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  1. #1

    ARTICLE: Mike's guide to shipping; how to make sure your cards arrive safe and sound.

    Mike's Guide to...Shipping
    by Mike(soxfan445)

    This is guide 3 out of a 4 part "Mike's guide to" series. The next Mike's guide will be Mike's guide to Through the Mail autos, and that should be fun to write and ready by the weekend.


    This guide will talk about how to ship cards, card lots, and boxes. Shipping is an important part of the trading and selling process, so it is important that you do it correctly to avoid losing money. I will also talk about a good idea I have on how to send cash in the mail.

    OK, lets begin

    One to five cards

    Your most common situation will be this one. This is a common occurance when you are trading or selling on eBay. You have 1-5 cards that need to get from your trade box to someone else's collection across the country. How do you do it? Well, there are several ways.

    ENVELOPE METHOD:
    If you are sending commons or similar cards, and both parties agree with it, an envelope could be the way to go for the cheapest way to send cards. First, put the card(s) in a penny sleeve and top loader, or whatever protection you use. I'm just going to say top-loader throughout the guide, so if you use something else, just substitute that one in.
    Here comes a step that is really important for me and guarantees the safety of the cards. A TEAM BAG IS THE MOST USEFUL AND MOST IMPORTANT PART OF SHIPPING. I cannot stress that enough. For people who don't know what a team bag is, it is a small plastic "sleeve" that usually holds team sets and has a sealable and resealable top. You can get these from your card shop for about $2 a bag of 100, and it will take a while to use them up. Team bag are so useful because of the sealing feature. No need to put messy tape on your top loaders, just get a team bag and the cards WILL NOT fall out of the loader, no matter how much bumping and bruising it goes through in the post office machines. It also makes things a lot more organized than just a bunch of cards in random places in an envelope, and it cuts down the need for tape. Go out and buy some team bags at your next visit to the card store. I will attach a picture about what they look like and what they do below. Put the team bag with the cards in it in the envelope. You may want to put a piece of cardboard in, but if there is at least one card with a top loader, then that should provide adequate protection. Seal the back and attach tape, and write the address and DO NOT BEND on the front and you're good to go. It should cost you .49 to .60 cents.

    BUBBLE MAILER METHOD:
    Bubble mailers are beige mailers with bubble wrap inside. You can buy them at Staples or your local office or stationary store. They normally cost around $6 for 12 mailers. I like to use size #00. Bubble mailers offer the best protection and value. Prepare your card as before, and put it inside the mailer, perhaps with a "thanks for the trade" note or something. Seal the bubble mailer, and put a piece of clear shipping tape on the back. It should cost you .60 to .83 cents.

    I'll go into the different ways to ship now, and then on to boxes and cash TTM.

    First Class
    This is the type of mail you will usually use to ship things. It is the standard, stamped or metered, mail type of the USPS. It costs .37 cents for the first once and .23 for each additional. Your mailers will probably cost .60. I should probably put a note here that the following methods are how my post office work but not necesarily how all work. The following tips work for my office, so adjust them to how you see fit. ALWAYS FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR PACKAGES TAKE THEM TO THE COUNTER!! I assume that each post office has someone working at a counter who sells stamps and weighs packages to be shipped. Take it to this person so that you can be sure A.You are paying the right postage and B.Your package was succesfully shipped. It gives a better sense of security then dropping them in the mailbox with a .60 cent stamp on it. Also, the person will give you a reciept. KEEP THE RECIEPT!! The post office reciept is a sure fire way to show you mailed something. I will also attach a picture of a post office reciept. It tells you the zip code of the person you sent it to. THINGS RARELY GET LOST IN THE MAIL. The USPS' job is to deliver things, and they do it pretty well with a few minor lapses. If you want to make sure that the other person knows you sent it, keep the reciept in case any problem comes up. That's another reason to take it to the counter. Also, you may want to consider delivery confirmation. This is a service that allows you to check and make sure that delivery was made. It costs .55 cents and you need to have a package that is more than 3/4 inches thick to get the service. Use cardboard or decoys to increase the height of you package. Make sure to keep the delivery confirmation reciept too.

    Priority mail
    The only advantages to shipping priority are the fact that it gets there quicker (2 days usually), and that you get free supplies. Any package can be sent priority, but the USPS gives away free supplies for Priority Mail service. This can be good, but the $3.85 charge makes it almost not worth it.

    Shipping boxes;FedEx
    When you think of packages, the first thing you think of is UPS. WRONG. UPS is always more expensive than another form of delivery; FedEx. FedEx home delivery is around $5 for a 2 or 3 pound box, and comes with $100 of insurance and a free tracking number. FedEx is the way to go for heavier packages.

    Cash through the mail
    Cash is one of the most dangerous payments to send. Anyone can use it if they intercept it. So, to discourage theives, I came up with an idea. STICK YOUR CASH IN A TOP LOADER, and either PUT COMMONS OR DECOYS IN THE TOP LOADER or WRAP IT WITH PAPER. It wont feel or look like cash, so people wont think its cash.

    I hope I was helpful to you, and now you can start shipping better than ever.
    Look out for my guide to TTM autos tommorrow
    Regards,
    Mike

  2. #2
    Thanks for the all the great tips and info on shipping cards and cash! It helped me and i'm sure it will help many others. I'm looking foward to your Guide on TTM Autos!

    Keep up the good work!
    - Dan

  3. #3
    Mike- your articles are a great help when it comes to all things in the sportscard world.

  4. #4

    Re: ARTICLE: Mike's guide to shipping; how to make sure your cards arrive safe and sound.

    Originally posted by soxfan445
    A TEAM BAG IS THE MOST USEFUL AND MOST IMPORTANT PART OF SHIPPING. I cannot stress that enough. For people who don't know what a team bag is, it is a small plastic "sleeve" that usually holds team sets and has a sealable and resealable top. You can get these from your card shop for about $2 a bag of 100, and it will take a while to use them up. Team bag are so useful because of the sealing feature. No need to put messy tape on your top loaders, just get a team bag and the cards WILL NOT fall out of the loader, no matter how much bumping and bruising it goes through in the post office machines. It also makes things a lot more organized than just a bunch of cards in random places in an envelope, and it cuts down the need for tape. Go out and buy some team bags at your next visit to the card store.
    I know this might be considered cheap, but Glad has a new product out called "Press'n Seal" that you can use just as well. It's great because you can get a custom fit every time no matter how many or few cards you are shipping. You still need to use the penny packs to keep the sticky stuff off the cards (just incase) and at least one top loader for support. Pretty much you lay your cards down on the press'n seal (it's like a simi-sticky plastic wrap) and wrap it around the cards as snug as you can... that's it... it will not open until you want it to. And you can even use it in the kitchen to wrap up food :)

    here's a pack I'm sending out right now...

  5. #5

  6. #6
    I don't mind at all! I never would have thought of that! How many cards can you do with one press n' seal roll?
    PLMK!

    Regards,
    Mike

  7. #7
    I don't really know yet, I just thought of this last night as I was getting some sets ready for shipping today. I used a peice about 5 or 6 inches from top to bottom to wrap 6 cards & 1 top loader. I could have used less and it would have held perfectly. The standard roll is 75 feel long and I can't find a price online but I would guess it cost about $3.00 for a roll... but that's just a guess.

  8. #8
    I think a lot of people would benefit from reading this article, too many people ship their cards in regular envelopes and penny sleeves.

  9. #9
    This is how i ship small/medium lots of cards:

    Put two cards(usually the two with highest BV) into penny sleeves/toploaders, taped shut.

    Put the rest of the cards into penny sleeves, taped shut.

    Then, you create a "sandwhich" :) Put the stack of cards in penny sleeves inbetween the two cards in toploaders, and tightly tape the two toploaders together. If you do it right, it should be tight enough so that the cards in penny sleeves cannot move around.

    I've been able to safely ship 30 cards like this. I'm not sure how many you could ship and still have it be safe though.

    I'm not very good at explaining it, lol, hope you get the idea.

    Edit: If your not using top loaders..Cardboard can be used as a "Strengthener" layer.
    Also, you can wrap the cards in a piece of notebook paper and tape that shut, cutting down some of the tape residue coming in contact with the cards themselves.

  10. #10
    insanefish-I do the exact same thing, and I think you explained it very well, lol. It seems to work very well as I've never had any complaints from anyone about poor packaging or damaged cards.

    Kirby

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