To all the basketball, baseball, Magic, and Pokémon fans drowning in trading cards out there, don’t fear! If you’re looking to get into business with your card collection, this guide is the place to start. Before you ship trading and playing cards, you’ll want to figure out a game plan for the amount of protection, insurance, and money you’re investing in your shipments. Use this guide to create your shipping plan and procedure for your precious stock, and get to trading and selling!
Table of Contents
- Package Your Trading and Playing Cards Carefully
- Add Insurance to Your Shipments
- Ship Your Cards with the Right Services
- Use Online Shipping Software for the Most Savings
Package Your Trading and Playing Cards Carefully
There are a couple of different levels of protection, so you’ll want to choose how you pack your playing and trading cards for shipment depending on how valuable they are.
No matter what, at the very least, you’ll want to put your card in a penny sleeve and a top-loader (make sure that your top-loader matches or exceeds the point value width of your card) before you pop it into a mailer. To secure the card in the top loader, many trading card shippers will use a bit of painter’s tape to seal the top while avoiding any residue on the actual packaging.
For low-value cards, you can stop there. If you’re worried about any damage that might devalue your cards, here are some measures you can take before you ship them:
- Use a one-touch case! This is a hard case, which is great for keeping your card as flat as possible during transit.
- Add cardboard on either side of the card for extra support. Fillers cards or business cards also work in these cases as well.
If your card is of very high value, it would be smart to add extra bubble wrap, or even put your card with packaging into a rigid cardboard box for an extra layer of protection. Boxes will also be the way to go if you’re selling full sets or teams.
Pro Tip: Check out BCW Supplies if you’re looking to buy these supplies in bulk. This is a highly-rated site for card traders and sellers. Some other helpful packing materials include team bags for packaging multiple cards, and packaging tape to seal up your shipments.
Add Insurance to Your Shipments
For any cards of value, you’ll definitely want to add insurance to your shipments. Any cards that are rare or of high value should be appraised before shipping, if possible. For damage claims, photos highlighting the condition of the card before shipping are helpful as evidence for the insurance company.
Trading cards are covered by most insurance services. Still, you’ll want to collect as much evidence as possible before and after shipping to demonstrate the original value, the precautions you took with packaging and shipping, and any devaluation due to damage to the item. This can get tricky, so here’s a quick list of the basics to gather in the case of shipping high-value cards:
- Photos of the card showing the condition pre-shipping
- Photos of all of the packaging, internal and external, used for shipping the item
- Appraised value with official paperwork (if possible)
- Photos of the item as it arrives to the recipient, including packaging and closeups of the damage to the item
In the same fashion as packaging, it’s up to your discretion on how many precautions you’d like to take when insuring trading card shipments. The higher the value, the more precautions you’ll want to take to make sure that you don’t lose money on your shipment.
Ship Your Cards with the Right Services
Since these shipments will all be smaller and lighter, USPS will definitely be the best place for competitive pricing for shipping trading and playing cards. You’ll have a couple of different options for shipping them out, depending on how many cards you’re shipping, and how highly they’re valued. We’ve listed those below:
- First Class Package Service – This is the majority of card shipments. First Class Package is perfect for lightweight shipments under a pound and allows you to add up to $1,000 value per shipment for insurance. If you’re shipping 5 cards or less, you should be set with this service.
- Priority Mail – Weight-based Priority Mail and Priority Mail Cubic will be your next options if you’re shipping anything weighing more than a pound. USPS includes $100 of insurance. However, you can insure your shipments for up to $5,000 worth of products with this service. If you’re shipping out more than 5 cards, you’ll want to opt for one of these services.
Never mail your product! Some shippers may be inclined to send cards via First Class Mail to save money, but this is the wrong move. Using mailing services will put your card shipments at a higher risk of damage, theft, and loss. Plus, mailing services don’t come with tracking numbers like package services do, so you won’t be able to track your cards and know when they get delivered.
Pro Tip: If you’re shipping a trading or playing card of high value, it might not hurt to add Signature Confirmation on your shipment! This is just another layer of protection to ensure the safe and correct delivery of your card(s).
Use Online Shipping Software for the Most Savings
Shipping these cards isn’t going to be the cheapest, especially if you’re sending out a lot of them. So, it’s important to save where you can! That’s where online shipping software will come in to save you tons of cash. By using online software to buy postage, you’ll get access to the deepest commercial discounts available through USPS, and special privileges like the ability to ship up to 16 ounces with First Class Package and $100 of insurance included on Priority Mail Services (rather than just $50 at the Post Office).
With these commercial USPS discounts, you can save up to 59% on First Class Package shipments, and up to 90% (ninety!) on Priority Mail shipments.
If that hasn’t sold you yet, using online shipping software also allows you to print labels from your home or office. You can also schedule free next-day pickups for your trading and playing card shipments! That means you won’t have to stand in those crazy long lines at the Post Office! Slam dunk/huzzah? Either way, you’re set.
Don’t Play Yourself…Plan Ahead
The key to shipping your cards out without risking loss is planning ahead, and tiering out your cards based on value. Once you’ve figured out your cutoffs for each added precaution, you can ship out with minimal losses!
Packaging is key to maintaining the condition and value of the card, so never skimp on that step. You don’t need to add insurance to ship a $10 trading or playing card, but you’ll definitely want to add insurance and invest in extra packaging for a card worth $100 or more! Then, choose the shipping service that fits your needs best. Remember: you’ll save both time and money when you use online shipping software to buy postage. You’ve got this!