Novelty, Sentimental Value make Santa Claus Trading Cards and Sets worth Collecting

By Rob Bertrand

Santa Claus is an iconic figure the world over and, as such, has been used to market everything from laundry detergent to Coca-Cola. It should come as no surprise, then, that he, too, has been paid the ultimate tribute by being immortalized on cardboard.

Through the years, Santa has been the subject of many a trading card, including complete sets, Santa suite memorabilia and even autographed cards. In fact, to provide a complete list would be a monumental undertaking, bordering on the impossible. Presented here, however, are some of Santa Claus’ more popular trading cards and sets.

The 1990 ProSet Santa Claus – Head Coach card.

1990 Pro Set

This era of trading cards, from the late ’80s through the early, mid ’90s, was created during an era of multiple licensed card companies competing for a finite share of the market. As a result, companies over-produced product and were constantly tinkering with gimmicks to attract collectors. In 1990, the Pro Set Company produced a short-printed card (relative to the period) of St. Nick and randomly seeded them within packs of that year’s football product.

1993 Sports Card Promotional Set

By 1993, numerous other companies got in on the Santa Claus trading card act in the form of a promotional set to drive traffic to local card shops and reward loyal customers. This set represents a rare time in the history of modern trading cards when the manufactures cooperated to provide a value-added incentive for collectors. Participating manufacturers included: Action Packed, Classic, Collector’s Edge, Fleer, Pacific, Pinnacle, Playoff, Pro Set, Skybox, Topps, Upper Deck and Wild Card.
One of the first exclusive Santa Claus products configured for traditional hobby distribution in wax packs was the 21st Century Nostalgic Christmas Art set in 1994. The 50-card set was available in 36-pack hobby boxes, with each pack containing eight cards. Multiple sets could be completed from a single box and rare insert cards were also included. The subject matter for the set consists of reprints of vintage and iconic Christmas-themed advertisements, many of which include, appropriately enough, Santa Claus. Unopened boxes are still easily found today.

1994 21st Century Nostalgic Christmas Art

A card from the 1994 Nostalgic Art Santa Claus Set by 21st Century Box.

More cards from the 1994 Nostalgic Art Santa Claus Set by 21st Century.

Even more cards from the 1994 Nostalgic Art Santa Claus Set by 21st Century.

1994 TCM Santa Around the World

The Santa Claus Around the World box.

A Santa Around the World pack.

Santa Claus Around the World cards.

1994 also saw another hobby box-configured product in Santa Around the World. Unlike the previous product, this 72-card set includes only trading cards of Santa Claus. The various cards show depictions of traditional images of Santa as experienced by countries around the globe. The product also included foil and 22k-gold versions, as well as pre-paid phone cards.

Coca-Cola

A Coca Cola Santa Claus card.

Another Coke Santa Claus card.

Through several years in the 1990s, Collect-A-Card produced Santa Claus commemorative cards for the Coca-Cola Company. Several different distribution methods were utilized, including complete sets sold in tins. All types of inserts were also produced, making completing a master set of Coca-Cola Santa Claus cards very difficult. The popularity of America’s favorite beverage, coupled with the always-endearing Santa Claus, made this an incredible hit with traditional trading card collectors competing with equally passionate Coca-Cola collectors.

2007 Topps Santa Claus Holiday Box Set

The 2007 Topps Santa Claus rookie card, in which Old Saint Nick is in a pose similar to that great rookie card for Mickey Mantle.

The original (and incredibly valuable) Topps 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card the 2007 Topps Santa Claus rookie card is based on.

The Topps Company manufactured, by far, one of the most popular Santa Claus-themed sets of all-time in 2007. The 18-card set showcases Santa on some of the most famous card designs in the trading card company’s storied history. Topps went so far as to produce a Santa Claus “rookie” card, using the iconic 1952 Topps design. St. Nick is pictured in the same pose as the player that helped make the 1952 Topps Baseball Card set the treasured set it remains today, Mickey Mantle.

The 2007 Topps Santa “Santa Suit” Memorabilia Card with a swatch taken from his game-used uniform.

The 2007 Topps Santa Claus autograph card.

In addition to Santa’s rookie card, the box set also includes a memorabilia card, which contains an “authentic” piece of Santa’s famed red Santa Suit. As if that wasn’t enough, actual “autographed” cards of Santa Claus are also included in the novelty product. Unopened boxes of the product still exist on the secondary market and makes for a pretty nifty little stocking stuffer for the young trading card collector in your life.

2010 Topps Allen & Ginter

The 2010 Topps Allen Ginter Santa card.

Most recently, Topps included Santa Claus in an insert set of its popular tobacco-era product, Allen & Ginter. Santa is card #CLMJ1 of the Creatures, Legends, Myths & Joy set. Unfortunately, by including Santa Claus in this insert set, he must share the spotlight with the likes of the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot.

While Santa Claus-themed cards don’t carry a significant amount of collectible or monetary value, the novelty and sentimental value of such cards make them worth adding to your collection.


Rob Bertrand has been an active collector of sports cards and memorabilia for more than 20 years. His involvement in the hobby community is well documented, having been the content manager for the Card Corner Club website before the company’s merger with CardboardConnection in 2011, where he is now a staff writer and multimedia content producer. Rob is also the co-host of the sports collectibles hobby’s only live and nationally broadcast radio show, Cardboard Connection Radio. He is the author of the highly respected and trafficked blog, Voice of the Collector and you can follow him on Twitter @VOTC. A dealer himself, Rob runs an online business through eBay, and is frequently asked to consign collections.

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