So after getting numerous packages from people I have bought cards from on eBay I thought I'd sit down and write a little bit on protecting and storing your collection and if you sell on eBay how to ensure that what you sell reaches your buyer in the condition you meant it to.
So first we'll start with basic protection, because as with collecting anything, the basic value of that thing is first and foremost based on condition. And decent protection of your card can also help with displaying it as well.
The first most basic line of protection is the penny sleeve. It's called a penny sleeve because it costs about a cent a piece and you usually buy them in packs of 100. You can usually pick these up at any card or collectibles store and you can get great deals on bulk lots on eBay and at TCBullk.com to name a few. I've got a Ultra Pro pack right here but there are lots of other brands all equally as good just make sure they are acid free and archival safe.
The next basic line of defense is to put that card WITH a penny sleeve on it into a top loader of some sort. Here again there are lots of different brands and they make all sorts of thicknesses to accommodate all size cards.
I prefer the rigid toploaders over the semi rigid simply because allow the card to stay flat.
If you have any cards of value this should be the least of your steps in protecting them. Again I'll stress that you should always put your card in a penny sleeve first before putting it in a toploader to protect the card finish and corners.
Now we can take the protection a step farther buy putting that top loader in something to protect the card from spills and moisture, by simply putting it in a resealable team bag.
Since the top of the toploaders is open this helps prevent liquids and other stuff from going down in with the card.
Of course this is only the most basic route to protecting your investment and collection. There are lots of other options besides that. Like single and multi screw down holders. Some that have recessed corner areas to protect card corners. These come in a wide range of card thicknesses, as well as holder thicknesses too. I've seen some Lucite ones over an inch thick!! There are holders that use magnets to keep there lids on and mini snaps. There are holders that come with stands for displaying your cards. It's also a good idea to put a team bag around the screwdown to help keep it from getting scratched up.
And of course the ultimate in card protection would be to get your card graded by a reputable card grading company. I highly recommend and like PSA I've never had a problem with them and I find there grading to be awesome. I've never bought a card that was PSA graded that wasn't what it was graded. Not like some of the other companies I have cards graded from. But that's a whole nother rant. You can find info on PSA at there web site http://www.psacard.com/
You can see from the scans I've tried to include multiple companies that make storage products. There are lots and it all depends on what you like and you can get in your area.
For long term storage I always recommend storing you collection in a box rather than 9 pocket sleeves. For short term and display reasons 9 pockets are great just be careful not to damage your cards putting them in and taking them out.
Now on to eBayers!!!. I've done my far share of selling on eBay but to be honest I'm much more of a buyer. And for a player collector or even someone like me who lives far from a card store it's a great place to buy boxes of cards, lots, and storage supplies. As a seller and buyer I have come to expect some things when I pay $3.00 for shipping a card or cards to my door. First the card or cards should be well protected(see above). I really like having the card in a team bag when it's shipped rather than putting tape over the top of the toploader. This guarantees that the card won't come into contact with the tape and potentially ruin the card. I can say this from experience. Second it should be mailed in some kind of rigid or bubble mailer. If I pay a buck for shipping I don't usually expect a bubble mailer but I do expect the card to be well protected in a toploader. My one pet peeve from sellers and I never do this to my buyers is when I get charged 3 buck for shipping and all the seller does is put it in an envelope with a stamp and send it off. I understand that eBay and Paypal seller fees can get high but any auction house is going to take 10 percent of the sell price, try talking to a real brick and mortar auction house if you don't believe me.
So in conclusion. There are lots of ways to store and protect your collection and investment. You can extreme if you like and have the money to do it but you can easily protect your cards on the cheap too.
I should be posting a box break in the next few days I see online that my next box should be here today. Yeahhhhhh
Until next time I'm the cynicalbuddha