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How to Ship Cards for Grading: Ensure Your Cards Get There Safely and Securely

This post is part of a larger series called How To Grade Sports Cards – The Best Step-By-Step Guide. Be sure to check out the entire guide!

Packing and shipping supplies you’ll need

Recommended supplies for packaging and shipping cards

  • Elastic bands (2 to 4 elastics for every 10 cards)
  • Cardboard to protect your cards (2 to 4 pieces, each cut slightly larger than the size of a Card Saver 1)
  • Shipping box (at least 6” x 4” x 2”)
  • Bubble wrap (and optionally shipping peanuts) for extra padding and protection

Protecting your cards

This is how I recommend you protect your cards when sending in for grading:

  1. Take 5-10 semi-rigid sleeved cards
  2. Sandwich the cards with 2 pieces of cardboard
  3. Use 2-4 elastic bands to secure the cardboard in place. The elastic bands will keep the cardboard in place while also being easily removed by the grader.
  4. Repeat Steps 1 to 3 with 5-10 more cards, until all your cards are sandwiched in cardboard. You will have multiple cardboard sandwiches when you’re done.
  5. Wrap the sandwich with a layer of bubble wrap. Be generous. You can use painters tape to secure the bubble wrap.
  6. Take your PSA submission forms, fold them in half, then wrap them around your bubble wrapped cards.
  7. Place the whole package into your shipping box. If there’s extra room that might cause the cards to move in the box, fill that room with packing peanuts or additional bubble wrap.

Purchasing a shipping label

PSA, for example, recommends shipping via either USPS or FedEx and they provide distinct shipping addresses for each.

I tend to go with FedEx because I think its more straight forward to include insurance (see my concern below about Pirate Ship). I also purchase FedEx 2Day shipping which I think is a good mix of value and speed. The faster you get your package into the hands of the grading company, the less risk that your cards get damaged or stolen in transit.

A note about shipping insurance

Buying insurance for your shipment is never a bad idea. Strange things can happen to cards in the mail – packages can be lost, damaged or stolen.

But be careful. If you’re using an online shipping service like Pirate Ship or Shippo to purchase your postage, the insurance provided by these sites will rarely if ever cover the cost of raw cards.

Personally, I always ship to PSA using FedEx shipping labels purchased directly from FedEx and with insurance provided by FedEx. It’s a little pricier perhaps than the discounted rates you can get from Pirate Ship, but at least I am confident that my insurance will cover my cards.

Rory Hansen

Rory Hansen is a San Diego-based sports card collector and social media influencer. Considered an expert in the process of grading sports cards, he regularly advises other collectors on how to assess, prepare and submit cards for grading. Originally from Canada and now living in the US, Rory collects both hockey cards and baseball cards. His personal collection focuses on Shohei Ohtani, Ichiro Suzuki, Yu Darvish, Pavel Bure, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo.