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What Size Sleeves for Baseball Cards?

what size sleeves for baseball cards

Choosing the right size sleeves for your baseball cards can be tricky if you don’t have experience storing these valuable collectibles. It can be particularly problematic if you have trading cards from different eras, as each of your baseball cards’ size depends on production time. Fortunately, there are many storage and protection products available to fit all of your card collecting needs!

Baseball card sleeves are available in four basic sizes; Standard and Premium sleeves are for modern cards. Tall Boy sleeves are a perfect fit for the uniquely tall specialty cards released in the 1970s, and Vintage sleeves are a good fit for cards produced between the late 1940s and early 1950s. The fourth size is for use with cards of any age that are graded and slabbed.

It’s essential to use the right size and type of sleeves for your baseball cards for a couple of reasons. First, sleeving your cards is the very first step to protecting and preserving your collection in the future. Second, you want to make sure that not only do your cards fit properly in their sleeves, but the sleeved cards will fit into secondary protection products like top-loaders, card savers, etc. 

What Size Penny Sleeves for Baseball Cards?

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Card sleeves, also commonly known as penny sleeves due to their low price, are your first line of defense against scratches, fingerprints, and other possible blemishes to your collection. They only work well if they fit correctly, however. If your cards move around inside your card sleeves, they can take a lot of edge and corner damage over time.

So, if your collection focuses on modern sports trading cards, you’ll want to pick up either Standard or Premium sleeves. Both sleeves measure 2 ⅝” by 3 ⅝”, and the only distinction between the two is the thickness of the plastic used to make the sleeve. Standard is adequate if you are using top loaders, while Premium is recommendable if you are not.

If your sports card collection includes any of the “Tall Boy” cards of the late 1970s, you’ll need to pick up some special-size Tall card sleeves, also named for their height. These unique sleeves measure 2 ½” by 4 ¾” and will fit your “Tall Boys” nicely and snugly.

There is a special Vintage sleeve size for vintage card collectors that works well for most cards produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including the original Bowman Gum cards. Vintage card sleeves measure 2 ¾” by 3 5/16″ and fit cards from before the standardization of sizing in the mid-1950s. 

To check the current price and availability of Ultra-Pro Penny Sleeves, click here to view them on Amazon.

What Size Card Savers for Baseball Cards

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Card savers come in slightly different sizes than card sleeves and leave a little extra room. Card savers are also typically more rigid, although soft savers are also available should you need them for any reason.

The most commonly used card saver worldwide is the Cardboard Gold Card Saver 1, measuring 3 5/16″ by 4 ⅞”. The Card Saver 1 comes highly recommended by the PSA grading company, as well as other collectors. Card Savers also come in the following sizes for non-standard sized cards-

  • Card Saver 2 measuring 3″ by 4 ½”
  • Card Saver 3 measuring 3 ⅓” by 5 ½”
  • Card Saver 4 measuring 4 ½” by 7 ⅛”

All of Cardboard Gold’s Card Saver product line has a ½” lip for added protection. However, Card Savers aren’t for everyone. Many collectors prefer top loaders, another great protective product.

To check the current price and availability of Cardboard Gold Card Saver 1 sleeves, click here to view them on Amazon.

What Size Toploader for Baseball Cards?

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The way top loaders are measured is considerably different, as it is calculated in points of thickness to protect cards with different thicknesses. Top loaders measure 3″ by 4″ and don’t fit cards snuggly because they hold sleeved cards. Fortunately, if you aren’t sure about the thickness of your cards, the BCW recently released a printable measuring chart to make measuring thickness easier than ever.

20 pt is the most commonly used thickness of top loader. Once you know the thickness of the cards in your collection, you can choose the appropriate size Toploader below-

  • 20 pt
  • 59 pt
  • 79 pt
  • 108 pt
  • 138 pt
  • 197 pt
  • 240 pt
  • 360 pt

Before you get ahead of yourself with card savers and top loaders, however, you should address sleeving your entire collection.

To check the current price and availability of Ultra-Pro Top Loaders, click here to view their selection on Amazon.

What Are the Best Sleeves for Baseball Cards?

The two most popular companies that produce sleeves for baseball trading cards are UltraPro and BCW. These two companies make high-quality products that will protect your baseball card collection for decades. Card sleeves produced by either company are guaranteed to be acid-free, archival quality, and crystal clear for the best-protected viewing possible. 

After you’ve decided which brand to go with, you can also choose between different surface finishes such as crystal or matte to give each card the best display possible. Then it’s just a matter of putting what you’ve learned about sizing to good use!

How Do You Sleeve a Baseball Card?

Sleeves are easy to use; you apply gentle pressure on the edges of the sleeves to create a small opening at the top. Then hold your base card by the edges and gently slide it in as far as it will go without resistance. If it sticks, you will use your forefinger and thumb on the top center of the card to ease it the rest of the way.

If you have trouble lining cards up with sleeve edges and are worried about wear and tear on your corners, UltraPro has a cut-corner sleeve variation that helps avoid this problem.

Final Thoughts

Collecting baseball cards can not only be a fun hobby, but a lucrative one as well, provided that you take the proper steps to protect your collectibles! Whether you’re new to collecting baseball cards or a seasoned collector in search of the latest supplies, you’ll be very pleased with the protective products listed in this article.

UltraPro and BCW produce fantastic products that will keep your cards in shape for years to come if stored appropriately. Ensuring that your cards are in appropriate size protectors is the first step to protecting them, but it’s far from the last.

Once you’ve sleeved and cased your cards, you’ll need storage boxes. BCW produces the highest-rated card storage boxes, and they have a great variety from which to choose. Their products are sure to work for your collecting needs, from 2 or 3-row shoe boxes to complete card houses.

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