card saver to submit cards to psa in best card saver
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Card Saver's come in a variety of sizes

Card Savers come in all shapes and sizes. They are used to protect collectibles such as sports cards, gaming cards, photos, lithographs, posters, magazines, comic books, postcards, tickets, currency, and records/music. They are also the only holder PSA accepts in their graded card submissions.

Card Savers have been sold since the product was introduced at the 1987 National Sports Collectors Convention. They are archival safe and have been made exclusively by Cardboard Gold for over 20 years.

The Card Saver 4 is the largest Card Saver holder for items up to 4″ x 6″. The actual size of the CS4 is 4 1/2 x 7 1/8 including its 1/2″ lip. There are 100 per retail package and 1,000 (10 packs) per master case. The Card Saver 4 is used for promo cards, postcards, and for PSA submissions of larger cards you wish to have them grade and slab.

Card Saver 1

use these for PSA submissions

When submitting cards to PSA you want to use the Card Saver 1’s. They are wide enough to comfortably get your cards in without damaging a corner and tall enough to prevent cards from falling out. PSA states on their website to use these and not top loaders. If you want to improve your odds of receiving high grades it is recommended to submit in Card Saver 1’s. Pick them up on Amazon here. 

Card Saver 2

Fits standard-sized baseball, basketball, football, and other trading cards. It is slightly smaller than the Card Saver 1 – measuring 3″x 4.5″ including the 1/2″ lip.

I do not recommend buying or using these to store your cards in. I have used them before and the opening is too small. The corners of the card could get bent or flake when attempting to squeeze it in. Even when using a penny sleeve the risk is too high. I play it safe and buy the recommended Saver 1’s.

Card Saver 3

This Card Saver is for tall cards like Gameboy or 60’s & 70’s football and basketball cards that were referred to as tall boys. Size is 3 1/3″x5 7/8″. You can store your tall cards in these and submit them to PSA. Do not send your standard sized cards in these Card Savers, PSA grader’s will have a difficult time removing them. Your card could potentially be damaged as well. 

Card Saver 4

The Card Saver 4 is the largest Card Saver holder for items up to 4″ x 6″. The actual size of the CS4 is 4 1/2 x 7 1/8 including its 1/2″ lip. 

There are 100 per retail package and 1,000 (10 packs) per master case. The Card Saver 4 is used for promo cards, postcards, and for PSA submissions of larger cards you wish to have them grade and slab.

Does PSA return the Card Savers you submit?

I remember receiving my first 15 card PSA submission return like it was yesterday. It was almost as exciting as the morning I woke up to my 80CC Yamaha dirtbike under the Christmas tree! I carefully cut the shipping tape with a razor blade and slowly pulled the top box lid out. Looking down at the crisp, clean and beautiful plastic cases I felt my heartbeat increase a beat or two. I laid the box on its side, lifted up very cautiously to let the slabs slip out onto the table. Going through them one by one looking at each grade I remember asking myself, “where are the Card Savers”?

Not being able to use top loaders

I was concerned about the Card Savers because I remember thinking of how it was a pain to have to buy them. Why couldn’t PSA accept my perfectly fine top loaders? I thought the Card Savers were flimsy and didn’t see the reasons to why I had to submit my cards in them. When I noticed that PSA didn’t return them I felt a little robbed. I was wanting to use them for my next submission.

So, do we get them back?

When you receive your submission back from PSA you will be getting your PSA slabs only, not the Card Savers. PSA has not publicly explained why they do not return them but there is speculation as to why they don’t.

Cutting off the tops

I have heard some collectors state that PSA only allows cards submitted in a Card Saver due to the fact that they cut the tops off for easier accessibility. If the cards were in top loaders, they would not be able to cut the tops off and accessibility would be more difficult. This could also result in faster production times.

This makes sense due to the ample amount of room the card has inside the Card Saver 1. However, cutting the tops off in order to pull the card out doesn’t add up. Simply squeezing the sides of the Card Saver will allow you to insert your fingers, grab the card, and pull it out. Cutting off the tops may or not may be the reason. PSA has yet to state why they keep them.

They want us to buy more?

PSA does sell Card Savers on their website and they do state that you must submit your cards in them. Could this be the reason for them not returning them to their rightful owners? I highly doubt it. PSA didn’t become as successful as they are by ripping off their loyal customers. I have seen collectors state that this is the reason PSA doesn’t return your Card Savers but let’s go ahead and claim this to be false.

They put stickers on the card savers

During the grading process, PSA slaps stickers on the Card Savers for identification purposes. Some think that PSA deems them non-reusable because the stickers are hard to get off. This could potentially be the reason why they don’t return them but who should be the judge when it comes to how “usable” the Card Saver is? Shouldn’t the initial purchaser be the decider when it comes keeping or trashing them?

For the blatant reason that PSA did not purchase the Card Saver, I feel that this is not the reason. If it were, they would give you an option during the checkout process, right? Do you want your Card Savers covered with a removable sticker returned or trashed? If this were the case, I would undoubtedly select returned.

Decrease the weight for shipping costs

One single Card Saver weighs nowhere near any notable amount of weight. We all know this. So thinking that PSA want’s to save on shipping doesn’t add up. Even when you factor in the 100 and 500 card submissions. The cost of shipping would be less than $10.


Let’s not be petty people. Packs of 100 Card Savers cost roughly $10 a pack which equates to 10 cents per card saver. Which isn’t enough money to cry about. What about the 500 and 1000 card submissions. You’ll have to spend an additional $50 – $100 for something you’ll never get back. Let’s be honest, not many collectors will ever submit a submission higher than 50. So a measly $5 is worth the 50 graded cards you’ll get.

What are your thoughts?

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Chris Jones

What about 180pt cards? They don’t seem to fit well in cardsaver 1s. Should I use the larger card savers to submit thicker cards?

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