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How to Keep Football Cards in Mint Condition (2024)

The whole reason I started Hobby FC was my own love of football cards, which has since grown to encompass the broader world of memorabilia. So, it’s about time I wrote this to be honest!

How to preserve Football Cards

Much like we discussed in our earlier article on maintaining your football shirts, there are certain habits you need to build into your collectors’ routine when it comes to preserving your collectibles.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, proper storage is essential to maintain the condition and value of your football cards.

In this article, we’ll provide valuable tips on how to store football cards effectively, ensuring they remain in pristine condition for years to come and retain their value in the collector’s market.

Because trust me, even the slightest blemish can ruin a card’s value.

Use Sleeves and Top-Loaders

When handling football cards, it’s crucial to minimize contact with oils, dirt, and moisture that can degrade the card’s surface over time.

To protect your cards from damage, use acid-free sleeves and top-loaders made from archival-quality materials. These protective sleeves provide a barrier against dust, moisture, and handling while allowing you to display your cards safely.

For optimum results, I put my own cards in a sleeve… and then the top-loader.

And they can be found for about £7 p/100 on eBay.

Store Cards in a Cool, Dry Environment

Temperature and humidity fluctuations can have a detrimental effect on the condition of football cards, causing warping, fading, and deterioration of the paper and ink.

To preserve the value of your cards, store them in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and moisture. Avoid storing cards in basements, attics, or garages, as these areas are prone to temperature and humidity fluctuations that can damage the cards over time.

A light, airy display away from direct light exposure would be ideal. Or, even though it might be boring, a storage cabinet and/or sealed draw would be ideal if you’re looking to keep them away long-term/

Do not use Rubber Bands!

Nothing makes me angrier than seeing beautiful cards trapped like this.

While it may be tempting to use rubber bands or clips to keep your football cards together, these materials can cause damage over time by compressing the cards and leaving marks on the surface.

Instead, opt for plastic sleeves or dividers to keep cards organised and prevent them from shifting or bending during storage. Avoid stacking cards too tightly to prevent warping and creasing.

You need to let the cards breathe.

Handle Cards with Care

When handling football cards, it’s ideal to avoid touching the surface of the cards directly.

Oils, dirt, and moisture from your fingers can transfer to the cards and cause damage over time. Hence why I’m advocating for you to use the sleeves and top-loader combo.

Use cotton gloves or handle cards by the edges to minimise contact with the surface and reduce the risk of smudging, staining, or scratching.

Monitor and Maintain Your Collection

They are your children and you must look after them!

Take proactive measures to address any issues and prevent further deterioration. Rotate cards periodically to ensure even exposure to light and air, and consider investing in a dehumidifier or moisture absorber to maintain optimal humidity levels in your storage area.

Do all of these together, and you’ll maximise the value of your card collection.


I love my football cards and I hope you do too, but I can appreciate that it can get a bit annoying having to preserve the value of them to maximise their potential as an ‘investment’.

That being said, these simple changes can help to do that for you!

What do you do to maintain your football card collection?