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The Definitive Collector’s Guide to Marvel Trading Cards Through the Years

The 2022 Upper Deck Kang card has a similar foiling effect for a similarly weird character. Kang still promises to be the main driver of this latest phase of MCU movies, so the prices here should go up significantly, but the foiling on this art does the character justice, so whether that price moves or not, it’s still great to look at. 

So while outside factors will determine which yet-to-be-released cards will spike in value, if you’re collecting to feed your fandom, what’s coming out now should keep you fat and happy for some time.

What You Need to Know to Start Collecting

Fausto Barrionuevo is a geek. We say this with the utmost respect: we are a veritable Den of them, after all. He, like most of us, got his start in nerdery early. “I was seven, and I came across something Silver Surfer,” he tells us. “And I was like, ‘This character is really cool,’ and I very quickly got a 1992 or ‘93 Marvel Universe card for the first time and read about the character. It [had] Ron Lim art on the front and the power ratings and bio on the back. The card taught me everything about the character.” From there, he set out to collect every Silver Surfer card made, and that eventually set him up in the position he’s in today—Senior Advisor and Marvel Card Expert for Certified Collectibles Group, the company that grades and preserves all sorts of collectibles, from trading cards to comics to stamps to pretty much anything one could collect. He is passionate about Marvel cards and collecting in general and was thrilled to share his knowledge and experience with new and old collectors alike.

1. Valuing Cards

There are two ways of judging value when you’re starting your collection. “Rule number one.” Barrionuevo says. “If you love the card, it’s valuable to you.” 

There are cards that are objectively valuable. The Sketchagraph cards from 1998’s Skybox Marvel Creator’s Collection set are obscenely valuable, but there was one chase card that could only be found if someone collected a set of them and mailed them off to a redemption center. They would receive in return a Spider-Man card, sketched by beloved artist Mike Wieringo, with Wieringo and Stan Lee’s autographs on the back. Only about 30 of those exist in the wild now. “That card is super coveted,” Barrionuevo tells us, “because it’s impossible to get.”

But there are cards that are personally valuable, too. “[The point of collecting] is to have pieces in your collection that either have some sentimental value or to keep track of the history of the thing,” he says. So Marvel’s Sleepwalker isn’t going to light the collector’s market on fire, even if, for some ridiculous reason, Marvel decides to make him the centerpiece of phase 8 of the MCU. But if you’re someone who enjoys the character, loves his design, and loves the stories he’s in, then you should grab as many cards as you can with Sleepwalker on them because people should rep what they love.

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