How to Ship Sports Cards – A Step-By-Step Guide

Sam Hayes
Written By Sam Hayes
Sam is a sports journalist and lifelong sports trading card enthusiast. Sam aims to share his expert knowledge of sports cards to help others make smart buying and selling decisions.

Securing the sale of a sports card is huge for all levels of trader, whether it be a highly graded expensive card, or a run of the mill basic piece from an easy to acquire set, moving a card on is a great feeling for a trader.

With the online sports card trading industry taking hold in a way that has seldom been seen before, there are thousands of sports cards exchanging hands all over the world on a daily basis.

As a result, not all cards are shipped, packed or delivered in the same way, with each country, person and postal system having a different approach as to how each card reaches its intended destination.

Like most selling industries, having a trademark pattern in place is key, as buyers and customers get to understand the product and from there, can make their own decision as to whether they like the product(s).

The rise of independent sports card sellers however has left a subjective element to sports card trading and there is nothing worse as a buyer and/or seller, than a card being damaged in transit, especially as money would have exchanged hands previously.

Here is a guide as to how to ship sports cards efficiently:

1. Correct Materials are Key

All sports card sellers need to ensure they have the correct materials at their disposal in order to ensure their pieces get to the buyer in immaculate condition.

Bulk buying envelopes is always recommended, from the standpoint of price and continuity, where buyers can begin to become accustomed to the particular standards set by each seller.

Penny sleeves, plastic wallets and top loaders are absolute essentials in the sports trading card world, enabling sellers to ensure that their card is safely packed when it has left them.

More experienced sellers may look to use small scales to weigh their product to the last gram or may even use thin cardboard strips between their cards, to limit the potential of any damage in transit.

As a rule of thumb, being over prepared when selling sports cards is key and looking to protect the card from all potential pitfalls, is the best approach to have as a sports card seller.

2. Get to grips with the sizing

Every single country will have their own rules and regulations when it comes to postal weights and sizes and whilst remembering each international requirement is impossible, building up a database of different information for sports card sales can be hugely helpful.

Small, medium and large envelopes all have different requirements in each country, whilst the weight of each package can also influence the amount one can expect to pay on postage and shipping.

It perhaps goes without saying, that shoving sports trading cards into any old white envelope probably isn’t the best way to go for sellers, especially if the cards hold plenty of value, so understanding the sizing and cost of each sale is key.

3. Be Ready for the Sale

How many sales a sports card trader makes often depends on their aspiration as a collector and the popularity of their collection from a selling perspective.

Regardless of the aspiration of the seller, having a tried and tested method of packing each card is key.

Being ready for every sale entails ensuring that the envelope that the cards are being sent in is ready, with the address clearly written on it and the postage arranged.

The fragile nature of sports trading cards can become problematic for sellers who pack their cards in the envelopes before writing the details of the recipient on it – which can cause pressure and damage to the card in question.

Once the sale is finalised, packing the card safely and securely in the pre addressed envelope is a great habit to get into. From there all postage arrangements can be organised, safe in the knowledge that the card is going to its correct destination, with the card in pristine condition.

When selling graded cards, the stakes are even higher – simply due to the fact that each card being moved on carries a serious amount of value.

Penny sleeves and extra wrapping can seem to be a little bit of unnecessary faffing for sellers but in the long run, they can enable sellers to save huge amounts of money on refunds and time on dealing with disgruntled buyers.

4. Stay on top of the Postage

A small amount of research can go a long way when it comes to how much postage is owed on a particular sale and that additional cost should always be factored in by sellers when initially listing their sports cards.

As previously mentioned, many countries are different in how they price their postage packages and whilst there is no hard and fast rule generally, being better informed will always help sellers.

Postage is a broad church and many companies and postal services do things differently, it is often down to experience of selling when the whole concept of looking to move on cards effectively becomes easier.

5. Don’t Skimp

The temptation is always there for sellers to look to save some precious pennies by economising on envelopes, top loaders and plastic wallets. This fallacy can often have disastrous consequences to the reputation of any seller and precious cards can often return tarnished.

Working to the same logic can cause problems for sellers when they are choosing which method to actually send their packages via, as the transiting stage is always a risk for both buyers and sellers.

Having a rule of thumb is key when looking at how much one is looking to pay when packaging a sports card, as after all, they are hardly heavy items of packaging.

If the card equates to an amount that is affordable to reimburse should something go wrong, then packing the card in a basic envelope is a rational way of posting it.

However, if the card is worth a fair bit of money, saving a couple of dollars on postage is certainly not worth it, when there are plenty of tried and tested recorded postal services on the market.

Regardless of how a sports card is shipped, ensuring that all of the basic requirements are met is a pre-requisite for all levels of collector.