Should You Put All Your Cards in Penny Sleeves?

You’re probably aware of the importance of card sleeves for protecting your cards. Sleeves protect cards from dirt, liquid, and other contaminants. But when it comes to penny sleeves, should you always put all your trading cards in them?

You should put all your cards in penny sleeves if they’re common cards, which are made from cheap plastic that does an adequate job of protecting the card. However, for rare cards or those with higher value, it’s better to invest in better options.

This article goes into more detail about penny sleeves and explains their advantages and drawbacks. It also explores alternatives to penny sleeves, from cheap ones like toploaders to expensive and advanced ones like display cases and ultra pro cases. Read on to find out how to best protect your cards. 

Which Cards Should You Penny Sleeve?

Cards that can benefit from being penny-sleeved are common cards. They tend to have more wear and tear than rarer cards because they are played more often.

Using a penny sleeve in addition to a regular card sleeve can add an extra layer of protection to these heavily played common cards. 


  • Penny sleeves offer superior protection from dust, dirt, and other contaminants that can damage your cards over time.
  • They protect the card surface from moisture, preventing mold and mildew growth. 
  • Penny sleeve material is thinner than other types of protective materials, so it won’t add bulk to your collection and won’t take up too much space in storage. 
  • They’re inexpensive compared to other protective materials like binders or boxes. 
  • They come in various sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for any type of card you need to protect. 


In terms of aesthetics, penny sleeves offer an extra layer of protection without taking away from the beauty of your cards.

The crystal-clear plastic allows you to view both sides of the card without removing it from its sleeve. This means that even if you decide to sell or trade your cards in the future, their value won’t be diminished by scratches or smudges on the surface. 

As a bonus, some sleeve brands have special UV-protection technology that helps stop fading and discoloration caused by long exposure to sunlight or bright lighting. 


Penny sleeves can help enhance organization within your collection since they come in different colors. This makes it easier to differentiate between sets or types of cards when storing them together in a binder or box.

This is especially helpful if you have more than one collection of similar cards because it lets you tell them apart at a glance. 

You can also label each sleeve with important information, such as the set name or edition number, so you always know what’s inside without having to open each one individually.


No Protection Against Scuffing and Creasing 

Penny sleeves provide basic protection for your cards by keeping them safe from dust and dirt. They also make handling cards easier since they have a slick surface that won’t stick to the card.

However, penny sleeves do not protect cards from scuffing or creasing very well, so if you plan to carry your cards around a lot, you should use something like a top-loader or a hard plastic case instead.

Discoloration and Warping 

Even though penny sleeves help keep dust and dirt off your cards, they can also cause damage over time.

This is because the plastic material used in the sleeve may cause discoloration or warping on certain types of cards. Additionally, repeated handling with no other form of protection can lead to card wear over time. 

Difficult to Remove 

Another drawback to using penny sleeves is that they can be difficult to remove from certain types of cards without causing damage.

This is especially true with thicker cards, like those found in sports trading card sets, which require more force when removing from their sleeves than with thinner stock.

Before you try to take a card out of its sleeve, you should know this because if you do it wrong, you could damage it beyond repair

Alternative Storage Materials for Cards

If penny sleeves don’t work for your cards, there are a ton of alternatives, each with advantages and disadvantages. 


Plastic top loaders are a great option if you want to keep your cards safe without spending money on expensive penny sleeves. Toploaders come in many sizes, so you can find one that fits whatever type of card you need it for. 

The hard plastic helps protect the card from dirt and moisture and keeps it from bending or curling. Plus, they’re much less expensive than penny sleeves! 

Card Binders

Another great way to store cards in bulk is in card binders with pages specifically designed for them. These pages typically have nine slots per page, so each card has its own pocket for protection. 

They also come in different sizes, so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly. Binders are also much cheaper than individual penny sleeves, making them a great option if you need to store many cards without breaking the bank. 

Card Storage Boxes 

If you’re looking for the ultimate protection for your cards, consider getting yourself some card storage boxes. Card storage boxes keep cards organized and easy to find while protecting them from dust, dirt, and moisture. 

They come in various sizes depending on how many cards you need to store at once, and they are generally quite affordable! 

Deck Boxes

Deck boxes are an excellent way to store and protect your cards. Not only do they come in a variety of sizes, but they also come with built-in compartments to keep your cards separated and organized.

These boxes usually feature foam or rubber padding inside to help prevent damage while storing larger collections, and they often come with lids that can be opened and closed easily.

Deck boxes are also easy to move if you need to, and they make it easier to find specific cards without having to dig through piles of other cards. 

Ultra Pro Cases 

If you’re looking for something even more secure for long-term storage or display purposes, Ultra Pro cases might be just what you need. These cases are made of tough plastic and have locking mechanisms to keep your cards safe when not in use.

Each case can hold between 100 and 200 standard-sized trading cards and protects them from dirt, moisture, and UV light for years of use.

Display Case

A display case is a type of framed storage made to show off and protect collectibles like sports cards, coins, stamps, figurines, and other small things. Display cases can be any size or shape, from small ones that sit on a table to big ones that hang on the wall.

Most display cases have clear sides, so you can see what’s inside from all angles. They may also have a lock or some other mechanism to keep the items secure. Some have adjustable shelves or built-in lighting to help show off and highlight the items inside.

Display cases can be a great way to protect and display your valuable collectibles, as they provide a safe, dust-free environment for your items. 

They can also be a good option for displaying items you want to keep out of reach, such as rare or fragile items. 

However, display cases can be more expensive than other ways to store things, and they might not be good for large collections or things that need to be taken out often.

Magnetic Card Holders

Magnetic card holders are a type of one-touch card storage case that uses magnets to keep the cards in place. They’re typically made of a hard material, such as plastic, and have a magnet embedded inside to hold the cards securely. 

Some magnetic card holders have extra features, like a removable tray or dividers, that help keep your cards organized and safe.

One advantage of using magnetic card holders is that they provide a secure hold on the cards, helping to prevent them from falling out or getting damaged. They’re also generally easy to use and can conveniently store and transport your cards.

However, magnetic cardholders may not be suitable for all cards, as some cards may be too thin or too thick to fit properly. For information on how to store thicker cards, see my other article: How to Store Thick Sports Cards (Best Method)


Penny sleeves are great for protecting your collectible cards from dust and dirt, but they certainly have some drawbacks as well.

If you want complete protection for your cards, other forms of protection may be better suited for you, such as hard cases or top-loaders. They’ll provide maximum protection while keeping your cards looking pristine.

However, if you’re just looking for basic protection at a low cost, then penny sleeves may be just what you’re looking for!

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to tips on finding and collecting precious items. Inspired by reading countless adventurer reports from the oldtimers, Alex is passionate about discovering hidden treasures and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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