Like all valuable items, Magic: The Gathering cards require special care during shipping to prevent them from being damaged in transit. In this article, we'll first go over the various factors that can affect how your Magic cards can be damaged in transit, and then show you ways to best avoid common tripping hazards. Let's get started!
What affects the durability of Magic cards during shipping?
Although Magic cards are relatively durable and resistant to wear and tear, they can still be damaged during shipping. Here are some factors that affect the likelihood of card damage during shipping:
Card condition. New cards and cards in top condition are more resistant to damage due to their lower wear. However, cracked cards are more susceptible to further cracking during transport.
How they are packed. If you pack your Magic cards securely, you'll prevent them from moving around and possibly getting jammed in the lid of a box or between other items. This will also help protect the cards from dust and fingerprints.
How many cards are sent in one package. The more cards sent in a package, the more likely it is that some of the cards will be damaged. Cards are lightweight and therefore cost less to ship, so sending a large number of cards in a single package can save money, but it also increases the risk of damage.
How to send Magic: The Gathering cards securely
Now that you know what factors can affect the life of your Magic cards during shipping, here are a few suggestions on how to actually ship them.
Use protective sleeves. Protective sleeves are thin plastic covers that protect cards from dust, fingerprints, and damage. These sleeves provide protection from wear and tear and add very little to the weight of a package when used for just a few cards. This makes them particularly suitable for shipping small quantities of Magic cards with a high average value, where they can be worth the extra protection.
Multiple cards can be packed into one sleeve, so use as many sleeves as you need to pack your cards. While this won't protect the cards as well as individually wrapped cards, it will save some weight on the sleeves. But be careful. If you pack the cards too tightly in a sleeve, they can get damaged when you unpack them! Another danger of shipping in sleeves occurs when some cards are sent in sleeves and others are not. In this case, cards that are wider through the sleeve may get jammed in the package and damaged.
Securely close the protective sleeves. Card sleeves can be difficult to seal to ensure that no cards can accidentally slip out during shipping. Make sure that the cards are not too difficult to unwrap and that none of the materials you use to seal the sleeves stick to the cards themselves.
Avoid moisture. Moisture can cause cards to bend during shipping and cards that were shipped in prime condition can arrive completely warped. This is especially important for foil cards, which are particularly prone to this process called curling. To remove moisture from the package, you can use silica gel, which you may be familiar with from clothing purchases, where it is placed in the package in the form of small packets to also remove moisture.
Padding. You can increase the protection of your Magic cards by padding them in the shipping envelope between cards. Crumpled paper, newspaper, or foam are good options, but some people also use bubble wrap. Be careful with bubble wrap, however, because cards are much sturdier and heavier than bubble wrap, especially in larger quantities, so it may not provide adequate protection. The soft bubble wrap bends or gets damaged and does not help protect from the bumps that are actually dangerous for a card shipment.
Care should be taken when shipping in an envelope. Yes, you can send Magic cards in an envelope, but care must be taken to ensure that your cards arrive in top condition. Envelopes can be stressed during shipping, and your precious Magic cards run the risk of being damaged in transit. Therefore, it is essential not to send cards loose in an envelope, but to protect them with proper packaging inside the envelope.
Shipping Magic: The Gathering cards abroad. Note that different countries have different restrictions on what you can send through the mail. Also, it is usually more expensive to ship collectibles and cards internationally. So consider these factors before you prepare your package for shipment.
Pack your paper cards flat. Cards are thin and stack easily, so don't waste space by just packing cards in heaps. Lay them flat on a surface and wrap them with a layer or two of cushioning material to cushion them so you can make the most of space and security.
Pack rare and/or valuable Magic cards differently. If your package contains irreplaceable, rare, or extremely valuable Magic cards, consider hiring a professional shipping company to transport them. The cost may be worth it, considering you don't want your beloved cards to be damaged or strained during the trip.
Let the professionals do it
As we have seen, there are many factors to consider when shipping MTG cards and many pitfalls to avoid. The most convenient way is definitely to leave it to someone else. Someone who knows the field and can be trusted not to make mistakes.
If you prefer this route, you might consider selling your cards through TCG-Vault. All cards sold through this platform are listed on Cardmarket, so you'll reach the same large customer base as if you listed the cards yourself. However, TCG-Vault offers a consignment service that allows you to send your card inventory to headquarters, and takes care of the listing on Cardmarket and shipping for you. All you have to do is choose the prices for the cards you want to sell, and the platform can even help you with that. If you want the convenience of never having to worry about shipping your cards, TCG-Vault is definitely worth the cost.