Two cards I won on eBay arrived today. The seller clearly too great care in packing them — which is something I personally appreciate a great deal. Each card was painstakingly put into plastic snap boxes with a piece of bubble wrap to keep them snugly set in the case. The case was taped shut, then sealed in a team set bag, which was also taped, and both cards, in their snap boxes, were wrapped together in bubble wrapped put inside a cardboard box and shipped. Wow this seller certainly went the extra mile with their shipping methods. . . except one small thing.
The plastic snap box they shipped the cards in had rounded corners. As you can see in the scan square cards and round boxes don’t play well together. Thankfully these two cards arrived just fine probably because the bubble wrap kept them from moving around much, unfortunately two other shipments I’ve recently received were not so lucky. In one instance 9 out of 12 autographs were damaged by the very case meant to protect them — the other shipment yielded 2 out of 4 damaged autographs — both resulted in a very unhappy buyer, and ultimately unhappy sellers too.
Neither seller was keen on resolving the issue as they both insisted the cards were in great condition when shipped — which I don’t doubt. One seller said he was not responsible because I didn’t buy insurance (which, for the record, wasn’t offered). In the end both cases were resolved, but could have been easily avoided if the seller simply took a look at their shipping materials — cards with sharp corners rattling around in boxes with round corners while they travel hundreds of miles don’t typically fare very well, and while the damage typically isn’t enormous and may be acceptable for shipping complete sets it certainly isn’t a good idea for high end inserts.
So what do you do? If you must ship high-end cards in plastic boxes make sure they have squared off corners — those kind do exist, but the rounded corner ones seem more prolific. If you only have round cornered-boxes — DON’T use them for shipping! If you MUST use them then put the high end cards into soft-sleeves so they can’t move around and, if possible, secure the card into the case with a packing peanut, piece of bubble wrap, folded up wrappers, or other such material, and tape the box shut. Keep in mind too, that plastic boxes tend not to ship well in bubble envelopes and frequently arrive either broken or severely cracked — the post office machines and employees don’t carry these things around on fluffy pillows!
As for the insurance I didn’t buy . . . the post office would have never paid out a claim if the autographs had been insured — why? The package itself arrived intact without any indication of damage. The cards were damaged by the packing materials, not by the post office!
It doesn’t matter if you are shipping or just storing cards — take a look at your plastic boxes to make sure they aren’t damaging your cards.
Happy Collecting — Jon