How to Ship Vinyl Records

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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The resurgence of vinyl records has hipsters, hippies and everyone in between scouring thrift stores, poring over online outlets, and crowding into independent shops in search of their favorite titles.

Prized for their cover art and unique sound, vinyl records in good shape can fetch surprising sums of money – the trick is they must be shipped properly to preserve their fragile nature. If you are shipping one prized record or an entire collection, adhering to a handful of cardinal rules will have them spinning happily in their new homes.

Heat is the enemy. It takes a lot of heat to melt an album, but sustained heat above 85 degrees will warp an album drastically enough to render it unplayable. So, heat should be the deciding factor when deciding how to ship your vinyl. It’s critical to let your driver know their delicate cargo cannot endure hot conditions. Be sure the driver has at least a covered vehicle for shipping your large vinyl collections – hauling in direct sunlight will not work.

Some record collectors ship large amount of vinyl in ice chests to shield them from heat, and others place album crates inside large plastic tubs lined with bubble wrap and Styrofoam sheets. You can be as creative as possible in protecting them from tropical temperatures, but the bottom line is both you and your driver need to be on the same page when it comes to the issue of heat.

Just as important is the method in which your records are stored for shipment – they must be stacked vertically to avoid being bent or cracked. Placing one album on top of the other is an invitation for disaster. Each album has a unique thickness and different inserts and liners will force a stack of LPs to lean slightly to one side, resulting in damage that cannot be repaired. They should look like books stacked on a shelf, and should be as vertical as possible, not leaning to the side. This method also helps preserve the covers, which some collectors value as much as the vinyl itself. Also, your records should be oriented vertically once they reach their destination and are sorted and shelved. Additionally, it’s o.k. to place hard-topped containers on top of each other, but one row of vertically-stacked records cannot physically touch another.

Vinyl record collections can be heavy. You should also include the total weight of the records you’re shipping in the listing so interested drivers are aware of what they are bidding on. Because their combined weight can be difficult to lift, it’s best to limit containers to about 150 of your records. Drivers should also be made aware that they shouldn’t toss or otherwise roughly handle collections.

A note about shipping single records in perfect condition: Albums that are of particular value or importance should be placed in 13″ x 13″ x 4″ cardboard boxes available at chain craft stores. Additionally, these albums should be removed from their covers and placed next to them in a larger, clear plastic sleeve to protect both the record and its cover. The lone exceptions are vintage, still-sealed records (SS), which are highly prized because of their pristine state.

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