eBay offers the Standard Envelope as a way to make shipping sports cards more affordable. As a unique offering through the USPS, it reaffirms eBay’s commitment to sports cards and provides convenience for sellers shipping cards.
In this post, which has been updated in 2023 with new rates, find out what cards are eligible, how the Standard Envelope works, and more.
Selling low-value cards through eBay can be difficult
For a while, many collectors were rolling the dice with the plain white envelope (PWE) approach on lower-end cards, but a lot can go wrong with this method. Especially since the sports card market has soared since the pandemic, sending cards in a PWE is a quick way to get bad reviews.
Until recently, if you wanted to ship a low-end card and avoid the risk of using a PWE, there was only one other reasonably-priced option: a small envelope shipped via USPS. Depending on the shipping service and packing method, this shipping and handling cost plus fees would come out to $5 or more — and that’s a significant expense for a $10 or $15 sale. There had to be a better way, right?
Enter the eBay Standard Envelope
The origin of eBay’s Standard Envelope
In recent years, sports cards have been an essential factor in propelling eBay’s significant profits. They also face potential competitors for their status as the top market for card acquisitions.
To gain a unique, competitive advantage, eBay partnered with the USPS to introduce the standard envelope back in 2021. It was originally just for sports cards, but now it also can be used for other collectibles: stamps, coins, and currency.
Clocking in at 70% less than USPS First Class, it provides ebay standard envelope tracking and shipping protection at the best bang for your buck on the internet.
How much does the Standard Envelope cost?
The Standard Envelope launched with cheaper prices across the board, but even as the cost has gone up (with shipping costs in general, for that matter), it’s still a great deal.
The prices are as follows:
- 1 oz: $0.60
- 2 oz: $0.80
- 3 oz: $1.08
In short, you can now ship any cards that meet the requirements for less than a dollar and change! The service includes tracking and shipping protection.
According to eBay, this is a chance to “save up to 70% with our cost-effective shipping service with integrated tracking.” Indeed, these are game-changing prices.
What envelopes are eligible for the Standard Envelope?
The envelope policies started out more stringent than they are now. They had to be cardboard, for example when this offer was first introduced. Now they can be something as simple as a plain, number 10 envelope.
Here are the specifications that eBay outlines:
- No smaller than 3.5” x 5”
- No larger than 6.125” x 11.5”
- No heavier than 3 oz.
- No plastic, strings or closures
- Recipient’s address is parallel to the envelope’s longest side.
- Uniform thickness not greater than .25”
- If you need to use a thicker or more rigid envelope to better protect what you’re shipping, check with your local post office to ensure your envelope fits the postage bracket and guidelines.
And here’s a size template from eBay if you need something to help you visualize what works and what doesn’t.
Note that this service also comes with limited tracking and insurance: each shipment includes up to $20 of shipment protection on single-item orders, and up to $50 on combined orders.
What sports cards can you ship in an eBay Standard Envelope?
The process is a straightforward one. List a card (or cards) on eBay, and if they sell for $20 or less, excluding tax, the sale is eligible for the eBay Standard Envelope shipping service. If your sale qualifies, you can print the necessary label through eBay.
As far as the requirements for the card or cards themselves, we have that too:
- One single sealed pack or up to 15 standard raw cards per package
- Up to two cards sleeved and protected with side or top loaders per package
- Graded cards do NOT apply to this particular method.
How to take advantage of the eBay Standard Envelope
Sellers are big winners of this initiative. Not only do they enjoy significant savings on small sales, but they do not need to make any substantial changes to current selling and shipping practices. Just get a qualifying envelope, list your cards, and make Standard Envelope a shipping option for the listing.
Again, this option is only available for low-value cards, it’s a welcomed change that is reshaping the industry.
Before the standard envelope, it was hardly worthwhile to sell low-end cards because shipping and fees took such a chunk out of the profits. Take a new look at your cards valued under $20 and reevaluate your strategy. They can play a more prominent role in your sales as they have a new life on eBay.
If nothing else, we learn a valuable lesson from this update. If collectors continue being good to eBay and funding a significant portion of its growth, eBay will reward collectors. The standard envelope launch is a bold, collectors-first move that will resonate well with the hobbyist and lead to lower-end sports cards’ greater availability.
Conclusion: The eBay Standard Envelope is helping sellers save big and sell more cards
The Standard Envelope is another sign of eBay’s ongoing commitment to making sports cards and collectibles a major focus of the biggest marketplace on the internet. Even with the increased rates in 2023, the Standard Envelope offers major savings for sellers and renewed incentive to sell cheaper cards.
Have you used the standard envelope? Let us know on Twitter @card_lines and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, which brings investment advice and industry news straight to your inbox twice a week.