When I started collecting sports cards I typically went to my local card shop (LCS) and bought packs or a particular card. While you can still do this, most people now acquire sports cards online. Whether it’s eBay, Facebook or Instagram cards are being shipped via mail and need to get there securely.
When shipping sports cards they need to be in a card/penny sleeve and a top loader. It needs to be enclosed in a team bag so the card doesn’t slide out. Cut 2 pieces of cardboard to size, place the card in between, and tape all 4 sides. Place the sports card in a bubble mailer and put your shipping label on it. You are ready to ship!
You will need supplies if you are going to sell sports cards online and plan to ship them. They are inexpensive but they are essential for properly shipping cards so they aren’t damaged. Their is nothing worse than buying cards online and they arrive damaged.
My resources page is an excellent place to find everything you need. I make it simple for you.
What is a Card/Penny Sleeve?
A penny sleeve is a thin piece of plastic that you slide your sports card in to protect it from scratching. The typical size is 2 5/8″ x 3 5/8″. They make different size card sleeves depending on the thickness of the card.
When you open a pack of cards and you come across a card that is valuable, you should immediately put it in a penny sleeve. It will protect the card from scratches. It doesn’t provide any real protection if you drop it which is why you put the card in a top loader. Please note make sure you use acid free card/penny sleeves. Most of the brands are acid free, but if you buy one that isn’t, you could be risking your cards being damaged.
When shipping a card this is the first thing a card should be put in. Now for the next step.
What is a Top Loader?
A top loader is a hard plastic case that you put your sports card into to protect the edges, corners, and surface from physical damage. The standard size of a top loader is 3″x 4″, but they come in various sizes based on thicknesses.
Once your card is in a card sleeve, the next step is putting it into a top loader. Don’t just put sports cards in a top loader without putting a card sleeve on it. You can scratch the card and it may slip out of the top loader because the card isn’t thick enough. It’s putting your card at risk when you don’t need to.
Now, if you don’t have a penny sleeve and only have a top loader, well it’s better than nothing. Top loaders are good at protecting the edges and corners of a card from damage. If you drop a card and it’s in a top loader; it can protect your card from disaster.
Just like card sleeves, top loaders come in different thicknesses. Take a look at the chart below and you can see which thickness sleeve and top loader is needed for your card. You can put your card right up to the screen.
How to Protect Top Loaders When Shipping?
So your card has a card sleeve and it’s in a top loader. But when shipping, a package gets tossed around a lot. If you don’t have anything to cover the top of a top loader the card could come out or stick out enough where the top edge and corners get ruined. The best way to solve this problem is to put the card in a team bag. This will protect the card from sliding out.
Another method people use is scotch tape. Don’t be that type of person. No one likes to try and peel off the scotch tape from the top loader. It becomes a pain and sometimes you have to bend the top loader risking damage to get the tape off. If you don’t have any team bags I would use blue painter’s tape which is way easier to come off.
After your sports cards are secured in a team bag, you now have to protect your card from shipping. People at the post office are flinging your package around. It will be scanned and thrown in multiple bins. Your package and card must stand up to all of these rigors.
Take cardboard and cut two (2) pieces that are sized the same as the sports cards you are shipping.
Sandwich the card between the two cardboard pieces that you just cut and tape all four sides. I would use a 2″ tape roller to secure all four sides. Once you do this your card is protected and ready to ship!
What Do You Use to Ship Your Sports Cards?
Once your card has been secured with cardboard you now can put it inside a bubble mailer.
Once your sports card has been properly packaged place your card in a bubble mailer. Always ship your sports cards in a bubble mailer to ensure that your cards are protected and will make it to it’s final destination.
You can buy these bubble mailers on ebay or Amazon. You can also use the bubble mailers from your previous purchases. But if you are selling a lot of cards that may not be enough.
Most bubble mailers should have a self-seal, but if you are re-using a bubble mailer you are going to use a 2″ tape roller to make sure it is sealed. You can never use too much tape so make sure that it is sealed where nothing ie. rain can get into the inside of the package.
Now all you need is to print a shipping label and you are set to ship this out.
What is the Best Printer to Use for Shipping Sports Cards?
The best printer I used for shipping sports cards is a Dymo 4XL thermal printer. Most thermal printers can print the standard shipping label size, which is 6″ x 4″. You will never have to order ink or toner which will save you money. Since the label is self-adhesive, once it’s printed all you have to do is put it on a bubble mailer and you are ready to ship.
I used to use an inkjet printer. I would print the label, then had to cut the label to the size of the package. I would then tape all 4 sides of the label to the package. I would always run out of ink or run out of tape much quicker.
Once I bought a thermal printer, the Dymo 4XL, I saved so much time and money. I didn’t have to order ink anymore. Some ink cartridges were $30-40 dollars so not buying them every other month meant I could buy more cards! I used much less tape and just didn’t waste as much time. Buying a thermal printer was the best thing I did with regards to shipping cards.
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What Shipping Software To Use When Shipping Sports Cards?
You can use PirateShip.com or Paypal to ship your sports cards online. If you sell your sports cards on Ebay then use their shipping services because they will give you the cheapest rates. When shipping sports cards you are going to use USPS First Class. This is the cheapest option, which is around $3.00-$4.00, that will provide tracking. This will ensure that your package has arrived to your buyer.
If you are selling on Ebay you are going to ship through them. They will give you the cheapest rates. You should be using USPS First Class. But if you didn’t sell your sports cards through eBay and used Facebook or Instagram, If you want to learn more Click Here on How to Sell on Facebook, then you can use a company called Pirate Ship.
Pirate Ship has the cheapest shipping rates for shipping sports cards. You can get tracking and send it to your buyer just like you would on eBay. If you are paid through PayPal you can use their shipping services as well. They have similar, sometimes cheaper rates, then Pirate Ship.
So that’s it! Follow these steps and your cards will be properly protected. They will make it to their final destination and your buyers will be happy that the card they purchased wasn’t damaged during the shipping process.