One way that many football card collectors enjoy the hobby is by building a player collection. Instead of opening packs and hoping to find the player you're collecting, you can instead take the money that you'd spend on packs and put it toward buying cards of the player from online sources. The ultimate goal of any serious player collector is to have one copy of every card depicting that player, although this is a goal that will often take a long time and plenty of money to realize. If your ambitions aren't so lofty, here are some areas to focus on.
Many players have licensed autographed cards, making this type of card a valuable addition to your player collection. The higher profile the player, the more autograph cards he'll have in various sets and products, which means that you'll have lots of opportunities for buying cards with the player's signature. Licensed autographed cards are ideal because they're guaranteed to feature the player's autograph; conversely, unscrupulous sellers will sometimes sell forgeries under the guise of the signature being authentic. When you buy a licensed autograph card, the card features a certificate of authenticity from the manufacturer on the rear of the card.
Relic cards are another valuable addition to your player collection, and many top players have relic cards in several sets. Relic cards are exciting because they contain something that the player used — typically, this will be a small swatch of a player's jersey, although you can also find cards with tiny pieces of a game-used football or even a piece of game-used cleats. Jersey cards can range from containing a small, one-colored piece of the player's jersey to a larger logo crest with stitching and multiple colors. The latter is known as a patch card and has more value to collectors due to its usual scarcity.
Book cards are extremely rare, but if the player you're collecting is featured on one, this may be the crown jewel of your collection if you're able to find and buy one. Book cards are more than a single sheet of cardboard — instead, they consist of two or more cards that are hinged and open up like a book. Due to their scarcity, book cards often feature highly desirable elements. For example, one side of the book may be an autograph, while the other side could be a large swatch of jersey. Sometimes, a book will contain autographs or relic pieces from multiple players.
Contact a dealer, like BEGC Sports Cards, for more help.