How to Package Paper Collectibles Securely
One of the best aspects of getting paper goods from point A to point B is that they can be shipped inexpensively in an appropriately sized envelope. Don’t assume, however, that the shipper won’t bend or fold the envelope in transit. Whether you’re dealing with a vintage postcard, an entire newspaper, or a piece of sheet music, you should always place a piece of cardboard the same size as the envelope inside with the item.
In addition, it’s not a bad idea to put paper goods inside a plastic sleeve or bag before placing them in the envelope to further protect them. Avoid using newspaper when packing ephemera, however, as the ink can rub off and soil the item you’re shipping.
If the envelope you’re using is a little large, consider folding it over to fit the size of the protective cardboard and taping it accordingly. When you find the need to do this, it’s easier to address the envelope after it’s folded down to size.
That’s the economy version; you can also buy light weight cardboard envelopes that are a little more costly at office-supply stores. These work very well with paper collectibles and provide a little more protection than a paper envelope affords.
Consider how you’ve packed the item inside the envelope before addressing it. If you think a marker might seep through or pressing down on the envelope with a pen might damage the item within, consider using a pre-addressed stick-on label instead.
In summary, follow these steps for securely shipping paper collectibles and photographs:
1. Bag the item. Place the item in a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag to protect it during transit.
2. Prepare cardboard backing. Cut a piece of cardboard too thick to bend a little larger than the item you’re shipping to insert in the envelope with it. For extra security, use two pieces of cardboard or pasteboard to enclose the item and tape along the sides taking care not to damage the paper collectible in between.
3. Choose an envelope. Use an envelope, either paper or light weight cardboard, about the same size as the item and cardboard enclosure you’re shipping.
4. Prep the envelope. Insert the item being shipped in the envelope. Fold and tape the envelope to fit the item (already enclosed in cardboard), if needed, to keep it from moving around in the envelope while in transit.
5. Address the envelope. Address the envelope carefully to avoid damaging the item it holds. Remember that a marker might seep through the paper and ballpoint pens can leave an imprint right through the envelope. Use a stick-on label if these issues are a concern.