How to Ship Trading Cards

Shipping your trading cards ensures someone gets their cards damage free.

Whether it’s sports cards, pokemon, or magic.

No collector wants damaged cards.

As an active card buyer, I get dozens of packages a week sent to me.

While some sellers do a great job, others have sent me damaged cards.

And a damaged card affects both the seller and buyer.

Refunds, unhappy customer, ruined card….

It’s a no win situation.

So if you are a seller, breaker, or trading cards online.

This article is for you.

How To Prep the card(s) to ship

The first thing you need to do is to prep the card(s) to ship

Penny sleeve + Top loader

You need to protect the cards you ship.

Each card needs to have a penny sleeve and top loader.

The type of penny sleeve and top loader used depends on the thickness of the card.

Don’t use a smaller option as it’ll damage the card.

This step is inexpensive, but help make sure your card arrives as pictured.

It shouldn’t have creases or dinged corners.

So unless you are sending a bulk order (50+ Cards)*

Add the penny sleeve and top loader.

*Even with bulk orders, I would still recommend penny sleeves. A top loader isn’t required.

How should you tape the cards

Use Painters Tape, not scotch tape

A common practice when shipping trading cards is using a piece of tape over the top loader.

Most resort to scotch tape.

While scotch tape does protect the card from slipping out.

It can ruin the top loader and the experience for the buyer.

See collectors don’t enjoy having tape on the cards when storing them.

It doesn’t look appealing & can cause many top loaders to stick together.

And when removing the tape, it leaves residue.

And can be a pain to remove.

Instead of scotch tape, use painters tape.

It’s easy to remove

And there is no residue left behind.

Fold the Tape

To make removing the tape even easier for the buyer.

Fold the tape over so there is a small tab.

That way the buyer wont have to use a fingernail to remove the tape if it gets stuck.

Don’t over use Tape

Everyone understands the need of protecting a card.

But please, do not overdo the tape on the card.

A buyer shouldn’t need to use another tool to take the tape off.

So please make it easy and add the tab.

The worst thing to do is have a collector ruin the card because of overprotection.

Bulk Orders

Sending out bulk orders is different then when sinding out a single.

You have three different routes in which you can take.

Team Bags

Fill up the team bags to capacity.

Then around the team bags, add a layer of cardboard on each side.

Secure with Tape.

Snap Cases

Snap cases protect the cards pretty well.

I would add another layer of tape to be careful it doesn’t snap open.

Cardboard Card Box

Cardboard boxes can get damaged during transportation.

They are often tossed around.

So your goal is to make sure the cards don’t move around in the box.

The best way to achieve this is to add bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

And around the edges of the cards, add a few layers of paper.

The goal is to hear no noise inside this inner box.

After that add the card box into a larger box.

Fill that with more bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Ways to Ship Trading Cards

There are a lot of different options on how to send out cards.

Here are some of the most popular ones.

PWE – Plain White Envelope

Using a PWE is controversial in the card industry.

While it’s the cheapest way to mail.

There is little to no protection.

I recommend against shipping with a pwe

But, if you do use one, you should be able to send up to 10 cards.

General Tips

There are two main goals when shipping with a pwe

Protecting the cards and keeping the envelope smooth.

Don’t throw your cards in there by themselves.

It can cause the envelope to be lumpy.

If it’s lumpy, it’ll get stuck in a machine and you will face a non machinable fee.

So to keep the envelope from being lumpy and to protect the cards

Add some thick paper to it.

Add some junk cards or junk mail flyers.

It’s also not recommended to send any thick cards.

So if you are sending a jersey card, graded, or a thick stock.

Remember, you don’t want it to be lumpy make the thickness uniform

Pay for the bubble mailer.

Oh, and don’t be the seller that charges a lot for shipping and sends in a PWE.

You are asking for a bad review.

Bubble Mailer

This is what I recommend everyone use.

A small bubble mailer is inexpensive to buy and ship.

Singles fit great in them and you can add many cards if needed.

Add the card to a team bag and it should be secure.

If you want more protection, add some cardboard to it.

Cardboard Card Boxes

If you need to send more than 100 cards.

A cardboard card box is going to be the best option.

It works best for bulk lots and set purchases.

When shipping, use the box-in-box approach.

Add the cardboard card box into a larger box.

And fill that up with bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

Securing the inner box.

Make sure the box is not moving inside.

Larger Options

Here are a few more options that you can use.

You shouldn’t need to use them often, but if you do here you go.

  • Padded Flat Rate Envelope
  • Medium Flat Rate Box (11×9)
  • Medium Flat Rate Box (14×12)
  • Large Flat Rate Box (12×12)
  • Large Flat Rate Game Box (24×12)

Ship Your Cards with the Right Services

With smaller shipments, USPS is your best bet.

If your cards are under a pound & under $1000 in value, use the First Class Package service.

If you are sending more than a pound or $1000 in value, use priority mail.

The best way to know the weight of your package is to use a kitchen scale.

As a small time seller, you’ll be ok.

But as you send more cards out, it’s recommended you buy one.

Shipping Card Tips

Here are a few tips to make shipping cards easier for you.

Plan ahead

Plan out how you are going to ship out the cards.

From the type of mailer to the service you want to use.

And if you want tracking or a signature.

There are a lot of options.

Make a list or sheet with criteria and stick to it.

That way you are consistent.

Add a Note

Adding a personal note is a great way to receive higher reviews.

Let the buyer know you appreciate his or her business.

And that they should leave feedback.

Bonus Tip

Leave your social media handle and or a business card.

You can gain followers on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Get Tracking / Delivery confirmation ($25+)

If your card is worth more than $25, you should get tracking.

eBay encourages tracking & the buyer appreciates it.

And a buyer can’t claim a package loss if it’s tracked as delivered.

Add Insurance to Expensive Cards ($100+)

For your more expensive cards, you’ll want to add insurance.

Any time you mail something, there is a chance that it gets lost in the mail or damaged

You’ll want to have pictures before you ship the card.

So grab a picture of the card before you ship it.

A picture of the packaging, both in and outside.

If it comes back damaged.

You’ll need photos of the packaging

And photos of the damaged card,

Signature Confirmation ($250+)

If you are sending a card over $250 in value, I recommend adding signature confirmation.

It ensures the buyer got the card and that it delivered to the right person.

Add this with the insurance.

You don’t need new products.

You can get away using used products.

Don’t spend extra money on stuff.

You can reuse bubble mailers, penny sleeves, tape, boxes, team bags, and top-loaders.

Pay for shipping online

You don’t need to wait at the post office. Buy your shipping online and save both time and money.

You need a kitchen scale and paypal.

Go here for more discounts.

Select the service, weigh the package and ship.

Supplies Needed for Shipping

So to ship your cards out, here is what you are going to need.

  • Plain White Envelopes
  • Small Bubble Mailers
  • Large Bubble Mailers
  • Cardboard Card Boxes
  • Masking Tape
  • Team Bags
  • Snap Cases
  • Penny Sleeves
  • Kitchen Scale

Final Thoughts

Shipping out cards can be a scary process the first few times.

You might worry about damaging the cards or spending too much.

Don’t worry too much. You can refine the process over time.

It’s better to be a bit more overprotective then to skip steps.

Don’t have the card arrive damaged.


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