This is a bit of an old topic, and maybe should be revived in a separate thread, or not at all, but I thought it might be worth a visit/re-visit. Plus I had a thought. Regarding mid-range raw cards, or something more than a plain envelope, but not needing a box:
I looked into heavy cardboard mailers to resist bending, but they won’t protect against punctures and can get lost more easily since they’re flat. Bubble mailers are lots of waste, but I DO like them for their padding and versatility in size… I recently discovered compostable / biodegradable bubble mailers. I’m going to give them a try, and do some experimenting with them before shipping…
Any thoughts/experience from the community?
I personally have always sandwich between cardboard in a team bag or envelope and then placed in a bubblemailer. I’ve only had maybe 1 or 2 issues in probably about 10,000 packages!
I literally just changed to this, but for graded cards I put them in a snug bubble mailer which goes inside a C6-sized box that’s one inch thick. If it’s something expensive I’ll put that box inside a bigger box (don’t smash it with a hammer) with some bubblewrap.
If it’s a raw card then toploader inside a team bag with cardboard on one side, then either in a bubble mailer or the same C6 box if it’s expensive.
Packs I’ll put them in a tarot sleeve, inside a card saver, then inside a graded card sleeve with cardboard, in a box.
If cards are not graded then they go in sleeves and card savers. Then everything goes in team bags along with a packing slip and any extras. Then place that in either a cardboard envelope or a bubble mailer folded over a few times and lastly place everything in another bubble envelope. If it something a bit more expensive or large I make sure to use a box as the final packaging. I’ve only ever had one problem arise from packaging so it seems to work just fine. I’ve looked into getting a small thin cardboard box and may switch to that as the final packaging in the future.
I use Jiffy Padded Eco Mailers which have been great for me. I use them almost exclusively - great protection and environmentally friendly. I also use a type of Eco Bubblewrap thats like corrugated cardboard almost.
For singles - card sleeved, in toploader then in resealable team bag. For one card, I will put in a hard backed mailer, for several cards I put them in a Size 0 padded bag (since the more toploaders/semi rigids together makes the package more rigid).
For graded cards - put them in a graded card sleeve and ship in a Size 0 padded bag.
Topload → Team bag → Padded mailer. If its an expensive single ill put it the toploader between 2 other toploaders and into the team bag.
Slabs get put into perfect fit sleeves, wrapped in bubble wrap. Into a smaller bubble mailer and then into a larger bubble mailer.
Only thing to add is i think boxed is essential for international
This is what I do as well. To add to this, if you cut the cardboard sandwich pieces to be almost the exact size of the inside of the bubble mailer instead of leaving space, it makes the entire thing extremely rigid.
Toploader taped on top between two cardboard pieces in a bubble mailer seems pretty secure. Did we rid the signatures? lol my marketing…
For raw singles? Penny sleeve in a top loader inside of a team bag. I saw tape recommended in this thread, but do NOT use tape. The team bag takes care of any problems that tape would without the potential of causing any issues like tape. If it’s cheap enough (so $20 and under to get the eBay standard envelope tracking), just put it in a PWE and you’ll be fine. If it’s more expensive? I use a 4x8 bubble mailer and sandwich the item between two pieces of cardboard.
For graded cards? Graded card sleeve (I like perfect fit, but you can use whatever) sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard in a bubble mailer (you can also go with a small flat rate priority mail box if the card is really expensive).
As long as you do that, you’ll be fine. Shipping is easy. Try not to overcomplicate it
Top Loader > Team Bag > Cardboard Mailer > Bubble Mailer
Team bag > wrapped in enough bubble wrap for a snug fit but not to much > small box > bubble mailer
Anything else larger like boxed games, sealed product:
lightly snug with bubble wrap > box
I have literally always done the same as @smpratte with the only exception being that once it gets into a several hundred dollar range I will switch to a small box and automatically include signature confirmation. If I have spare bubble wrap then I will wrap decently expensive cards with that inside the bubble mailer as well. I have never in 10 years had any issues…
Raw cards: penny sleeve, top loader, cardboard, bubble mailer
Graded card: team bag, bubble wrap, bubble mailer
Me as well. I actually cut the corners off the cardboard, in case it catches, but ‘yes’ to all the above.
If you’re wanting to use a eco-friendly option, here are the results from my compostable bubble mailer stress test.
Packing: Sleeve, Top loader, team bag, inner cardboard, 6 x 10" compostable bubble mailer, folder over to 6 x 5".
Test: Punctured, bent, and partially submerged the entire package multiple times.
The bubble padding actually remained mostly dry inside, and totally dry inside the team bag, even after puncture. The paper exterior began to degrade slightly. The adhesive however held really well. Overall it handled like a normal plastic bubble mailer, so Grade A, and only an acceptable cost increase. If you want to try them, I think you’ll be satisfied.
<$50 - penny sleeve > toploader > teambag > envelope
<$300 - penny sleeve > toploader > teambag > heavy cardboard > bubble mailer > signature confirmation
above $300/graded - graded card (I don’t sell anything >$300 unless it’s graded) > teambag > 3d printed protective mailing enclosure (see picture) also has a top with teeth that go into those holes on the sides > foam > cardboard box > registered mail if possible
Is this overkill? Maybe, but I never got any complaints
So from $51 to $300 you require signature? This would be frustrating as a buyer, since I might miss the mail man for the signature, then have to drive 25 minutes across town to pick up my card, all for just a $60 binder card.
Here is how I approach it:
$1 - $25 : envelope
$26 - $250: package with tracking
$251 - $750: priority mail with signature, no insurance
$750+ : never had this situation, I don’t know, depends on who is buying
Pokemon shippers on $100+ are more vigilant than other hobbies imo. I remember buying an alpha time walk for like 6k or so, and it arrived in a toploader and bubblemailer.
KMC Perfect Fit > Ultra Pro Penny Sleeve > BCW Toploader > Cardboard Gold Cardsaver III > Jot & Mark 4x6 Photo Sleeve > Lineco Polypropylene Clamshell Case > Ziploc 9 Cup Rectangular Press Seal Storage Container > Alpine Swiss Padded Aluminum Attaché Case > Samsonite Hard Exterior Rolling Carry-On > Northwood Pine Casket > American Security TL-15 High Security Vault > Class 3 U-Haul Trailer Hitch > Mitsubishi Fuso Box Truck > BLMA #615 PODS Storage Container
Which I then put a bow on as a personal touch.
It costs me roughly $950,000 per card to ship.
I admit I never thought about people in your situation and how annoying that would be. Normally I always do the signature. If the buyer isn’t 0 feedback and messaged me I would be willing to drop signature confirmation if it was under ~$150 but tracking is a must. I’ve never been personally scammed on ebay for anything above $30 I’m just not very trusting.
@stagecoach In my defense it’s only like $1 in filament