This guide will cover everything you need to know to understand kpop photocard collecting – from where they come from and understand their value to storing and protecting your photocards.
Where did it start?
Girl’s generation was the first group to release photocards with their album “Oh!” in 2010 for any korean releases. TVXQ had photocards for their japanese album in 2007.
There are so many photocards at the moment and companies are really trying to push them to the hungry fans. It’s really rare to see any groups without any photocards nowadays.
When starting a kpop photocard collection it’s important to have a plan before you start throwing yourself into the hobby.
Spend your time doing research on which group or member you want to collect, what kind of photocards and how much money you are willing to use on your collection.
You can search for “Group name” photocard template to find which photocards are released. They will usually only contain album photocards and pob’s/store exclusive photocards, but you will find some which contain other photocards as well.
Kinds of Photocards
- Regular Album Photocards
- Broadcast Photocards
- Pob’s/Store Exclusive Photocards
- Event Based Photocards
The normal size on a kpop photocard is 55x85mm (2.2×3.5in). The kpop photocard is smaller than other trading cards like Pokemon, MTG and Sports cards which are usually 63x88mm.
These are the photocards you are going to see the most often and will most likely be the cheapest ones you see on any market places.
A standard Kpop album it comes with 1 or more photocards in them depending on the album. The usual amount is 1 or 2 photocards per album, but groups like Twice are known to have 3 to 5 photocards per album. Photocards belonging to out-of-print albums tend to go higher than photocards for in-print albums.
Price: USD 8-12 / The amount in the album (2 photocards in one album would be $4-6)
These photocards are given to participants who attend any music shows when a group is promoting. Fans can attend Music shows like Mcountdown and if they get in they will get a broadcast photocard. There is a limit for how many participants can attend one show and it’s usually first come first serve.
There is usually 1 set of photocards per promotion and these are more rare than regular photocards as you have to physically attend music shows in a set period of time.
Price: $50+ (Depends on the groups popularity)
Pob’s/Store Exclusive Photocards
Pob’s (Pre-order benefits) and store exclusive photocards are photocards you get when buying albums through a specific store for a limited time.
For more information about POB and store exclusive photocards you can check out my post “What are Kpop POB?”.
These are the most common global Kpop stores to do Pob’s/Store exclusive photocards.
Price: $10-15 for one card per album (2 cards/ 1 album = $5-8)
Event Based Photocards
These are photocards you could get or buy when attending any events like concerts, pop-up stores, merch etc and doesn’t require you to buy any albums.
It can be photocard sets that are given when buying a merch for 10 usd or it could be 100 limited photocard sets only available at a concert, so the price really depends on what kind of event it is and how accessible it is.
Polaroids aren’t exactly photocards, but I would say that they are in the same realm. Polaroids are usually given out to fans during events and giveaways. Polaroids have been a common gift to give fansign video call winners. The polaroids can be signed, not signed & decorated with stickers.
*Not every polaroid is one of a kind
Where to buy photocards
Now that you probably know which photocards you want, where do you buy them? Almost every purchase and sale is done online through different marketplaces like eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.
Tips when buying photocards online
- The price of photocards are usually higher on eBay than other places because of the fees, but it’s also the safest place for buyers.
- Avoid paying through f&f (Friends and Family) with Paypal. When paying through f&f you are losing all your rights as a buyer and it’s almost impossible to get your money back.
- Always look or ask for proof of earlier sales. Instagram sellers usually have proofs in their highlights.
Storing Your Photocards
Most people in the community like looking at their photocards and usually keep their collection in a binder. It isn’t the most protective way to store your photocards, but it works well enough.
Protection for individual cards:
- Sleeves: Clear plastic sleeves that photocards are put in to protect your photocards from getting scratches. There are so many sleeves to choose from and it really depends on your preference. Flimsy to thick sleeves. Colored back sleeves to holographic front sleeves.
- Toploaders: A toploader is a single card sleeve made out of a thicker plastic. They aren’t really used by the kpop photocard community for storing photocards and are rather used for protection when selling. Photocards are sleeved and then put in a toploader.
- One-Touch cases: These cases will protect your photocards from almost anything. Super easy to get the photocards in and out of the cases and it’s UV protected. These are for Polaroids and valuable photocards. For signed polaroids it’s recommended to sleeve them because the signature might stick to the front.
But the truth is there is no right or wrong way to store your kpop photocard collection, but it’s important to protect your photocards if you want to make sure that they don’t get damaged or lose any value.
Have Fun Collecting
Any hobby should be fun and so should kpop collecting be too. Everyone collects at their own pace and you shouldn’t be imitated because someone has a bigger collection than you do. There are so many great people in the community. I have met so many new people and friends through this hobby and they are from all around the world.
I do have a blog post about Kpop collecting which includes album, photocard, merch & etc collecting so if you are interested it’s “Ultimate Guide to Kpop Collecting: How to Start a Kpop collection”.
Good luck and have fun collecting!