’s free, it’s for me!”
Sharing 16 Free Card Collecting Tools That I Created!
Once again, I found all the free card collecting tools on this list because I’m saving my money for important things, like cards! But that’s also why I created some tools – for my own use, and to share with my readers/viewers! So I’m going to share those free card tools first, then we’ll get into everyone else’s.
List of the Best Baseball Rookie Cards From Every Year Since 1952: This was the first article in the series, as I scoured PSA, Cardboard Connection and many other sites to find what rookie cards were the best from every year of Topps Flagship series. This is a helpful tool if you are considering opening older packs and you’re not sure which rookies are from that year. For instance, if you get a chance to buy a box of 2011 Topps Series 1, you won’t find a Mike Trout Rookie Card, but you can find a Freddie Freeman RC, so you’ll have to adjust what you’d like to spend accordingly.
List of the Best Football Rookie Cards From Every Year Since 1956: Same type of list as the baseball cards, but for football, and you’ll find I tried to note all of the Hall-of-Fame rookie cards in each set, too.
List of the Best Basketball Rookie Cards From Every Year Since 1948: While this list goes back the furthest, there are only three sets released before Topps started to produce them regularly in 1969. Bowman created a set in 1948, Topps released its very first basketball card set in 1957, and Fleer created their first set in 1961, but they’d be out of the game until the landmark 1986 Fleer Basketball Card Set!
Another issue I had was wondering which player’s cards from which eras I should be trying to collect? In other words, I know Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford were great Hall-of-Fame baseball players, but if I have to make a choice of their cards over Ernie Banks or Al Kaline? So I broke down the sports card world into three different eras: Vintage, Modern and Millennial! Then I researched who would be the 12 best players to collect from each of those eras – in each of the three main sports! These Dandy Dozen lists are great free card collecting tools because they help you understand who the 12-most collectible players are from each era in each sport!
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Vintage Baseball Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Modern Baseball Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Millennial Baseball Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Vintage Football Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Modern Football Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Millennial Football Players to Collect
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Vintage Basketball Players to Collect: Coming Soon!
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Modern Basketball Players to Collect: Coming Soon!
- The Dandy Dozen: 12 Millennial Basketball Players to Collect: Coming Soon!
Some other free card collecting tools I consider especially helpful to both the budget-minded collector and Mr. Moneybags, include:
- 11 Simple Steps to Submitting Cards to SGC Grading
- Buying Sports Cards on eBay Tips Video Series
- Buy Cards of These 6 Types of Baseball Players: This is a great column by Patrick Imhoff on bargain-hunting with prospects and rookies!
- “Sports Card Collecting 101” Video Series: I break down a lot of the details involving the card-collecting hobby and industry to help those new to it, or jumping back into it.
- Use This Trick For Sorting Your Sports Cards Faster
- How To Ship Your Sports Cards
- How To Remove Wax From the Back of Cards
36 More Awesome Free Card Collecting Tools!
Now let’s get into everyone else’s free card collecting tools – but make sure you come back to my website and YouTube channel often because I have several more tools I plan to create!
All these sports card collecting tools have free components, but many of them also have paid features. Just be aware that not everything on every tool is for free – always be cautious of getting something awesome for free!
1. Card Ladder’s Stats and Card Values
You can search card values and stats for free, while also checking out the market indexes and hobby news for free. The truly valuable part of this app is behind a pay wall, though, but it’s pretty awesome, since you can enter your card collection and track your collection’s value daily.
There are tons of places to get prospect rankings, but most of them cost you money. MLB’s Top 100 Prospect List is huge for collectors, but so are the Top 30 Prospect Rankings for Each MLB Team, when you want to go bargain shopping!
3. eBay’s Collection Tool
The online selling platform has made millions off the backs of card collectors, so at least they’re smart enough to build some free card collecting tools to help us collect easier! You can load up to 1,000 cards from your collection (with a csv file, if you like), and it will help you keep track of your collection’s value! Also, when you decide to sell any of these cards, you can list directly from your collection, since many of the details will be filled out already. I like that feature a lot.
4. eBay’s Card Collecting Tools: Price Guide Data
If you’ve ever used eBay’s mobile app, then you’ve likely seen the charts of sales that have already happened for a specific card in a specific grade. I love this feature – very easy to use.
5. 130point.com’s Comps Tool: Recent eBay Sale Prices
Check eBay sales on this site to get the most recent comps. What’s really cool is that on this site, you can also see what the sale price was on Accepted Offers, which you can’t see when you look at sold cards on eBay.
You can now go to this one site, type in a specific card you are looking to buy, and see where it’s available on all the big card-selling sites, from eBay to COMC to MySlabs to PWCC to Fanatics and more! You can also save your card searches by creating a free account with them. SportsCardDataBase.com has a similar Deal Finder on their site.
AnyLot.com has a similar setup as Hobby.Exchange, and with them, you can get notified when cards you specify hit a certain price or availability. Also has an “advanced Matching Engine” that shows you cards your collection might be interested in.
Since we’re talking eBay so much, I thought I’d shoehorn this tool in here, too! This is pretty cool, since you can enter the details surrounding a card you plan to sell to figure out how much you should sell it for to get a decent profit. You’ll enter in details like what you bought the card for, what your grading costs were, your shipping costs to send it to a buyer, and even sales tax. Then you can enter what you plan to sell it for, and figure out what type of profit you’d get. If the profit isn’t what you wanted – you now know you need to sell it for more!
10. Card Collecting Tools: Google Sheets
You can use any spreadsheet tool, but I like Google Sheets the best. It’s the easiest and cheapest tool you can use to track your collection, list out the cards you want to buy, track which ones you have coming in (along with their tracking numbers), keep track of your graded cards, track which ones you submitted for grading, track which cards you’d like to submit for grading next, and you can make lists of things like the Top 75 NBA Players, Top 100 MLB Players, Top 100 NFL Players, and mark whose rookie cards you own already!
Each time Topps releases a flagship series, CardLines puts out their Rookie Card Rankings article to show you the best cards to get from each series. They go in-depth on why these players are ranked where they are, and my favorite part is that they break the cards down into tiers:
Buying a great sports card for an investment is a tricky proposition, but getting a great sports card with a low pop report on PSA’s list, that’s usually a safer proposition. GemRate adds together the pop reports of PSA, SGC, Beckett and CGC, so you get a true reading of how many graded slabs of a particular card there are out there!
Talk about keeping a pulse of the hobby, GemRate tracks what each of the big grading companies are doing every single day, and they email monthly reports with analysis, so we know what’s happening in the grading card wars.
I love playing with this and looking at the different sports and different grading companies, seeing which cards are plentiful in 10 grades (2019 Panini Prizm Zion Williamson!) and which ones are nearly impossible to find in 10 grades (1980 Topps Rickey Henderson!).
This thing is pretty awesome! They list a number of cards they consider to be “iconic” in the sports card world, like a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth or a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan. When you expand that row, you see the pop report for every grade with all four grading companies. Interestingly, with the Jordan, there are about twice as many Jordan RCs graded at PSA than at Beckett, but SGC is still a distant third, with about one-quarter of the Jordans graded at Beckett. Now that’s a fun free card collecting tool!
16. Card Collecting Tools: Graded Card Cert Verifications
Use this online tool/mobile app to check that the PSA graded card you are buying is in fact legit! Just type in the PSA Certification number and see that it matches what you are buying!PSA’s Cert Verification – SGC’s Cert Verification
Use this to track your graded PSA cards, and see how you match up to all the other PSA collectors out there! They just added some competition to your sports card collecting lives – and it’s awesome!
I love using this site to track down what I want to know from different sports card sets. When I wrote my “Best Rookie Cards From Every Topps Football Season” article, I used this to find the best rookies! You type in the year and set in the top right form, like “1971 Topps Football”, then I like to check off “Hall of Fame” and “Rookie” and “Show Unavailable” (that’s very important), then hit “Search Results” to see which Hall-of-Famers have rookie cards in that set! (There are five Hall-of-Famers with rookie cards in 1971 Topps Football!)
This sounds like a weird tool, right? First, I love this site because you can find tons of singles and graded cards sold by all sorts of people, and the fees aren’t outrageous, like eBay. But what I really love is typing in a player’s name and year or set, and you can see all the different cards, variations and parallels out there. This gives you an opportunity to see a full insert set if you want, or just a chance to see which cards look the coolest!
There are lots of places to track upcoming sports card set releases, but I like this one best – mostly because I really like their site for a ton of other things.
Not sure which card you have? Use this free phone app to scan your card and it will tell you what card it is! Even if it’s a parallel! Then it tells you recent pricing and allows you to add it to your collection. CollX does the same thing, so check that one out, too, and see which one you like better!
They say this is the first real-time, multi-sport sports card auction tracker, and who am I to argue? You can track the most watched cards being sold on the world’s largest card-selling platform. Nice! Why do you “watch” cards on eBay? Because they’re great cards and you hope to get them for a bargain. Well, this tool tells you the cards that have the MOST watchers. It includes cards for baseball, football, basketball, hockey – and soccer!
Dating back to the Beckett Magazine days, we all loved the Hot/Cold list that told us which players were extra collectible right now, and which athletes have seen their card stock drop.
Wondering which rookies are the best to get from the current NBA season? Let one of NBA.com’s beat writers break it all down on which rookies rank above the rest!
Something I love that MLB.com does every year, dating back to 2015, is they rank the most recent season’s rookies based on long-term value.
While the NFL doesn’t have a Rookie Ladder column anywhere (why not?) or a NFL Rookie Power Rankings (what the heck?), they do have dynasty Fantasy rankings, which can certainly help sports card collectors. The only thing to remember is card collectors should look at quarterbacks first – they are MUCH more valuable in card collecting than they are in Fantasy play.
Unlike Fantasy Football, Fantasy Baseball does a much better job of matching who’s valuable with baseball card collectors. Obviously, card collectors lean heavy on prospects and rookies, but by looking at the dynasty/keeper rankings in Fantasy Baseball, you can get an idea of which players’ rookie cards might be spiking upward soon! Both Fantasy players and card collectors turn their noses up at most pitchers and catchers, and sluggers with the ability to hit for average do well in both. But you can look at current dynasty/keeper rankings to see upside card value picks, like Kyle Tucker and Jose Ramirez rookie cards.
3 Great Card Tools For People Who Like Breaks!
This is a great way to see which teams have the best cards to get in which sets. Choose a set, then choose a team on the left, and you’ll see each card available for each player in that set. This is great to help you learn what cards are possible in each set.
No one previews an upcoming baseball card set release better than this team. They rate them against other releases, and they share which rookie cards you should be hunting. My favorite part is they tell you who the best teams to get in breaks are, and they even share some good sleeper teams you should hunt!
How smart are these guys? They share all the pricing for breaks from reputable breakers across the web! So not only can you find the best prices on breaks, but you also get a list of reputable breakers they’ve already vetted for you!
Social Media Card Collecting Goodness
Something we didn’t have as kids is social media abilities to buy cards and make trades! We have it now, and we can show off our best (and worst) cards we’ve picked up recently!
31. YouTube Card Collecting Videos
You can watch breaks, you can see old packs get ripped, you can check set reviews, learn about hobby news, see graded card reveals and more! eBay and YouTube have done more for the hobby than anyone else in the past 70 years not named Beckett or Topps! Here’s a handful of must-subscribe YouTubers you should check out:
- David Gonos: Heard of him? “It’s me, Mario!” I do plenty of fun stuff, including lots of giveaways, as I try to help the sports card collector working with a limited budget.
- Scottie B Cards: If you collect baseball cards specifically, he’s the guy you follow. Even if he’s the ONLY guy you follow, this is him. He’s just awesome, with great knowledge, an ability to explain things smartly, and a knack for knowing awesome storylines to follow others might not even think of.
- The Sports Card Dad: This guy is funny, entertaining and smart, as he dishes on hobby news nearly every day. He’s also a finance brainiac, so his tips on card investing hold a little more weight with me.
- Jabs Family: If you like watching baseball card breaks, this is the channel for you. With over 150,000 subscribers, there are few who don’t know about Jabs Family’s card-breaking videos!
32. Facebook Groups
There are many different groups on here you can join, including specific groups, like collectors who grade with SGC, Topps Heritage set builders, and 1986 Fleer Basketball card collectors!
From breaks to set reviews to just awesome memes from LeMeme James, this is one of the better card-collecting spots in social media.
This social site has really leaned hard into the card-breaking world, bringing a lot of breakers to this platform. It’s also great for learning about new sports cards that just came out.
@davidgonos.cards Sharing #MyVeryBest #Lakers #basketballcards – Comment with your very best! #kobe #magicjohnson #topps #vintagecard #nba ♬ I Love L.A. – Kurstin x Grohl
35. Twitter / X
It’s just a great card-collecting community on Twitter. Specifically, you should follow @cardpurchaser.
You can join different sports card Reddits, ranging from just the main sports card Reddit, to baseball cards, to basketball cards and so on! It’s an awesome place to get your questions answered, and it’s a fun spot to show off a great card you pulled. It’s generally a very positive community!
Bookmark this article because we’re going to be updating it with other free card collecting tools going forward. If you have some free card tools you’d like to share with me, tweet at me @DavidGonos or email me!