Last Updated On: November 26th, 2023
In this post, we will explore why purchasing graded card sleeves is a good idea, and provide information on the best-reviewed options currently available on the market. We will also cover where to buy graded card sleeves, and offer guidance on which sizes are appropriate for standard-sized cases from popular card grading services like PSA, BGS, and SGC, as well as for Pokemon cards, including tips for protecting slabbed jumbo Pokemon cards.
Table of Contents
What are Graded Card Sleeves Best Used For?
Graded card sleeves are protective cases designed to hold and protect graded sports cards, which are cards that have been professionally graded and authenticated for their condition and authenticity. These sleeves are typically made of polypropylene, and feature a snug-fitting design to keep the card case securely in place.
Graded card sleeves are best used for storing and displaying particularly valuable graded trading cards, such as baseball and basketball cards, Pokemon cards, other non-sports trading cards, and similar graded trading card collectibles. These cards can be quite expensive and rare, so protecting them from damage and keeping them in pristine condition is essential for maintaining their value.
Why Would I Protect a Graded Card That is Already encased?
While a graded baseball card may already be encased in a protective case, using a graded card sleeve can provide an extra layer of protection and help prevent any damage to the case or the card inside. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider using a graded card sleeve even if your card is already graded by PSA, BGS, or a similar card grading company:
- Prevent scratches and scuffs: Even though a graded card case is designed to protect your card, it’s still possible for the case to get scratched or scuffed during handling or storage. Using a graded card sleeve can help prevent this by creating a barrier between the case and other trading cards or objects. This is especially important when shipping cards where it is more likely they can shift during transit.
- Dust protection: Graded card sleeves can help keep dust and other debris from settling on the surface of the graded card case, which can help preserve the appearance of the card (similar to how penny sleeves and top loaders protect raw cards).
- Additional moisture protection: While graded card cases are designed to be moisture-resistant, using a graded card sleeve can provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and humidity.
Do Scratches on Graded Cards Impact Their Value?
Yes, surface scratches on graded cards can potentially impact their value, especially if they are visible and noticeable. The value of a graded card is largely determined by its condition, and even small imperfections can decrease its overall value.
If a graded card has surface scratches, a potential buyer or collector may be hesitant to purchase it because they may need to spend money — including on shipping, insurance, and costs for reslabbing — and time to have it reslabbed or regraded in the future.
The severity and location of the scratches can also affect their impact on the card’s value. If the scratches are located on a less important area of the card, such as the border or back, they may have less impact on the value than if they were located on the front of the card, particularly over a key element of the design or image.
What Size Card Sleeves do I Need?
Most card grading companies have slabs that come in different sizes. It’s always a good idea to double-check the dimensions of the graded card sleeves you are considering purchasing to ensure they will fit your specific graded cards. Some graded cards, such as thick, oversized, or jumbo cards, may require larger sized graded card sleeves. In these cases, you will need to purchase a sleeve specifically designed for that size of graded card.
Dimensions of Most Popular Card Slabs
The following are the standard sizes for each of the more popular grading companies (height x width x depth/thickness):
- PSA standard graded card slab size: 5.35″ x 3.19″ x 0.26″ or in millimeters 136mm x 81mm x 6.5mm
- BGS standard graded card slab size: 5.16″ x 3.31″ x 0.315″ or in millimeters 131mm x 84mm x 8mm
- SGC standard graded card slab size: 5.45″ x 3.39″ x 0.312″ or in millimeters 138.5mm x 86mm x 7.94mm
- CGC standard graded card slab size: 5.35″ x 3.19″ x 0.309″ or in millimeters 136mm x 81mm x 7.86mm
Note: dimensions are for the latest slabs in the market. If you haven’t reslabbed your cards, maybe it’s time!
Best Pokemon Graded Card Sleeves
The good news is, card grading companies slab standard-sized Pokemon, MTG, Yugioh, and other gaming cards with the same slabs mentioned throughout this article. Any of the products mentioned will act as great Pokemon card sleeves depending on the grading company you choose to go with.
That said, some less traditional cards such as Jumbo or large Pokemon cards are a much larger size. Depending on the size of your Pokemon jumbo cards and the size of the grading card company’s slab, it may be best to use comic book sleeves to protect the graded case.
PSA Graded Card Sleeves
Cardboard Gold created a “Perfect Fit®” sleeve for PSA graded slabs. These clear PSA card sleeves are super snug, so they’re best used with standard-sized PSA graded cards. That includes any PSA graded sports cards, and of course trading cards such as Pokemon, or MTG. Note: we were stubborn and tried the latest CGC slab as well, and it fits perfectly, too!
This PSA graded baseball card fits snuggly into the sleeve:
Also how it looks from the back with the resealable flap closed:
- Perfect fit sleeves, so no wiggle room for the slab to move around.
- Officially recommended by PSA
- Resealable graded card sleeves
- Also works with CGC slabs
- Some customers do not like the “PSA” logo at the bottom of the sleeve, but we think this is a feature, not a bug. It’s easier to tell whether the sleeve is for PSA slabs, especially when you take cards in and out of sleeves and have random ones laying around.
Pricing: Cardboard Gold PSA graded card sleeves usually run just under $6 for a pack of 50. They can be purchased from Amazon.
BGS (Beckett) Graded Card Sleeves
Ultra Pro graded card sleeves are a great fit for BGS card slabs, or other thick graded card slabs. Given these clear graded card sleeves are large enough to fit Beckett’s standard slabs, they will also work well to protect most other slabs as well, including those from PSA, CGC, HGA, SGC, and others.
If you’re looking for a “Perfect Fit®” BGS card sleeve in particular, check out the Cardboard Gold BGS sleeves which cost double the Ultra Pro sleeves.
- Best for BGS, but fits most graded card slabs given their larger size.
- Affordable; a 100-pack goes for about $5.
- Loose fit for smaller graded slabs such as PSA and CGC. Better for BGS, SGC, and HGA as they are bulkier slabs.
Pricing: 100-pack is currently listed near $5 on Amazon. That’s just 20 cents per graded card sleeve.
SGC Graded Card Sleeves
BCW graded card sleeves are great for SGC card slabs. SGC card slabs are on the bulkier side along with BGS and HGA. That said, graded card sleeves that fit either of the three brands will work well interchangeably.
- Large enough to fit most card grading slabs, but best for larger slabs from SGC, BGS, and HGA. Comparable to Ultra Pro sleeves mentioned above.
- Amazon choice, with a 4.8 out of 5 star rating.
- Affordable; 200 clear card sleeves for just under $10 on Amazon.
- Loose fit for smaller graded slabs from PSA and CGC. Best used for larger slabs from SGC, BGS, and HGA.
Pricing: Two packs of 100 sleeves (200 total) are priced at just under $10 on Amazon.
Graded card sleeves are a necessary investment for collectors who want to keep their valuable graded trading cards protected and the slabs in pristine condition. With a variety of options available on the market, it’s important to choose highly rated products and appropriately sized sleeves for your specific graded card. Using a graded card sleeves can prevent scratches, scuffs, dust, and moisture from affecting the card case, which can ultimately impact its overall value. Whether you collect sports cards, Pokemon cards, or other non-sports trading cards, graded card sleeves are a must-have accessory for any serious collector.