Sports Card Storage 101

21 November 2015 by

sports card storage

If you’re like me, you’ve never wondered how to properly store sports cards. Any cards in my possession always wound up tucked into my bicycle wheel spokes until they fell out somewhere along the way, lost and forgotten forever.

On the other hand, if you are actually a sports card aficionado, then you probably already know what good sports card storage entails. So this article is basically for the three people who have accidentally amassed a sports card collection from all those packs of Topps Chewing Gum and don’t know what to do with them.

Who knows, maybe you can sell them to a sports card buyer for a nice chunk of change. If so, you’ll need to preserve the cards because the top criteria for trading card value is its condition. You may have a rare early photo of Wayne Gretzky wearing a number 14 jersey (before he switched to the now-famous number 99), but don’t expect to get more than the price of a Starbucks coffee for it if the card is torn, dotted with dried bubble gum or you’ve blacked out the teeth with a magic marker.

And even if you’re not interested in selling your card collection, it’s still a good idea to preserve it. Not only will it look spectacular displayed on your mantle, but your heirs will appreciate it!

So for those three people, here is sports card storage 101:

Penny Sleeves

These transparent plastic sleeves for single cards are the cheapest option (a penny per sleeve, hence the name). Perfect for most cards, they come in many sizes and can also be used in conjunction with a toploader.


These are similar to penny sleeves only they’re rigid for more durable protection. Because they’re so firm as well as transparent, toploaders are a good option to exhibit your card collection.

One-Touch Magnetic Holder

These storage cases are similar to toploaders except they have “diamond” or “die-cut” corners to further prevent damage and, of course, they close by means of a magnet. Some magnetic holders have a UV coating to protect against fading.

Trading Card Albums

Trading card album is just a fancy name for a three-ring binder (like the ones you used in school) in which you can insert plastic pages made for cards. If you’re a Virgo, neat-freak or obsessive-compulsive, using albums to store your cards is like seeing the new Star Wars trailer for the first time. With trading card albums, not only can you neatly store your cards, but you can display them—in alphabetical or team-sorted order, too!

Storage Boxes

Storage boxes are great if you have thousands of cards and are available in plastic, corrugated cardboard, and wood. These storage boxes are a very efficient and inexpensive way of storing large quantities of sports cards.  Wooden boxes tend to be used for more expensive cards as they can have velvet-lined interiors, dividers, and hinged lids.

Additional Storage Notes

Try to use acid-free protective products to preserve the state of your cards.

Store your sports card collection in a cool, dry location to prevent humidity from ruining them.

Keep your cards out of the light when possible as they may fade over time.