Supply Drop: Binders, Boxes and Sleeves – Oh My!

What’s the point buying all these cards just to throw them in a box? Come learn how to care for a collection using binders, boxes and sleeves

Hello again! Didn’t get much writing done this week, work was kind of crazy. I did a lot of filming though, so for now my Youtube channel is further ahead. I’ll get caught up this weekend though, starting right now with my first supply drop post. These will be similar to mail call, but focus more on the stuff I’m buying to help organize and protect my rapidly growing collection. Without further ado let’s take a look at some binders, boxes and sleeves.

Top Loaders and Sleeves

Let’s start with the basics, top loaders and sleeves. This part is all about protecting the cards, from everything, dust, scratches, finger prints and whatever else you might do to them. See they are just card stock, unless you have one of those fancy metal cards – then I’m jealous. Even coated with foil or other stuff the card stock is very easily damaged. Even the tiny scratches on the edges of the cards can drop you from a 10 mint -> to a 9.5.

So the first thing you should with a new card after pulling is to sleeve it. I’m mostly using Ultra Pro products right now, they are more expensive but have a consistent quality level to them. Cardboard Gold is another great supplier who I intend to order from next. They only sell cases of 1000, so make sure you really need that many. Sleeving a card is pretty easy, you can practice on a dupe until you get the hang of it.

You may be tempted to cheap out and try some of the bottom barrel brands, or even AliExpress sleeves — I warn you not to do that. I did try it, mostly just so I could show you why you shouldn’t do that. I ordered a few sleeves and top loaders from a few of my vendors along with some extra SCP Foundation boxes (how can I resist!). They are… fine… I guess. Well the top loaders really aren’t, they are very cloudy – you can’t see the card at all. Next to the Ultra Pro loaders which are crystal clear they just look as cheap as they were.

Once you’ve got the card sleeved you have to make a decision – how much do I care about this card? If it is a little bit – then just leave it sleeved and we will binder it in a bit. But, if you really care about the card, or think it might retain some value – it’s time to top load it. Top loaders are harder plastic sleeves, they aren’t un-bendable, but they are close. You put the sleeved card into it, the sleeve prevents the harder plastic of the loader from scratching the card.

I also bought some “one touch” holders, these are clamshell cases with magnet fasteners. It is easy to put cards in and take them out later, although the point is to leave it sealed. Top loaders have an opening on the top, so its possible for moisture to get in there. That’s less likely with a fully enclosed one-touch, although they cost a lot more, I only bought 5 for now. You can get fancier still with screw-down, where you fasten screws to encase the card. And then graded cards are usually permanently sealed it special secure acrylic cases. I have that awesome PCV Chainsaw Man promo in one right now.

One more thing to be aware of – pt size. All pf these products are sold at various pt sizes, higher sizes cost more since they are bigger. This is a measure of how thick a card is, standard thickness is 35pt – that’s any normal trading card you could find really. Stuff like the Star Wars or Gundam cards however are much thicker, closer to 80 pt, they won’t fit in a standard top loader and you will damage the card if you try to force it. So you will want a variety of sizes, I’d recommend mostly 35pt – but pick up a 40 pack of 100pt loaders too that should cover most of what is in these boxes.

Boxes and Binders

Just having the cards protected is a great start but don’t want to be able to look through them, or show them off to other people? Well that’s where boxes and binders come in. I bought a 10 pack of 100 card 2-piece acrylic boxes. I prefer these type of boxes as you can see what is in them, I use these for storing dupes. Since I have so many different sets, I wanted different boxes for them.

The center piece of any good trading card collection is the binder, I currently own 5 of them. When you were a kid you probably used a 3-ring binder and cheap clear pages right? These are ok at first, but the rings tend to bend the cards on the inside row, and the plastic pages look kind of cheap – you don’t want your prize cards in something like that do you?

Instead I bought 3 of these VaultX brand 480 card binders, these will only hold sleeved cards – but that lets them be a bit smaller so easier to put on a shelf. I love these because VaultX is actually a good well known brand, they make excellent sleeves which I use for my 100pt cards. But the binders also look great, they have zipper seals all around. The pages are fused with the binder – so bending rings here at all. And the pages are black, which provides a much nicer background for showing off cards.

For my prize collection, the SCP cards, I use something special. Top Deck makes a very expensive version of what is called a “Top Loader Binder”. It’s 70$, and holds only 216 top loaded cards. Another brand is Gemloader, they specialize in making high quality binders like this – but again, super expensive at nearly 60$ for 216 slots again.

What did I get instead? I’m using these Rayvol brand 252 card binders. I don’t know the brand Rayvol, but these were well reviewed and at only 44$ for 252 slots – a way better deal. I have one of 9 pocket ones for my SCP collection, and a 4-pocket one for my hall of fame collection. Warning, these binders are big! The 4-pocket one is nearly as big as the 12 pocket VaultX, they have to be to hold top loaders as those are much bigger than a regular card. Still the size and weight of it just makes it even more impressive to plop down on a table and show off.

Conclusions

So there is our first Supply Drop post in the bag. I learned a lot so far in this hobby but I have so much more to learn yet. And just so you don’t think I’ve gone crazy, yes I did order a bunch of boxes a long with these supplies. Mostly extra SCP boxes, I’m trying to get 2 complete sets so I can open one and just keep the other sealed, although I now have nearly 3 complete sets. That last box is the new Kayou Saint Seiya set, another amazing looking box of cards for another day.

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