There is no correct way to store your personal collection, but there are certain ways to store a collection if you want to preserve the quality and the value of the cards, and a binder is the perfect choice to store a K-pop collection.
Most K-pop photocard collectors store their collection in a binder or multiple, as it’s a great way to protect the cards while you can conveniently flip through and enjoy your collection whenever you want. Every collector’s binder can be vastly different from each other depending on which binder, binder pages, sleeves & etc.
Table of Contents
Sleeves protect your cards from dust that can make scratches and things that can ruin the surface, like liquid. Scratches can decrease the value of the cards you are ever thinking of selling them, and some scratches can be quite visible.
The most common size for K-pop photocards is 55x86mm (2⅕ x 3½) . K-pop photocards are smaller than other trading card games like Pokemon, MTG and sports cards which are usually 63x88mm.
When buying sleeves it’s important to look if the sleeves are PVC-free. I recommend buying from well known brands like Ultra-pro, Dragon Shield, May Day & Ultimate Guard when starting your collection. There are definitely cheaper options on the market, but when buying from well known brands you know what you get and that is the best protection for your cards.
Clear sleeves are for those who want to enjoy both sides of the photocard and they are also the cheapest one. There are a good variety of sizes from a really tight fit to a quite loose one. I like to get sleeves that fit the size of the pocket on the pages rather than going for a tight sleeve that fits the photocards.
– Ultra-Pro Penny Sleeves 66x92mm (2⅝ x 3⅝)
Penny sleeves aren’t the best options for K-pop photocards and are more fit to bigger cards like sports cards and other trading card games. Penny sleeves are quite thin and give very little protection.
– Ultra-Pro Deck Protector Sleeves 66x91mm
These are thicker and sturdier than the penny sleeves, but they come with a small disadvantage which is that every sleeve has a watermark on them. The watermark is easily avoidable with clear sleeves, but is unavoidable with colored sleeve editions.
– Clear Classic Sleeves
This is probably the most common sleeve. Dragon Shield provides great quality to collectors and TCG players. For collectors the Clear Classic sleeves are perfect. The sleeves are super clear and make it easy to enjoy your collection. Fit for cards size up to 63x88mm. You can also get the Clear Classic Japanese Fit which fits cards up to 59x86mm.
Colored sleeves can personalize your collection and make your collection more enjoyable to look through. I use colored sleeves for my collection and I have seen a lot of cool and different collections with colored sleeves. I use black colored sleeves for my collection because I think that the photocards stand out more, but you can get colored sleeves in almost every color. The downside with colored sleeves is that you can not see the backside of the cards.
– Dragon Shield Classic Colored
Dragon Shield has a good variety of colors that are appealing and they make in general really good sleeves. Do not go for the non-glare Dragon Shield sleeves if you have holographic/foil photocards. The non-glare sleeves will take away the effect of holographic/foil photocards.
– Ultimate Guard Katana
These are the sleeves I use for my collection and I will most likely never switch to another sleeve. The clarity is astonishing and the cards look fantastic in the sleeves. Not too many colors to choose from as Dragon Shield, but the few colors they have are the essential ones.
After deciding which sleeves you want to use you need a binder to put your photocard collection into. A binder is a nice way to display your collection and it’s the most used way to store a Kpop photocard collection.
Regular Office Binder
These binders can be bought at almost every store and are quite affordable. I recommend buying a binder with D-rings and not O-rings. O-rings binders can damage the cards closest to the rings and are just not as convenient as the D-rings binder. 9-pocket pages need to be bought to put the photocards into. Pages will be covered further down.
Both Dragon Shield and Ultimate Guard offer collector’s albums. These are a premium type of binder and are of good quality. Ultimate Guard has the normal office binder feel while Dragon Shield has a soft padded cover and has a zipper to close and open. There are two sizes which hold 18-pocket Binder and 24-pocket binder.
– Dragon Shield Card Codex Zipster Binder Regular
– Ultimate Guard Collector’s Album Xenoskin
Portfolio binders are binders where the pages are integrated into the binder. This means you do not need to buy pages and you can not customize the pages as the other binders. Some have zippers and some do not. Binders with zippers can be useful for when you want to transport your binder to for example a Kpop meet-up where you can trade photocards with other collectors or sell.
– Ultra Pro Pro-Binder
– Dragon Shield Card Codex 360
– Ultimate Guard Zipfolio 360
Official Merch Binder
Some Kpop groups release their own photocard binders so you can check if your favorite group has an official binder that you can buy.
For pages to binders the standard for photocards is the 9-pocket pages. 9-pocket pages is the same as 18-pocket pages. The difference is that in the 18-pocket page there are 9 pockets on each side while for the 9-pocket page there are 9 pockets in total which can hold 18 cards, two cards in each pocket.
For my binder I use Ultimate guard’s 18-pocket black pages with Ultimate Guard Katana black sleeves. I think the black on black makes the photocards stand out more and I can enjoy the cards themselves even more, though the only downside is that I can’t see the back of the cards without taking them out.
I hope that this guide has helped you and pushed you to start your own Kpop photocard collection. I have covered the most basic stuff. It might seem like a lot of information and intimidating, but choose the supplies that fit your budget the most and you will be on a good way. If you still have any questions you can ask them in the comment section below.
Do you think having the dragon shield japanese fit sleeve and the ultra pro top loader card will prevent the photo card from fading? I want to put it up on my wall but not unless it’s gonna fade overtime due to exposure of light
Hi~! If you are planning to display your photocards where the sunlight is available then I would highly recommend to use One-Touch magnetic holders, which do have UV-blocking. Unfortunately a sleeve and a toploader would not be enough protection for the cards from fading. This Youtube video shows you a perfect example of this.