How to safely package cards!

cardcollector01

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Recently, I have had a few trades where packaging was not up to par. I have decided to make this thread explaining how you can package up cards to prevent damage while in the postal service.

1-3 Cards (PWE)
I usually send 1-3 cards in a Plain White Envelope. You always need to use an appropriately sized toploader. Never try to squeeze cards into a toploader. Make sure the cards are in a softsleeve or softsleeves to prevent corner dings. Tape the top of the toploader shut tightly, to prevent the cards from slipping out. I send these types of packages as 'Non-Machineable First Class' (costs about 65 cents per envelope). Pretty much what this means is that they treat it like a package, and do not let it go through the machines they use to sort the mail.

4-25 cards AND Game Used / Autographs (padded envelope)
Whenever I trade alot of cards (under about 30), I always put them in a padded envelope. I have devised a method of packaging these safely, without using a toploader for every card

1. Put all the cards your mailing into a team set bag, or zip lock bag

2. Tape the bag of cards to a toploader (or piece of cardboard, whichever you use) on ALL 4 SIDES. This prevents the bag from manuvering itself free.

3. Tape another toploader or cardboard piece on top of the exposed side of the cards, and tape again on ALL 4 SIDES. Package it up good, taping the envelope shut.


This method works extremely well, as I have not had any complaints yet.

26+ cards (box)
When trading away a large lot of cards, I mail them in a box. I use the same packaging method as the one above, but also tape the cards to the box, so they will not move around inside, because we all know how the Postal Service treats the packages. Fill the box with packing peanuts, shreaded paper or whatever you prefer to use. Seal the box tightly on every side possible, assuring the box will not break open during transit.


NEVER put an autograph or game used card in a PWE. This never turns out good, for anyone

Delivery Confirmation - Use it when you feel like you should. I know some traders use it for every trade, and thats ok. Some of us do not have enough money to do that, and thats alright too.


Well, hope this was informative to people :) You are welcome to share your ways of packaging, and I will add them to this list. Also, if this could get stickied, that would be helpful too :)

Robbie
 

worldwideed

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Good stuff. I use many of the techniques above and have NEVER received a damaged card complaint.

Also, if any trade newbies are reading this. NEVER send a gu card or think card in a PWE through the regular letter mail it WILL be damaged.
 

jaderock

Prospect
12
JMO:

I would NEVER send any card in a PWE UNLESS it was a thin card like Topps Total AND it was part of a contest freebie. Toploaders aren't meant for regular mail. They bend AND sometimes crack which results in creases.

My feeling is: if I buy or trade for a card, it's because I NEED it regardless of "BV" -- meaning it holds value to me. If I get a creased card due to cheap packaging/shipping, then the experience is ruined (and often times not replacable).
 

cardcollector01

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JMO:

I would NEVER send any card in a PWE UNLESS it was a thin card like Topps Total AND it was part of a contest freebie. Toploaders aren't meant for regular mail. They bend AND sometimes crack which results in creases.

My feeling is: if I buy or trade for a card, it's because I NEED it regardless of "BV" -- meaning it holds value to me. If I get a creased card due to cheap packaging/shipping, then the experience is ruined (and often times not replacable).

Good point. However, if you pay the extra .13 or so cents, you can have it go Non-Machineable first class, which means they have to carry it through the sorting process, instead of allowing it through the sorters. This prevents the toploaders any damage, and it only costs .65 cents per PWE.

Robbie
 

zlw1

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Good point. However, if you pay the extra .13 or so cents, you can have it go Non-Machineable first class, which means they have to carry it through the sorting process, instead of allowing it through the sorters. This prevents the toploaders any damage, and it only costs .65 cents per PWE.

Robbie

Robbie
I go through stamps.com
its only .17 extra to ship a 1oz envelope with nonmachinable surcharge
Worth every penny!
 

ktcardshop

Prospect
7
Plain White Envelope?

I never use a PWE. Seems that the post office will miss it an send it through their machines and the card either gets badly curled or ripped out of the envelope and you get the envelope in a plastic bag saying it was damaged in processing.
Rather I use a 28# Brown Craft 7G Catalog Envelope. It looks like it's larger counterparts but is about the size of a 6 3/4 envelope. Being brown in color and made from much thicker paper, it shows up as being different to the mail sorters.
I put the cards in a team bag and between two toploaders and securely tape them together in both directions with carton sealing tape. After placing them in the envelope I seal the envelope and tape it shut. So far this has proven to be indestructible to the post office. I would never use a plain white envelope for sending cards!

Ray
 

Texas Brave13

Veteran
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In addition to all of these pearls of wisdom in packing/shipping of cards of ANY style, I especially like the best method of all:

COMMON SENSE

That Tony Armas 1980 Topps that's worth .05¢ to you might be worth $1K to the person buying it...
 
O

oldmarine0311

Guest
one important thing that was left out when a person is trading either with a bubble mailer or PWE please please please also on a scrap of paper list the trade number and your return address, if for some reason your PWE is damaged it has an address that it can be returned to. and as the person who is getting the trade it makes it easier to find and grade your trade if the trade number is there too. becaseu if your doing several trades its time consuming and sometimes difficult to know who sent what. plus its just a decent thing to do.
 

gwynn_fan

All-Star
535
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Hi
I guess it has been 8 or so years since this has been added to, but as your Bench USPS employee, I have few additional items to help save you money and mail safely.

1. If I am selling on ebay or here, I currently charge $3.25 shipping no matter how many cards you buy. I can do this, because currently USPS charges at most $3.08 up to 4 ounces. You can get a bunch of cards in a 25 count plastic box that will fit in a small 5xy mailer.
2. And addressing the concerns of oldmarine above. If I am selling here thebench lets you print out a packing slip. I take that and if I have a lot of card...I can have two cards in plastic sleeves, put the rest of the cards between the two, then I take the packing slip and as tightly as I can fold it, but the cards securely in the packing slip and just have to tape that closed. If the envelope somehow gets open, you have the added little paper box, with all the necessary information wrapped around the cards.
3. I print out the shipping label on just a regular piece of copy paper. I then use a 3" wide HD clear strapping tape and I first lay the label on the 5x7 envelope and then cut off about 7" of tape, which I put over the top half of the shipping label (which I print at www.paypal.com/mos) and wrap around to add to securing the sticky seal of the envelope. 3" of tape will cover the top of the label ( well first cut around the label along the outer black line,) down to your return address. Then I take a second piece of 7" tape goes over the addressee's address and also covers the delivery confirmation barcode and number. Why is this important? Because, I have seen hundreds of shipping labels that have been printed on the expensive sticky back labels, but they're using printer's ink and it pretty much doesn't matter what brand or promises they made; THE INK WILL RUN AND BECOME ILLEGIBLE!! So cover the damn information...trust me, I scan tons of barcodes at work and it will scan through clear tape. Heck, if I can bring up on a computer screen, I can scan it there. I have delivered Express mail with Sunday delivery and forgot to bring a scanner and I can take a picture of the label and scan when I get back to the office!

Here's some stuff you don't know and won't believe!
The majority of all the clerks, mailhandlers and carriers are lazy and they don't care about customer service at all. I have been with the USPS (in fact, when I tell people who I work for, I tell them I work for the Post Office, because there is no service left.)
And, this just to make an example and go to bed. On pretty much every Express mail label either domestic or foreign, there is a place for a phone number of the addressee! I am the only employee in the main office, who actually opens up the bags of Express mail and pulls out any local mail ie sent to the wrong post office (What, give it to someone to drives over to the correct station, when I can just send it back to the main post office and delay it a day or two.) I have gotten back Express mail that have been marked as return to sender, bad zip, when everything else is correct but the zip code, which includes the phone number of the person it addressed to, who probably knows his zip code. But, "we don't have the time at the stations to call someone" and, "What, look it up on google maps, who has time for that?" Not the USPS, er USPO :))
I can almost guarantee you, that if you mail an Express mail package on a Saturday, it will not get there in time on Monday and you can get your money back!
Anyways, hope this helps you all!
Bob
 

Mike121

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I wanted to bump this thread in hopes that some folks will read it. I've seen more complaints, lately, about folks sending handfuls of cards in a PWE.

The suggestions in this thread are still very much the "norm", I'd say.

I'd say, in most cases, that if you're planning on sending in a PWE, that should probably be discussed before the transaction is posted.
 
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gwynn_fan

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I don't particularly like PWE or SASE, but when asked, What I do is print the invoice/packing slip. I then place the cards in what used to be penny card holder (but, boxes went from $17 to$30.) I then take the packing slip and place the cards on the paper and then fold the card tightly in the middle. Then fold the ends, so it will fit in #6 envelope. Remember, to put $0.70 in postage.
B0b
 

Mike121

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Remember, to put $0.70 in postage.
This is another issue I've seen a few folks complain about in the last week. Postage due upon delivery. I don't do many PWE trades, so this may have happened to me. I usually just throw a stamp on them and away they go. That said, I don't think I've ever put more than 3 cards in a PWE either. 🤷‍♂️
 

anglinomics

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For a pwe, I use a top loader and tape the top loader to the inside of the envelope so it doesn't move around. I write do not machine on the envelope which would then needs an additional 1 ounce stamp A one ounce stamp is currently 20 cents, but you can buy a forever one ounce stamp. I have had one pwe get ripped up, because in that one I added additional cardboard thinking it was more secure. But the 1 top loader is slim and I've never had a problem with it when sent by itself. Also if the weight is more than 1 ounce another one ounce stamp is required. But usually 70 cents will do it. It has been my experience that the person at the post office or different post offices are not consistent on what is required for a pwe. It is also my opinion that the most frequent cause of damaged cards happens when you try to protect them. Like with a Topps Heritage card which is made from thicker and softer cardboard, when putting in a penny sleeve great care is required so you don't ding the corner when putting in a a soft sleeve.
 
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KCLJ520

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I usually use thin cardboard to protect the cards, and taping them to keep movement to a minimum is best, agreed. 3 cards in a PWE is plenty! USPS has been extremely picky about postage due, so I generally err on the side of an extra stamp if necessary. I do like the non-machineable option, I have used that for years now!

Blessings,

Kevin
 

Pinbreaker

Bench Warmer
Thanks for the info. I have been a member on various site for awhile and this past year I have been using Pirateship to mail my packages. They are cheap like PayPal but when I send with insurance it’s extremely cheaper. 😎
 

gwynn_fan

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Hi
Since I joined Sportlots.com, if somebody wants just 1 card, I do the follwing. I open the packing slip and copy it to my Google Doc page. I then copy the buyer's address and copy it to the bottom of the page. I then print out the page. I cut the address off the bottom. Then, I take the card in a card saver II, add two bonus cards and wrap them in the packing slip and place it in a #6 envelope. Trim the address and attach it with my sticky return address and cover it with a slice of 3" clear tape.. I use a first class stamp and I then mail it at the post office and drop it in the stamped envelope slot. So far after about mailing about 100 cards, I have only had one come back asking for additional postage.
Just a suggestion.
Bob
 
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