What is a Patch Card?

A patch card is a collectible card that has a piece of fabric incorporated into it. This fabric would usually come from the players team jersey or sports top and can contain a used or new patch.

They are also often referred to as Jersey Cards or Relic Cards. 

Patch card

Patch cards or Jersey cards will often contain a piece of material worn in an actual game. Or sometimes worn by a particular player. Under these circumstances these trading cards are most commonly referred to as Relic Cards. 

One particular type of patch card that is fun to collect is the jumbo jersey relic card. 

What is a Jumbo Jersey Relic Card?

Jumbo jersey relic cards contain a far larger piece of fabric than the amount contained in a normal patch card.  The standard patch card has a small piece of cloth contained within it. This is normally about 2 cm’s, or 3/4 of an inch square. 

The Jumbo Jersey relic card has a piece of cloth that is more than double this size. Usually about 5 cm’s , or 2 inches square.

Here is a typical example of a Jumbo card. This is one from my son’s personal collection.

Jumbo Relic Card

See the ‘Game worn Jumbo Relic’ text I have highlighted on the right hand side.

Dual, triple and quadruple Relic cards.

There are a wide range of cards available with two, three and even more players and their patch relics incorporated into them.

These can be great fun to collect. Many investment collectors find them a bit too gimmicky though. It can often be hard to put a value on them. 

Valuations can be tricky for a card that has a number of different players on it. The overall value may be limited by the popularity of the least collectible player that is on the card. Of course the reverse can also be true. If one of the players on the card rises through the ranks and becomes particularly prominent in their sport then the card value could increase significantly.

What are some of the most expensive relic cards?

This Giannis Antetokounmpo sports card from the 2013-14 National Treasures series sold for $1.8 million (£1.3m) in 2020.

The card briefly became the world’s most expensive basketball card. 

This card features Antetokounmpo’s signature and the instantly recognisable NBA patch from his Milwaukee Bucks jersey. 

The item was listed on Goldin Auctions.

This 1997-8 Upper Deck series card was sold for $2.1 million (£1.5m) in 2021.

It features Michael Jordans signature and a patch from his 1992 All-Star game jersey. The card is one of just 23 and was also sold at the famous Goldin Auctions.

Is my patch authentic? 

There have been a number of news stories over the last few years that have sown the seed of doubt over the relic card as a reliable and safe form of card collecting and investing.

This doubt emerged because a number of different parties have been accused of selling fake relic items to the major card manufacturers and passing them off as the genuine game used article. 

If you want to read a bit more on this try Googling ‘Bradley Wells card fakes’. This will give you a fair idea of what some of the pitfalls can be, and how unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of the system.

Another area of concern amongst collectors is a phrase most commonly found on the rear of Topps relic cards.

 “the relic contained in this card is not from any specific season, game, or event.” 

A  great many new collectors have been confused by this statement and aren’t too sure what it means. Some are understandably worried it means that the relics are not authentic club jerseys. Or that they haven’t been worn by the player. 

Thankfully that is not the case with these cards. What it means is, as it says, that the relic is not from any specific game, event, or season but it is, nevertheless, still a genuine item. It’s exact game or event attribution is just not specified.

Below is a Panini dual relic card which, as you can see by the highlighted text, is guaranteed as player worn.

How Do I Get My Hands on a Patch or Relic Card?

The typical route to get your hands on a relic card is to try eBay or Craigslist or one of your local card selling stores. They often appear on Etsy too as there is a strong secondary market.

There are a number of reputable online sellers that specialise in relic cards such as Hall of Fame Relics.


We hope you have enjoyed this short guide on patch and relic cards. And you also enjoyed learning a little about some of the different types of cards, pitfalls and also their potential high values if you get a rare one!

Much like rookie cards, these cards can be a great way to narrow down your collecting focus and hone in on a particular type. 

They can be both interesting and rewarding to collect. With something suitable for deep or shallow pockets they are great for a wide range of collectors, from the hobbyist through to the serious investor.

Rob Miller
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