How Should I Store My Sports Cards?

joe montana topps rookie card 195x300 ImageTimes have changed since the early days of sports card collecting when young collectors were more apt to stick their cards into the spokes of their bikes then into any sort of toploader or protective sleeves. Many a modern day collector cringes at the thought of such mistreatment of sports cards - especially vintage cards.  Sports Card Protection is now in high demand, and has become a big business in and of itself as more and more collectors look at their sports cards as investments.

The better condition a sports card is in the more it is worth. Sometimes the smallest scratch, smudge, or fray can devalue a card hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.  Take for example Joe Montana's 1981 Topps Rookie Card.  A Montana Rookie Card Graded BGS 9.5 can sell for a substantial sum of money, usually in the $1,500 - $2,000 range. However, 1981 Topps Joe Montana RC Graded BGS 10 Mint recently sold for a whopping $65,000!

In addition to the monetary value, sports cards in good condition look better, and are all around more enjoyable.

There are many weapons at your disposal for safeguarding your sports card collection. Most collectors find themselves using a combination of different methods to protect their collection.  For instance, it is a common practice to store sports cards, especially valuable sports cards, in a plastic penny sleeve and a toploader to offer an increased level of protection at a very small cost. The best supplies for storing sports cards are:

  • Plastic Sleeves - These individual plastic card sleeves are a fairly effective and extrodinarily inexpensive way to store sports cards. They are typically available in packs of 100 sleeves and cost roughly 1 cent per sleeve, depending on the quantity purchased.
  • Toploaders - Toploaders are the backbone of many collectors sports card storage supply arsenals. These individual plastic card holders come in rigid and semi rigid versions, and come in virtually every size imaginable.  In addition to being a good option for protecting and storing sports cards, they are a great way to show off and display cards as well.
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250ct BCW Premium Card Toploader w Stand TL1
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500ct BCW Premium Card Toploader w Stand TL1


  • Screw Down Plastic Holders – These two piece cases offer a much harder and well fortified exterior shell around cards.  However, they have been known to cause substantial damage to sports cards that are stored in them for prolonged periods of time, particularly when the two sides of the holder are screwed together too tightly.
  • Plastic Cases - Clear plastic cases that allow easy storage of multiple sports cards at once. Cases come in many different sizes and can hold anywhere from 5 to several hundreds sports cards.
  • Albums – Baseball card albums are essentially 3-ringed binders that hold plastic pages containing sleeves that are specially made to hold sports cards.  Albums are a more expensive and time consuming way to store sports cards then Storage Boxes are, but they are a much better method to use for cards and sets you would like to show off or easily keep track of and access.
  • Storage Boxes - The most popular boxes for sports card storage are constructed out of corrugated cardboard. Boxes are a very efficient and inexpensive method for storing large quantities of sports cards.  Storage boxes can hold anywhere from 50 to 5,000 sports cards each.
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Box of 100 BCW Pro 20-Pocket Tobacco Card Album Pages
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Box 100 BCW Pro 6-Pocket Tall Widevision Card Pages
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21 BCW 100 count Hinged Plastic Baseball Trading Card Boxes hinge protector box
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25 BCW 2-Piece 150 count Baseball Trading Card Plastic Slider Boxes box SB150
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Lot of 50 BCW 200 Count Clear Plastic Trading Card 2-Piece Slider Boxes
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10 Ten - BCW Brand 100 Card Plastic Case Hinged Snap Boxes - hb100


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