How to Ship Graded Cards Safely & Securely

Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.

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To ship graded cards, first, place the slab inside of a graded card sleeve. Then, place the sleeved slab between two rectangular pieces of cardboard that are each sized slightly larger than the slab. Secure the cardboard together either with rubberbands or blue painter’s tape. Last, place the sandwiched slab inside of a bubble mailer and seal the package.

Some prefer to wrap the card in bubble wrap before placing it in the mailer. Others will only ship graded cards in boxes, in which case it’s best to place the card in a smaller cardboard box that fits inside a slightly larger cardboard box. (There are also graded card mailers made specifically for this purpose.)

The goal is to minimize the card’s movement while in transit, so if the larger cardboard box leaves too much wiggle room, it’s probably a good idea to fill in the gaps with some type of packing material.

And that’s really all there is to it. Of course, there are a number of different ways to ship a sports card, but this is my preferred method.

If you have questions about any of the steps mentioned above, here are detailed instructions.

1. Put Graded Slab Into Graded Card Sleeve

To protect the graded card from scratches, place the slab inside of a graded card sleeve. In fact, I keep all of my slabs in graded card sleeves from the time I get them to the time I ship them. This way I don’t have to worry about scratching the slab at any time.

And here is Sports Card Investor talking about the need for graded card sleeves, especially when stacking multiple cards on top of each other, and the risk that creates:

2. Place Sleeved Slab Between Cardboard

Now that the graded slab is protected from scratches thanks to the graded card sleeve, we need to give it a bit more protection to save it from impact. One universal way to do that is to sandwich the slab between two pieces of rectangular cardboard that are slightly larger than the slab so that they cover the front and back of the card entirely.

For me, the easiest way to go about this is to simply reuse Amazon boxes that I have sitting around by cutting them up into the cardboard pieces I need. Others like to save old cardboard they receive from others to reuse for their own shipments.

One last option if you’re short on time and big on convenience, you can buy pre-cut card shipping cardboard from Hobby Armor. And yes, they even have graded sizes.

3. Secure the Cardboard

This step is open to personal preference, but the idea is to secure the cardboard pieces to each other so that the card between them wouldn’t fall out in transit. I prefer to use blue painter’s tape because it’s easy to secure and easy to remove.

Some will use packing tape, and that’s fine for protection, but it’s a lot more difficult to remove which leads to frustration. Others will use rubberbands, either one horizontally or vertically, or sometimes two, with one going horizontal and one going vertical.

4. Place the Card Inside a Bubble Mailer

Last, once the card is secured within its graded sleeve and sandwiched in cardboard, it’s ready to go into its final layer of protection, which can be a bubble mailer.

Read More: What is BMWT?

Obviously, there are a number of different bubble mailer options, so I’ll leave that to you to choose.

The one piece of advice I have is, to choose one that leaves little wiggle room and provides a snug fit. This will eliminate movement during transit and will give you the best chance of the card arriving undamaged.

For an extra layer of protection, some choose to place the card inside of a smaller bubble mailer and then within a larger bubble mailer.

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