Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing Comics

by Matt Tuck

Gemini-Mailer-300x209 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsWhether you are looking to sell some comics online, have a few graded, or you’re participating in a mail-in signing, you need to know the ins and outs of safely packing and shipping your issues. Here are some tips on packing comics.

Disappointed-comics-meme-300x293 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsTHE RECEIVING END

Have you ever ordered a comic online only to have it arrive in the worst packing job imaginable? If you haven’t, then you clearly have not done enough business through eBay. I bought a stack of Spider-Man issues from an eBay seller a few years ago. They arrived through media mail, crammed into a manila envelope with no bags, no boards, and no protection from the elements. Lucky for me, they were cheap. Another time, I won an auction for a mid-grade Ms. Marvel #1. The seller had the comic in an 8×10 picture frame and, once again, stuffed into a manila envelope. 

Cat-meme-too-much-tape-300x224 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsTHERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH

On the flip side, I have sellers who go overboard on protection. I have had comics arrive so heavily wrapped in box tape that I had to saw my way through two layers of tape and cardboard just to get to my comic. By the time I got to the center of the Tootsie-Roll, there was so much tape that I risked damaging the comic to free it from its adhesive prison. 

Speaking of the middle layer of protection, common sense would tell you to secure it with cardboard. I have seen pictures of sellers using discarded cereal box pieces. Don’t do that.

Shipping-Do-Not-Bend-1-300x169 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsTHIS IS THE WAY

What is the proper way to mail a comic? Here’s how I do it.

Bubble wrap is your friend. If you’ve ever gotten a comic shipped from the grading companies, they use ample amounts of bubble wrap and sometimes Styrofoam peanuts. You want the comic nice and secure and warmly nestled in a security blanket. 

Sometimes I use a USPS flat-rate box, sometimes I use a padded, waterproof envelope. Either way, I make sure the comic is secured in firm cardboard and bubble wrap. The best bet is to use a comic mailer, which is made specifically for mailing comics. When that isn’t available, find thick pieces of cardboard that are a few inches bigger than your comic. Tape the comic to the bottom piece and sandwich the two pieces together with more tape.

Shipping-cardboard-sandwich-2-225x300 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsTALE OF THE TAPE

Speaking of tape, don’t overdo it. If you want to make life easier for your buyer, secure the bag and board to the cardboard using painter’s tape (it peels off easier without leaving a residue) and fold the tape on both ends to make tabs for the recipient. This way, the comic is snug without needing a hacksaw to get past the tape.




CGC-shipping-kits-300x202 Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing ComicsSHARE YOUR STORIES

There you have it, and I hope this gives you more knowledge than you had before you started reading. There is no standard method for packing and shipping, and I am sure there are some ingenious ways to secure a comic for its safe travels. 

Want to share your method for packing and shipping? Have horror shipping horror stories to share? Post a reply with a picture. 

FOOTER_Comic3-scaled Collecting 101: Shipping and Packing Comics

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Clayton Maurer Jr October 20, 2020 - 7:19 pm

This is why good packaging is important.

Chris Kent October 21, 2020 - 12:39 am

Thank you for explaining it to these eBay sellers. Half of them should never be allowed to touch a comic book let alone ship one. I’ve never had one come without at least 1 board, but plenty of manila envelopes and plenty of damaged books.

It’s like you read my mind about the heavily taped books, every time I’m sawing through one, I ask myself, did this guy do this on purpose to be a jerk or is he complete insane. There is no reason at all for extra tape on the outside. Do they think the comic is going to break through cardboard and fall out? Even if it did, it would get stuck in layers of their tape and be ruined anyway.

Painters tape is 100% the best way to go when attaching a bagged/boarded book to the mailer, then maybe 2-3 small pieces of boxing tape to firmly secure it shut, then toss it in a padded envelope and send it off. Padded envelopes don’t cost that much, USE THEM PLEASE!

Another thing that drives me nuts is when sellers don’t bag and board every book, they toss 5-10 books together with 1 board. Then they play stupid when the books come damaged or have color loss from rubbing on each other.

Graded books should always get bubble wrap or peanuts, newspaper is acceptable if you’re not a full time seller.

Matt you really summed it up perfectly, I hope these guys learn a thing or two from reading this post.

I also encourage everyone to start leaving more genuine feedback on eBay. If someone has terrible shipping say it. If you order 10 copies and none of them are 9.8s mention it. You don’t need to leave negative feedback, just tell it how it is. Eventually they will catch on when their sales dip.
Always return your damaged books too, especially when they are packaged terribly.

Matt Tuck November 1, 2020 - 8:18 pm

Thanks for reading, Chris.

Dave Stevens October 21, 2020 - 2:31 pm

always tuck the end of your tape together to make convenient pull tabs. I can’t stress how important this is to make the comic easy to remove in addition to being well-protected.

Bernie Kern October 22, 2020 - 11:03 am

I loved this article. I am frusterated by over packing with loads of tape. I love the way you describe cutting through tape with a saw. So true. There are many who pack well, but most on line packing is awful. I will usually save a seller’s ID if I see good packing. It tells me they have appreciation for the collectable. Thank you for putting this blog out there.

Todd October 22, 2020 - 1:21 pm

I never ship in a bubble mailers anymore. Unless it’s packaged inside a box with cushioning. You’re just asking for trouble shipping that way and it provides sub par protection.

I used to ship in a similar fashion and after both having an issue with a book sent I’ve also had untold numbers of damages on received books. Always use a box or at a minimum a Gemini/T-Fold Mailer.

Boxes are free from department stores, grocers, liquor stores. It may cost more in shipping but worth the piece of mind.

I’ve walked into different post offices and watched them sorting early in the morning. Lots of throwing of packages and not exactly handled like a full crock pot of hot food on the way to grandmas for Thanksgiving.

Something I see even experienced shippers doing is leaving the books unsecured in the cardboard sandwich. If the books can move around inside the packaging you’ve done it wrong. I’ve had sellers argue that the books sliding around freely is safer than them being secured to the cardboard.

As well sealing the books inside a waterproof bag/envelope is important as mentioned. Something more than the bag and board the books in though. Sitting in the rain all day on an exposed porch makes for very soggy comics.

Frankie Hayward October 22, 2020 - 4:57 pm

While I’m reading this I’m standing in line at the post office shipping back 5 damaged Marvel Tales 323-328 which were shipped to me in an envelope loosely. The seller threw in some broken pieces of cardboard as if that was going to help. To educate this individual, I properly bagged, boarded, wrapped in bubble wrap, and painters taped the books inside a Gemini mailer. Hopefully they learned something from this experience.


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