Like the people that collect them, sports cards come in all shapes and sizes. The T-206 Honus Wagner measured 1 7/16″ by 2 11/16″ while the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle measured 2 5/8" x 3 3/4". However, over 99% of the sports cards produced over the last 70 years measure a fairly precise 2½ inches by 3½ inches. Over the last 15 years, we have seen cards grow in thickness, largely driven by the inclusion of patches, jersey swatches, and anything else Topps and Panini could slice, dice, and repackage. Collectors didn’t blink when we saw cards thicken like a middle-aged collector’s waistline, but when it comes to cards measuring outside the standard 2½ inches by 3½ inches collectors have been historically reluctant. They don’t totally ignore them, but the “big” cards always seem to linger in the corner of display cases like collectors are waiting for closing time. I would encourage you to give big cards a second look, because they need love too.
They look great in your man-room, office, and or display case – Many of us love to show off our favorite cards or pieces of memorabilia. Big cards can serve as great conversation pieces, and reflect your allegiance to teams and players. If you go to my office, you will see several of my favorite cards on display next to other mementos.
They are often produced in lower quantity – Many jumbo cards are inserted into special packs, or as is often the case, placed in the bottom of wax boxes (e.g., 2019 Topps Stadium Club). Based on that math alone, you have a 1/50 or greater chance of pulling the card of your desired player.
They are condition-sensitive – The card storage industry is built for standard sized cards, not those beautiful, but bigger options. As a result, they are harder to protect, and often times come out of wax boxes in less than mint condition.
They are undervalued versus comparable cards – So, consider the above dynamics, and now think about the potential pricing inequivalencies in the market. A PSA 7 1964 Topps Mickey Mantle will sell for between $550 and $600 while a 1964 Topps Giant Mantle will sell for $70 - $90. Granted, the Topps Giants series was a 60-card set, and might have been produced larger quantity. However, given how these cards were stored in 1960’s, should a standard 1964 Topps sell for 6-8x multiple?
As you consider your next purchase, I would encourage you to give big cards a chance. They display well, can be great conversation pieces, and can be a found at reasonable prices. Simply put, they work harder for you than their often overproduced more standard counterparts.