How to Choose the Right Holder Size for Your Cards

March 22, 2013 |
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The most common question people ask is “what holder size do I need to protect my precious cards safely?”

There are two simple methods that can be used to work this out on your own.

NOTE: Calculations are estimates based on Ultra Pro products (toploader and magnetic one touch holders), as these are the most commonly used for protection in the card collecting hobby.

Box of Standard Toploaders.360pt One-Touch Magnetic Holder

Images courtesy of Ultra Pro

Method 1 – Stacking Regular Cards:

All you need is a stack of regular sized base cards. Simply stack them on top of each other next to the card you want to purchase the holder for, and then simply count the cards.

NOTE: Card thickness is measured in points (‘pt’). Regular base cards are 20 point in thickness. Do not use base cards from a high end product as they may be thicker, approx 30-40 point.

The following list outlines what holder point size is required, based on the number of regular base cards:

  • 1 Regular Card = 20-35 point – Use a 35pt holder (also called regular card holder)
    • Select AFL Common Card, NBA Hoops Base Card, Prizm NBA/NFL Base Card
  • 3 Regular Cards = 55 point – Use a 55pt holder (also called thick holder)
    • Select AFL Future Hall of Fame, Select AFL ShowStoppers, MLB Bowman Chrome Autos
  • 4 Regular Cards = 70-75 point – Use a 75pt holder (also called extra thick holder)
    • Select AFL Certified Jersey Patch or Jersey Patch Auto
  • 5 Regular Cards = 85-90 point – Use a 100pt holder (also called game used size or extra thick holder)
    • NBA/NFL Jersey cards from products like Donruss, Optic, Prizm and Limited
  • 6-8 Regular Cards = 110-130 point – Use a 130pt holder (also called memorabilia size or real thick holder)
    • Select AFL Supremacy, NBA/NFL Rookie Patch Autos and Patches, High end products like National Treasures, Flawless
  • 9-12 Regular Cards = 180 Point – Use a 180pt holder (also called super thick holder)
    • NBA/NFL Rookie Patch Autos and Patches (generally /25 or less) from high end products like National Treasures, Flawless
  • 13-24 Regular Cards = greater than 180 Point – Use a 260pt or 360pt holder.

One Touch holders are a bit pricy, however when sending higher value cards, its seen as good customer service and will help you increase sales. You can buy up to 360 point holders now for the extra thick or booklet cards. You can always add this into the price of shipping, however be a sport and let people know in your item description or shipping details that you are doing so.

Method 2 – Measuring With a Ruler:

For those who are fortunate enough to have a ruler on hand, can simply measure the thickness of the card using the millimeters scale on the ruler and compare the measured size to the following table:

Size in points (pt)

Size in millimeters (mm)


up to 1






2.25 – 2.5


3 – 3.5








Method 3 – BCW Card Gauge:

With this method you can print the BCW Card Gauge and measure it by simply placing the card on the paper to find the correct thickness:

Click here to download a copy: BCW-Card-Gauge