A game used card refers to a card that has a piece of equipment that was used or worn by a player and then was cut up and built into a card. There have been various types of memorabilia included in game used cards through the years including jerseys, pants, bats, helmets, cleats, gloves, masks and hockey fight straps. There have been many different variations of game used cards that have been made through out the years, including some really colorful and highly sought after patch pieces and rare types of bat cards including pieces of bat barrels and pieces of bat knob.
Game used cards were originally designed for 1997 Upper Deck Baseball. The first game used cards were very tough to find and fell at a rate of 1 in 800 packs. The first 3 players used were Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn and Rey Ordonez. That same year, in 1997 Upper Deck Football, they expanded the program to a 10 card set, but they fell at a much tougher rate of 1 in 2600 hobby packs. This set featured Brett Favre, John Elway, Troy Aikman and others. Game used cards became very popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and were the most widely collected cards during that time period. Because of this, the manufacturers began putting them into boxes at a much higher rate and the price of the cards came down in value. In 2001 the first product was made that guaranteed 1 autograph or game used card per pack which made game used cards easier to get, but also brought the value down to some extent. Now, it is much easier to buy game used cards at a cheap enough price to add many to a collection without having to spend a lot of money.
Some of the most collected game used cards are multi colored patch cards. Patch cards started being produced more often due to collectors’ demands for something different then plain swatches that were starting to come down in value because they were in every product. These multi- color pieces are cut from areas on the jersey where there is more color, whether it be from the nameplate, the team logo, the League emblems or other colorful sports from a player’s jersey card. These patch cards usually sell for a premium over a plain colored swatch because of their uniqueness and rarity and have become a favorite of many top level collectors who are looking for something unique to add to their collection.
Unfortunately, because of their popularity, unscrupulous collectors and dealers have started to fake the patches that are on cards. They do this in various ways, but the main way is cutting pieces from other patches that are bought from the store and not used or worn by the players and replacing them into the card. Sometimes these fakes are easy to spot, but sometimes the fake patch is so good it is very hard to distinguish from a real one. Like anything else, you have to trust the dealer you are buying from that he knows how to spot the fake. Sometimes, the patch faker uses a card that was never made with a patch, so sometimes with a little bit of research one can figure it out on their own if a patch is fake or not.