After receiving numerous larger lots of nice cards damaged in transit recently I was compelled to write this safe shipping guide. Sellers armed with this information will have far fewer items damaged in transit which will result greater loss protection and customer satisfaction.
Sellers should especially be aware improper packaging could nullify any additional paid carrier shipping insurance. Further, buyers will almost always win a Paypal "item not as described" claim should items arrive damaged in transit regarless if carrier shipping insurance was added. Shipping insurance really only serves to potect the seller, not the buyer, when the transaction is conducted through Paypal. Sellers wishing to protect their investments while accepting Paypal must make insurance mandatory and package items properly or accept the risk of uninsured damage claims. Keep in mind insurance via USPS is relatively cheap for more expensive items but mainly serves to inflate shipping costs for cheap (less than $50 value) items. As both buyers and sellers are fully aware, more money going towards shipping costs can mean less money going toward the bid.
Just about every trading card collector has seen or used the basic white card storage boxes which come in various sizes from 200 cards to 800 cards. Many factory sets utilize the same style box. Larger "shoe box" styles have multiple compartments and can store up to 5000 cards. Card storage boxes are commonly used to ship larger lots of trading cards due to their convenience. Unfortunately, these boxes when used alone for shipping do not adequately protect the contents inside. The boxes can get dropped or crushed at any point in the shipping process. Cards are also able to move inside the box when not packed relatively tight. The end result is often the same; a portion of the cards or the entire box will have corner damage. Cards can have severe edge damage in extreme crushing cases. The USPS may nullify insurance coverage should cards be shipped this way.
Safely shipping large lots of cards is a multi-step process. The card storage box is still ideal for shipping but the contents in the box must be secure. A seller should add bubble wrap or common cards to the inside of the box if the sold lot doesn't take up the full space. A small strip of bubble wrap on the top of the cards prior to closing the box will help prevent cards shifting upward. The card storage box packing portion is complete but now this box must be placed in a shipping container to protect it from the vigors or shipping and handling. A return address label can be added to the card storage box as an overkill measure incase the outer shipping box somehow gets mangled beyond recognition. You probably have a better chance winning the Powerball jackpot but it is something to consider. The storage box should be placed in the middle of the shipping box and then surrounded by packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, paper, etc. until the voids are filled. Now if the package is dropped or crushed the outer box will take the beating while the inner box remains snug inside. Carrier insurance will cover damage in this well protected case in the rare event it happens.
Buyers and sellers should bear in mind the extra box and material will add additional costs to shipping process, perhaps several dollars for larger and heavier items. Sellers should consider sticking card stoarge boxes inside USPS priority mail flat rate boxes for larger card lots. The postage in some instances will be cheaper than shipping in a standard shipping box. Buyers may wish to contact the seller prior to bidding to see how the item will be shipped. If the seller's method is insufficient the buyer could ask for a safer shipping method. Additional shipping costs may be negotiated between buyer and seller if needed.