Packaging and Shipping Trading Cards


TP9 | VC15
5.00 star(s)
After a brief discussion with Kirk, recently, about some eBay sellers sending sports cards in a PWE, I thought I would try to help with some pointers on securely packaging and shipping cards to other collectors.

As you all know a cards value is very dependent upon the condition of the card. Even the slightest ding, or scratch, can be the difference between a 9/10 rating and an 8/10 grading for a card. With that in mind, you should always do your best to make sure that the cards are always kept in the best possible condition, even when you're shipping them to someone else.

Here are the steps that I take to make sure the cards get to their destination safe and sound, and without spending an arm and a leg to make it happen.

These are simply the steps I take, and are most definitely not the only way to make sure cards are shipped safely.


  • All low-numbered base and insert cards, rare base and insert cards, game-used cards, and autographs are always placed into a penny sleeve. They're called penny sleeves because you can literally get them for around $.01 each.
  • Each of those cards are then placed into individual toploaders. This can get expensive, but by buying in bulk a lot of money is saved. On average, about $.10-15 each (depending on thickness).
  • I then place as many of those toploaders into a single team bag as possible. The team bags, much like the penny sleeves, are extremely cheap. I pay less than $.03 each!
  • All low-end base and inserts are simply placed in small stacks, and go into team bags closed up tightly.
  • I then take all of the team bag "packs" and wrap them up with a half of a piece of bubble wrap, which is taped closed. Some time is involved cutting the pieces in half and taping them, but not much. Certainly worth the time to secure a trading card. The bubble wrap is something like $5 for enough to wrap up about 60 "packs". That's less than $.10 each!
  • Then all of that is placed into a bubble mailer, which costs me about $.50 each. Those could be less too, if I purchased them in bulk.
So to send a single card, in a toploader, costs me about $.79 in supplies. Each additional card after that adds $.29 each. Pretty cheap, if you ask me!


The only cost saving tip I can give you here is to use PayPal's shipping, if you have a PayPal account. The delivery confirmation is significantly cheaper this way (it will make up the cost of the bubble mailer, and more).

Jerry's Mike's Final Thoughts

I don't want to sit here and act like my method is the end all, 100% damage proof, way to package and ship sports cards. That said, I have shipped quite a few packages and have never had anyone complain about their cards not being sufficiently secured. Mix that with the fact that I'm rarely ever out more than $2.50 on a package (including supplies and shipping cost) and I say that I've definitely found a method that does work.

Basically, I try to send cards out in a manner in which I wouldn't mind receiving one in myself.

Please share with us the steps you take to package and ship your trading cards, and any extra costs-saving tips you may have for our other collectors.
I have never taken the time to purchase bubble wrap to wrap them in.
I also make sure the card is secured in the toploader and can't move around much and put in bubble mailer and ship
I have several thoughts on proper shipping some have been mentioned some not.

I think one of the most important things besides having something extra to protect the card (not just wrapping around a piece of notebook paper like some have done.) is to make sure that any tape you use to secure wrappings can not and DOES NOT come into direct contact with the cards. Putting 10 cards in a team bag and then taping the bag shut is OK, taping the opening of a "card saver" shut IS NOT. Taping a toploader to keep the card from slipping out also IS NOT OK. Unless there is some kind of buffer between the card and the tape a simple strip of paper works fine.

When I think of it, and have some around I like to use the blue painter's tape to shut bubble wrap or team bags or to tape the cardboard sandwich around the team bag or where ever, but still not in direct contact with the card.
Great post Mike. Its hard for me to understand sometimes what people must be thinking when wrapping stuff. Most stuff is secure enough, Mikes packages are always 100% perfect btw, but some sellers on ebay for instance dont have a flippin clue, or nore likely, dont care about the condition of the card(s).