Buying Sports Cards at Wholesale is Too Easy

**This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated**

By @SportsCardNews

Published: 5/4/2014

Since this article was originally posted, many changes have happened in the sports card world. Notably, Fanatics has acquired many of the major licenses and changed the nature of how sports cards are sold at the wholesale level. 

For updated information on the sports card wholesale market, see our Wholesale Distributor List.

Wholesale Lots on eBay

Food Chain

Let’s get one thing straight. Panini and Topps could care less about your shop or online business. You are a dime a dozen. Panini and Topps sell products to wholesale distributors or quasi ones. Those are the real customers. That’s who Panini and Topps stroke off. You know who else gets fluffed and buffed? The sports leagues and athletes. Without a license from a sports league or players association, just about everyone at Topps and Panini would be looking for another job.


Where are you on the food chain? Not anywhere near the top. Last I checked the sports leagues, players (and agents), PBM Graphics, card companies, and distributors all get dimed out before you do. All five have built in margins before the product hits your hobby shop or Breakers.TV webcam. Think about that before starting a business, especially one centered around selling boxes of sports cards.

Anyone Can Buy Wholesale. Literally.

Despite all that, want to buy sports card boxes at wholesale? Easy. Might be able to complete all the paperwork from your sofa depending what state you live in. Figure out the requirements for your state, and you could be placing an order for some boxes by the end of the day.

Make sure to pay any sales tax, if applicable, to your state. Pay your state/federal income tax like you normally would. You don’t even have to sell the boxes if you don’t want to. Just tell the sports card distributor you “sell online” or do “group breaks”. There are several distributors that will sell to you without any or much vetting process. Or, once you have your tax id number, just sign up for the business to business Dealer Net and buy products off there.

Quasi Distributors

Maybe you don’t want to fill out a few pieces of paper and deal with some minor tax stuff. No worries. You can and will find boxes of cards priced near or below that of wholesale distributors. You are probably already familiar with these places, DA Card World, Blowout Cards, Atlanta Sports Cards, Big T Sports Cards, Steel City Collectibles are a few in this category. Anyone and everyone can order from these websites.


Here are a couple newer products that are cheaper at quasi-distributors. Prices are from May 3, 2014.

Wholesale Price

2014 Topps Tribute Baseball: $198
– Blowout Cards Price: $194.95
2014 Famous Fabrics Big Apple Baseball: $85
– Steel City Collectibles Price: $74.95
2013-14 Panini Totally Certified Basketball: $85
– Blowout Cards Price: $84.95
2013-14 Score Hockey Jumbo: $50
– Steel City Collectibles Price: $49.95

Illegal Rafflers Can Become Dealers

It’s astonishingly easy to buy sports card boxes at wholesale cost. There is no barrier to entry. Hobby shops and online sellers have no protection aside from their reputation and level of customer service. The card companies and wholesale distributors don’t weed out bad actors, essentially allowing anyone to become a dealer.

Sports Card Illegal Raffler

U of Mississippi Razz, whose business email is: jgwilliams0429@gmail.com was doing breaks of 2014 Bowman Baseball Jumbo, I guess, in between running illegal raffles. During the few minuets I watched his live stream on BoxBusters.tv, the breaker used the homophobic slur f****t.

MVP Sports Cards
3333 Bardstown Rd Suite 5
Louisville, Kentucky 40218

This card shop, located in Kentucky also advertises that they conduct illegal raffles (razz, razzing) on BoxBusters.TV and their Facebook Page.

MVP Sports Cards

MVP Sports Cards

Sin City Sports Cards
3650 S. Decatur Blvd #11
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Well known in the “razzing” community, Sin City Sports is supposedly closing their brick and mortar location. I’ve witnessed Sin City Cards raffling off spots for a case of 2013 Panini National Treasures Football on Breakers.TV.

Sin City Sports Cards

DA Card World Raffles

For a short time DA Card World conducted illegal raffles. Quasi distributors aren’t necessarily the most noble or sharpest knives in the drawer. If a company is “proud” to take part in illegal activity, what else might they be willing to do?

Side Note: Are “Group Breaks” Even Legal You Jerk?

I have no idea. Maybe they are illegal. You could pay the best lawyer to tell you they are legal or not. Guess what? Lawyers don’t make laws. If you encounter legal trouble for conducting group breaks, guess what your lawyer will say? “That’s unfortunate. Let me look into this for you (pause) at $250 an hour. Trust me, we can beat this.”

Raffles, like the ones you clowns do on BoxBusters.TV, are clearly illegal. Clear as day. If you need a lawyer to explain how those raffles are illegal you might be the dumbest person on planet Earth.

Products Are Weak

Blowout Cards, DA Card World and other quasi distributors would sell boxes for more if they could. Problem is, there isn’t much demand for sports cards. Shocking, I know. You think Topps and Panini give a crap about the quality of their products when they let athletes sign cards like this?

Pau Gasol Fail AutographPanini Prizm Fail AutographTopps Fail Autograph

Panini and Topps are trying to “hit the numbers”, just like every business you’ve probably worked for. And in a low margin game like producing licensed sports goods, attention to detail isn’t high on the priority list. Churning out sticker applied autographs and using redemption cards clearly doesn’t suggest they care about the perception of their product. Panini and Topps know they have enough people out there with a gambling itch. Are you one of them?


So wait! There are a few products each year that have demand. Yes! Whoo Hoo! This is when hobby shops and online sellers make all their money right? Wrong! This is when Panini, Topps, and the wholesale distributors cash in!

Remember where you are on the food chain. You think you’re going to make money on Bowman and National Treasures before those ahead of you at the dinner table? Please. You’re going to get what they call “allocated”. If you bought enough of the junky products over the last year, maybe you’ll get all the good boxes/cases you need. Maybe. The card companies and distributors eat before you do. Remember that.


Comped Out

When was the last time Topps or Panini invited you to the NFL Rookie Premiere, or a VIP party? Never? Shame, because you could have gotten face time….. with your distributor….. at these events. One sports card distributor told me he had been going to the NFL Rookie Premiere for the last 15 years. The freebies that get sent distributors way will make your mouth water. Autographs, jerseys, free stuff, a direct line of communication. You shop owners and breakers don’t get much of that. Think about where you are on the food chain to figure out why.

Eliminate Bad Actors

Anyone should be given a shot to start a sports card business. But there needs to be far more regulation from distributors and card companies when bad sellers arise. Illegal “razzers” should not be able to buy from a wholesale distributor and conduct a business. It’s a slap in the face to hard working shop owners and group breakers trying to run a legitimate operation. It takes money out of their pocket. Selling cases/boxes is hard enough, allowing individuals who freely flaunt illegal activity to become dealers gives further credence that the sports card industry is a joke.


About the author 


  • You could be ordering boxes from your couch 2 hours later. True. But you won’t get jack, because allocation is a catch 22. You have to buy product to get allocation. But if you don’t get allocation, there’s nothing to buy.

    Also, calling D&A, Blowout and Steel City “wholesalers” is a joke. Those guys all sell at or above average ebay prices.

    This article was worthless and devoid of facts. Nothing here was remotely usable.

  • Thanks for posting this up.This is a very informative article surely. I hope that you guys will put up more informative articles in the future.

  • You are spot on. I used to work for a sports card company as a wholesale distributor at the time we were what was called a master distributor. We would have to buy literally 100 cases of the junk to get 10 cases of the good stuff and then we would allocate to our customers it’s just all bs

  • You may be correct that it’s illegal to do chance raffles for profit. But the law is stupid. And it’s made by people who are lawyers and make money from legal bullshit. They want things ambiguous. And the law is legitimately made worse when you understand how scummy it becomes when you legally get around it.

    Here is why…

    A “non profit” is in most states and countries is exempt from these laws. There are also other states where people can incorporate, own a virtual P.O. Box have their mail forwarded, and sometimes not even require that and not do any business in a particular state, where the laws are different and such laws against gaming and raffling aren’t present. But certainly most states allow “non profit” to do raffles. But the 503c non profit can have “for profit” division… and non profit doesn’t mean that they can’t pay out salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars to those who run it and other administration fees. Plus they can legally spend a boatload on marketing, and do so under an umbrella of a for profit company. So a for profit limited partnership can profit from positive brand association of a non profit, bolster their image, and get around the laws by using their non profit’s for profit division.

    Someone owning a non profit can use a raffle to promote for profit business YouTube and Facebook channels, all owned under the same limited partnership. The non profit can then reinvest the money into the limited partnership and grow the for profit business as part of its administration expense, and as long as the non profit wing also makes contributions to a charitable cause it’s “legit”. Even though it’s far more scammy to say “proceeds go to “charitynonprofit123” meanwhile, that person running the non profit can pay itself 90% of the proceeds in a salary, the other 9% goes to boost the for profit company. There are also “for profit” divisions of non profit, and the law doesn’t necessarily explicitly rule out “for profit division of non profit” it just allows non profit to conduct up to $5000 worth of raffles per event and a permit is required if it exceeds $50,000 a year. Actually, it’s worse than that, the wording of the law is based on the amount “purchased and donated”. So if you buy packs for $5000, and then Mark it up by 1000% by having people buy a 1/100 chance ticket at pulling their name live to be included for full retail price to only have them randomly assigned team cards sent to them in the unboxing which is 1/32 of the unboxing… and as long as you donate $5000 or less for this event, it’s technically above board. So the for profit division of the 503c could be making $15,000 on the event while the non profit is giving away $5000 to a cause and in the meantime, promoting their profitable limited partnership brand with 10 other 503c’s attached to a for profit division so they can do 100 events like this per year.

    The law wasn’t designed to make things fair, it was designed to make lawyers money and to do so there are loopholes for just about everything illegal as long as you are willing to pay the lawyers to tell you how to do that.

    There is such a thing as “piercing the corporate veil” which means you might think you can hide behind a limited partnership, each with limited liability company ad 503c behind that, but there are situations where they can void the protection that you think having a corporation gives you… which of course only requires you to funnel more money from your business scheme that your even scummier lawyer convinced you was “above board” to the lawyers, and the lawyers of course aren’t responsible for any of it.

    Lawyers are the biggest scammers of them all. So the best scam is becoming a lawyer, advising these scummy schemes and then funneling the business profits to yourself and your friends, and then becoming a politician and making the laws as most POS politicians have legal backgrounds.

  • I am looking to buy a quantity of 1
    2013 Topps FB card…….#369.

    Any ideas how I can find these ????

    Thanks for your time….Billy

  • This is void of fact, spiteful, and ignorant. Must have gotten skunked on a box break huh? The industry is better without a clown shoe like this.

  • Thanks for the straightforward talk! Bring back the hobby! Bottom line is all that’s left!!! Any new update as the article is a few years old now?

    • I too owe a great deal of thanks to those of us who truly CARE about Cards Inc. The priceless people who realize the business of card production is that a card is just 2 & a half inch by 3 & a half inch card is just paper that can be traded for another piece of legal tender that isn’t guaranteed by the feds, even as they lie right to your face and say it is. There is nothing legal about legal tender. Can’t tell the feferalies that. Or you may get yourself arrested in that “FREE” world your living in. Anyway, Thanks for caring, G O.

  • I love Steel City Collectibles, bought 2 boxes from them for Christmas and pulled (2) Marcus Mariota rookie jersey cards!! If you buy online you can trust this company

  • My son has been really into basketball cards lately! It is a super fun hobby, but understandably it can get pricey. Both him and I agree that it is worth it. Thanks for the article, a lot of this has been on my mind.

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