When it comes to protecting your cards, card sleeves are the first line of defense in safeguarding your cherished cardboard treasures. They are often called penny sleeves because of their inexpensive cost.
Available from several manufacturers, the most important thing to look for when choosing card sleeves is to make sure they are acid free. When archiving and storing sports cards over long periods of time it is important that the material used to house the cards does not have any chemicals that could stain or discolor the cards themselves. That is why acid free sleeves are so important.
Two of the hobby's most respected makers of card protection, storage and display products, Ultra Pro and BCW Supplies, use acid free plastics.
Card sleeves are available in a range of sizes. They also have different plastic thicknesses, usually measured in millimeters. Below is a breakdown of the types available.
These safely fit most modern cards up to 120 pt thickness. Measuring 2 5/8" x 3 5/8", they are available in quantities of 100 from both Ultra Pro and BCW Supplies.
These have the same characteristics as standard card sleeves but are made of a thicker polypropylene plastic.
A new product from Ultra Pro, these card sleeves feature an angled corner cut that allows you to easily slide the card in the sleeve without risk of corner wear.
These over-sized sleeves fit standard Beckett and PSA card slabs as well as 1/4' screw down holders. Using this type of sleeve with graded cards protects the actual slab from being scratched.
These sleeves measure 2 3/4" x 3 5/16" and are designed to hold cards from the early 1950s, before the standard card size was universally adopted.
Some of the most popular cards of the late-vintage era were produced in the early 1970s for multiple sports. These cards, referred to as "Tall Boys," have always presented a challenge to collectors. Often times, they use a standard sleeve at each end. Ultra Pro makes a tall sleeve specifically for these types of cards. BCW has recently produced these types of card sleeves as well.