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The Emotional Difficulty Of Sending Your Collectibles Through The Mail

There's no way around it: the first time you send sports cards or memorabilia through the mail, you're going to be nervous about it. It's perfectly natural. And there's only one remedy to calm those nerves - send the package, apprehension and all, and see for yourself that there was nothing to worry about.

Sending cards and collectibles through the mail doesn't get us nervous, but that’s because we do it hundreds of times every week. When a Just Collect customer wins one of our auctions on eBay, we pack up their card or memorabilia and ship it to them with full confidence that it will arrive safely and promptly.

But we know that most everyone else doesn't put cards and collectibles in the mail on a regular basis, and that many people have never done it even once before - and we understand that it can make you nervous.

I'll never forget when I sent one of my prized vintage baseball cards through the mail for the first time, because I agonized over it every step of the way! It was in the mid-1990s in the early days of PSA. Card grading wasn't nearly as ubiquitous as it would become in the coming years, but you were seeing more and more graded cards at the local shows. My 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle was amongst my prized cards - but I was lucky enough to have two of them, so decided I would take the leap and send one of them through the mail to be graded. If PSA headquarters were just a little closer to my hometown in New Jersey (instead of California), I might have decided to just drive the card there myself. But it wasn't, it was across the country, so I convinced myself to give it a shot.

Of course I insured the package, but that only alleviated a small part of my concern - this was my card, and it was special to me for many reasons that went beyond its monetary value. I felt like I had just sent my child to sleep-away camp; until its safe return, the 1956 Mantle was the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep.

But in the end, it turned out just fine! All that worrying for nothing. I learned that day, and have confirmed it thousands and thousands of times since at Just Collect, that sending cards and collectibles through the mail isn't so scary after all.

There are a few things that get people anxious about sending their items through the mail:

The Great Unknown

When you value a collection or a collectible, you know exactly where it is at all times. It's securely in your study, or in your basement, or in a closet in your living room. It's yours, and you've taken great care of it. For people who have inherited a collection, you know that your family member took great care of it.

But the unknown, on the other hand, can be very scary. You take great care to pack your items, and you know that Just Collect will take good care of them when they arrive - but it's perfectly natural to be a little uneasy about where they will be and who will be taking care of them in-between.

It's Natural to Place Enormous Value in The Items That You Own

Behavioral economists call it the "endowment effect". People place great value in things that they own, and struggle with the concept of losing them. The longer a person has owned an item, the more they value it, and the more difficult it is to part with it. The effect has been found to start within just minutes of ownership - so it's understandable that it's hard to trust something to the mail system that you've owned and taken great pride in for so many years.

It's not just you - in one of the best known studies on the subject, it was found that people with tickets to the 2000 Final Four refused to sell them unless they were paid an average of 14 times the price they stated they would pay for those same tickets when asked just days earlier.

It can be incredibly distressing to think about separating yourself from your collection, and trusting it to the care of another person, and even more so to think about the possibility of it being lost.

It's Natural to Think About the Bad Things That Can Happen to Your Package

It not only happens without your intending to do it, but it's perfectly natural for a person's mind to conjure up images of all the bad and dramatic things that can happen to your package of collectibles, and to imagine how upset it would make them feel. You picture a thoughtless postal service worker tossing your cards around, or a careless UPS driver delivering the package to the wrong address. Your mind goes straight for these scenarios because they are the most dramatic - but that doesn't make them the most likely. The human mind doesn't search for the most likely outcome when making a stressful decision like this one, it simply searches for the most vivid.

How Do You Overcome the Apprehension of Sending Collectibles Through the Mail?

1. Understand that the apprehension is perfect natural, and that everyone (even the founder of Just Collect!) was anxious the first time or two.

2. Do your research. Look through the Just Collect website, Google our name, ask us for a reference - do whatever it takes to gain the trust you need to send your items to us. You'll find out that hundreds of people have done it before, and always with great results.

3. Give us a call, and we’ll be more than happy to walk you through the entire process. We'll give you tips on packing, shipping, insuring, tracking and everything in-between. We'll make sure you're 100% comfortable and that everything goes smoothly.

Just Collect is always looking to purchase collections of vintage and modern cards and memorabilia, sports and non-sport products. Call or email us anytime to talk about a free appraisal or selling your collection.