Asking questions is hard. Especially in circles and circumstances where you’re thinking nearly everyone else knows the answer, and you, perhaps as a newcomer or novice are just looking to get up to speed with everyone else.
I see this a lot with cards, mostly it’s on social media or i forums where everyone is regularly throwing out the same terms over and over, only to have one person chime in every once in a while to ask just what a certain term means.
The two main culprits? BMWT and PWE.
What is BMWT?
BMWT stands for Bubble Mailer with Tracking, and is typically referred to when discussing the shipping method of a card.
For instance, if someone says “$20 BMWT,” it means the price of the card is $20 total, which includes the shipping of the card in a bubble mailer (the package) with tracking (from USPS, etc.)
Why do people need to state BMWT? Why can’t they just say $20 shipped or $20 delivered? Because there is another popular method of shipping a card.
What is PWE?
PWE stands for Plain White Envelope, and is used to let the buyer know that the card will be sent in this envelope as opposed to a bubble mailer.
As you can imagine, sending a card PWE is cheaper than BMWT, and is typically reserved for lower value cards where greater risk can be accepted, given there isn’t much protection or tracking available.
Also, some cards are just more susceptible to damage—think thick and chunky patches, or the beautiful gold border frames of 2020 Topps Gold Label. There are just certain cards you wouldn’t want to risk sending (or having sent to you).
Which is Better?
As pointed out, both options server a purpose depending on what you’re collecting, and who you’re buying from.
You should consider using BMWT for any purchase or trade involving a card of significant value. That number is going to differ from person to person, with some thinking nothing over $5 should be sent PWE, while others have a $20 threshold.
Why? Because things happen. A bubble mailer offers added card protection, and is also big enough for the sender to add even more protection like sandwiching the card between two pieces of cardboard.
And that’s just considering what’s in your control. Things happen in the mail too; things get lost, or don’t get scanned. With BMWT, you’ll have tracking to allow you to follow the card’s journey from sender to your mailbox.
Which brings up the last point—how trustworthy is the person sending your card? If there is any question, or if you haven’t dealt with them before and can’t verify their reputation, a BMWT will at least prove something was put in the mail.
So, hope that helps! What other collecting questions do you have?