Top Shields Introduction and Best PWE Shipping Practices


First off, what are and what’s the purpose of Top Shields?

Top shields are very similar to “classic” shields.  Same material/thickness as the blank/peel and seal.  The design is just like the classic shields, just bigger!

Classic shields are 3×4 inces (flap down) while the Top shields (flap down) are 3.69×4.69 inches.


Top shields have been the number 1 requested item and are meant to hold a top loaded card (or classic shield).  They also fit the smaller semi-rigids.  The larger semi-rigids (ones suggested for grading submissions) fit inside but the upper lip sticks out.  I plan on revising the design to better accomodiate the larger size semi-rigids in the future.


Envelope Recommendations

In order to minimize the chances of any Post Office (PO) issues, here’s some best practices you can follow to help yourself out when shipping with a plain white envelope (PWE).

First we’ll start with the envelope size!

I HIGHLY recommend to never use the 6 3/4 and #10.  When testing the #10 (single top shield with single standard size top loader inside), approximately 30% were hit with a non-machinable charge by the PO.  One even got hit with the parcel charge.  I believe the reason for this is that the 4.75” side had to lay horizontal in the envelope and that extra length vs the classic shields lenght (4”) was enough to cause the issue.

Recommended PWE size is the A9 (5 ¾ x 8 ¾ in) or the 6 x 9.

When testing in this size envelope (A9), so far none have been hit for non-machinable.


How to package

Vertically in the envelope!

Tape to a piece of paper (printer paper works just fine folded in half!). This prevents the shield from moving around in sorting and required by the PO

Can fit 2 top shields next to each other vertically in the envelope.


Number of Top Loaders per Shield

  • Only tested using standard size top loader
  • Can fit 3 top loaders but does not meet USPS max width requirement – too thick (1/4” max thickness requirement). Not recommended for PWE.
  • Tested with 2 standard size top loaders in 1 top shield.
  • No issues with using a non-machinable stamp with extra ounce stamp
  • Even 2 top shields with 2 standard size top loaders per shield had no issues when using a non-machinable stamp (with extra ounce)

Likely postage breakdown when using A9 or 6×9 envelope.  Remember to ALWAYS double check your weights for each envelope to make sure you have the appropriate amount of postage!  There are multiple variables that affect the total weight that so the likely postage might not work for each PWE of yours!

# of Shields # Top loaders/Shield Likely Postage Needed
1 1 Forever Stamp
2 1 Forever Stamp + Extra Ounce
1 2 Non-Machinable + Extra Ounce
2 2 Non-Machinable + 2X Extra Ounce


“Closing TAB”

The half circle tab that folds into the main body

This locking tab only works OK. It worked better on the prototypes.

Also, the oval piece of cardboard needs to get removed before you can use the closing tab. No machine can remove it so has to be done manually. This isn’t ideal but didn’t seem like a bad idea during prototyping.  I will be looking at replacement designs on the next order.

If you don’t want to use the “Closing tab” you can simply use tape or tuck the flap in. Tucking isn’t a problem like in the “classic” shield as the top loader prevents the flap from making direct contact with the cards inside.